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100 Best Places to Retire for 2013

Category: Best Retirement Towns and States

February 18, 2013 – Note: Our 2017 list of “The 100 Most Popular Places to Retire” is now out.

With warmer winters and generally lower taxes, it shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that baby boomers think the Sunbelt has the best places to retire. has just published its 7th annual list of the 100 most popular retirement spots, and it shows clear proof that the Sunbelt’s retirement popularity continues — 76 of the 100 top positions are held by towns in the Sunbelt. Florida dominates the list of best places to retire, taking 25 of the cities and towns (1 less than in 2012), followed by North Carolina (11), Arizona (9), and South Carolina (8). California, Tennessee had 6 cities each in the top 100. The highest ranking non-Sun Belt city on our list was Portland (OR) at #14. Note: To make sure you don’t miss new lists like this, sign up for our free weekly “Best Places to Retire” newsletter. See also “The Worst States for Retirement – 2014“.

The Top 10
As has been the case since Topretirements published its first list in 2007, Asheville, NC is the #1 town, receiving 15 times as many page visits as Franklin (TN), which squeezed onto the list in the #100 position with 1,000 page visits. Asheville’s reputation as a great place to retire, its mountains, gentle 4 seasons climate, and recreational/cultural opportunities all make it the standard that all other retirement towns can aspire to. Sarasota (FL) once again occupies the #2 spot, while Austin (TX), Venice (FL), and Prescott (AZ) retained their 3 and 4 and 5 rankings. Naples (FL) and San Antonio (TX) climbed into the top 10 this year at the #7 and #10 positions respectively. Paris (TN) and Green Valley (AZ) slipped out of the top 10 to make room for them, although both are still in the elite 15.


12 New Towns Join as Popular Places to Retire
Twelve new towns moved onto the 2012 list, up from 5 newcomers in 2012. Eight of these were from the Sunbelt while the rest were from mountain states. Boynton Beach, which has been on our list in years prior to 2012, came in at a strong #40 position. Murphy (NC) joined at #58, Scottsdale (AZ) at #64, while Grand Junction made the list in the #66 position. Other newcomers included Savannah (GA), Leesburg (FL), St. George (UT), Charlotte (NC), Port Townsend (WA), Durango (CO), Mesquite (NV), and Franklin (TN), which squeaked in at the #100 position.

Biggest Ups
Several towns made big moves up in popularity this year. Notably among them were Fairhope (AL) which climbed from 89th to 13th, Portland (OR) – 64th to 14th, Seattle (WA) which went all the way from 91st to 26th, Pittsburgh (PA) – 66th to 28th, Clearwater (FL) – 60th to 17th, and Orlando (FL) – 58th to 20th. It is hard to explain precisely why a city moves up or down in one year, although if it was featured in our newsletter or other article it was probably a very big factor.

Towns Rather Than Active Communities
This list concentrate on towns/cities rather than on active communities, which we have excluded from the 2013 list. That being said, several active communities were popular enough to have made the list had we included them (The Villages would have been in the top 10, and Sun City would been somewhere in the 80’s. See our 2013 list of “The 100 Most Popular Active Adult Communities” for more.

Our Criteria, “Where Baby Boomers Go to Find Their Best Place to Retire”, has published its 100 most popular list annually since 2007. It is important to note that our list uses criteria that are quite different from most other lists. Our list is essentially a popularity contest; it reflects the towns that visitors to this “find your best place to retire” website are most interested in for retirement. The list was compiled by calculating the 100 towns that receive the most online visits of the 900+ cities reviewed at during the last 6 months of 2012. Some towns probably make the list in a given year because they were featured in one of our weekly newsletter, or their review was was recently added. Others leave the list in the face of stiffened competition.

These are the 100 most popular places to retire for 2013. But we urge you not to stop there – you can explore the more than 900 towns and 2000+ active adult communities by using the “Find a Community” feature on the top right of all pages at Topretirements.

1. Asheville, NC
2. Sarasota, FL
3. Venice, FL
4. Austin, TX
5. Prescott, AZ
6. Beaufort, SC
7. Naples, FL
8. Ft. Myers, FL
9. San Diego, CA
10. San Antonio, TX
11. Tucson, AZ
12. Paris, TN
13. Fairhope, AL
14. Portland, OR
15. Green Valley, AZ
16. Charlottesville, VA
17. Clearwater, FL
18. Charleston, SC
19. Sedona, AZ
20. Orlando, FL

Myrtle Beach – The Grand Strand

21. Myrtle Beach, SC
22. St. Petersburg, FL
23. St. Augustine, FL
24. Phoenix, AZ
25. Chapel Hill, NC
26. Seattle, WA
27. Williamsburg, VA
28. Pittsburgh, PA
29. Knoxville, TN
30. Denver, CO
31. Las Cruces, NM
32. Santa Fe, NM
33. Flagstaff, AZ
34. Bend, OR
35. Port Charlotte, FL
36. Aiken, SC
37. Pensacola, FL
38. Summerville, SC
39. Crossville, TN
40. Boynton Beach, FL *
41. Albuquerque, NM
42. Gainesville, FL
43. Colorado Springs, CO
44. San Luis Obispo, CA
45. Chattanooga, TN
46. Santa Barbara, CA
47. Delray Beach, FL
48. Vero Beach, FL
49. Key West
50. Lewes, DE
51. New Bern, NC
52. Beaufort, NC
53. Henderson, NV
54. Ft. Lauderdale, FL
55. Eugene, OR
56. Ft. Collins, CO
57. Brevard, NC
58. Murphy, NC*
59. Miami, FL
60. Winchester, VA
61. Athens, GA
62. Maryville, TN
63. Rehoboth Beach, DE
64. Scottsdale, AZ *
65. Palm Springs, CA
66. Grand Junction, CO *
67. Jacksonville, FL
68. Bluffton, SC
69. Boca Raton, FL
70. Mesa, AZ
71. Savannah, GA *
72. Mt. Airy, NC
73. Winston-Salem, NC
74. Tampa, FL
75. Chicago, IL
76. Hendersonville, NC
77. Stuart, FL
78. Boulder, CO
79. The Woodlands, TX

Leesburg, FL

80. Leesburg, FL *

81. St. George, UT *
82. Portland, ME

83. Spokane, WA
84. Clemson, SC
85. Napa, CA
86. Cheyenne, WY
87. Southport, NC
88. Melbourne, FL
89. Murray, KY
90. Hilton Head, SC
91. Charlotte, NC *
92. Bellingham, WA
93. Port Townsend, WA *
94. Winter Park, FL
95. Corpus Christi, TX
96. Eureka, CA
97. Durango, CO *
98. Mesquite, AZ *
99. Cape Coral, FL
100. Franklin, TN *

*New to the List in 2013

Sliding Off the List
As always, some towns lost some of their allure to prospective retirees during 2013. Twelve cities dropped off the list from the previous year, even though we think they are still pretty good places to retire:
Jupiter, FL
Ocala, FL
Madison, WI
Bowling Green, KY
Tallahassee, FL
Greenville, NC
Walla Walla, WA
Pinehurst, NC
Fayetteville, AR
Halifax, CAN
Smyrna, DE
Princeton, NJ

For Additional reference:
The 100 Most Popular Places to Retire
Sunbelt Rules: The 2012 List of 100 Best Places to Retire
100 Best Retirement Towns, 2nd Edition (2010)
Surprises Galore: 100 Best Active Adult or 55+ Communities – 2013
My Search for the (almost) perfect Retirement Climate
The Next Best 25: A List of Communities from 2010 that almost made the Top 100
10 Worst States for Retirement – 2014

What do You Think?
Please add your comments and reactions below. See also our related Blog post – – which has over 500 interesting reader comments.

Posted by Admin on February 18th, 2013


  1. I am thinking of retiring in Coral Springs FL. I did not see that town on the list, but I visited last year and thought it was a nice place to live.

    by Ingrid Seunarine — February 21, 2013

  2. We chose #63, Rehoboth Beach, DE, after considering a variety of factors including: proximity to major metro areas such as NYC, Philadelphia, Baltimore and DC; new, retirement home prices near national lows ($100K – $300K); property taxes among the lowest in the U.S. (approx. $1,000/yr for a $340K home); several small, local award-winning hospitals; if we ever need it for unusual health matters, Johns Hopkins Hospital about 2 hrs away; zero % sales tax; family less than 2 hrs away; 165 fewer days/yr vs FL of oppressive dew points (69%+); low crime rate re: small population; beaches minutes away; lots of retiree activities; and minutes to the ferry to charming Cape May, NJ.

    by RogerB — February 22, 2013

  3. Roger B My wife and I are also interested in Delaware for the same reasons as yourself. Any info you can provide about over 55 communities would help us before we go hunting this spring

    by RUBYTUESDAY7 — February 22, 2013

  4. We were down in Delaware looking about. Pretty state, favorable tax structure. I believe if you are 65 and over, you are exempt from school taxes, well kept beaches. After the past year, I am concerned about being so close to the water.
    Some of the communities were absolutely beautiful, others were way over built and crowded.
    I kept asking myself the question, if I lived here, what would I be doing?
    We’re off to The Villages next week. You get a lot more house for your money in Delaware, but I’m beginning to think it’s a lifestyle that I’m after, not a house to sit in.

    by Fred — February 23, 2013

  5. Ingrid – Coral Springs is a “bummer” Ugh!

    Having lived in Naples, Ft Meyers and now Daytona I would really due my due diligence before I MOVED to Coral Springs – visit or rent for a months or so

    good luck


    by Robert — February 23, 2013

  6. To Fred: So well put… We are looking for a lifestyle not a house to live in. Currently have a RV and plan to travel around the next 5 years to find the right place. Retirement is not for another 8 years and by then the grandkids will be teenagers and we will be ready to move. Live presently in Maryland and taxes are high for retirees. Since my husband is retired military as well and most military camp grounds are fairly cheap we hope to explore areas as much as possible. Gas is still an issue but the RV traveling is worth the trade off to hotels and flying. The main issue is Health as long as we are both healthy we plan to use the RV as much as possible to find the right place to retire. Take about 5 trips a year and so far so good. Planning to visit Mt Dora, Fl, The Villages Fl, New Bern, NC, Savannah, Ga. Want to stay on the east coast to be somewhat close to family. Any comments on these places.

    by Vickie — February 23, 2013

  7. Having grown up and attended college in the Fort Myers/Estero area, I can tell it’s good only for getting stuck behind snowbirds and overinflated golf course prices. The sand on the beaches is excellent, but the water is nasty. It’s good as a vacation spot, but no way would I allow MY children to live here.

    by Marisa — February 23, 2013

  8. Rubytuesday. I cannot tell you much about 55+ communities because, with so many retirees in the area, you don’t have to live in them to enjoy the amenities. And costs seem to be much lower in non-55+ communities. We looked at only two 55+ communities: Nassau Grove (Lewes) and Heritage Shores (Bridgeville). In Heritage Shores (an award winning 55+ community), due in part to the nice golf course and clubhouse, the HOA fees and property taxes are much higher than non-55+ communities.

    In our search, we looked at over 30 homes in 5 or 6 towns; all in Sussex county – where the beaches are located. We ultimately decided on building a home in a 4 yr-old, non-55+ community for four reasons: location, location, location and taxes/fees.

    BIG PLUS – Lewes has Delaware’s only Continuing Care Retirement Community at the beach. We’ve toured it 3X since we’ve been here. It’s a real gem.

    by RogerB — February 23, 2013

  9. If this list is going to have some places that have some cold,nasty winter weather like Pittsburg and Portland, Me. than Portsmouth, NH should be on the list. NH has no sales or income tax. Portsmouth is right on the ocean with beaches within 5 miles with a pretty downtown with lots of great restaurants and nightlife. It is within an hour of Boston. Property taxes are a little high but not outrageous and we got a nice 2 bedroom 1 bath condo with a huge yard in a converted house with HOA charges of only $75 per month. You can keep anything south of Delaware, it is way too hot for way too long every year.

    by Patty — February 23, 2013

  10. Greetings, obviously you haven’t visited Oxford, Mississippi

    by sonny hill — February 23, 2013

  11. To Vickie: What is a military campground?

    by Billy — February 23, 2013

  12. Roger thanks for responding you sound wise to see ahead for the golden years;) I wish you many years where you are now. I’m wondering what it was like close to the water when Sandy came calling? I read of erosion and a ton of sand needed there, hope it didnt affect you .

    by RUBYTUESDAY — February 23, 2013

  13. Fred what county in Delaware did you see the beautiful communities? I only know what I’m seeing online we will be going down from NY in the spring. I’ve been doing some online research what looks good to me is in Dover and after doing some research about it 36,000 population a casino, college and nascar race track turns me off. I live in small village 0f 10,000 and thats how I want to stay ..If anyone has any remarks about the most affordable state in the nation Delaware please let me know 🙂

    by RUBYTUESDAY — February 23, 2013

  14. To Billy: Military Bases

    by Vickie — February 24, 2013

  15. Ruby, I visited and reviewed golf communities along the Delaware coast last year, as well as one inland that you might like — Heritage Shores (it’s a 55+ community). Well organized and nicely landscaped; the golf course was excellent, an asset for golfer residents and non-golfer residents alike (helps with home values). I have review notes at my web site or contact me and I am happy to elaborate.

    by Larry G. — February 24, 2013

  16. Does anyone have any info on Walden on Lake Conroe, looks like a very nice community, on a lake tons of trees, many amenities, excellent hospitals near by, hour from a major airport, easy travel to other states, just not sure about the summer weather and taxes. Any info would be wonderful. Thank you

    by CB — February 24, 2013

  17. I am also interested in Delaware too, i have been checking wilmington delaware online i notice real estate housing prices are bit pricy than dover. Dover nacar racing is twice a year thats not to bad. Any information about the weather and any towns in delaware will be helpful. thanks

    by rosie — February 24, 2013

  18. Hubby and I went to Dover De. and found the taxes better since I believe having the Dover Speedway there helps. You do have a lot of military folks there as well. We found the nicest adult community we liked it, but the HOA fees were like paying high taxes here in NJ.

    by g.sands — February 24, 2013

  19. anyone have any opinions on the Del Web communities, also known as sun city? We are looking into the ones in NC and SC

    by Linda — February 25, 2013

  20. CB – Lake Walden is north of Houston and maybe being on the water will make the summers more bearable!! I have lived in Houston a long time and can’t wait to move to a better climate!! But if you like long, hot, humid summers, it’s the place to be!

    by Barbara — February 25, 2013

  21. Thank you Barbara, been wondering if it was cooler in Walden. Do you know if Walden a nice community to live in and do you have any info about this area? Thank you

    by CB — February 25, 2013

  22. Kudos PATTY .. regarding Portsmouth, New Hampshire .. I’ll second your recommendation. Many people forget New Hampshire probably because of the Winters (which is true). Portsmouth is vibrant .. with great eateries for all tastes, no sales or income taxes, good hospitals locally and Boston 90 minutes away, great beaches, boating and parks really close. Property taxes are a bit higher than average, but cannot sour the overall appeal.

    by Ken — February 25, 2013

  23. Linda, we just got back from SC. We bought in Del Webb Charleston which is actually in Summerville. We also looked at Sun City Hilton Head but it was not a good fit for us. The HH community was huge and the area traffic was very congested. The Charleston community will be much smaller but is still loaded with amenities. Summerville has a small historic district with interesting shops and restaurants but also has many chain restaurants, Lowe’s, Home Depot, Belk, Kohls, etc. It just felt right for us.

    by Kathy — February 26, 2013

  24. […] recently released their annual list of the 100 Best Places to Retire. St. George, Utah debuted on their list for the first time at #81.  Here is what they have to say about St. George as a retirement destination: […]

    by St. George named one of 100 Best Places to Retire 2013 | SunRiver St. George — February 26, 2013

  25. Any thoughts on the Asheville area and it’s surrounding communities in NC? We are taking a very early retirement and are looking for an active community with good access to mountains and lakes for hiking and biking (both bicycle and motorcycle), as well as easy access to medical and groceries preferring not to drive nearly an hour to get somewhere. I have read less than glowing reviews on Asheville itself on this site because of the younger populations use of parks and streets with their drug activity. Didn’t we call them hippies? Having lived near NYC and in the SF Bay area of CA this is not an issue for us. Just looking to see if there is somewhere off the beaten path, perhaps on the outskirts of Asheville that might provide some peace and solitude without being in the boonies! From New England originally so know what humidity might be like and have explored the west coast of FL but friends there tell me the heat is hard to handle and traffic is getting worse and worse, and a recent check on homeowners insurance was a shocker nearly 4 times what we pay in NY. We might just rent for a season in different areas to find out for sure. Any thoughts, comments, suggestions? 😀 thanks

    by Jane — February 26, 2013

  26. […] website just published its seventh annual list of the 100 most popular places to retire. It says Asheville, North Carolina has topped the list every year. The site credits the […]

    by Asheville Named Best City To Retire | North Carolina News Feed — February 26, 2013

  27. Kathy, thanks for the information on Sun City. Did you build new or buy an exhisting home. We are very interested in Summerville.

    by Linda — February 27, 2013

  28. Jane,
    We like the Asheville area a lot, but it aeems to be a little more expensive than surrounding areas. The downtown is busy with lots of shops, restaurants, and bars. Someone said Asheville looks like they had a Grateful Dead concert and noone left!!
    We discovered a great town just 20 miles south …. Hendersonville. A beautiful area in the foothills, with

    by Bill — February 27, 2013

  29. Fat fingered!!…
    Hendersonville has a vibrant downtown that has been renovated. Nice reaturants and bars and shops. Just north of town, there are a lot of townhomes. Housing is moderately priced compared to Asheville. Several nice golf courses, a microbrewery, and a model train club. What more do you need? Ha! The weather is temperate with 4 mild seasons.
    We have looked at other area, like Florida and South Carolina. But the summers are not fun to endure.
    We have two houses to sell in Indiana, but when we do, Hendersonville is at the top of our list.

    by Bill — February 27, 2013

  30. […] Link here. […]

    by For 7th year in a row, Asheville is Best Place to Retire — February 27, 2013

  31. Bil, we will be moving to Hendersonville in April. We bought a lovely townhome in Gann Village. We have been told that the downtown area always has something going on, such as festivals, street dancers, etc. Be sure to pick up a guide in the visitors center when you come for a visit.

    by Peggy — February 27, 2013

  32. To Bill, Thanks for the info it sounds like a definite place to consider and to explore. And with a model train club too . . . excellent!!!:lol: And to Peggy, What is Gann Village like and would you know if the housing is more single family stand alone neighborhood houses, condos, subdivisions,or gated community style, or a combination of it all? I’m putting this on our definite ‘look/see’ list. Thanks again

    by Jane — February 27, 2013

  33. Linda, we are having a house built. We did look at resales but for about $20k more we could get exactly what we wanted. Our sales person was great, not at all pushy and very helpful at helping us figure ways to save money on things that weren’t as important so we could spend more on things that really mattered to us. Her name is Yvette Grist if you are interested. We also looked at the Pines of Gahagan in Summerville . It is a small community with only 109 homes at completion. The homes were very nice but we chose the Del Webb community for the lifestyle.

    by Kathy — February 28, 2013

  34. Jane, the townhome that we bought has our garage connected to our neighbor’s garage with the remainder of the housing to the other side of the garage. We bought a single level unit that has a basement that is entered from the outside of the unit. However, if you prefer to get one with multiple floors, I believe this is possible. It is not a gated community, but is conveniently located to the downtown area, as well as other shopping areas, and Pardee Hospital as well.

    by Peggy — February 28, 2013

  35. Peggy I am looking into Gann Village and will be going there in June to see it. How long has it been for building your home and how many mdels were you offered in the townhome version? Are there walking trails and or sidewalks?

    by RUBYTUESDAY — March 5, 2013

  36. BILL do you have a realtor you used in Henderson? Im seriously looking to have a contact when I go in June besides Gann Village want to make my trip worthwhile so lining things up is important I have but a week to look..

    by rubytuesday — March 5, 2013

  37. Larry thanks for the connection it seems my hubby doesn’t want Delaware now .. MEN!

    by rubytuesday — March 5, 2013

  38. does anyone live or visited sun city carolina lakes outside of Charlotte NC? On paper the place seems ideal, but would like to know if anyone has actually visited it for their feedback. Thanks

    by catz — March 6, 2013

  39. Rubytuesday: no we did not have a realtor. We are still in the looking about stage.

    by Bill — March 6, 2013

  40. Cat, My wife and I visited SCCL Dec 2011 and are headed back this Thursday. We really liked the homes and the SCCL community as well as the surrounding area. Only a short drive or train ride to Charlotte. All the shopping and dining etc you could want is close by. Excellent healthcare in Charlotte, Taxes seem low especially compared tp the NE where we are from. Still undecided about a 55+ but hopefully this trip will help us decide. The community itself is about 6 years old and about 50% built. All the amenities are in. The average age seems to be in the early to mid 60’s which seems right for us as well. Actually quite a few people still work according to those the residents we spoke to. We did a 3 night stay at one of the homes which is a great way to see the place and meet people. Also the cost to do this is very reasonable and they give you a golf cart for the 3 days to look around. Any questions you have I would be happy to try to answer or ask when there,

    by wmelone — March 6, 2013

  41. Lewes and Rehoboth Beach, Delaware are both fabulous places to retire. No sales tax and low property taxes are a plus. Being at the beach is a great plus and the fact that Delaware is tucked back from Cape May, NJ and the Outer Banks, it is saved from major hurricanes. Check out Cadbury at Lewes for retirement living. You have to be 62 to be accepted but care free living at it’s best.

    by Mullin — March 6, 2013

  42. Does anyone have any info about the Jacksonville, Fl area for 55+ communities?

    Also, we’re thinking about NC in the Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill area. Any suggestios would be appreciated.Also, 55+ communities.

    Thanks JB::cool:

    by JB — March 7, 2013

  43. wmelone, thanks for all of the great information. We are planning on visiting in June for the first time. SCCL looks great on paper. We were wondering how pleased the folks were with Pulte as the main builder, and if there is good turnout at the many activities. Let us know after you return if you still liked it as much as on your first visit.

    by catz — March 7, 2013

  44. I am also heading to Sun City Carolina Lakes Friday for the 3 night stay. Just wanted to check out one of the larger 55+ to see if a good fit. After that heading to Hendersonville and then Fairfield Glade and Rarity Bay in TN. Hope this trip answers some of my questions about where to retire!

    by Barbara — March 7, 2013

  45. Barbara, we visited Fairfield Glade last year and found it interesting and somewhat different than other 55+ communities. Other developments we have seen seem to be all clustered together. In FG, homes are scatterred in clumps all over the countryside. You can live on a golf course, on a lake, or in areas that seem somewhat isolated, all separated with trees. There are single family homes and townhouses. Lots of resales as well as new homes.

    by Bill — March 7, 2013

  46. I went down to Asheville last Sept. We used Beverly-Hanks real estate and a woman Janet. They are in Asheville but cover surrounding areas..Agreed, Hendersonville is more affordable and only 15 minutes from Asheville.

    by barbara — March 7, 2013

  47. rubytuesday, we purchased this townhome from someone who already lived there, so I am not sure how long it would take to build it. There are some sidewalks, but no walking trails. However, if you go over to Patton Park, which is 5 minutes away, there is a 4-mile roundtrip paved walking trail to Jackson County Park, which is fairly level. If you are looking for a realtor, I would recommend Susan Lodato of Preferred Properties; we thought that she was wonderful!

    by Peggy — March 7, 2013

  48. I think that for the average person, there are no ideal retirement locations in MD. The taxes and out of control spenders by the governor and State legislative branches, along with the tremendous unfunded future liabilities paint a dismal picture for this state. I hope to retire this year, but hope to leave this state by mid-year. With a 5 percent State income tax and 3 percent local, 6 percent sales, high real estate taxes in many areas, already high gas taxes that the politicians want to increase by 3 cent per gallon gives a sampling of how much of your income is gobbled up by this state’s huge spending problem.

    P.S. It was just announced this morning that gas taxes will start this year at 2%, 4 % shortly thereafter and 6% if the legislature does not pass a bill that the gov wants.

    by Rick — March 7, 2013

  49. Does anyone that follows this website live in Venice, FL? Would love to here from a Venice resident what it is like living there. Are there good places to live for the 60-65 age group? Also, is it easy to meet other newly retired folks in this town? All comments will be appreciated.

    by Richard — March 7, 2013

  50. Went to a retirement class last November and the speaker explained how important living in a state with lower taxes would be the best. Maryland will not be a retirement friendly place to live. I live in Maryland and the taxes are terrible. He also said NC is good but be careful they are all over the place when it comes to taxes depending on where you live. FL basically the best for retirees. He explained why would you give up so much of your income to a area with high taxes. We agree and looking into all of this for the future.

    by Vickie — March 8, 2013

  51. Dear JB,

    Jacksonville 55+ communities: You could check out Sweetwater (Del Webb Community). It’s about 15 minutes or so from downtown Jacksonville (no golf course and newer). You may also want to check out Nocatee in Ponte Vedra. It’s a master-planned development with a Del Webb community as one of its communities. Nocatee is growing, but there is still LOTS of growth to go. World Golf Village in near-by St. Augustine is also one you might want to consider. Cascades is a 55+ community within World Golf Village.

    Jan Cullinane, author, The Single Woman’s Guide to Retirement; The New Retirement: The Ultimate Guide to the Rest of Your Life

    by Jan Cullinane — March 8, 2013

  52. Barbara please post after your trip your opinions on SSCL as well as Ashville /Henerson area. That is another area that we are interested in.

    by catz — March 9, 2013

  53. Does anyone have any knowledge of Seasons at Prince Creek in Murrels Inlet, SC? Thanks

    by kmoyer — March 9, 2013

  54. Has anyone any info regarding Huntsville. My two sons and families live in the Huntsville area and because I’m now a widow they think I should come and live near them. The idea of being near them is great, altho i don’t want to end up the resident baby sitter (ha!) but the weather does not sound to ideal to me. I know it gets HOT but I’ve lived in Az. and didn’t mind that too much due to the lack of humidity. In Huntsville unfortunately, you have the high temps and even higher humidity.
    Anyone have any thoughts or comments about living in Huntsville?

    by Anne — March 10, 2013

  55. I would like info and comments on Cortez Colorado, and the four corners area.

    by Marvin L — March 11, 2013

  56. Does anyone have any feedback for the New Bern, NC area. Good hospitals, shopping, etc. Ive heard that it’ a good place to be in the event of a hurricane (or I should say better). Any 50+ communities that could be recommended. Thanks so much for any info.

    by jeb — March 12, 2013

  57. Hi Marvin: We have spent time in this region while on vacation, and liked it very much. Cortez is very close to Mesa Verde NP, so that is a plus if you are into cliff dwellings. Just wonderful. Cortez is also not far from Durango, which is a funky, touristy, ski town. Cortez is more your regular type community. In general the four corners region is beautiful and pretty desolate. Reservation lands make-up a large portion of the area, so there are not alot of towns with services. There would be Cortez, Durango (sort of) in CO; Then in NM there would be Farmington, Bloomfield, Aztec. In AZ and UT, not too many towns. The elevation of Cortez and Durango is such that you would have cold snowy winters, but the summertime temps would be practically ideal. There are other points of interest in the area, the Silverton railroad, and the McPhee reservoir is nearby. We have examined most of the various ruins in the area and have not been disappointed. About the only ruins we have not seen in that area is Chaco Canyon, but it is somewhat remote. Not sure about availability of housing, although I expect Durango has alot of seasonal rentals for the ski season. There is an casino hotel resort south of Cortez.

    by Janet — March 12, 2013

  58. I’m about ten years away from retirement, but already looking ahead. At this time I don’t see any location here that I would favor. I like living in the Midwest and the only thing I miss here are the beaches. Other than that, I could not care less about the South. Don’t care at all about the Southwest deserts either. I’ll be looking for a good place, not only the weather , but economic conditions also, since it’s very unlikely that I’ll be able to completely retire. But also have to consider cost of living, taxes and crime as well, since it does not do any good to have great weather and beautiful scenery when crime and taxes are out of control and the economy stinks.

    by Abel — March 12, 2013

  59. […] There are of course some towns that many people agree are great for retirement. The most popular towns for retirement among Topretirements visitors include Asheville, NC; Sarasota, FL; Austin, TX; Venice, FL; Beaufort, SC; San Diego, CA; and Prescott, Arizona. For a full list see our “100 Best Retirement Towns – 2013“. […]

    by » The 10 Most Frequently Asked Questions at Topretirements Topretirements — March 13, 2013

  60. Thanks Janet for your info on the 4 corners area.

    by marvin l — March 16, 2013

  61. Hi All, my husband is strongly interested in retiring to Hilton Head, SC in about 8 years. We are from the DC area, and want a place that’s warm and on the East Coast near a beach. We also have friends who retired to St. Augustine, FL, and love it. Can anyone give us pros and cons on these two areas?

    by judi — March 18, 2013

  62. Judi, those are two of our top areas for retirement as well! We have spent the past 20+years vacationing in Hilton Head area. Last year we also spent a few days in Beaufort, about 45 minutes from HHI towards Charleston. We loved the town and very much liked the Dataw Island retirement community, although new assessments and increasing HOA fees have us a bit jittery. HHI has become very congested and getting around is a traffic nightmare. We also want a less transient community – more stable year round neighbors. We are traveling to the Ponte Vedra FL area in a few weeks. To look at Dell Webb and Cascades retirement communities, then back to SC to try to put closure on this process! Time to buy while prices are still lower than normal, although climbing fast!

    by Sandy — March 19, 2013

  63. We love visiting HHI, but doubt we could afford to live there. Also, traffic would be a problem during height of tourist season and that major golf tourney there. However, the island is laced with walking/biking trails, which also go to shopping areas … that is one of the reasons we love it. We were just south of Saint Augustine during December. Actually, liked Palm Coast MUCH more (thanks, Jan, for recommendation!). Long biking/walking trail being completed from east of JAX to Daytona (if not farther). If anyone visits St. Augustine area get on US 1 north and find a truly nice British-style pub (Kings Head: Owner is transplanted Brit (while back). Met couple in next booth; husband is also transplanted Brit and they visit when in area. This is “out there” by itself and NOT a tourist trap … have pint of bitter and a pie!

    by Mad Monk — March 19, 2013

  64. Jeb,

    Have a look at Carolina Colours in New Bern. It isn’t age-restricted but is favored by retirees. New Bern has all the services most of us require, including some nice restaurants.

    by Larry — March 20, 2013

  65. I just got back from my 10 day retirement house hunt. I visited 5 places – Del Webb south of Charlotte at Carolin Lakes. Did not like it. Really nice people and lots to do but the setting was not pretty. This is what another member said and I totally agree. I don’t want it in a development whose land has been clear-cut without a tree in sight, on a 6,000 square foot lot where all you see out the side windows is a neighbor’s wall, or on a streetscape of sameness where all you notice are driveways and look-alike houses in row after row like little dominoes. No trees and too much traffic outside the gate.
    Then on to Hendersonville NC – was excited about seeing historic downtonw – not sure what they mean when they advertise that! One way streets so drove in circles trying to find the downtown and then was so disappointed! Did not like the houses in the 55+ developments I visited. Off the list!
    Then on to Fairfield Glade in TN – nice people and nice area with houses kind of clustered in different areas. No long range views at least not in my price range! Crossville is an ok town but no big shopping nearby. Lots of activities. It is a maybe.
    Then saw Tellico Village and Rarity Bay. Tellico is almost exactly like Fairfield but is closer to a big city – Knoxville. Found a reasonable house I really liked but in a cul de sac with only 2 other houses. So maybe. Then Rarity Bay – wide open spaces with long range views of Smokies and Tellica Lake. Pretty entry with horses all around. Can only afford condo but really nice with great views. If I can afford this place, it is where I want to be.
    Eastern TN is just beautiful and I even like it better than NC. If you have any questions, I will try and answer.

    Editor’s Note: Thanks Barbara, this is really useful! Appreciate you sharing your thoughts and experiences with our fellow members.

    by Barbara — March 20, 2013

  66. Thanks –
    we are thinking about settling in E. Tennessee too – another plus for the area other than lots of lakes, rivers, mountains, the Univ. of Tennessee Medical College is in Knoxville and when I asked my PCP wat were us ‘old folks’ to do when Obamacare is finished rolling out, and she said, ‘live near a large medical college since they may be the only place Seniors can get good treatment.
    Due to severe diabetes (Agent Orange), my huaband is now ineligible for any transplants but the medical colleges are not under the same laws.
    Diane S

    by Diane S Sanfilippo — March 23, 2013

  67. Barbara, I liked Rarity Bay when I visited it a few years ago, although golfers will feel a bit cheated that the pretty lake comes into clear view from only one spot on the golf course — a cart path between holes. Some golf community developers decide that the lake view should be shared with those who use the major amenity in the community, as well as with those who use the community’s clubhouse. Others decide to put all salable lots beside the lake. That maximizes the developers’ income but may say something about their priorities and long-term dedication to their projects. Also, I understand that Rarity Bay is about an hour from the major medical center in Knoxville. For those with medical issues, that may be too far.

    by Larry G. — March 24, 2013

  68. Victoria, B.C. Was named as the Number one place to retire in Canada and the Top Destination to Visit in Canada.

    by BrendaH — March 24, 2013

  69. We are in what will be about an 8 year process of deciding where we want to retire. Moved to Missouri from Florida a few years ago. Thought this might be a good place for us but it is not the upbeat, positive attitude area we are looking for. Florida is very expensive and you are lucky if you can find homeowner’s insurance. Does anyone have any thoughts or experiences to share on Traverse City, MI, the eastern part of Washington, or Idaho? We are leaning towards those area right now.

    by Kathy — March 24, 2013

  70. Kathy–Traverse City is beautiful in spring and summer but you had better like snow and a lot of it in the winter–lake effect snow starts early and will continue all winter if lake does not freeze–too much snow for us

    by Dave — March 25, 2013

  71. Don’t know how Pittsburgh made that list!!! Taxes are high, the city is gray most of the time and unless you love the Steelers, Penquins and/or Pirates….you will have a lonely existence. It is definitely a sports city.
    In this area you support several local governments, state, city, township and county. I drove 70 miles one way to work in Pitts for 23 years and refused to move there due to the high costs.

    by Marilyn Kovach — March 25, 2013

  72. I have had family living in Victoria for many years, and have visited many times. It is an absolutely lovely, fabulous city. I have no negative comments. However, it is very pricey, and going up all the time. Also, you have to be reasonably well set financially to immigrate to Canada. Not sure what the requirements are for retired people.

    by Ginger — March 25, 2013

  73. My comments are regarding Pittsburgh as well as medical care. Read at your own risk.

    Pittsburgh is half the population it was in the period prior to the 80’s due to the closing of so much of the industrial manufacturing. Today that area (notice I did not say just the city itself) has booming suburbs, easy transportation, incredible medical facilities (yes, even the University of Pittsburgh Medical Corporation is the largest employer in Allegheny County now), a very high tech entepreneurial basis including high end robics, great educational facilities for young and old (University of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon University, Duquesne University, Carlow College, Robert Morris College, and Point Park College), then there is sports for those who like sports: 3 professional teams (The Steelers, The Penguins, and The Pirates) plus large and small NCAA football and basketball.

    So what is missing in Pittsburgh? Well, more young professionals are moving into the city itself as former high rises and businesses places have been converted into condos and apartments. Yes, there are a lot of older people which should be incredibly good for anyone of retirement age as this means the area knows and caters to seniors. Also I did not mention but the cost of living in Pittsburgh is incredibly below that of most major cities in America. Look at the cost of homes or condos in the Pittsburgh area for a pure shock at how much you can get for so little! Sure the taxes are higher within the city limits as the city services still remain, as does a museum complex, transportation, infrastructure repair/replacement, security, and other services. With half the population it used to have, the same facilities are still there and providing for all so how else do you pay for it? Nobody gets everything for nothing. Just the price of a place to live alone makes this an incredible deal.

    In anyone has any doubt of the medical facilities in the Pittsburgh area, look it up and you will be astounded at the research, transplants, and specialized treatments available. Research grants are huge for Pitt and Carnegie Mellon which contribute to medical progress as well as technical progress.

    I will admit that the winters are grayer and tougher than some seniors might like but other than that, there are beautiful spring, summer and fall seasons. Anyone flying into the modern Pittsburgh International Airport would have to be amazed and delighted at the beautiful fall foliage there.

    No, I don’t live in Pittsburgh any longer as I moved professionally years ago but still treasure what is there. Medically I can’t think of another city in American other than Boston that I could compare to Pittsburgh.

    Editor’s note: The author added some interesting comments about Medicare but rather than divert this Blog topic to that and get into a political debate here we have deleted them. You can find them though in our Blog Post about Medicare.

    by MJ Hazo — March 26, 2013

  74. I know there were many posts about Delaware, but I have question about Delaware: Is anyone concern about high crime rate? (from We are currently living in suburb of NYC and our crime rate is a way low but tax is killing us!! We are planning to visit Delaware of this reason in May. Any suggestion/input will be appreciated!!

    by Francesca from NY — March 29, 2013

  75. FRANCESCA FROM NY: Hi from beautiful Southern Delaware..we live in Sussex County DE.Right off Coastal Hwy. below Milford. 11 min’s from Lewes and Rehoboth Beach.There is no problem with Crime here. We have lived here retired for over 6 years. Love it…tons to do. Look into Country Life Homes, nice developments. Well know DE builder. We live in Hearthstone Manor. Golf course right next door, Pool and Clubhouse on site. It is listed on this site under Milford DE. LOW TAXES…nice area. You’ll love it. We are early retirees and love it here. Quick trip to the resorts without the congestion of living there. Good Luck!

    by sunlovingal — April 9, 2013

  76. How do you know when a location is the right place to relocate?

    I live in the northeast and the cold weather, taxes, and political climate have been factors that lead my wife and me to look to relocate. Although we are retirement age, we are professionals and plan to work as long as we can.

    I have done a considerable amount of research on Texas. It has most of what we want in a place to live; good tax climate, a good political environment, warmer weather…and yes I am concerned that the warmer weather can be a lot warmer in the summers than we’re accustomed to.

    Countless hours have been spent on the internet considering “livability” factors such as cost of living, housing, crime, weather,and medical treatment facilities. At the end of the day all my research has been analytical laid out before me on an Excel spreadsheet.

    In three weeks, my wife and I plan on spending two weeks visiting a host of towns I’ve carefully considered in Texas. It dawned on me one morning as I was doing some planning for our trip, when we arrive in any given town we plan to visit, “how would we know if that town was the right town for us?”

    Just because a place has a cute downtown area doesn’t mean it’s a good place to live or that we’ll even like it. And, just because a place doesn’t look impressive on the first drive-bye doesn’t mean it isn’t a good place to live either.

    I welcome thoughts from readers of this site as to what their final criteria were in making a decision on a place to live or how they made their decision on where to relocate? I also welcome any input on areas outside San Antonio, Austin, or Houston.

    Thanks for your input!

    by Craig — April 9, 2013

  77. Whenever my wife and I would find an area that we were interested in retiring to or a home we considered buying, we would spend some time riding around the area after school hours and early evening. This would give us an idea if we liked the area when everyone was home doing the family thing. It is amazing what you can learn/see by just riding around.

    But I guess that is why they say “RENT BEFORE YOU BUY.”

    by Russ — April 10, 2013

  78. I have the same dilema … no way other than renting for a period of time and do the things that you normally would!

    by Stephen — April 10, 2013

  79. Craig,

    While I agree if I had to move to TX, (and we almost did for work,) Austin and San Antonio would be high on that list. However, I would be very concerned about humidity. At Sperling’s Best Places,, San Antonio has a comfort index of 23, Austin 22, and Houston 24. The comfort index is a calculation that includes summer temps and humidity, since as we know not all heat is equal. I’ve balked over comfort indexes in the low 30’s, and have chosen west of Roanoke, VA with a 45 CI. This is a unit of measure where higher is better.

    So how did we decide on the Roanoke Valley? We stumbled upon it as a vacation, rented houses there several times via while we spent 4 years waiting for the right property to come on the market. Being outdoors is critical to us. We would be very unhappy if we just went from the air conditioned house to the air conditioned car to the air conditioned destination and back, as is the TX way of life so many of our industry contacts have complained of.

    There were a few other areas that we sought out, based around an affordable waterfront property on a clean and clear kayakable, fishable creek or river. Researching around the rivers we also found the Cacapon River in WV, and several places in the GA mountains as well, restricting our search to the east. Since your criteria is not the same as ours, break out that bottle of wine and sit down with your wife and figure out what are must haves in your destination. List them in priority, and see if there is something searchable. The website I linked above will also allow you to take a test to get an idea of what places will satisfy your requirements, though because of the specificity of our desires, it didn’t help us.

    Good luck and try to enjoy the process.

    by Julie — April 10, 2013

  80. Let me say up front that these are my opinions, for what they are worth, nothing more.
    Those who are eyeing Delaware as a retirement destination, as we were, would do well to research the incidence of cancer in the Diamond State. Use “cancer cluster” as a search term.
    Secondly, I feel it would behoove everyone looking to move to a new (unfamiliar) area to do some statistical research on the prevalence of registered sex offenders. Some no-nonsense, unsanitized data can be found at: including the number of offenders in a given area, as well as the ratio of residents to number of offenders.
    As I say, that’s my 2¢, for what it’s worth.

    by ToobaDood — April 10, 2013

  81. Hi Sunlovingal, Thank you for your input. We are planning to visit Delaware in May and looking forward to it!

    by Francesca from NY — April 10, 2013

  82. Hi Craig, we to is from cold winter state and can’t wait for year around heat with humidity. We liked Lake Conroe located outside of Houston, about a .40 min drive from the airport, about 50,000 residents, .20 min drive to The Woodlands, 1.0 hr drive to down town Houston, great medical all around, wonderful food choices, with endless things to do and go year around without the snow. Check out Walden on Lake Conroe, we will be flying there this July/Aug. to really feel the humidity temp. Good luck

    by CB — April 11, 2013

  83. Any comments on living/retiring to the northern area of Dallas? Not liking the property taxes though!

    by Kathy — April 11, 2013

  84. Craig, we live in between Austin and San Antonio. We have lived here for six years, and are counting the days until we leave the state. Besides the comfort rating being terrible, I am allergic to everything that grows here! Sure I have had some allergies before, but during the “allergy” seasons…spring and fall. Here I have allergies the entire year! Never knew I had a problem with cedar, but I do here! Real Estate taxes are higher here than most of the southern states…so check that out, for sure. Good luck…we are off to South Carolina’s coast!

    by DIanaF — April 11, 2013

  85. We are looking at Charlotte in the Carolinas. Any opinions would be appreciated about this area. thanks

    by catz0026 — April 12, 2013

  86. Charloette, NC is half way between Asville, NC and the Coast. Check out trhe Myrtle Beach coast about 60 miles of activities and quality health care. This is a great big country with so many places to go!

    by Guy — April 15, 2013

  87. Hi first time writing in site..we are planning to buy in a retirement community in Fla..and often read about ‘hard to find home owners insurance’
    and there is no details about problem ..such as is it because prices on policys are too high…or it’sjust not available from most insurers etc..does anyone have a site that discusses this problem…or just info..thanks

    by Robbie — April 16, 2013

  88. We are leaving today for 10 days of visiting gated communities in northern Florida and South Carolina. Any personal info or reviews of del Webb Ponte Vedra, Cascades in St. Augustine, or communities in Beaufort or HHI area of SC would be appreciated. Looking for the real story beyond the realtor hype. Thanks!

    by Sandy — April 17, 2013

  89. Sandy

    My husband and I are also looking in the same areas and will be looking forward to your feedback. Will you be looking in the Jacksonville area, too?

    Thanks. Have a safe trip:lol:

    by Judy — April 18, 2013

  90. Wife and I will be retiring this summer & R considering Boise, Reno, & Prescott… we would really appreciate insight from anyone who has lived in these areas… thx.

    by KevenJon — April 18, 2013

  91. Sandy,
    My husband and I are going to SC and northern east coast of Florida in June for information on retirement. We spent Winter in Fl this year and what we did see is a lot of traffic in Jacksonville. I am looking forward to your feedback.

    by Marilyn — April 19, 2013

  92. My husband and I have finally completed our retirement quest and, after many trips all over the country, we have determined #2 on the list, Sarasota, as the place for us. It definitely has a WOW factor we haven’t seen anywhere else. It has the warm winters we both want and the water I need to be near. We have been there in all 4 seasons, although we will be snowbirds, escaping to the Midwest when it gets too warm. It has culture, museums and more activities than one could accomplish. Nature abounds. A wonderful downtown, ethnic restaurants and I could go on and on. We both love urban amenities, and would not be happy just living in a retirement community alone. We did chose a community that has a clubhouse, pool, gym, etc, but wanted the opportunities that a good sized city could offer. We will be building in a new portion of a development. We also visited a lovely community in central Florida – Solivita, near Kissimmee. It was too remote for us, and we preferred the coast. But, if you love rolling hills and lake country type living, Terra Vista in Citrus County was fabulous. We did a 2 day stay and play, staying in one of their villas. We had a tour of all their model homes (full spectrum of sizes with fun unusual layouts) and also a tour of the surrounding county and what it has to offer. If we had only been buying based on community, this would have been the place. But, as I said above, we needed the urban existence nearby. All the people we talked to who lived there (and everyone was so friendly) said they don’t feel the desire to leave the community as it has so much to offer. The amenities were outstanding. If anyone would like the name of a wonderful representative there – I would be happy to provide. Also, I would love to give out the name of our fabulous (no, really – he was) realtor in Sarasota.
    I have purchased many homes, and never have I met a realtor like him. Everything he does is above and beyond. His name is John Brink and his website is “We sell Sarasota”. If nothing else it is a great resource to find out about all the different communities around Sarasota.

    by Kathi M — April 21, 2013

  93. My husband has retired and we live in the Buffalo New York area. Our property taxes are high, gasoline is high but our housing seems to be equal or less expensive than many other areas. Also, our insurance seems to be more reasonable but cost of electric and natural seem to be high. We do not want to live in a retirement community but wish to purchase a single family home. What state and/or area would be retirement friendly in reference to cost of living, taxes etc…? Our retirement income is approximately $45,000.00 before taxes. We have no mortgage or outstanding debt. We do have a fairly nice size annuity that we plan to start getting income from in 3-4 years. It is very confusing when I do cost of living comparisons. Many comparisons show only a few thousand dollars difference in cost of living and many show 2%-18% increase in medical cost. When doing the cost of living comparisons, is all this taken into account? What do they generally include or exclude? I am do not like hot weather but my husband does not want t deal heavy snow anymore. I want to have seasonal changes. I LOVE a good snow storm but I know I will have to give it up.

    We have been considering Virginia, North and South Carolina (by the mountains side of the states) and Kentucky ( I am afraid of tornadoes) Is there an area in Kentucky less likely to have tornadoes? My brother lives in Elizabethtown, KY and they have so far never had a tornado in the 3 years they have lived there.

    Do you have any advice as to which area(s) would be good for us to consider?
    Thank you

    by Elaine — May 9, 2013

  94. I know your area well having grown up in Niagara Falls and I understand about heavy snow and long winters. But Buffalo has wonderful summers and falls and is a nice city that gets a bad rap. I now live in Virginia and both it and the Carolinas are fine compromises. Before you do anything drastic and undertake an expensive re-location, think about a seasonal exploration by vacationing in the areas you are considering to get a feel for the weather and learn more about the local cost of living. For example, in the winter, visit Roanoke, VA or a development in North Carolina called Carolina Trace. Once in a while you might get enough snow to be interesting. In the summer, go to western South Carolina to see if the heat is tolerable and take a look at the areas around Clemson or Lake Keowee. I don’t think the total cost of living differences among these places would be drastically different and you could pay more attention to weather and general quality of life.

    by Judy — May 10, 2013

  95. Barbara,

    the county where Rarity Bay is located is really “backward” with lots of mountain mentality. Knoxville is not that convenient and the interstate driving into Knoxville is the most congested and busiest in the region. I currently live in Knoxville and I think Fairfield Glade is much nicer than either Tellico Village or Rarity Bay. I really like the different neighborhoods and there are lots of activities to get involved with. excellent healthcare in Crossville but also in Cookeville (25 min. away) where Tennessee Tech University is located. Since you are conveniently located between Knoxville and Nashville, I would much rather be closer to Nashville. much better airport with more direct locations. the Knoxville airport is more expensive than the other cities in Tennessee with fewer flights.

    by Ellen — May 11, 2013

  96. I have to jump in here in ref. to Lake Conroe in Texas. It is a lovely area. I haven’t been into the retirement community there. We were looking for a home. We changed our mines because it is one degree above Hell in the summer. The extreme humidity, along with the heat makes it feel like you need to cut the air with a knife and chew it instead of breath it. Now we are looking at Santa Fe, NM. I’ve had enough humidity. Good luck. Jony

    by Joan L. Romaguera — May 11, 2013

  97. I don’t see Huntsville, Al. on this list and I’m wondering why not. Reason for asking is that two of children live in Hampton Cove, an adjacent area to Huntsville. They are forever suggesting that this is a great place to retire. I’m wondering with such a long list of ‘best places’ that Huntsville missed the list. Is there something about it that would make it less desirable for senior living?? I know I wouldn’t care much about the long,hot+humid summers. I like to be outdoors as much as possible but not when the temps are close to 100 and the humidity is not far behind.
    Any of you know anything about living in Huntsville?

    by Anne — May 12, 2013

  98. I’ve been reading these posts for a while now but this is my first post. A group of us recently were discussing this moving after retirement + commented that none of us had parents who moved away after they retired. So how did this current decision by so many come about that once retired you should move?
    Well— we couldn’t really answer that question. Some thought to save money but then thought maybe with all the costs involved in moving you don’t really save.
    What about leaving behind all the friends you’ve made in a lifetime? No answers there either.
    So why do we all move??
    Is it really for the weather or is it just our one ‘last hurrah’??

    by Caroline — May 13, 2013

  99. Caroline,

    I agree. In the past, the majority of people tried to stay in their family home right to the very end. Maybe baby boomer’s are looking for that “last hurrah.” Just like drug experimentation during the 1960’s.

    by Bob P — May 13, 2013

  100. Caroline,
    Your comment inspired me to make my first post. I agree, why move? I live in high cost of living Chicago metro area, Illinois. Our state income tax went from 3% to 5% two years ago, the Chicago metro area has high property taxes, high sales taxes, high gasoline prices. Those are definite incentives to move. On the other hand Social Security and pensions are currently not taxed. I say currently as our state is in very poor financial condition and legislators may eye taxing pensions and Social Security to fix the deficit. I plan on retiring in June and staying put initially. I paid off my house in preparation for retirement, so my living expenses though high in some respects will go down without a mortgage or home equity loan to make payments on.
    I haven’t traveled all that much on vacations, but have seen some different parts of the country on business trips. So far I can’t say I’ve been anywhere I would absolutely want to move to. I enjoy reading folks comments on various locations, it helps inform the decision making. Thanks to all who comment here.

    by Leonard — May 13, 2013

  101. Caroline and Bob P,

    My parents retired initially from NJ to Florida and then to Vermont. I am sure that some of our parents stayed put, but I also think that many did retire to Florida (seemed to be the place to retire to at that time). Just depends on the individuals, I guess, but I know that Florida was a cheaper place to live than NJ. My husband and I have been moving around since 1996 for school or jobs, so we will be happy to move back to the east coast (Delaware for semi-retirement.

    by Fionna — May 14, 2013

  102. Caroline,

    My parents not only moved when they retired, they lived full time in an RV for 10 years. And with time the 6 of us kids wound up as far north as MA, west to CA, and south to FL. People move, particularly with a career. The high cost of living area we are in is for work only. We have no family here, and have moved several times for work, sometimes overseas. We shortly will have the choice to go anywhere we desire, and have bought a house in an environmentally clean area that cost less than 1/4 of housing here, with taxes less than 1/7th, so we will save close to $3,000/month by moving! When you factor in quality of life being better as well, we are pretty excited.

    We’ve owned our retirement home for a bit over a year now, and in the little bit of time we get to stay there, have already made more friends there than we have in the decade we have lived in this busy high cost of living area. There is not much I will miss up here. YMMV. That is the beauty of retirement. We each get to pick our own style.

    by Julie — May 14, 2013

  103. Caroline et al, I think there are a host of reasons people relocate in retirement, and you have hit on some of them: 1) Weather up north, especially as we age, can make it tougher to get around. Four or five months of it can be depressing too. 2) Cost of living. I’ve done comparisons of northern areas with southern areas, and the differences are breathtaking, as much as 40% lower in the South. That kind of extra buying power, especially on fixed incomes, is persuasive. 3) Dying states in the North. Leonard hit on this. I live in CT and, over time, the obligations to retired state employees, for example, have driven up taxes while curtailing services. It is hard to see that changing over time. 4) Validation. Baby boomers (I’m one) have always had a tendency to want what they want when they want it. After working hard for 40+ years, relocation in retirement may seem like a “statement” to family and friends that we have been successful. Maybe it’s ego gratification. But in the many dozens of communities I have visited and reviewed, I rarely hear of any “keeping up with the Joneses” mentality. Choosing the right place to live means choosing a place where folks are essentially like you in attitudes and assets, and where there is no need or benefit to bragging about what you’ve done or what you have.

    by Larry G. — May 14, 2013

  104. The Best Place To Retire is where you want to be if you can afford it!!!

    Using my parent’s as an example, after retiring in their 60’s they always wanted to build a house on land they had purchased in upstate NY on Lake George. Instead of following their dreams, they put it off and stayed put baby sitting my brother’s children. As time passed and their friends started dieing off they felt trapped, their health was failing and they were basically afraid to go anywhere. My father died at 92 and always second guessed their decision not to move and my mother now 92 living at home with a health care aid wishes she had a smaller house in the country.

    So basically, do what is good for you…not everyone else in your life!!!

    by Russ — May 14, 2013

  105. Another reason people move is that we are much more fluid these days. Job transfers are more common. I’ve lived in three different states because of them. So, many people move multiple times and don’t live in one place all their lives. When it’s time to retire, they feel they can move anywhere.

    Jan Cullinane, The Single Woman’s Guide to Retirement (John Wiley & Sons)

    by Jan Cullinane — May 14, 2013

  106. My parents bought a home in 1960 and lived there until both of them passed (over 50 years). They were blessed to have all their children living w/in a 20 mile radius. My father once wanted to move to Florida, but my Mother didn’t want to leave her kids. After she passed he told us she was right and was glad they had not moved. However, it’s not like that anymore, at least not for most of us. Our daughter married and moved to FL and our son just graduated from college and we really don’t know where he’ll end up. It was a hard decision to move away from everyone but we’re still “young” (mid fifties) and if/when our health changes we might move closer to one of the kids. As for now..moving close to the beach has been a something we always wanted to do.

    by Barb — May 14, 2013

  107. Where/if to move is a tough decision. My husband will be retiring (with hopefully some part-time work in sight) in a couple months. I, being only 58, get to wait 7 years because I have no other option than to wait until I’m Medicare-eligible. We currently live in a collegetown in upstate NY–horrid taxes on everything (property, school tax, income taxes incl. on pensions, etc), high cost of living, etc. BUT…we have no children, husband’s family all gone, my family all gone now except for one sibling in Cleveland. Friends are all we have, and when I think how they’ve helped support us through some crises and deaths, I hate to leave them. We’ve decided to wait and see who’s still left here in 7 years–many friends are already retired or almost, they talk of moving to be closer to children, etc. If we have few friends left here, then we may consider moving somewhere with more sun, more warmth (heck, even OHIO has better weather than here! 🙂 ), and lower cost of living. Either that or start making lots of YOUNGER friends!!

    by Paula — May 14, 2013

  108. H just passing some info I collected..inquiring about home insurance in company rep (insurance) told me most major insurers have not written a new home policy in Fla since 2008..there is State Ins avail but extremly high cost..can anyone provide ‘first hand’ info …as this could be a prohibiting factor in a relocation to anywhere actually

    by robbie — May 15, 2013

  109. My husband and I are beginning our retirement visits this summer. First was Sun city Carolina Lakes and Baileys Glen near Charlotte NC, but SSCL recently raised prices by $10,000 a home so were going to put that lower on our list for now. So in June we are going to the Atlanta area and see Sun City Peachtree, Del webb Lake Oconee, Village at Deaton Creek, Cresswind at Lake Lanier and Soleil Laurel Canyon. Then in July were visiting Sun City Charleston, The Haven, Seasons at Prince Creek West, Cresswind Myrtle Beach and the Pines at Gahagan. We are looking for a 55+ active retirement area where the weather is warmer than here in DC. If anyone has visited any of these areas and can comment before we go we would really appreciate it. Otherwise I will post when we return about our opinions if anyone wants us to. We appreciate any views, both positive and negative. Thanks!

    by catz — May 15, 2013

  110. To Robbie,

    One of the main problems in Florida is the Home Owners Insurance…what my wife and I found out was that almost any home over 10 years is going to cost you $4K or more a year…their quotes are based on the older homes are not built to current standards…so you are basically stuck buying a newer home or new home…

    One couple we met had purchased an older home – 40 years old – and their insurance quotes ranged from $6,500 to $9,000 a year…which covered hurricane/wind/flood…The problem is no one tells you what insurance will cost unless you ask…and once you sign on the dotted line and get the mortgage in place you are basically stuck…

    We bought new construction…being built now…2200 Sq Ft, Ranch, 2B, 2 1/2B, 2 Car Garage, in Jupiter, not in a flood zone…our policy started at $2,000 with an A-rated Company and worked it down to $1,600…which covered hurricane, wind and no flood. Flood is an extra $300 a year…

    If you are moving to the Jupiter Area I could sent you the agent contact info if you need it…

    by Russ — May 15, 2013

  111. To Catz,
    We visited The Haven in Feb. We liked the community but the Hilton Head area was expensive and the traffic was crazy. We then drove of to Summerville and checked out the Pines at Gahagan and Del Webb Charleston.. The homes at the Pinea were really nice and the builder was very flexible however the community was very small. We ended up having a house built at Del Webb Charleston. We will be closing in 6 weeks and can’t wait! Everyone we met there was wonderful and they have all the amenities we are wanting in our retirement. We wanted to be in a community with lots of opportunities to make new friends, not too far from the beach and near a military base as my husband is retired from the Army. Feel free to email me with any questions

    by Kathy C — May 15, 2013

  112. To Robbie & Russ:

    We purchased a new home in Fort Myers, FL in 2012. We are not in a flood zone and our house meets all current standards for hurricanes. Our ins. agent was able to get us several quotes from companies willing to insure. We wound up with $1584.00 per year for hurricane and all the usual coverages and $351.00 for FEMA flood insurance even tho we are not in a flood zone (we are on a lake)so elected to purchase anyway. We felt this was very reasonable having come from Texas where our ins. on a 22 year old home was $3000.00 a year and rapidly climbing every year!

    If you purchase an older home in Florida be sure to get an insurance agent involved BEFORE you purchase. In many cases they will insure BUT require numerous upgrades to the home to meet current hurricane standards or you can chose not to do the upgrades but pay more in premium. Also, do your homework as to where the home is in relation to flood zones.

    Home insurance cost these days in Florida is based on age and location of a home.

    by Toni — May 15, 2013

  113. Catz,

    For Atlanta, check out the crime levels CAREFULLY. The economics are bad down there and crime is rampant. I subscribed to Midtown Patch news feed, and there have been car jackings in people’s driveways.

    And pay attention to the water levels, past and present, at those lakes. Water in that part of GA is in short supply when looked at over time. I’ve looked at satellite map pictures of “lake front” real estate just to see a small rivulet of creek surrounded by large amounts of dry lake bed, stranding docks high and dry. To add fuel to the fire, there is/was some litigation between TN and GA accusing GA of taking too much of their water. (Some rivers flow north.) Not sure if that is resolved yet.

    I like N GA, but will definitely be staying away from Atlanta.

    by Julie — May 16, 2013

  114. To Catz:
    The Haven in Bluffton, SC is a 15 minute or more drive for groceries, shopping, etc. This may not seem a problem at first but after a while it is expensive and not convenient. My sister moved from there and is now in Vitalia, 55+ active NEW community in Traditions, a beautiful planned community in Port St. Lucie, FL. The homes offered are much better priced than the Del Webb homee. The cost of homeowner’s insurance is not expensive for the homes are built with the upgraded codes. Convenience to shopping is great, you never have to leave the community for all shopping, restaurants, etc. and even more shopping is 2 miles away. Buying in the “boonies” can be a problem. Buying into a new community is great for making friends and the clubhouse is being built now for an early 2014 opening, presently there are many activities at a smaller clubhouse. Having major airports nearby is important too. I bought a home there myself and I am looking forward to retiring there in the next several years.

    by Barbara McKernan — May 16, 2013

  115. BarbP care to share here or thru email where this community you found is ?

    by rubytuesday — May 17, 2013

  116. The reason to move when you retire: I read it on this website less than a year ago: Because you no longer have to locate for a job, you can live anywhere that you can afford. That convinced me. Many people retire to a place that they liked to vacation. Reading this blog convinced me that my dream of living at the beach is not the wisest choice now. I am looking for a retirement community near a lake. And an airport and good medical care. I do not golf, so do not need to pay for upkeep of a golfcourse.

    Biggest problem now is affordability. Every community that I have looked at on this site is “Luxury”, or “Affordable”, meaning large and costly. I hope there are places out there to retire for $1000/month. Help?

    by Moving South — May 27, 2013

  117. Moving South – I have to say after traveling over 15,000! miles in Florida, there are LOTS of places to retire in FL for under $1000/mo. Especially if you want to live in a mfg house. just take a drive down any major road and you will see ACTIVE communities all over the place and billboards that announce their locations. The state is filled with them. You just have to determine where you want to live in the state. Each part of the state is very different so I suggest you travel a bit and after you have used the Internet to track down the parks you’d like to see. good luck, we are moving down to either Ocala or Spring Hill.

    by sandy — May 28, 2013

  118. our park is one of the best around and most affordable. We live in S Daytona about 7 min’s from the worlds most famous beach. Our lot rent is $346.00 a month and that includes free water, club house and pool. We actually have our Manufactured home for sale. See this web site and our location is 237 Daisy st. 3 bedroom and 1 1/2 bath. You might have to copy and past this to bring the web site up.

    by Robert — May 28, 2013

  119. Guess I’ll stay where I am, northeastern Indiana; house is $320/month, taxes $532/year, utilities (electric, gas, water/sewer, track pickup & recycling) are only $110/month AND I don’t need all the insurance add-ons for hurricanes, floods, etc. which is only $700/year. Spring, summer and fall are great – winter however is not good but only for a couple of months. So I’ll keep the snow blower and my affordable life!!

    by Valerie — May 28, 2013

  120. Have lived in Florida, St Pete to be exact since 1975. We are now looking to move out. Taxes are too high for what you get, electric runs an average of $225.00 per month plus water,sewer,storm water,reclaimed water,etc. about $110.00 per month. Telephone,Internet, cable with no extras is about $174.00. Then you have to consider your home owners ins. $2400.00 per year, flood $359.00 and auto with no accidents or claims is about $1600.00. Getting to rich for my blood. Then St. Pete’s head onchos choose to get rid of the historic pier so lookout for your taxes to go up. Plus make sure if you live or buy on the water that you know about your riparian rights, where your neighbor can’t block your view with a fence.. After all the preaching the mayor has done about the beautiful city waterfront they allow a six foot solid fence to be built and block the views if seven retired residents that have lived on the water for over 20 years need to make sure your neighbor are not self centered selfish pigs that think they own the neighborhood.. We will be looking to get out of here before the end of the yearSt Petersburg is NOT what it use to be. once it was a charming city to live in but no more. They offer nothing for you anymore, crime rate is high and they turn their backs on it.The philosophy is to wait 20 minutes for the issue to be over then go and see what has happened. It is a shame as it was once a delightful place to live.

    by Jo — May 28, 2013

  121. Hi Russ..Thank You for the reply/info..certainly good advice to bring in an insurance agent before purchase..hate to be the ‘grim reaper’ but the insurance costs will probably rise in the is an area of great concern for the USA even if one does not live in that locale..have a great day

    by Robbie — May 29, 2013

  122. Hi Jo…Just a question about your experience in St. Pete. We’ve been researching retirement to Fl for quite a while and have relied on the blog to learn so much. My question to you is are most of the areas in Fl this expensive? This is what we need to know if we should continue to research Fl. We’re cosidering Tanpa/Sarasota, Orlando and Jacksonville area. We eliminated The Villages because of the health care. From your monthly expenses, this will not fit us. We would like a 55+ active, friendly community but if this is pretty much the norm we’ll have to look elsewhere. Thanks in advance

    by jeb — May 29, 2013

  123. Does anyone have any info about Hot Springs Village Arkansas?

    by tom — May 29, 2013

  124. Just posting this for information….I moved to The Villages FL 4 years ago as a widow of 5 years. I bought a new concrete block home, approximately 2000 sq. ft. My homeowners insurance is $1,245/yr. My electric bill (completely electric house) has never been over $120/month and I like to keep the house on the cold side so the airconditioning does get a work out. The taxes are 1 1/2 percent of your purchase price. A lot of bad comments have been posted about The Villages and I’m not saying its the place for everyone but other than being far away from family, it’s good for me. I am 66, active and basically a non-golfer…I enjoy the healthy lifestyle, many clubs, college on site for courses, hospital and doctors on site, friendly people, etc. AND please no comments on STD rates…it’s so ridiculous to hear this over and over. I am a single woman with my own set of morals and find other singles here the same.

    by Char — May 30, 2013

  125. What’s the Good, Bad, and Ugly about Solivita? I’m interested in retiring there.

    by vincent — May 30, 2013

  126. Hello everyone,

    Honestly I am lost with where to buy a home. I have been looking in Virginia from Williamsburg to Virginia Beach, Delaware and Florida. In some of those areas it’s not really geared for retirement and in others like Florida, I find it very expensive. The condo HOA fees are high and usually per quarter then add taxes then all the different insurances. It amazed me how expensive some subdivisions were and that was before paying electric or food. Still not sure where to buy but I’m looking every day.

    by Carol — May 30, 2013

  127. To Carol,

    Like you I am confused and change my mine everyday! We went to a wedding last weekend, and there were several couples there that live in Florida. Everyone likes where they live Miami, Sarasota, and Kissimmee. Empty Nesters in Kissimmee, retirees in Sarasota, and a family with young children in Miami. All three said to stay a way from the West Palm Beach area. Jacksonville and Savanah, GA were two areas that were suggested area. My concern is not property taxes because anywhere is cheaper than CT. I liked SC, but I am concerned about Healthcare. Insurance costs for home and auto are a concern along with HMO fees. The question is do you buy a home and use the HMO fee money towards home maintenance?

    by MarkG — May 31, 2013

  128. Vincent, I have not been to Solivita but have a home in Vitalia in Traditions in Port St. Lucie, by the same builder. The difference is Traditions is a beautiful planned community and Vitalia is the 55+ active community within Traditions. Solivita I am told is in the boonies and the town nearby is not that attractive and has some crime issues. Vitalia is within 1 mile of all shopping and restaurants and town center and if you need more shopping it is just 2 miles away. Being close to I-95 it is so easy to travel to Stuart, Palm Beach Gardens, etc. The new clubhouse is going to be spectacular and the home prices are very attractive, they just went up $2,000. Traditions has lakes to fish and community events. There is an activity director at Vitalia and so many clubs to join, my husband loves pickle ball and stick ball. Area golf courses are nearby and they are inexpensive. Come join the fun!!

    by Barbara — June 1, 2013

  129. We were also confused, changing our minds every day. One day Panama, then Mexico, then Florida, east coast, west coast….we just made a final decision. We are going to stay where we are now! Let me explain, we moved to Atlanta in 1997, our newly married son moved here for a job opportunity. We were living in New Hampshire at the time. When we came to visit in Atlanta, we fell in love. As in no winter coat in January!!! I work from home, so we are fortunate that we are not constrained by any particular place. We just downsized and bought a small house, yes a house, not a tiny condo. We even have a backyard, a very small one. We finally decided to stay in Atlanta; actually we live in Alpharetta, right outside of Atlanta. 1. housing and cost of living is very very reasonable….2. we do have a state tax, but when over 65 you receive the majority back as a refund. Property taxes are greatly reduced for anyone over 65. Winters are very mild and spring is early, end of Feb, summer is hot, fall is georgous and lasts until December. We are close to Tennessee, NC, SC and Florida. golf courses are everywhere, culture and theaters, restaurants galore, universities everywhere offering adult classes and here is the best part: Health Care is excellent and the VA hospital in Atlanta is highly rated as well. My mother lived in Florida for 23 years before we moved her in with us. My mother moved to Florida in 1984 and by the time she moved in with us in 2004, health care and declined along with the expanding senior population; and my mother worked for the federal government and had excellent health care. So…check out Atlanta and it surrounding suburbs, you will be amazed at the quality of life available. One downside, the ocean is 6 hours away, but we have lakes and lots of swimming pools. The west coast of Florida is 5 hours away, Orlando is about 5 1/2 hours away. Ashville NC is 2 1/2 hours away…Affordable, clean, beautiful…something to consider. Happy we made a decision

    by florence — June 2, 2013

  130. Hi Florence:

    I have read in Kiplinger that Georgia is kind to retirees and it does have a lot to offer. Atlanta however is very congested. I was thinking maybe northern GA would be great. Your suggestion to look at Suburbs or smaller towns around Atlanta seems reasonable. Anyone else have any thoughts on Georgia?

    by Jennifer — June 2, 2013

  131. For Florence: What suburbs do you recommend in the Atlanta, Ga. area?

    by GiGi — June 2, 2013

  132. To MarkG – Yes, I think it makes economical sense to sell one’s present home and hopefully buy another home that is much cheaper so one can pay the HOA fees from the savings. My question is that if we buy a house/villa in an active adult community in Florida and need to sell it for whatever reason in 10 years, will the value still be there? In the New England area, I have no doubts that our house will steadily increase in the next 10 years but what will happen in those types of Florida developments? Will they be over-develop and thus lose their value?

    by Lana — June 2, 2013

  133. Jennifer,

    We have checked out GA very seriously, and while the burbs of Atlanta may be OK, I will pass on the serious crime of the city. We much prefer N GA anyway, with the moderate winters and pleasant summers. Atlanta can get quite hot in the summer. Gainesville, GA has a decent hospital, and we are fans of the Chattahoochee River and the good schools in White County GA. I always try to buy in the best school districts that fit my requirements, since property values will hold up better and the house will be more marketable than in a poor district.

    We have decided to stay flexible, however, moving into our vacation home in VA for the first 10 years or so. Hopefully by the time we need to consider moving to a less rural area our kids will be a bit more settled and we will have had more time to explore. I don’t want to tie myself down with more than I can get by with comfortably, and trying to simplify life, not complicate it.

    by Julie — June 3, 2013

  134. Julie:

    Thanks for your reply I live in Washington, DC-Northwest DC to be exact and I love Virginia–south of Charlottesville. I hate the personal property tax assessed on cars there. I lived in Northern Virginia for years and know the rural areas fairly well. Good for you moving to a vacation home there–where is it? Far from DC I hope–as it is over developed in Northern Virginia.

    As for Northern Georgia are there ay nuclear power plants there–I try to stay away from those. I know the mountains and I also love Tennessee for the same reasons the beauty and cooler climate in the summer.

    by Jennifer — June 3, 2013

  135. lana…..values are rising again in Florida……we were hit hard , but real estate is bouncing back….hoa’s should be viewed carefully… opinion is to compare the amenities for the price…..if you personally feel it’s fair, it probably is ! Also consider that the boomer generation is retiring in record numbers and many will be looking for warmth during the winter months up North…..resale should hold up.

    by jim — June 4, 2013

  136. Jennifer, this link is to a map of nuclear power plants. Personally, I think water supply is a more realistic issue for our generation, but I understand your concerns and have even taken properties off my list due to plant proximity.

    Our place in west of Roanoke, in Botetourt Cty, about 3 hours from DC. Real estate is insanely cheap, and since we are trading in an $8,000 real estate annual tax bill for a $1,000 bill, we will swallow the personal property tax without a problem. The states get your money one way or another…the important thing is the total when you add them all up. Interestingly enough, when my parents moved as retirees from FL to VA, they saved money on taxes, even though FL is often touted as a tax free state.

    by Julie — June 4, 2013

  137. We have lived in Georgia for 17 years. Always ived North of Atlanta. West Cobb was our first house, huge on an acre, next we downsized to woodstock,
    gated community near downtown woodstock…now we live in Johns Creek. Much to do here for seniors. I would recommend several areas north of the perimeter. Crime is not great in any large downtown area on the east coast, but we go downtown to the Fox Theater and the surrounding area and museums and restaurants are great! Buckhead is also another area that is close to downtown but not downtown.
    Check out: Downtown Woodstock 30188- great developing area, Downtown Roswell – another great area – Johns Creek – we love it here- Decatur – also terrific. Feel free to ask me any questions about these areas. All of this is very subjective. If we never moved to the northern suburbs of Atlanta, I would never know about these places that don’t make retirement hit parades. I know I sound like a travel poster for Atlanta, but after growing up on the Jersey Shore, living in NYC, Forest Hills, Princeton, NJ, Philadelphia, New Hampshire; I must tell you we have been in Atlanta the longest, and we love it here and everything it has to offer. Here is a bonus: people are generally friendly (unless you are on 75) during rush hour). I went into culture shock when I went back up north, which I do frequently. everything looked old, dingy, the roads and highways were horrible and the turnpike and garden state parkway tolls are outrageous. I go to Florida often, I can only speak of the east coast. There is plenty of crime in the cities outside of the adult communities. Not ALL, but some. Lets face it, I don’t plan on strolloing through any downtown late at night by myself or with my husband. The safest place in the country is New Hampshire, two days of spring, 4 days of summer and freezing all of the time. pretty place to visit and then get out. We lived there 9 years. Hope this is helpful

    by florence — June 4, 2013

  138. Re some recent inquiries about Hendersonville NC: My wife and I moved here a year ago from the Seattle area. The weather is four seasons and generally nice with more sun than the Pacific Northwest, but Hville gets twice as many inches of rain a year as Seattle, mostly in torrential thunderstorms. The downtown is quaint and nicely refurbished with a playhouse and good restaurants. The niceness stops there. I’m 69, so I can say this: Hville is filled with cranky, ultra-conservative old folks. I’ve driven in most major U.S. cities and the drivers in Western North Carolina are absolutely the worst I’ve encountered. Every day I am confronted with someone, usually an old folk, driving over the center line. They don’t signal for turns; they run red lights; they sit in the passing lane 15 miles under the limit and won’t move. If you like having Rush Limbaugh on three local radio stations at the same time, you’ll love Hville. If you think a constant diet of Southern and New Jersey accents is cute, Hville is for you. Me, I plan to move back to the Pacific Northwest.

    by David — June 4, 2013

  139. @David I totally agree with you about Hendersonville. I’m curious as to why you chose Hendersonville instead of Asheville.

    by easilyamused — June 5, 2013

  140. I don’t understand why you moved to Hendersonville in the first place. I have lived in NC for 23 years and would rather see “cranky, ultra-conservative old folks” than cranky, liberal old folks like you. I can never understand why people move to new areas, are disappointed that it is not like their old area and want to change it to something that it is not. Guess you didn’t do your homework…..

    by Dick — June 5, 2013

  141. Thanks Barbara. I will look into Vitalia in Traditions in Port St. Lucie.

    by vincent — June 5, 2013

  142. David, maybe you and I should start a commune!
    Seriously, though, I do believe I am now living in the best of all possible worlds (Western Mass). HOWEVER, I’m still contemplating moving to more southerly climes in a few years just because it’s so gol-dang COLD here in the winter. And the winters are lasting longer these days. This year it seemed like it was freezing one day and blistering hot the next. We are going directly from the winter into the summer and from summer to winter. I miss the fall and spring! I’ve lived in cold, snowy places all my life and just once would like a mild climate!

    by Judith — June 5, 2013

  143. David – your comments made me laugh! I completely agree with you that there is nothing worse than hearing Rush Limbaugh’s voice. Dealing with cranky, ultra-conservative old folks is no fun either. While I don’t mind a bit of political diversity, a place filled with ultra-conservative people would drive me nuts that’s why I question Florida’s political climate. Surely there must be an area where we liberals would prevail. It seems the older one gets, the more conservative one becomes. Not me! Guess we’ll stay in good old Massachusetts!

    by Lana — June 5, 2013

  144. “I can never understand why people move to new areas, are disappointed that it is not like their old area and want to change it to something that it is not. Guess you didn’t do your homework…..”

    Amen! We’re in year 2 of “doing our homework”. We’re going to Beaufort, SC area and the Savannah, GA and St. Mary’s,GA areas in September. We love Pawley’s Island, SC; we spent a week there last summer.

    by Richard — June 5, 2013

  145. David, I too am curious why you choose Hendersonville over Asheville if you are very liberal. Also, what factors did you consider in making your choice? Perhaps, this fits into the “what I should have seen, but didn’t category”. For you next move, you may want to look at the interactive maps by county to get a feel for the political climate.

    Driving: any big change, this is a problem: seems no matter where from or where to one moves we are not happy with the driving.

    by Elaine — June 5, 2013

  146. I’ve really enjoyed the postings and suggestions. I guess I should look at Asheville (becoming more liberal with age, especially after my spouse died of early onset Alzheimers and I needed some of those government benefits). I will also start to look at Northern Georgia. I’m trying to total up home owner fees, real estate taxes, income taxes on 401k withdrawals, utility costs, taxes on autos or investments, etc. It’s like comparing apples to banannas.

    by Sharon — June 6, 2013

  147. I guess we are those “cranky, ultra-conservative old folks” who listen to Rush…and love it!! We are in Paeleys Island area right now looking for a home. We love it here! Oh sure, there are tourists who clog up the roads, but those tourists are the blood that runs through the veins here and are needed for the economy. I can breathe without steroids, which is wonderful! Salt air is what I need. We love the pace, we love the friendly,polite people and, well…to my “liberal” friends, all I can say is…”when you’re twenty and are not liberal, you have no heart; when you’re forty and not conservative, you have no brain” Winston Churchill. Really, if you’re from the Liberal Northwest or Northeast, stay where you are by all means, enjoy yourselves and if you venture out of your comfort zone, and are surprised…don’t be, some of us brainy ones have done our homework!

    by DianaF — June 6, 2013

  148. Having just read DianaF’s message I’m scratching my head. If you’re happy moving to Paeleys Island then I wish you good luck.
    Why you would imply that anyone who decides to stay in the northeast or northwest is brainless doesn’t make much sense.
    Maybe what you wrote + what you intended to say are two different things. Hope so!

    by Anne — June 6, 2013

  149. You are a very polite and no doubt intelligent person, Anne!
    Sharon, have you looked at Athens, GA? Seems like a possibility to me.

    by Judith — June 6, 2013

  150. PLEASE – do not let this blog become a pile of political nastiness! This is not the place and frankly, I am sick to death of all of the the vile and disrespectful bickering on the internet these days. Please stick to the topics of these articles – surely our generation learned about manners and respecting others opinions better than what I am reading here! Let’s all retire happily to our various choice locations and set aside the need to judge others! Where is our spirit from the 60’s – you know, love and peace? 🙂

    by Sandy — June 6, 2013

  151. I too am a true-blue conservative and I am certainly taking that into consideration when looking at different retirement locales.
    DianeF, I would love to hear more about what you discover at Pawleys Island as that locale is definitely on my radar.

    by Elaine S — June 6, 2013

  152. Anne and Sandy….well said. Liberals have their beliefs and conservatives theirs, and never the twain shall meet. This is not the place for anyone’s angst. There are plenty of sites to look up political affiliations and voting patterns. Let’s keep this friendly and informative. After all, we’re all here to learn…about retirement options.

    by Stacey — June 6, 2013

  153. I want to thank Barbara and Char for their comments. I have just paid a visit to The Villages and was impressed. Everyone seems to love it; however, Vitalia would be closer to my daughter. I retired fm Michigan and bought a house in St. Petersburg for what seemed like good reasons at the time, but am now looking more for an affordable 55+ active community where I can connect with other singles who have interests in common. So much information!

    by DianeD — June 6, 2013

  154. Anne-what I should have noted, which I did not, was that I was responding to David. I misspelled Pawleys Island as well. My main point is to do one’s homework before moving,

    by DisnaF — June 7, 2013

  155. Elaine- love the area. We have been here about a week now; it has rained most of the time due to the Tropical Storm Andrea, but that does not scare or bother us. We have spent days looking at different condos and town houses in Murrells Inlet, as well as in areas that skirt that area. The locals do not like the traffic; the traffic is caused by tourism, so it is seasonal for the most part. The traffic does not bother us, since we are from NY, lived outside of LA in California for a few years and traffic is a way of life in those two locales. It really depends on what you are good with. Our house hunt is tough. We have a price range that we are trying to stick to, which is fair for us, and there are places to see. We are now waiting to hear back on an offer and we have a number two and three choice ready to go, if need be. This part is stressful….as we just want to know where we will be living and get on with our lives. Our agent, although very nice, is a little dinghy but because she is so nice, we feel she has our best interests at heart.

    by DianaF — June 7, 2013

  156. Richard’s comment about “loving Pawleys Island” but continuing his 2 year long search provokes me to write that there is such a thing as too much research. Once you find a place you “love,” how much more do you expect to love the next place? (This is not the site to debate if there are degrees of love, but are there?) The search for a home in a new location is a little like on-line dating; you can define and find everything you like about a place to live online — distances to things like shopping, entertainment venues, even the voting patterns of the locals (to pick up on a theme in this discussion group). But until you “meet” the area with a personal visit, there is no chance of falling in love. But back to Richard and others who keep searching for the perfect love: If love isn’t enough, you may be searching forever.

    by LarryG — June 7, 2013

  157. Since Pawleys Island has come up a few times in this thread, I will say that I have owned a vacation home there for the last 13 years (and have been visiting since the early 1970s). As far as I am concerned, if the Myrtle Beach area is your target, the only place to target is the south end of the Grand Strand — Pawleys, Litchfield, Murrells Inlet. You’ll find much less traffic, less of the honky tonk and neon lights of the more touristy parts of Myrtle Beach, the best restaurants on the Strand, proximity to Charleston (an hour away and one of the best cities in the east), real estate prices that are reasonable (as long as you don’t want to be on the beach) and a more stable population (fewer toursits). The public beaches on Pawleys Island and Litchfield are second to none. For golfers, four of the best golf courses of the 100 in Myrtle Beach are on the south end — Caledonia, everyone’s favorite; Pawleys Plantation; True Blue; and Heritage.

    by LarryG — June 7, 2013

  158. Just to clarify my “2 year search” comment, We live in CA; I’m from NJ and love the East Coast. It’s been 3 vacation weeks over 2 years. I do agree with LarryG that you can look forever and over-analyze.

    by Richard — June 7, 2013

  159. I am single and 60 and looking to retire in next 3 or 4 years. I am torn between Florida (something like On Top of the World and The Villages) and Nevada (Vegas or Laughlin). I love hot, hate cold, and humidity is okay either low or high. My biggest fear of Florida is the sinkholes that seem to be popping up everywhere. And in Nevada there is the question of whether they will still have water in ten more years. I love the Vegas nightlife and would always have something to do, but wonder if Florida would lend itself more to finding new friends who are also single. Would love to hear from anyone who has landed in the Villages or OTOW–pro or con.

    by Pat R — June 7, 2013

  160. I haven’t heard Kentucky mentioned very much here. Is anyone looking at (or living in) Paducah or Berea? Or any other Kentucky town, for that matter …

    by Judith — June 7, 2013

  161. Hi, I haven’t seen anything on Utah either. I was thinking of moving to Arizona but worried about water not being plentiful in the near future – so thinking about Utah or New Mexico. My daughter lives in Denver, Co. – but although it’s a beautiful state, I’m finding it a little too expensive for a single widow. Utah and New Mexico are near enough so I could drive and see her and vis versa. Any info on any of these states would be appreciated.

    by Linda — June 7, 2013

  162. We saw Charleston and Myrtle Beach on the list, but just wanted to remind everyone that Beaufort, SC was just named 2013’s “America’s Happiest Seaside Town” by Coastal Living Magazine. If you’re considering retirement in the coastal South, be sure to check out the town of Habersham, SC.

    by Habersham — June 7, 2013

  163. Pat R, We just moved into our new home in On top of The World. Great place to live and many things to do. We have met a lot of people from all over the USA here. I believe our best choice of retirement communities.

    by Brad — June 7, 2013

  164. Let’s hope this year doesn’t bring more severe storms and hurricanes to the Southeastern states. One of the criteria I use to evaluate any area is how likely will a severe storm or hurricane strike and at what frequency will they happen. This is why I have ruled out the southeastern and gulf states from my search. Looking for low humidity and warm winter ,so my search will focus on the southwestern states, Arizona, N. Mexico, Nevada (edited)

    by Lefty Omalley — June 7, 2013

  165. Re: Larry G’s comments on Pawley’s Island: Sounds wonderful. But what about
    the changing coastline, rising sea levels, and terrible storms and damage?

    I have always vacationed at the beach and wanted to retire there, but reading this site and others, including cost, almost ruled out east of Rt. 95.

    by Moving South — June 7, 2013

  166. This is the third time we have visited the area of Pawleys island-Murrells Inlet. We have been from North Myrtle Beach, to Longs, to Little River south to Pawleys. We like the North MB area and the Murrells Inlet areas the best. A bit quieter, a bit less traffic, etc. However, we didn’t mind the Carolina Forest section of MB. People tend to not like CF because of traffic, but we didnit find it terrible and we were in the midst of it at 5 PM on a Friday and no big deal. It just depends on you. While we were looking at homes with our realtor, we asked about storms and their frequency. The area does not jut out, so is somewhat protected is what we discovered. Andrea brought lots of rain, from what I heard Wilmington, NC received more winds and rain. We will see as the season wears on.

    by DianaF — June 8, 2013

  167. To DianeF- Love Rush as well and our retirement choice will be based on taxes, lifestyle and retiring with like minded people. Nothing political about this just educated with the facts. Our family as far as grandchildren will be teens and Florida is our choice and teens love to visit Florida. As for our children we have realized they have their families to raise, busy lifestyles and careers to pursue. We are a close family and want the best for all. The villages seem to be the place of choice for us because of amenities, taxes and lifestyle. Although we are still looking at other places NC, SC. Florida seems so far to fit.

    by Vickie — June 8, 2013

  168. I would love to be able to compare apples to apples. Would anyone like to play (please?).

    I live in Western PA. Assuming a $100,000 house (basic number, to facilitae multipliers depending on personal situations) and giving broad numbers since everything is going to be impacted by a lot of factors, my homeowner’s insurance is $245/yr, and my real estate taxes are $1500 (inside allegheny county, $800-$900 if I go outside the county’s border). Condo fees for developments that I’ve looked at with pools are around $215/mo. Sales tax at 7%, but lots of exclusions like clothing and medicine. SS and pensions not taxable. 401K withdrawals will have 4% state/local tax. Lots of medical care (can’t turn a corner without hitting a hospital lol). Lots of activities for seniors (sports teams, festivals, numerous colleges, museums, casinos, loads of churches, plays, concerts (many free), senior buses, and very friendly area. My budget electric bill (incl. ac) is $165/mo and my gas bill (heating, gas dryer, fireplace, gas lantern outside) for a 2800 sq ft house is $206/mo. 4-seasons. Negatives: Housing with 1st floor masters is tight and getting tighter, and prices are climbing. In my 30 years, have had 1 blizzard about 4 years ago that was a doozy. Too far from cruise ports.

    Anyone else want to play? I’m researching to try to find someplace better and cheaper, but it’s tough to collect all this information about other places!

    by Sharon — June 8, 2013

  169. Moving South, Unless you intend to live another 100 years or so, I don’t believe the “changing coastline” or “rising tides” should pollute your considerations of a home within easy driving distance of the ocean. As for “storms” — assume you mean hurricanes — there are some portions of the coast that are less hurricane prone than others. (If you want to be near the coast and hurricane proof, try Savannah, where only one ‘cane of consequence in the last 100 years hit the city, and that one came out of the Gulf of Mexico and whacked Savannah in the backside. Geography and the Gulfstream keep Savannah pretty safe from Atlantic hurricanes.) The only hurricane that has affected Pawleys Island significantly since I have been visiting there (early 1970s) was Hugo in 1989; but except for a few homes directly on the ocean, the area suffered mostly damage to trees. History suggests you are okay a mile or two inland in the area south of Myrtle Beach.

    by LarryG — June 8, 2013

  170. Sharon, it sounds as if there may not be a better place for you, or a cheaper one. I’d consider putting a stop to your research and enjoy the festivals, colleges, sports teams, low taxes and low utility bills. It sure seems like you are “home.”

    by LarryG — June 8, 2013

  171. Do you think so Larry? I don’t have anything to compare my costs to yet, so I don’t know if they’re high/low/in-between. I know that FL doesn’t have income taxes which would save money on the 401K withdrawal and that real estate taxes might be less, but I haven’t learned about utility bills, homeowner association fees, or actual costs of insurance yet. I don’t know where NC or SC fit either. I have to total them all up to get to a monthly retirement budget in Place X and Place Y, to confirm that financially I’m home or not yet. I love the idea of being near a beach…but only if its affordable.

    by Sharon — June 8, 2013

  172. By all means continue your research, Sharon. Sometimes what is touted as a tax cut actually means a higher cost of living for the average Joe. For example, take a look at ALL the taxes you’ll pay. Including sales tax. In some areas you have to pay a high sales tax even on food and clothing. These “everyday” taxes can hurt lower income people the most and are sometimes overlooked in all the discussions of property, state, & income taxes.

    The following is from

    States With the Highest Sales Taxes
    Tennessee came in as the state with the highest combined state and local sales tax rate with a top combined rate of 9.44%. After Tennessee, the states with the highest state and local sales tax rates are California (9.08%), Arizona (9.01%), Louisiana (8.69%), Washington (8.61%), New York (8.52%), Oklahoma (8.33%), Illinois (8.22%), Arkansas (8.10%) and Alabama (8.03%).
    Major Cities with High Sales Taxes
    Along with the state sales tax report, the Tax Foundation also studied sales tax rates in the 107 major U.S. cities with populations over 200,000. This study found that the cities with the highest combined state, county, and city sales taxes are Birmingham, AL (10%), Montgomery, AL (10%), Long Beach, CA (9.75%), Los Angeles, CA (9.75%), Oakland, CA (9.75%), Fremont, CA (9.75%), Chicago, IL (9.75%), Glendale, AZ (9.6%), Seattle, WA (9.5%) and San Francisco, CA (9.5%).

    by Judith — June 8, 2013

  173. Sharon, you’re going to make yourself crazy trying to juggle all your X factors. This research can’t be boiled down to a geometry quiz. One place might have lower property taxes, but they tax IRA withdrawals. Another place might not tax retirement income but they tax your car and food. It’s a shell game. All you’re doing is moving the board pieces around. When all is said and done, you’ve tried a hundred combinations and still don’t have the perfect place and you’re too exhausted to continue! Find a place where you feel comfortable and give it a month-long test. And anything on a beach will be expensive and so will the taxes and insurance. But something within an hour’s drive might be much more affordable without the beach traffic. Tell your “head” to take a break and let your heart and gut have a go at this!

    by cherie — June 8, 2013

  174. Cherie is so right, Sharon. You will drive yourself mad trying to fit all the “right” pieces together. Go with your gut. Your homeowner’s insurance and real estate taxes are quite low. Florida’s homeowner’s insurance would be more than triple your amount plus the HOA fees, utilities and real estate taxes would be high. Sounds like you are happy now so maybe you should stay in place. I am coming to the realization that there is no perfect place to retire. If you are still interested in relocating from western PA, maybe you could look into those “visit and stay” offers that many communities offer in FL. There are many that offer 2 night 3 day stays for $100.00. We intend to do exactly that come August.

    by Lana — June 8, 2013

  175. Well, of course you don’t have to overcomplicate it, but doing research & making out a budget are never bad ideas imo. I sure wouldn’t want to spend my “golden years” regretting my choices.

    by Judith — June 8, 2013

  176. I may end up staying in Western PA, but before I pay cash for a retirement home I’d like to know that I made an informed decision. It was easy to identify a list of possible states, but now I have to weigh how they really stack up against my budget. I’m trying to identify the differences and then evaluate the bottom lines (plus or minus a few percentage points) to determine whether I can really afford some of the other retirement locations. Doesn’t everyone consider the actual costs of living somewhere against their prospective retirement income before they make a final decision, and to decide how much retirement home they can afford to ensure that their retirement savings last?

    by Sharon — June 8, 2013

  177. Forgot to add – the math to get to a bottom line comparison isn’t complicated at all!

    by Sharon — June 8, 2013

  178. Yes, Sharon, I have considered the costs of moving to Florida and paying cash for a home that would cost approx $200,000.00. Our home in New England would, hopefully, sell for around the mid-300,000s so we could use the difference to pay the HOA fees and whatever else we need to expense. Even though Florida does not have income tax, the insurance and HOA fees sort of balances it out. Also to be considered are the moving costs and the real estate agent’s commission.

    by Lana — June 8, 2013

  179. Sharon, you said in your home state of PA that 401K withdrawals will have 4% state/local tax. That is NOT correct, PA is one of a very few that does not tax SS, pensions (public or private), including 401K withdrawals in retirement. Maybe this would change your calculus on staying put in Western PA?

    by Bill S. — June 8, 2013

  180. Does anyone know anything about timber Pines in Spring Hill Florida. If so, I’d love to have any feedback on this community.

    by — June 9, 2013

  181. With regard to the MB/Murrells area, there have been only 3 hurricane category 3 in over 125 years! Georgia has not had a hurricane hit there coast in over 100 years! The great situation about North and South Carolina is you can always travel inland enough to avoid the hurricane. Where are you going to go when a major hurricane hits Florida!

    by Murrells Inlet SC — June 9, 2013

  182. Bill – Thank you so much! I had received incorrect information from my local tax office. This does make a difference to me, since I have wanted a retirement location that doesn’t tax either SS or 401K withdrawals. Suburban PA is looking better and better to me.

    by Sharon — June 10, 2013

  183. The more you read about “the perfect retirement place”, the more confused you’ll get! I, too, have been trying to find “the perfect place to retire” but, after reading all the information on this site I’m even more confused. I guess there is no one perfect place to retire. You have to take into account many things that personally fit into what you’re looking for, and you still may never figure it out. Good news, I still have a few more years to find it!

    by Chuck — June 10, 2013

  184. I think our criteria for a good, solid place to retire was low taxes and good medical services close by… Then after reading these moments for a couple years, we have added a few more things. One thing for sure, is we want to be around like-minded people . I had never thought about that much before because we have lived in very liberal areas and very conservative areas, and no one really got rowdy about their individual politics, and we just all were respectful of each other and that was that. However, the political climate has changed quite a bit in our country-and after listening to rants from both sides, we decided we would rather listen to someone rant who we share similar beliefs. So, given that, and our other criteria, we chose South Carolina. It is good for us. I also cannot believe how much better I feel in salt air! It has been years since I could breathe without using steroids! So, this is an added boost. I knew I it would be better for me, but it is truly miraculous. I know there will e seasonal allergies, but I will take that over year-round allergies any day!!

    by DianaF — June 10, 2013

  185. To PatR … I live in the Villages for 4 years now as a widow. There are at least five clubs completely devoted to singles and are very active with hundreds of members but the best part of the Villages to me is that I can pursue my interests in any club and don’t have to worry if I’ll “fit in” because I’m single. Yes, there are clubs that are devoted to couples but most clubs are devoted to just people who share an interest. I have friends that are single and ones that are married – we just have fun. I also like that my friends and i go ” off campus” often to enjoy the theaters/dinners, etc. in other Florida locations. Being from Long Island, NY and never living anywhere else I wasn’t sure how “cultural” things would be, but the only thing I miss is not having my family nearby. Hope this helps!

    by Char — June 10, 2013

  186. Diana: Is homeowners insurance reasonable? Can you also tell me if 401K withdrawals are taxable in S. Carolina? Thanks

    by Sharon — June 11, 2013

  187. Sharon-we bought a condo and homeowners insurance is included in the HOA; however, we need to buy HO6 insurance. That will cover things within the walls. Our quote was from AAA and a little over 500 a year and includes wind and hail coverage. We do not think that is unreasonable. One thing for sure is that when we were getting quotes, they were all over the place and varied by quite a lot, so comparing apples to apples is a must. I know that for senior residents SC is tax friendly in most regards, you would have to check for specifics.

    by DianaF — June 11, 2013

  188. Larry
    Your information is always helpful, thank you.
    My husband and I are heading to SC in July to find our new home location.

    by Marilyn — June 11, 2013

  189. Thanks for all the advice re hurricanes along the East Coast.

    Where is “Top of the World”?

    Any information on retirement communities near or on a lake near or on a small
    town, probably west of I 77, in North Carolina? Traffic is getting scary
    here in Central Shenandoah Valley for this 75-year-old? Retirement communities that provide trips to events are ideal.

    Any information on Quaker meetings west of I75 in North Carolina?


    Agree, still seeking information, still confused, one place is not ideal for all, and who wants to move to the most popular (ie crowded) location!

    by Moving South — June 11, 2013

  190. Has anyone looked into retiring in and around Jacksonville, FL?

    by MarkG — June 11, 2013

  191. I’ve been looking all over Florida. I did live in Saint Petersburg/Clearwater area until about seven years ago. I moved to Tn. due to the escalating cost of living but, I’d LOVE to move back when I retire. I’ve looked at Jacksonville, St. Augustine, and my old neighborhood. I’m still concerned about HOA’S. They ALWAYS increase, and they are much higher than in Tn. So, still looking.

    by Chuck — June 12, 2013

  192. Oh, there are several “Top of the World” communties-one in the Clearwater area but, beware! Living in those type of communities can be a royal pain! Too many people in a small area with too much time on their hands. You should read the Tampa paper if you’re interested in that area. There was an “interesting” story about that community just a few days ago. I’d avoid that place like the plague! And you’ll find a similar situation in a lot of those communities in Florida, and probably elsewhere.

    by Chuck — June 12, 2013

  193. during my “confused state” about making a retirement decision, I realized that the homeowners insurance in Florida if you live even 8 miles from the
    ocean or gulf is 4 times as much as we pay here in Georgia. we pay about
    $340.00 a year for our condo…Its $1,200 a year for a condo in Florida,
    also, property taxes are very low in georgia when one is over 65.

    by Florence — June 12, 2013

  194. MarkG, we looked at a community in St. Augustine, Cascades; Absolutely loved the community. they have a high reserve in their HOA so the dues won’t go up for a long time. My only issues is; I don’t want any type of ‘winter’ and north FL does get a change in seasons. If you like to golf, check out this community.

    by Nancy — June 12, 2013

  195. Do some searches on line there is an insurance site which breaks down rates by county. I was amazed that Orlando rates are 4 times what we are paying in the northwest. But a little further north they drop dramatically. I had that site saved on my favorites but can’t find it now. Miami rates are ridiculous.

    by Mark P — June 12, 2013

  196. My husband and I also looked at Cascades in Jax area, but the constant hum of 95 is in your backyard. Lots of folks enclosing their lanais to try to deaden the noise…houses were better construction than del Webb in Ponte Vedra, nearby. If you can live with the never-ending drone of truck traffic, cascades is a nice community. If you can live with low end housing construction in a spectacular setting, del Webb Ponte Vedra is a great community!

    by Sandy — June 12, 2013

  197. Thanks Nancy, I don’t mind for four seasons at all and, from what I have heard the further north you go the less expensive is home owners insurance. Also for any of you who live in FL, can you explain how much it is to register a car coming from out of state. I went to the FL DMV site and it was pretty confusing sounds like there is a registration fee, a tax and a tax.

    by MarkG — June 12, 2013

  198. To Mark P & MarkG and anyone else who wants to look!!!

    Mark P…try this site they have an insurance company break down

    MarkG…same site for your DMV questions…I’ve been holding off getting a new vehcile till we finally move and can claim the Homestead Exemption…

    by Russ — June 13, 2013

  199. Here’s a link to the recent article about Top of the World community….there are some really unbalanced people in this world.

    by Paula — June 13, 2013

  200. I lived in eastern Kentucky for twenty-five years-hated every day of it! Before moving to Kentucky, I’d strongly recommend that you consider Tn. Weather is better, taxes are cheaper, and it’s close to Chattanooga, Atlanta, Nashville. I also lived in Florida, which was nice but, living in a condo was horrible! Besides the HOA’S, they can assess you as needed. Some can run as high as $10,000-$15,000 per year! I’d move back to Florida today if I could find a reasonable HOA-which is just about impossible.

    by Chuck — June 16, 2013

  201. ” Besides the HOA’S, they can assess you as needed. ”

    For those of you who are looking to buy a condo, or anything with an HOA, know that you can get homeowners insurance that insures you against these emergency assessments. IIRC, Travelers offer it. An acquaintance saved $45,000 that way when it was determined the front face of their condo building was in failure and each unit was assessed for the emergency repair. You have to ask for the special rider, it won’t come automatically. No doubt there is a price for it as well.

    by Julie — June 17, 2013

  202. It helps to remember that the golden years of our life are not meant as a dress rehearsal. The best place to retire is the place where you are most comfortable. Here are some of the topics we discuss in my own practice that might help somebody out there: 1) keep your mind open to a variety of options. There really is not just one perfect place; (2) Yes, you pine for the soft shores of Florida, but if your husband/wife hates the heat, and you value your marriage, better work on a compromise that you both can live with; (3) Chose what you want to do, not what your friends or family tell you to do; (4) remember that life is short, and mistakes are made. Why waste precious time worrying? Go for visits, do your own research, and if you find you still have made a mistake, try something else. It’s all part of life.

    by DR SINCLAIR — June 25, 2013

  203. Paula, the article/site you listed is unavailable. Can you give me what it was about – we are considering moving into On Top Of The World next month. Need any info anyone has

    by sandy — June 26, 2013

  204. would love to hear comments from single people who have retired away from family and old friends……are there worries about moving again back near family it health issues arise? should you retire near family and friends even though its not the place you feel you can get the most out of the years you have left? are there fears about being away if you are in a hospital and no one near to be an advocate for you? if you are a couple these concerns are not important but as a single its very different. Moving twice may not be affordable for some …..

    by char — June 26, 2013

  205. So glad to see this blog again – it was difficult to find for the past week.
    Thank you, Dr Sinclair, for telling us that there is no perfect place to retire. It’s a matter of compromise with your spouse and being comfortable. We plan to rent for a couple of weeks in the winter in an active adult community in Florida. Some communities have a package where one can stay for a couple of nights but I don’t think you can assess a place in such a short time. If we hear and see whar we like, we plan to go back in the summer to see if we can stand the humidity since the move will be our “permanent” one.

    by Lana — June 26, 2013

  206. Sandy, I found another link to the article about Top of the World, with a feud between two residents that has escalated to ridiculousness:–and-up-ap_florida2e905c234b33470ea4b22e94f41f6328

    by Paula — June 26, 2013

  207. Char: I too am single and think about all you just stated. My mom is 91 and still alive and kicking. At 61, I’m very healthy with only a minor cholesterol issue. I realize I will probably live to at least my mom’s age whatever that will be. Anyway, moving from NYC is a must if I want to have a comfortable life when I retire. Since I own a coop with no mortgage, I will sell it and put half of the proceeds into an annuity that you don’t start collecting until you’re 85. This will give me more money when I’m older and may need more attention such as an assisted living complex. The annuity would give me enough money monthly to afford this. This way I won’t be a burden on any of my family members.

    by Stacey — June 26, 2013

  208. Char: “should you retire near family and friends even though its not the place you feel you can get the most out of the years you have left? are there fears about being away if you are in a hospital and no one near to be an advocate for you? if you are a couple these concerns are not important but as a single its very different.”

    Life changes. Just because you are a couple today there is no guarantee that you will both be here tomorrow. These are very important issues for everyone to consider.

    But it is not as simple as it seems. People are more mobile today. My parents followed my sister from FL, to VA, to NC. When Mom and Dad had a spat with Sis and tried to move near us, I had to tell them there was no guarantee we would be there in 6 months. On the other hand I flew half way around the world when Mom had her stroke, to help out with round the clock hospital coverage for her. Dad by the way was almost a patient himself with watching his bride in such bad health, so having a spouse won’t necessarily help.

    For now, I am going to focus on living, rather than concentrate on what to do if I get sick. One thing for sure, moving away now will make me deal with paring down my things, so it will be easier to move elsewhere later.

    by Julie — June 27, 2013

  209. Char, Stacey & Julie….. I have these same thoughts daily. It is totally wearing me down and I feel like I’m wasting whatever precious time I may have left. I thank you so much for putting your thoughts out there. It’s wonderful to know that other people feel and think the same things. Being alone, even active with many friends, can be isolating in so many ways. Thank you for your thoughts and opinions.

    by Karen — June 27, 2013

  210. I have moved a lot. I currently live in upstate NY, away from all my family. But what I have found is that I build new friendships in my new environments, and those people are there for me when something happens. In 2009 I had to have my left foot rebuilt. I was in the hospital for a month, and non-weight-bearing for 6 more months. One of my new friends came to visit me in the hospital twice-a-week and did my laundry for me. When I got home and couldn’t walk for months, other friends did my grocery shopping and took me on outings and to the doctor.

    We can never know what the future will bring, and that means we cannot depend on family to always be available, we cannot depend on our families not moving away or having their own issues, we cannot depend on our health being good, we cannot depend on spouses. In my opinion, the things to focus on are choosing a community where you can enjoy life now, and where you can build relationships with people who will be there for you should you need them. One good way to do that is by being there for others when they have needs. I am looking at retirement communities in the Arizona or Nevada area. I have no family there but there are wonderful communities where I expect to build friendships. And, I am within driving distance of my family (in California) and other close friends that live in California currently. I feel pretty sure that if I am a good friend to others, they will be good friends to me. At least, that has been my experience so far.

    by Ginger — June 27, 2013

  211. Char – I have the same concerns. My only family consists of my kids, and it’s too early to know where their careers will take them. My work friends will disappear when I finally retire (I had one of those all-consuming professional jobs so when I wasn’t parenting or being a caregiver for my spouse, I was working). I still don’t have the issue of wanting to be near grandchildren.

    The idea of just picking up and taking off somewhere away from my kids is scary. It didn’t help that I had my first medical emergency last year, and I got to feel what it’s like to need someone in the middle of the night and someone to find specialists and talk for me to doctors. Thank heavens a kid was home and was able to handle the emergency. For months I thought about what would have happened if I had been alone, and felt it meant that I HAD to retire near my kids. Since my kids’ are considering relocation and one is thinking about taking a medical profession into the military, this meant that my plans had to be on hold until I knew what they were going to do. Worry, worry, worry.

    However, I’m starting to come around to realize that it isn’t going to be an “all or nothing” choice. I can move somewhere for the first ten or fifteen years of my retirement, and then plan on moving again later once the kids are more settled, my health deteriorates or there are grandchildren. This might not be the most cost-effective approach to retirement but relying on my kids to tell me where to retire just doesn’t make sense either. As others have mentioned too, we can’t always rely on family members to stay in one location anymore. I could end up moving somewhere to be near them, only to find that they’re relocating again.

    I’m slowly realizing that I can be self-sufficient in the event of emergencies if I have to be. Those med-alert systems aren’t that expensive in exchange for peace of mind, and I can build of network of new friends in the same boat. I’ll figure out transportation alternatives, senior services or even hire a high school student to babysit me and help out if necessary. I’m drawn to new developments where everyone is new.

    It’s freeing to realize that I can give myself at least the next ten or fifteen years after retirement, and that nothing has to be set in stone.

    by Sharon — June 28, 2013

  212. To Stacey, Julie, Karen, Ginger, and Sharon: I can’t thank you enough for your comments – they have been so helpful! I retired at 62 (downsized), had a personal tradgey (lost my son), and although I have lived my entire life in NY bought a house in The Villages Florida – all in one year. That was four years ago. After being in Florida for about four months, I felt I needed to have something in NY too so I could see family and friends so I bought a condo on Long Island. I do not have the retirement income to support two places but emotionally I needed it. I have gone back and forth for these years, living four months in Florida and then coming to NY for two to three months. I have gone through a lot of my savings supporting both places and now I have to make a decision on which one i will live in.

    I have to say you are so right about living where you are happiest and moving if health concerns become overwhelming….I guess I had to hear it from others going through this “older single” thing. I have had the flu when I was in Florida and friends there were wonderful….I had concerns about health care in Florida because my doctor in NY said if you’re in Florida “don’t call 911 if you have a health emergency – get to the airport!” Scary, huh? Thank God I’m a healthy person now and I can’t keep worrying about the ” what ifs”.

    The community in Florida has so many amenities; chances to meet new friends constantly; and convenient to everything. When I’m in NY I have a lot of down time … I see my kids and grands sometimes but they have their own lives to live – as it should be, have little opportunity to meet new people, and do most things alone.

    I’m fortunate to have longevity in my family – mom was 89, gram was 94, great gram was 98. I’m 66 and I better get started! Thanks again ladies for your wise honest comments!

    by Char — June 28, 2013

  213. Sounds like there are several of us single women out there trying to make retirement decisions alone. I’m 58 and have been living in the south for over twenty years. Originally from California…moved here for my ex. Never felt liked I fit in, and although many people seem kind, if you or your family are not from here, your different. Religion and politics also come into play, especially if most of the population has been raised to believe a certain way. Diversity is good.

    I have been searching for an affordable option out of the south and have found that there is always a compromise of some sort. After having parents that lived in an over 55 community I’m steering clear, too many people with too much time on there hands watching what everyone else is doing, along with discussions of health issues and recent deaths in the “neighborhood”. I think a mix of ages is healthier. For now I hope to find something close to town, with transportation available, so when needed I can use it to access local activities and amenities. Looking for a mid sized community 80k, good medical facilities, mid to lower cost of living, tax breaks for seniors, transportation, and somewhere where the weather is not in the extremes in the summer or winter.

    Pacific northwest is an option, but still exploring.

    by Iwashere — June 28, 2013

  214. In response to the posted comments:

    My wife and I have been struggling for over a year to find affordable housing and the experience has been very interesting. I researched the Pacific Northwest and the weather in some parts can be very attractive but unless you want to live in extremely small towns away from even the basic ammenities, the cost of living and especially housing is very high (depending on your financial situation).

    Unfortunately, when it comes to finances the cost of housing (the largest part of the cost of living) it’s not easy to find decent housing in the up to $150k price range. I realize that is well below the national median house price and extremely low for many retirees, but as my financial advisor constantly reminds me, you better have enough resources available to avoid out living them.

    Using my wife and I as an example, we have close to 500K in investment savings, no debt whatsover, steller credit history and credit scores that rank higher than 81 percent of U.S. consumers. We have two mortgage approvals from Wells Fargo and Coldwell Banker Mortgage for well over $200K and enough cash to put 20-30 percent down and cover closing costs. I have no idea how that compares to the average 55 plus boomer, but its not enough to plow much of it into housing (3-2 and 1500 SF) without being at risk of out living what’s left (being in excellent health and according to my advisor).

    The choice between living in a 55 plus community or other setting is not only a life style issue, but also a financial one:

    As evidenced by 90 percent or more of the age restricted communities listed on this website, except for leased-lot manufactured home communities rarely seen listed, the focus of developers is on the “affluent” retire and luxury level housing with “country club” ammenities. The fees at a Del Webb type community can run anywhere from $250 to near $1000 a month when you include the developers fees with the HOA fees.

    Planned communities that are not age restricted may also come with monthly HOA fees, along with young children, adolescents, and uncontrolled barking dogs that pose there own form of unattractiveness.

    Whether you stay out of planned communities or live in other areas, there is still the challenge of being within reasonable distance to medical, retail, fitness, and adult social resources that are at least minimally available in age-restricted communities.

    I believe the social impact on the constantly growing number of “boomers” is yet to be felt or recognized in terms of the available retirement housing. There just isn’t enough profit to be made by developers to warrant “budget” or “intermediate” priced housing as long as there is a continuing stream of “affluent” buyers. Where does that leave those with financial resources similar too or less than my own without quickly exhausting those resources?

    I apoligze for “highjacking” this string of comments, but had to get my thoughts out there in the hope of generating a conversation among those that follow this forum. If there is a better place to do so, please make a recommendation and I’ll be glad to go there since my comments are only a glimps of what I could express.

    Art & Pat

    by Art Jamison — June 28, 2013

  215. I am a single 63 yrs old female with very low income. Many of the communities discussed here are completely out of my budget. I will probably wind up either in a mobile home community, or renting in an apartment complex. I’m constantly amazed at reading comments of people clearly more affluent than me, and most of their conversation is focused on the house they are looking for. Wats up with this obsession on housing? To me, the house is the least important part of the picture. A house is just a house. Quality of life as related to environment (weather, cleanliness, style…desert, mountains, ocean…etc), Rural, suburban, urban…..accessibility of transportation and health care. So many other things out weigh my concern about my ‘house’. If I can find the place I want to be, I’m willing to rent or buy a mobile home or whatever is required to make it affordable. I’m just not that interested in the merits or demerits of house construction quality at del Webb communities. Really, is that where u want to focus your energy in these last phases of our lives?

    by Ginger — June 28, 2013

  216. We moved from nj to pa and hate it. Its like the wild west up here. We pay very high dues as we live in a beautiful community but the summer people come up and the place is packed and fireworks are going off all the time. Outside of the community people shoot guns all the time just for fun. There are no local police depts. only the state police and they do not respond at all. We have thought about florida but don’t know about the heat. Now we’re looking into Delaware. Does anyone know anything about Delaware Thanks for your help Janis and Mike

    by janis orrico — June 28, 2013

  217. hi janis..well we looked alot in delaware..many nice communities..low property tax..but the big difference between delaware and pa is personal income pa does not tax any retirement income pension,social,401 $,and that makes it attractive..but delaware does tax income over a certain amt..and the homes are more expensive so have to work the math..and we like the beach and fishing (salt water) so that draws us as well as others..and the other BIG thing is that del seems to have very good medical thats important no matter what ones age..
    sure love this website as it allows for a great exchange..we are also going to pa to look so any other blogs would be helpful

    by robbie — June 29, 2013

  218. Hi Janis,

    Are you Janis Sommers? I am Tooty’s cousin, Bobbie. We recently bought a home at Vitalia in Traditions in Port St. Lucie, FL. It is the 55+ active community within the master planned community of Traditions. It is really beautiful and the new 27,000 sf clubhouse is being built at this time. We do have a smaller clubhouse and pool and lots of activities with a full time activities director. Shopping and restaurants are a mile away and more shopping is just 2 miles away. We have several Butler High School grads living there, my sister Pat and her husband Chuck Wotruba and Billy Coutts and his sister Joann and another couple a little older than us. The homes are the best priced for a Florida active gated community. After the first summer most people say you get used to the summer heat The temps have been in the mid 80’s for June so far. I am a snowbird now but plan to be a full time resident. Rick Rymer is a great salesperson there, Vitalia at Traditions. I thought about DE too, but it is like South Jersey so cold in the winter and very crowded in the summer. If you take a visit to Vitalia let me know on facebook.

    by Barbara McKernan — June 29, 2013

  219. Hi Janis – I live in Maryland – about 18 miles from the Delaware line. I am looking to relocate to De some time in the future – two of my kids live in northern/central Delaware. I would like to move further south towards the water – there are several mobile home parks which are nice and some communitites that are reasonable such as Hearthstone Manor in Milton – condos and single family homes. Anything really close to the water is expensive.

    No sales tax, and if you are a senior citizen, they have deals, low property tax too

    by Carol — June 29, 2013

  220. Janis, where in PA do you live? I am seriously thinking about the Lehigh Valley. Grew up just across the river in Jersey, but the cost differences are in favor of PA.

    by Rita — June 29, 2013

  221. Janis I would also like to know where in PA (and from where in NJ) you live. I just cannot imagine Philadelphia being like the wild west. I grew up in North Jersey (congested, but nice and no longer avoidable) and even a small state like NJ is very different from Sussex to Garfield to the Jersey shore. I am considering PA, but want to avoid places like you describe.

    I would like to hear about nice communities/cities in NC, SC, PA. I know I do not want rural. And adult communities just depends…I have seen some that might work, but most do not appear single friendly and many are just plain out of my price range.

    by Elaine — June 29, 2013

  222. Art,
    Have you researched the Spokane area? If yes, was this one of those too expensive or not enough of your criteria? Any other listed with experience with Spokane?

    by Elaine — June 29, 2013

  223. Elaine,

    The best place to research any state/city/town is City-Data at where you will not only get every statistic about every issue related to “where to live” but without them recommending the “BEST place to live” PLUS there are forums where you can get every point of view from one extreme to the other and plenty of opportuntiy to connect with posters on a one-to-one basis. I have had members actually meet me in places (ST. Augustine) and spend four hours showing my wife and I all around the areas of our interest after communicating with emails prior to that.

    The next best place for an overview with external useful links is the popular Wikipedia website. Not as personilized or as expansive as City-Data but an excellent resource: (just keep in mind that Spokane is near the Idaho border and the climate is much different than the Pacific Coast).

    Not the best but a fairly good “Retirement” book for Washington State is “Choose the Pacific Northwest for Retirement” that you can get for a modest price (if your really interested in Washington) but it doesn’t include Spokane for the reason mentioned above. Most retirees are drawn to the coastline rather than the Eastern areas. It also includes Oregon as being similar to Washington.

    Finally, the long standing “Places Rated Almanac: The Classic Guide for Finding Your Best Places to Live in America” is available at Amazon or your larger book stores where you can review it (Barnes & Noble) before investing any money or get a snapshot of any particular area of interest. Of all the “Best Places” books or magazine articles it is based more on facts gathered from creditable sources rather than a staff writer’s opinion. It doesn’t “recommend” anything and lets you draw your own conclusion.

    I hope this helps you and any other posters that might not be familiar with these resources.

    Editor’s Note: Thank you very much Elaine for adding these helpful references. We will pile on with a little more on this subject: It is a great tool, especially for the facts like housing prices, population and demographics, crime rates, climate, hospitals, etc. The links to its Forum can be very useful, although in our experience many of the people there are folks with either too much time on their hands or young families moving there because of employment changes. has no info about city history or what it is like to live there.

    Wikipedia. Great for the part of the story doesnt provide. You get the history and culture and a lot about the city that is interesting. Usually written from a young person’s perspective. We like to think we provide a good capsule summary of all of the information categories a retiree might be interested in. We do use City-Data and Wikipedia for background, along with other sources. Don’t miss our article, “Find Out What It’s Like to Retire Anywhere“, which publishes a list of many of our best sources for finding out all kinds of info about places to retire.

    by Art — June 29, 2013

  224. I hear you, Ginger. The kind of house I wind up in is much less important than the other things you mention – environment, health care, location …
    STILL & ALL — I know I have to be at least somewhat concerned with the construction of the building (especially since in my case too my budget won’t go very far). I plan to be spending many years in the place I choose, and I need a solid structure that will last. Shoddy materials and poor design just mean a lot of money going down the drain in the coming years — money that I don’t & probably will never have. So I need a living space that will last.
    I would much rather spend the next few decades making art instead of making repairs!

    by Judith — June 29, 2013

  225. I’ve been lookiing around PA, and like the Harrisburg area. On the other hand, I live in Western PA (Pittsburgh area) and love the low cost of living, friendliness for seniors, and all of the amenities. Of course, it’s 4th season can get very cold, but its Falls are gorgeous (go Steelers). My biggest negative about staying here is the fact that there is a lack of suitable homes for retirees outside the county limits (to take advantage of lower real estate taxes) in the $200,000-$300,000 range. Developers here aren’t really going after this market demographic, which is silly in view of Allegheny County’s older population.

    I’ve discovered that the developers who advertise condos or houses “starting at …$” can’t be trusted to mean that the actual prices are anything close to that price. Two weeks ago a saleswoman told me with a straight face that their typical buyer adds $100,000 in upgrades.

    Just my opinion, of course, but I’ve been casually hunting for a retirement home for quite a while now. I’m disappointed by the lack of reasonably priced elder housing here.

    by Sharon — June 30, 2013

  226. Being previously from the Lancaster Pa area we investigated moving back to that great area – only one thing wrong and that is they still get Seniors on the School tax and the house prices really have not taken a beating like some other parts of the country,

    Bottom line – as “Seasoned citizens” we cannot afford to move back to that area on our limited budget.

    Reading some of these comments it’s interesting how many Seniors seem to have great amounts of money to retire on – I am jealous. Not of them but the fact that I don’t have those funds. More power to them – guess they were smarter than I/LOL


    by Robert — June 30, 2013

  227. It sounds as though Janis may have relocated to somewhere near the Pocono Mountains in PA, hence the ‘Wild West’ description! It was once a lovely rural area with beautiful mountains, clean streams and friendly neighbors. Then, ironically, in an attempt to seek a better life and education for their kids, folks from NY and NJ moved here. A strange faction followed them bringing crime and drugs, especially in the gated communities in which these newcomers felt most safe. School taxes skyrocketed due to the influx of kids – mine went up 400% in 20 years! And yes there are no local police departments in many areas – that would require MORE taxes – and the fire departments are all volunteer. Then the housing crash occurred and sheriff’s sales and foreclosures are through the roof. Once full schools are getting empty so community school buildings stand empty and are for sale, but the taxes don’t go down. And yes, gun-shooting is a cheap form of entertainment that is perfectly legal! Moral of this story: talk to residents before you move and do a month’s (or more) trial run first. I could never in good conscience recommend this area any longer while once it seemed like paradise. We’ve bought in Asheville, NC.

    by cherie — June 30, 2013

  228. Just a note for those folks who are thinking about moving to PA. I just returned from a road trip that included a lovely drive through the wildlands of this magnificent state — and discovered that fracking seems to be over-running even these wilderness areas.
    In other words, make sure you investigate environmental issues (and potential hazards) before you fall in love with an area.

    by Judith KT — June 30, 2013


    by JANIS ORRICO — June 30, 2013

  230. Florida – for those of you thinking of new construction in Florida, prices have gone up over 8% and when you add in the increase in lot prices as well as the reduction of incentive money it works out to well over 10%. The home we purchased in December 2012, which we will be closing on, on July 12th, would cost us an additional $48K to duplicate a little more than 12%. The sad part, our development was not supposed to be sold out until mid 2015, but as per my last conversation with my sales agent was sold out the last week of June 2013.

    Additionally, if you add in the rise in interest rates, we might have been priced out of the new constuction market completely!!!

    This is not a hurry up and buy comment, but just what I have seen happening in several of the area’s that my wife and I considered buying in.

    by Russ — July 1, 2013

  231. I’m looking at 55+ communities as well as several “family” developments in Northampton County, PA (also known as the Lehigh Valley). Anyone have any experience with HOAs in this area; or experience “living” in this area? I’ll be looking at homes later this month (July).

    by Rita — July 1, 2013

  232. Art, thanks for a reminder about city- data as well as the other information. It was actually Spokane’s difference in weather than was appealing to me. I will probably stick to my interest in the east coast, but always looking for a new place to explore.

    by Elaine — July 1, 2013

  233. Has anyone done any research into Greenville SC. Housing prices seem reasonable and taxes are affordable. Any thoughts.

    by jane — July 1, 2013

  234. read todays blogs always seem to pick up a tip and thank ‘one and all’ just a quick reply to first Russ..who stated his mome price rose 48k in 6 months..well good luck that means the house to rise 48k was a price of 480k at your purchase..and sonds like some castle in florida ..
    and second Janis nice comments to let others know the situation and where to look and what when on our Delaware next we just spent 2 weeks there and visited many nice communities but it seems like because the tax is so low (property) they take advantage of the home price and almost anywhere we looked with just a small addittion of flooring etc then the site could add 20k and was just around 300k as a full point being that a similiar home in SO COROLINA was 240k and many more recreation amenities ie indoor/outdoor pools ..then in Florida..the cost was the same but Delaware taxes inc=me not do the math before buying..and finally ,, in Florida we were having major stumbling blocks to find insuance companies that will issue a policy in Fl even on new homes that meet new hurricane codes..we always check anywhere we look with insurers for quotes..SC had no problem ..good luck

    by Robbie — July 1, 2013

  235. To Robbie

    Not that rich..our price soup to nuts was less than $400K…in April 2012 the list price of our home was $362K, in June 2013 it was $399K, lot prices went up 10K to 20K or more, incentive money dropped from $25K to $10K and the option prices: ie: tile, granite, carpet, etc..went up as well…and as the development started selling out there was a bidding war on the remaining lots and houses…

    And yes…insurance was a hugh decision on where, what and type of home we were going to buy. We actually priced insurance 1st before we started looking at homes and that’s when we ruled out a resale that was more than 10 years old. Our insurance costs will be less than $2K a year which includes hurricane, flood, hazard, etc… The vehicle insurance is were they get you, for that is about $1,000 more than here in NY.

    We looked in the carolina’s but ruled it out after downloading and filling out the state’s tax returns based upon what our retirement income was going to be. Also, My wife only wants to see snow on the TV or on vacation again.

    Additionally, my daughter, son-in-law and grand child live on Long Island, NY and they can easily catch a flight at McCarther(?)Airport and land in Palm Beach Airport within 4 hours of leaving their house. About the same amount of time it takes to drive from LI to where we currently live in NY. Another decision in why we chose Florida.

    But thanks for you comment and enjoy the Carolina’s..

    by Russ — July 2, 2013

  236. Robbie thanks for breaking it all down for us. Taxes and Insurance rates are so important they can make or break a decision. Live a long life in your new home!

    by RUBYTUESDAY — July 2, 2013

  237. Housing costs and taxes are critical aspects in retirement decisions. But the most important factor is finding a place where you and your spouse or partner are truly comfortable. The lowest costs mean nothing if you are unhappy in your chosen community. I urge all clients to do several things in the selection process, including actually spending real time in places under consideration, and researching the history, culture, and society of each place. There is no perfect place for retirement, but local ways and long-standing histories can make or break your enjoyment.

    by Dr. Judith P. Sinclair — July 2, 2013

  238. Hi Everyone, My husband and I are both retired in our mid 50’s. We have been looking at and researching communities in states like Virginia, Delaware and Pennsylvania. What we are looking for is a community that is walkable, in other words, having medical, shopping, restaurants, entertainment etc. in the same community with townhomes and single family homes. We have found one of these in New Town, Williamsburg,Virginia but are there any others?? Thank you!

    by RoniC — July 2, 2013

  239. Has anyone here ever checked out Mississippi? Specifically the Oxford Mississippi area or the gulf area around Biloxi?

    by Ira — July 2, 2013

  240. Hi Ira. I live close to Biloxi, Ms. I know a lot about that area. There is much to do if you like fishing and gambling and eating. Unfortunately, it is hurricane central. The Cat islands cause the funky water to stay close to shore there. To see the beautiful gulf waters you need to go to the other side of the islands or drive to Pensacola, Fl., which is only an hour away. I have friends looking at Oxford, Ms. They are going to visit there soon. I’ll let you know what they have to say. I am looking to leave the heat and humidity and hurricanes. But, many people love it there.

    by Jony — July 2, 2013

  241. Russ – That was a great idea about getting the state tax returns! I’ll definitely try doing that for each of the states that I’m currently considering. Florida is back on my list. I met someone this weekend who has retired to Florida, who said that the high Homeowner Assn fees that I heard about were quarterly fees, as opposed to the monthly fees quoted to me in Pennsylvania. Duh. I hadn’t thought about that possibility!

    by Sharon — July 3, 2013

  242. Ira — I’ve been giving some thought to Oxford MS too, specifically because of its small town atmosphere mixed with academia (U of Mississippi). There’s also the Faulkner connection, & a lot of scholarly conferences. Probably one of the best educated small towns in the south.
    It’s on some of the “best small towns” lists. Medical facilities readily available. Affordable.
    But SOOOO hot.

    by Judith KT — July 3, 2013

  243. Thanks for the replies about Mississippi. I live in Texas, so I know about hot, but I don’t like the idea of hurricanes. That’s why I have been thinking about Oxford. When I retire, we’ll probably stay in the south 9 months of the year and head to Wisconsin in the summer.

    by Ira — July 3, 2013

  244. This comment came via email from Dena:
    I am a 62 single female looking for an adult rental community that has other singles. I would also like to be able to see some type of water, either lake, river or ocean, ocean being my first choice. I have always dreamed of living where I can hear the waves and look at the ocean. Is there anywhere like this?

    by Admin — July 3, 2013

  245. RoniC: Media PA would fit your requirements. Also has public transportation that goes in to Philadelphia. Swarthmore and West Chester PA may also suit your needs, though Swarthmore is pretty pricy. Fabulous free concerts from Swarthmore College Jazz Band though!

    by Julie — July 3, 2013

  246. Has anyone looked at Durango, Co.? We plan to visit sometime later this summer. It sounds nice, but have any of you been there?

    by Jony — July 4, 2013

  247. We looked at Branson, Mo. because there is so much to do there and it is a lovely drive up to Eureka Springs, Arkansas. That is one of my favorite areas to visit in the early spring. However, we have taken it off the list because of the ice storms in winter and an abundance of ticks in the areas where we would be hiking. Bummer!

    by Jony — July 4, 2013

  248. I lived in Colorado for 15 years. Durango is lovely. lovely and very expensive. Caution: A friend of mine owns a condo there. Apparently several builders built condos and they are not to code.

    by Krystyna — July 5, 2013

  249. There was a request in the “Wanted: Your Member Input” forum for eclectic, walkable towns. I can’t think of anywhere better than Northampton, MA, for sheer walkability. Just the right size to spend the afternoon checking out galleries, shops, street musicians, all kinds of one-of-a-kind places. So far the Big Box stores have failed to kill downtown Northampton. It even still has a record store (as in vinyl!) for us boomer types. Lots of pedestrian crosswalks which the drivers actually pay attention to. (Yes, drivers are POLITE in Noho.)
    Also, for those who have trouble with all that walking, there are LOTS of wheelchair-accessible places. In fact, when I first moved to Western MA (I live just a few miles away from Northampton) I thought to myself that I’d never ever seen so many wheelchairs cruising down the sidewalks as they do in this terrific little town.
    If I could afford to, I would definitely summer right here in Western MA & go South only for the winter. But the one downside of the area is that the winters can be very cold and snowy.

    by Judith Keefer — July 5, 2013

  250. My wife and I reside in Las Cruces, NM and are anxious to leave. Have researched and visited Tupelo, MS. Any comments or info we missed would be great

    by Sam — July 5, 2013

  251. Sam, may I ask why you are anxious to leave Las Cruces, NM? I’m afraid I know little about Tupelo.

    by Jony — July 5, 2013

  252. Krystyna, Thanks for the headsup about the condo’s in Durango, Co. We will be very cognizant of that when we look.

    by Jony — July 5, 2013

  253. This may sound like a strange question, but it is important to me. Are there Italian American communities in Colorado or Washington State? I was raised in New Orleans where we are plentiful. We are all up the Northeast Coast, but I prefer the Northwest’s climate. It would be nice to grow older around folks that I can culturally relate to. I love baking Italian pastries and sharing them.

    by Jony — July 5, 2013

  254. The wife and I have been looking around on line trying to find a place we want to live in. We live in Madison Indiana in a great small town on the Ohio river. There are great things here and we would probably stay here but the wife has some allergy problems because of the river. I would love to move to FL or TX but we have the standard grand children issue. Does anyone live in the Murray KY area or Parris TN and have some idea how much allergy(mold) problems they have in the area.

    by Keith — July 5, 2013

  255. Jony.
    There are lots of folks of Italian descent throughout Colorado. However, the Italian communities are mainly in the larger front-range cities–Denver, Colorado Springs, and Pueblo. There is an Italian community newspaper in Denver There are several Sons of Italy chapters in Colorado

    by Erik — July 6, 2013

  256. Jony, that is a very good question and I look forward to the answers you get. I am also an Italian American and my husband and I are looking in the Oregon or Washington State areas for retirement places. We are not looking for age restricted communities just a nice place to retire out of California.

    by Jane — July 6, 2013

  257. I did a Google search (I am a research librarian) Apparently yes in Colorado. There is a newsletter Benevenuto
    and this list of Italian American Organizations in Colorado in the left hand column of the newsletter.

    Seattle “city of neighborhoods” and Tacoma have them. Info. from There are 29 communities in Clarksburg, Fairmont and Morgantown.

    by Krystyna — July 6, 2013

  258. God bless you, Krystyna. That was so kind of you to find out all that information for me. I will take advantage of it all.

    by Jony — July 6, 2013

  259. Krystyna, I’m also a librarian, a school librarian, and I also love to do research. We are truly a special breed.

    by Rita — July 7, 2013

  260. Clarksburg, Fairmont, and Morgantown are in West Virginia.

    by easilyamused — July 7, 2013

  261. Has anyone looked at Ocala, FL (particularly Top of the World)? I’m intrigued by the classes and activities at their community center, and have sent for information. Trying to figure out whether it’s worth the time and expense of a trip from Pennsylvania.

    by Sharon — July 7, 2013

  262. Hi Sharon we believe the trip would be worth it ‘sort of a little vacation ‘ at the same time ..what was nice a few of the largerst retirement communities in Florida are in one area around Ocala..each one is somewhat unique in its own way..the Villages was a fun trip although was not for us..but it was fun watching all the activity and golf carts galore all on their own roads (no autos) so people can travel safely that way..did not check out medical but the sales pitch says they are the best..but we always do our own checking..
    we have a friend who goes there and rents a villa for weeks at a time and they are furnished and usually have a golf cart to use included..we do have a web site about renting if interested..what we found not in our desires was the proximity to beaches least an hour plus..but was an interesting trip ..we did not stay on location as we have a travel trailer..
    and by the way we are also going to look in Pa for homes..and mostly what we know so far ..fair treatment for retiree pensions..and prives looked pretty tax ate up some dollars but will check it out ..we are not familiar with all Pa but we ran across a website for ‘Landmark Homes’ Lancaster County so will start there..any advice you could provide would be greatly appreciated..thanks
    and Del Webb has a nice community in Ocala area..

    by Robbie — July 7, 2013

  263. Hi Robbie: Can u pls share that website for villa rentals in the Ocala area?

    by sheila — July 7, 2013

  264. Hello Robbie: Would you be kind enough to submit the website for renting in The Villages in FL. Thanks

    by Barbara Eberhardt — July 7, 2013

  265. Sharon,
    We did a stay and play at Terra Vista which is about 25 minutes from Ocala. The community is very resort like, gorgeous with lovely amenities and interesting home plans. Not your typical run of the mill. We received a tour of the surrounding areas. It is very rural, with rolling hills and rivers. Scenic. We went to the beach, about 8 miles away. It was very small, dirty, not at all scenic. Ocala would not suit my needs. When we asked what is there we kept being told about the inexpensive chain restaurants and the new Wal Mart. Everyone loved that addition. It was a tedious drive to Ocala. The people we talked to in the development raved about the community and were very friendly. They said they never leave, but are content with all the activities within. I wanted to like it as it was gorgeous and roomy, without congestion. But, we will be youngish retires (60), and we love exploring, culture, the art, etc.. It is not there for us. As soon as we hit Sarasota again ( for the 4th time in two years) we knew we were home with all the activities and unique restaurants and all the gorgeous beaches and so much more. We have since purchased a lot and are in the midst of designing our home. Now obviously the Ocala area appeals to a lot of people, but first I think you need to know what sort of lifestyle you want to lead. That will determine whether or not it is right for you..

    by Kathi M — July 7, 2013

  266. To anyone interested in moving to areas where fracking is happening or on the horizon – be sure to ask about water quality and check it yourself. Better to know to look for this before buying in an area where there are problems emerging.

    by Karen V — July 7, 2013

  267. Rita: I started off as a certified K-12 librarian, moved on to being a law librarian, and now work in civil engineering. If anyone wants my job, I will be retiring at Thanksgiving. Nice big office with two windows in Albuquerque.

    by Krystyna — July 7, 2013

  268. Hi Barbara..the we site was given to me by a friend who uses it frequently..I did look at it and seems very good..I was told this site eliminates going through realtors who get a commission etc..
    the rental includes (most times) a home /villa with all furnishing except bed linen which most prefer their own..also , a golf cart and acess to all ameneties ie cllubhouse pools and golf..the site has pictures /availabile dates/pictures of home and rent etc..
    hope you find it helpful..
    let me know ..also, some homes allow small pets..good luck

    by Robbie — July 8, 2013

  269. Kristi – Thanks for the info. Also found out that Top of the World is a leasehold (99 yr leases), which doesn’t work for me. It doesn’t sound like Ocala would work after all. I’m trying to do as much research as possible without visiting yet, since I have a boss who as a panic attack if I say the “V” word (vacation). I’m in my early 60s so I have a little time, unless I become one of the many people who get laid off at this age. If that happens, I think I’ll be ok with a reduced retirement income in exchange for the trade-off in stress levels. I did take a trip over to the Eastern part of PA to look at two communities, and found the one near Mechanicsburg to be very appealing. I didn’t care for the one near Lancaster, since it felt too rural. I have been spoiled by the number of hospitals, doctors, and amenities in the Pittsburgh area. I would probably stay here within the 10-15 mile range outside Allegheny County/Pittsburgh in order to get reduced property taxes, but there isn’t much suitable housing in that $200,000-$300,000. price range. By the time you add necessary “options” to the base prices, you’re going over $300,000 (so far every condo that I’ve looked at has had HOA fees between $165 and $200 per month).

    by Sharon — July 8, 2013

  270. Shelia, please see my response to Barbara ref:to villages..did not see you comment til after I sent that..Good Luck

    by Robbie — July 8, 2013

  271. hi everybody . there is a small town near st peter florida on the water the name is gulfport. any coments or info espesial for a condo 55+ (town shore condos)thank you

    by chris dedes — July 8, 2013

  272. I guess I spend too much time on Facebook, since I often find myself starting to click “like” on some of this board’s messages. 😯
    If there were a “like” function, I would definitely click on Karen V’s post. Fracking is a real issue. Water is our most important resource, and some very nice communities are getting screwed.
    Here’s a website with some useful information:

    This is an even more graphic representation of fracking across the US, including “fraccidents.”

    Editor’s note: Karen makes a good point you should consider all types of issues, including fracking, when considering a retirement location. And thanks to Judith for more resources. But now that we have covered it, let’s get back to the topic of best places to retire. Thanks

    by Judith Keefer — July 8, 2013

  273. After seeing mention of “Solivita” in central FL we checked it out and found that the tax picture can be on the high side if the home is in a Community Development District (CDD) of which they have two there. The non-valorem tax can be as much as the valorem tax in some cases.
    Question #1 – Has anyone had experience to share regarding CDD’s since I believe there are numerous ones all around the country.
    Question #2 – Does anyone familiar with Solivita know if the proposed incorporation of Poinciana has occurred and does it include Solivita?
    It would be great if someone familiar with Solivita would be willing to address other questions outside the forum.

    by Pat — July 8, 2013

  274. Hello Robbie,

    Your information was extremely helpful and much appreciated. We have just sold our house and thought this might be the best way to find out if The Villages is for us. Thanks so much.

    by Barbara Eberhardt — July 8, 2013

  275. Kathi M., I was reading your blog. It sounds like me when I was in Orlando. I wanted to visit Ocala, and some of the retirement communities there. The drive was so boring I never made to the communities. I did visit Solvita. It was nice. But I hear about crime outside of the community. Now Sarasoda does sounds nice. Did you purchase your lot in a retirement community? I hear a lot about home owners insurance is very high in Florida. Did you research insurance in Sarsasoda? I’m looking for a retirement community in Florida. Not sure where.Just my thoughts.

    by Vincent — July 9, 2013

  276. thanks Robbie. Got it! 🙂

    by sheila — July 9, 2013

  277. Vincent,
    We researched Sarasota thoroughly, and, it being a smallish city, it doesn’t have a lot of retirement communities. One there that we did like was Esplanade. Nice floor plans, good amenities with an activities director. It is in Lakewood Ranch. And they are just starting another one about 2 miles from Siesta Key. The thing I didn’t like was that there were a defined number of floor plans, so the housing looked repetitious, and the houses were pretty close together. They also had smaller villas. Also, my husband and I feel that our lives would be more interesting with people of all ages around us. So we didn’t feel an age restricted community was necessary. The community we purchased in was in a new section of Rosedale that just opened. It is a gated community. The timing was perfect for us as we were able to grab a lot on one of their large “ponds”. One of the great things about Rosedale is that there are no CDD’s. There is a pool, fitness center, golf course with a restaurant(mandatory spending amount), and activities director. We are not in a flood plain. I will be honest and say that we did not research insurance because it wouldn’t have made a difference. We have fallen in love with this town. It is exciting. There is so much to do that you don’t need a retirement community. Now you may hear people also talk about the crime in the area. I live in metro Chicago and we hear about its crime in the news all the time. But, outside of the odd occurrence, the crime is in a few pockets. Sarasota also has its pockets, as I think most cities do. I have never felt any degree of danger there. The people are so friendly. Hope this helps.

    by Kathi M — July 9, 2013

  278. For those of you considering PA, be aware that property taxes can vary greatly, even within the same neighborhood. Spot reassessment is illegal in PA, so there has to be an area wide reassessment, something that is very expensive, or an event that can trigger tax reassessment like putting in an addition. This means that older homes tend to be much lower in taxes than new construction, often times even if they have been updated.

    We live in PA currently, and have checked it out for retirement, but have decided to move further south. Yes, environmentals were an issue, fracking plus water and air quality. We checked out Pittsburgh, which is very interesting in terms of reasonably priced, great medical and lots to do. Also very much liked the Hershey, PA area, which also has good medical, activities, and reasonable prices, and there are many nice towns in the Philly burbs if your budget is higher. The state is well worth checking out…carefully.

    by Julie — July 10, 2013

  279. Ahhh — Does the town of Hershey still smell of chocolate?
    That would be one very good enticement, right there!

    by Judith Keefer — July 10, 2013

  280. Pennsylvania???? you better check out the township, borough, county, and city taxes for each area. Each town supports ALOT of government. I worked there for many years but refused to move to a state where water hydrants are taxed if near your home, fireplaces, pools, etc

    by Sue — July 11, 2013

  281. Sue, you are absolutely right that you need to do your due diligence for each place you consider in PA, and even each house, as taxes can vary greatly. However the biggest local tax issue for PA is earned income, which should not be all that big a deal for retirees. PA is very big on give backs to the elderly. I believe in fact that it is the only state where lottery proceeds go to that demographic rather than the schools, and one of the few that does not tax private pensions or indeed any kind of retirement income. Also watch out for transfer taxes on homes. Ask your Realtor or Google the question as they can range from 2% basic to 5% in Reading, a cost which is typically split between buyer and seller.

    Judith, there are times when Hershey still smells of chocolate. There have been layoffs at the plants in recent years, and housing is still recovering. There are some good deals to be had, and of course, plenty to entertain the grands.

    by Julie — July 11, 2013

  282. Kathi M. Thanks for the information. Good luck to you.

    by vincent — July 11, 2013

  283. Hi, We relocated to SW FL 34 years ago. As our retirement approaches, we really want to get out of here. After some research and a short list of needs and wants, we are considering the research triangle of NC. Although camping, backpacking, and birding our on our list of wants, our needs include great healthcare options and excellent public transportation. We have been gathering info about the Durham area. Does anyone have a comment that might prove helpful? Thanks.

    by Kathy B. Williamson — July 12, 2013

  284. Kathy B Williamson, our very dear friends live in Chapel Hill, NC in an area called Governor’s Club. It is beautiful, I mean beyond beautiful ; however, a bit pricey for us. While visiting the area we saw many places that were very nice and also reasonable. I hear both Raleigh as well as Durham are nice and reasonable, but if you’re concerned about property taxes, they vary from county to county and the counties kind of interweave the Research Triangle area-so ask! We would have moved into the area, but allergies are quite bad and I don’t want to deal with that level of allergies any more.

    by DianaF — July 12, 2013


    by janis — July 12, 2013

  286. Kathy – check out NC real good before locating. Taxes are high especially compared to N.E. TN. Granted a beautiful area around the Smokeys. We were considering NC & and then we journeyed across the mountains and found NE TN!

    Good Luck


    by Robert — July 13, 2013

  287. Robert,

    Where in NE TN are you? Just curious as my husband and I are thinking about looking there.



    by Fionna — July 13, 2013

  288. Kathy B. Williamson, we are retiring to NC, we have been looking at Fuquay Varina, Willow Springs, Holly Springs, Apex, Cary, which are all reasonlably close to Raleigh. We find these areas to be better than Durham or Raleigh.

    by Monica McG — July 13, 2013

  289. Good choices Monica buy Cary is more expensive than the others.

    by Dick — July 14, 2013

  290. Cary is a little more but lately we have been finding single homes available, rentals are easy but I do find the 55+ higher. We are looking for a single home without the hassle of subdivisions (though they are very nice, they are a little too close for us). We will rent for a few months while we are looking for our perfect spot.

    by Monica McG — July 14, 2013

  291. to Fionna – unfortunately we are still in God’s waiting room – Daytona beach Florida. Will sell our modular home in the fall (better selling time for all the people who want to move to Fl.

    We plan soon to move to the N.E. section of TN – Dandridge, Cosby, Jefferson city area. Much more affordable than NC AND a tax fiendly state for “seasoned citizens” as I like to call myself

    by Robert — July 14, 2013

  292. My first comment on this site. Certainly found many interesting and informative comments from the users. Should be retired – in my early 70’s – but don’t feel it yet – other than 1 bum knee. Currently in western NJ on small (now inactive) horse farm & have been talking about leaving for years. Now in a crunch – no more farm taxes & this state is all about money – they want every penny you have. Have 6 grown children – all over the country. Single for years & have hiked, camped & travelled in most states mentioned. Have ruled out FL (best friend lives in Naples – love visiting but simply too HOT). Seashore not my cup of tea – great for vacation. SO – have zeroed in on mid-southeastern area – VA, NC & SC – western parts closest to mtns. w/4 seasons which are milder than NE (originally from Buffalo, NY – land of ice & snow – still visit for friends & reunions). Although I have seriously covered SW SC – Clemson,Anderson area – still think heat & humidity a big issue. Asheville, NC is beautiful town but agree that hippie atmosphere has started to be a problem (they do call it the Princeton of the South)& costs of living & homes are higher. Have zeroed in on SW VA area near Roanoke. Looking primarily between Smith Mtn. Lake & Roanoke. Lots of little towns and simple single family homes on 1 or 2 acres with reasonable prices and taxes. Really do not want a retirement community – but my own little plot for a veggie garden & old barn cats to enjoy. Maybe a new puppy too. Has anyone investigated that area of VA at all?

    And a litle note to Robert about NE Tenn. Received a brochure from Jefferson County – it looked inviting so good luck to you & your wife.:razz:

    by hoofprints — July 15, 2013

  293. Hoofprint, check out PA. It’s closer, cooler and state tax friendlier. Watch the realestate and school taxes though. Good luck.

    by Billy — July 17, 2013

  294. Hoofprint, I hear very good things about Boone NC

    by Ginger — July 17, 2013

  295. Boone, NC is an adorable little college town but if you’re looking to escape the winter, Boone still gets snow and cold. Asheville is rather hippie in nature but it’s other nickname is the Paris of the South! I think the hippie image is softened by the artsy overtones. We just bought a lot there within a 10 minute walk of downtown, the UNC campus and 2 farmer’s markets yet the neighborhood is tree-lined with a suburban feel.
    Re: PA taxation. Yes, the lottery money goes to the elderly but that is because the elderly suffer the greatest by the heavy property/school tax burden that increases yearly. There is currently yet another tax reform bill moving through the legislature but tax reform has been a hot button issue since I moved here 23 years ago and nothing has happened yet.

    by cherie — July 17, 2013

  296. My wife and I are recently retired, living in an expensive suburb in northern N.J. Have looked into many of the places mentioned here for both weather and tax reasons. Have come to the conclusion that renting for the winter months in Longboat Key, Fl., rather than buying and going for a whole lot of money at this point in our lives( 66 and 62) is a better way to go. Almost made the mistake of buying at the top of the Fl. market about six years ago and thank God we did not.

    My point is,and just an opinion, but be careful of buying right now in these areas. From experience, things are looking a lot like they did six years ago, ie. low interest rates,flipping condos, etc. Look into renting before buying. It makes more sense now than it has in awhile.

    by Ray — August 4, 2013

  297. Hoofprints: “Have zeroed in on SW VA area near Roanoke. Looking primarily between Smith Mtn. Lake & Roanoke.”

    We have picked up a small place about 45 min west of Roanoke and can not wait to move there full time. Coming from PA, which has it’s own pluses and minuses, we are thrilled at the low housing prices and low property taxes. Yes, you pay an annual fee for your vehicles, and income taxes are higher, but the savings in property taxes more than offset that for us, even for a house here in PA comparable to the one we will be downsizing to, rather than the too big one we have now.

    Best of all, the air is so clean it almost hurts your lungs. We have been welcomed into the area strongly and can not get enough of the beauty that surrounds us. Probably will travel in the winter months, which can still be quite cold, though not as bad as here in the Philly area. I feel more at home there in VA after only 18 months of ownership and spotty residence than I feel here in PA after a couple of decades of residence.

    It is a great time to buy out there. The market has not yet rebounded, though it is heading that way.

    by Julie — August 5, 2013

  298. Cherie: ” Yes, the lottery money goes to the elderly but that is because the elderly suffer the greatest by the heavy property/school tax burden that increases yearly.”

    Again, taxes will vary greatly depending on where you are located in PA. In the decade we have lived in our current house in the Philly burbs, our property taxes/school taxes have risen very little…less than inflation. It is important to look for a school district that is stable, not growing. Even if you do not have kids in school, look at the school district to see if there is need for new schools, or if schools need a lot of work. Any sort of infrastructure needs for your area will cost you in taxes.

    IMO every resident benefits from a good school district, particularly those that own rather than rent. A good school district will keep your property values strong, make it easier for you to sell when you chose to do so. You also tend to be interacting with a populace that respects education, and will be less tolerant of mischief. We still consider the schools in our buying decisions, even though our kids will not be using them.

    There are bad tax choices one can make here in PA, and there are wiser choices. Without the restriction of needing to be near work, there is no reason not to make a good choice. I wouldn’t move here only for the taxes, nor is it the primary reason we will leave here, but property taxes are surprisingly under your influence of choice here in PA.

    by Julie — August 5, 2013

  299. A while back Fairfield Glade TN was mentioned and now I am serious about investigating that area, Any comments from folks that live there or have visited? Brenda

    by brenda — August 5, 2013

  300. Hoofprint
    Words of warning about Pennsylvania, bad roads, high taxes (especially the hidden ones) and they LOVE layers and layers of local government.

    by marilyn — August 5, 2013

  301. I lived in Saint Petersburg/Clearwater area for seven years before relocating to Tn.-Nashville. Florida continues to increase taxes, etc. Homeowners fees also never go down, they only increase. Also, you’ll find that too many of the condo developments have too many people clustered together in a very small space which is not a good thing.I loved the area but, the humidity is unbearable in the summer, no season change either, and the cost of living is on the rise.

    by Chuck — August 6, 2013

  302. Another nice area in Saint Petersburg is South Pasadena. It’s close to Gulfport but, you can walk to a few restaurants, grocery stores, a small park, a hospital, and you’re even closer to Saint Pete. Beach. You really don’t even need to use your car much. Gulfport is very nice but, not as many housing choices. It’s kinda’ small, artsy. Nice place, though.

    by Chuck — August 6, 2013

  303. Brenda
    I have a time share at Fairfield Glade, so I have been there several times .. also have visited many other ‘active adult’ communities.
    GOOD: cost of living can not be beat anywhere, quality of golf and price is terrific without having to join anything!! .. very friendly, nice indoor pool, indoor pickleball
    Less Good: a little sleepy, about an hour to decent shopping(Nashville or Knoxville), also an hour+ to an airport, winters are pretty cold for ‘the south’ … fitness center is run by local hospital and is very dated and not good(people are friendly)

    FFG was built as a retirement community 40 years ago and does have an old feeling to it … it is not age restricted and has potential for a great community …

    by Stephen — August 6, 2013

  304. We are driving down to Soith Carolina tomorrow and plan to look at Tellico Village, TN on the way down. We hear that it is a very nice area. Anyone have any thoughts on this area just outside Knoxville? We looked at Fairfield Glade last year. It seemed nice, kind of spread out and somewhat remote.

    by Bill — August 6, 2013

  305. Bill
    We just returned from SC and loved it. However, we are not comfortable with the HOA’s. You have no control over them going up. It’s like an additional tax. You still pay the same amount in city and county taxes, even though your roads, sidewalks, and grounds in a community will not be maintained by the city or county, plus there is this additional “tax” called an HOA.

    by Marilyn — August 6, 2013

  306. Hi Chuck – I’m interested in your experience having lived in FLA but now in TN. I have a daughter in Brentwood/Franklin area and am considering relocating there but other daughter is telling me to look at Florida. I don’t especially enjoy the HOT summers in TN and am therefore leery about FLA. Also, do you find the cost of living less? I do know there are traffic issues in Nashville area; are they worse than you had in FLA? Thanks much, Fred Drews

    by — August 6, 2013

  307. Marilyn,
    We were looking at villas in s city hilton head sc and found the hoa and regime fees to be too expensive. This does not include special assessment fee if one is needed. Even if you paid cash for the l villa, the fees would average over $500 to $600 a month some of the stucco villas have mold issues. These facts were brought to our attention by two different Realtors. I love the area but not the community.

    by Skip — August 6, 2013

  308. Hey Fred-If you think it’s hot in Tn., wait till you live through a summer in Florida! You do adjust, somewhat, after a few years but, it is very humid-to say the least during the summer. Tn. is humid in the summer but, not as much as Florida-and you have season changes. In the area that I lived{Saint Petersburg} there was never any season change-which I missed. My parents live in Florida{Ft. Myers Beach} during the winter but, they can’t take the humidity during the summer months. And my money goes a longer distance in Tn. than Florida. Traffic is worse in Nashville than Atlanta, or Florida-one of the few drawbacks. Your daughter lives in one of the nicest areas of Nashville. I live almost into Wilson county, on the fringe of Nashville to avoid the traffic in the city. But, there are a lot of nice areas to choose from. A lot of people like Murfreesboro but, it’s growing by leaps and bounds. If I stay in this area, I plan on looking at one of the outlying areas-Coffee county{Manchester or Tullahoma-real estate and taxes are much more reasonable than Nashville} or Wilson county{Lebanon}. I also like Franklin but, as you know, it can be very expensive. I also am considering Maury county{Columbia}. I transferred here because the cost of living was getting out of control in Florida. I’m still considering a move back to Florida{I love the beach} but, the cost of living might cause me to stay put even when I retire.Or I might just spend a few months in Florida during the winter months and stay here the rest of the year. Hope this helps.

    by Chuck — August 7, 2013

  309. Fred-another idea might be to take a few weeks in Florida during the summer months, if you’ve never been there during that time of the year, and see what you think. I’m thinking about going that route before I commit to retiring there, even though I’ve lived there before. Also, the cost of living, which appears to be on the rise, concerns me. It’s a beautiful state but, as you know, every area has it’s good and bad points to consider. I plan on my next move being my last.

    by Chuck — August 7, 2013

  310. Regarding HOAs and special assessments: Your home insurance can cover special assessments. Not all of them will, and it might be a special rider you have to pay more for, but someone I know saved about $45,000 this way when it was determined that the front of his high rise condo building was compromised, sliding off, and needed replacement. I can’t remember who the company was…perhaps Travelers? Given the storm damage you could face in the south, I would encourage your looking into it.

    by Julie — August 7, 2013

  311. As a single woman about to retire, I am interested in Wilmington, NC, Leland, NC and specifically Brunswick Forest. But as a single don’t know if I can afford a house and HOAs at the same time. Can there be a limit on how often HOAs are raised?

    by Theresa — August 7, 2013

  312. Thinking about retiring to Arkansas. Any good areas – Bad areas. Taxes?

    by Doc — August 7, 2013

  313. I finished perusing this long list of comments and there are virtually no comments on the Western half of this country. In researching possible places to which my husband and I can escape California, I have eliminated Oregon (least tax friendly for retirement), Washington (western state – gloomy). My husband just returned from checking out the Del Webb Sierra Canyon community in the Reno Nevada area and was totally impressed. It is located in the foothills between Verdi and Reno so it is far enough away from the downtown Reno area but close enough to access good shopping (Trader Joe’s and Costco). Plenty of good eating and entertainment if one chooses for out of town visitors. It is not hot and humid and no bugs big enough to ride. No income tax and a reasonable cost of living (most any place outside of California is), We will continue to research other possibilities and will re-visit Sierra Canyon.
    My main concern is socialization and that is my main reason for seeking an active adult community. Very important for those of us “maturing” (I am not aging). Looking for additional comments.

    by Katherine — August 7, 2013

  314. Skip and Marilyn, where are you getting these HOA fees from…A realator…the fees are 160 per month Sun City…they have not went up in 3 years and then 5.00. Have you looked at all you get there…I spoke to a woman there who has lived there 10 years and have never gotten an assessment..There are places such as Hilton Head Plantation or Windmill Harbor Moss Creek that do charge that kind of HOA but most are in the neighborhood of 200 or less..Hilton Head Lakes is also a GREAT place to look and thier HOA is 100 per month..

    by Paul Schmidt — August 7, 2013

  315. I agree with Katherine that the comments miss the western half of the U.S. And there must be many people that do not want to deal with flying bugs the size of a rat.

    I have lived in Southern California most of my life. It is very much a mixed bag. The area has incredible weather and a great mix of scenery. However, the state of California has extensive financial woes, and no real solution in sight.

    The cost of living is extremely high. For the state to generate much needed revenue, taxes must go even higher. The older I get, the more I realize how crazy it is here. California is just way too crowded, and that is a negative regarding quality of life.

    Politically the state has moved way too far to the left. As a moderate Republican, I find that hard to accept. We are a welfare state with uncontrollable spending and a widening debt structure. This is the opinion I now have on California. I do not believe California is a good place to retire. My opinion. I know many older Californian’s will disagree.

    I would like to see Top Retirements give more focus to the Western United States. There has to be a wide range of people that just prefer the dryness of the West, and the fact that there are a lot less bugs.

    by Bob P — August 7, 2013

  316. RubyTuesday – I just moved from Delaware after 45+ years there (because it is not pedestrian friendly and I wanted a car-free existence). Dover should not be your retirement destination. Lower Delaware (“slower” Delaware to upstate residents) beckons in Sussex County near the beaches in or near to Lewes, Rehoboth or Bethany. Traffic can be a nightmare when summer visitors and residents descend on the area on busy weekends and be aware that hurricanes and other natural events may leave you wishing that your home was on stilts on the other side of the flooded main highway. However, there are no perfect areas, every choice is a trade off, and my family travels from DC and even the west coast to enjoy the pleasures of the Delaware shore.

    by VocaRezun — August 7, 2013

  317. VocaRezun- Where did you move to from Delaware? As I would like to leave expensive overtaxed Maryland to Delaware, nine years from now. I can see actually living in the middle of the Delaware like Milton to be away from the seasonal beach traffic. I did work in the DC area at one time and am used to tourist. But I do not want to be sorry that I moved to a flooded road area.

    by Joyce R — August 8, 2013

  318. Paul, I received the hoa and regime fees from 2 Realtors in the area. These fees are for the attached villa in the older section of sun city Hilton southern area. If you buy a non attached home then yes the hoa fee is cheaper and there is no regime fee. The realtor also warned me that there are attached villas that have mold issues due to the stucco being applied incorrectly! At least there are some honest Realtors out there!

    by Skip — August 8, 2013

  319. Paul
    There are 2 sides to Sun City, in 2 different counties. The newer side has an HOA of $229. per month. I don’t know the HOA on the other side which is the older development. We have this in writing from them, if you have different numbers for sun city in Jasper County, that really surprises me. I agree that there are many amenities for that HOA, including full lawn maintenance.

    by Marilyn — August 8, 2013

  320. Paul
    I just pulled my letter from Sun City to double check the figures, it’s $222. per month (I was mistaken at 229.)in Sun City on the newer side in Jasper Co. This is from the person in Sun City that took us around and showed us the models, spent the morning with us going over the materials for the house etc.

    by Marilyn — August 8, 2013

  321. Katherine, my friend retired to Reno and loves it. And I agree…where are the western states?

    by Ginger — August 8, 2013

  322. Marilyn and Skip,
    Below is information that will be helpful…On the older side Beaufort county taxes are lower and HOA fees are lower by about 50.00 per month…Taxes in Jasper county are higher but negotions are under way to lower those taxes and as more homes are built and business relocate the property taxes will come back in line with Beaufort county..

    The benefits of our Homeowners Association
    One of the best things about living in Sun City Hilton Head is you can relax knowing your community will keep on looking as beautiful as the day you first saw it. That’s because your Homeowners Association (HOA) dues help pay for maintaining all of your community’s common areas and amenities. Not only does that help protect your property values, it ensures you’ll always be proud to call Sun City Hilton Head your home.

    Items covered by the HOA

    •Resident lawn care maintenance
    •2 Resident Activity Cards
    •24/7 Security•Roaming patrol
    •Community Association administration buildings and employees
    •Roadway maintenance
    •Maintenance of fitness centers and equipment
    •Maintenance of buildings that house other amenities
    •Insurance on those buildings
    •Maintenance of 4 swimming pools
    •Maintenance of several hot spas
    •Maintenance of tennis courts, bocce courts, etc.
    •Maintenance of various Nature Trails
    •Maintenance of all Riverbend amenities, e.g., clubhouse, pool, dock, etc.
    •Periodic maintenance and support for all other amenities

    HOA Dues
    •$2,730/year with dues billed on a quarterly basis (This is for the new section in which we are presently selling)

    Common Questions

    How is the governing board structured?
    A 7 member Board of Directors, 4 of whom are Pulte appointees and 3 of whom are resident board members who are elected by the members of the association for staggered terms. The board sets the policy and the management team (Wentworth Management) carries it out.

    What committees contribute to the governing board?
    Board Appointed Committees:
    Covenants, Finance, Fitness Advisory, Golf Advisory, Government & Business Affairs, Leadership Development, Modifications, Nominating, Property & Grounds, Public Safety and Strategic Planning.

    Other groups who assist:
    Neighborhood Representative Council, Safety & Service Committee, Chartered Club Council

    Who operates the Golf Courses?
    In house – Wentworth Property Management

    Are all the community activities included in the fees?
    Golf and health & wellness classes cost additional as well as certain Lifestyle events, concerts, and shows.

    Does the HOA survey residents to find out about new interests?
    An annual survey is conducted, both through the website and distributed via SunSations magazine. A variety of questions are posed to the residents.

    Does the HOA have a reserve fund?
    Yes. Reserve funds are maintained for future repair and replacement of assets that the HOA has long-term responsibility for, and are essential to a successful community. Reserves do not fund everyday expenses or more routine needs; the operating fund serves that.

    How often are HOA fees increased?
    The budget is reviewed yearly and the assessment may be raised as needed. There has been one assessment increase in the last three budget years.

    Does the HOA maintain all the amentities?

    Does the HOA have a community newsletter or internet site for residents?
    Website, SunSations monthly publication, E-News, e-mails, and SunScoop

    Is there a process in place to get a new club chartered?

    Hope this helps…any other questions please ask I will give you the correct info…There are reasons why realtors say the things they do…Not all but some…A realtor who represents you and you buy a home in Sun City in the new section is not paid the same % of commission as if he represented you in a private transaction somewhere else on the island…

    by paul schmidt — August 8, 2013

  323. Skip, As far as Mold issues that is not good however being and Insurance Executive I will tell you all homeowners policies cover Mold issues…

    by paul schmidt — August 8, 2013

  324. Bob P I soooo agree with you about California, I got so sick of the congestion, high taxes, and all the other BS! I lived in Northern and Southern Calif at different times, and I moved away 2-1/2 years ago. My daughter lives in Palm Desert, Palm Springs area, and I visit often, but no regrets about saying bye bye California!! Happy fun life now!!

    by loralee — August 8, 2013

  325. Just a comment concerning real estate fees, we bought our condo in Boca Raton, Fl 2 years ago. The buyer does not pay any commission to the agent since we used the sellers agent.
    Our community is just perfect if you are on a limited budget and we have the only community sponsored bus service. You don’t need a car to live here making it safe for those who choose not to drive and a savings for those who want to give up the expense of a car.

    by Joan — August 8, 2013

  326. Does anyone know of any 55+ communities on Cape Cod. I’ve been there and love it but don’t know how expensive it is to live there. Thanks to anyone who has an answer.

    by jeb — August 8, 2013

  327. Paul: I recommend that people check whether their insurance policies cover mold. A few years ago when there were an increasing number of mold cases, many insurance companies added riders excluding mold coverage (as an attorney who worked in the environmental remediation industry). Thanks for all the info about Sun City, since I’ve been researching it too.

    by Sharon — August 9, 2013

  328. paul schmidt: “Skip, As far as Mold issues that is not good however being and Insurance Executive I will tell you all homeowners policies cover Mold issues…”

    Maybe they do, but the deductible is often higher. My policy does cover mold issues, but with a $10,000 deductible. The fine print in these many paged policies, which put you to sleep as you read them, is what will kill you. It is a very bad idea to assume your insurance covers things. Make sure it is spelled out in the policy.

    by Julie — August 9, 2013

  329. Joan
    what community is that with the ability to not drive everywhere?
    sounds good

    by Marilyn — August 9, 2013

  330. Paul thank you for your recent response.. I was looking at the older section of sun city Hilton Head due to resale villas being in our price range of $130,000. The difference between the two communities is the newest community has a hoa fee and the resales are out of my price range. The older section resale villas charged both hoa and regime fees that adds to double for the home owners in the older section. The other concern the developers refuse to totally turn the hoa over completely to the home owners. Once the developers do the hoa fee will increase. All this information can be found by doing research on the Internet including information about pulte the builder and unhappy villas owners.

    by Skip — August 9, 2013

  331. To Paul, I’m a little confused. I thought ALL homeowners policies specifically excuded mold.

    by Mark P — August 9, 2013

  332. Back to the point that the western states are rarely mentioned…I am including a link to the national dew point map, which pretty much says it all about why someone might consider western states.

    by Ginger — August 9, 2013

  333. Sharon, Julie and Mark..Thank you for your responses…It is my opinion that most policies cover Mold but have a limit such as 50K or so…I suppose each state reguardles of the company can cover different coverage’s should always ask your agent about your concerns..In my 30+ years never seen 10K deductible as if that is the case I would find another company…Independent agents offer the best policies usually at a lower cost…If your policy excludes Mold find another company…

    by Paul Schmidt — August 9, 2013

  334. To Voca ref: Delaware
    Thanks for the comments..we liked Del quite a bit..the homes were in the so of Dover area and timed our trips several times as we camped in our trailer there..and on a good day it was 45 minutes and on a bad sometimes (due to heavy traffic) was 90 min so beaches are not as close as some might think..the other thing we found was even though the property tax was low..the state tax on income would cost money each year..
    as after exclusions the tax fell in place..and Del even has a state tax on military pensions added in to overall amt..
    and because of the boom in seniors the prices on homes have gone up quite a bit in last few years..
    and thats just from our point of view..Thanks for all the ‘blogs’ they sure help

    by Robbie — August 10, 2013

  335. Any ideas on finding a small college/artsy walkable town with affordable housing? Ha,ha,ha…..ask for the moon why don’t you? Right? I live in MD and I know there are a few here, but this state is so expensive for retirees and besides thought the change at this point might be nice. Not a big fan of REALLY hot weather either. I’m really not as picky as I sound….I don’t think! Thanks so much for any thoughts/suggestions…….

    by Karen M — August 11, 2013

  336. Karen, you could check out Bellingham, WA. Western Washington University and Whatcom Community College are located there. Area is about 10% higher than the average cost of living. DeLand (FL) also has a cute walkable college (Stetson)town, but you did say no REALLY hot weather, so that one probably wouldn’t work for you. BTW, I grew up in Maryland – go Terps!

    Jan Cullinane, The Single Woman’s Guide to Retirement

    by Jan Cullinane — August 12, 2013

  337. Thanks Stephen on the info on Fairfield Glade TN as the info was very helpful. Sounds like what I am looking for in my next phase of life. Next I’ve planned a visit in the fall.
    To Karen M looking for a small artsy town I would like to suggest Port Townsend WA. It’s a wo

    by Brenda — August 12, 2013

  338. Karen M: Northampton, MA. In-town housing is getting pricy, but the outskirts are still quite affordable. Likewise Amherst, MA. Greenfield, MA is close to both, is adorable & getting artsier by the minute & hasn’t seen in-town prices go up very much, if at all.
    Also: Iowa City would be great if you’re artsy AND literary – it’s the home of the famous University of Iowa Writing Workshop — you may see famous writers lurking about (as well as some soon-to-be- famous ones).
    I’ve always loved Madison, WI, but haven’t been there for a while. Worth checking out, anyway.
    And believe it or not, Las Vegas has a VERY good university. Las Vegas wants to be cultural as well as glitzy — like Rodney Dangerfield, it just wants more respect! The area surrounding LV is surprisingly affordable as long as you don’t have a gambling problem. Puts “walkable” in a whole new light, too!

    by Judith Tingley — August 12, 2013

  339. My wife and I are trying to decide between Las Cruces, New Mexico, and Fort Collins, Colorado, for our next home. Both of these seem like great places to live. Based on our comparisons so far it seems that we can get comparable housing for about $30 – 40 thousand less in Las Cruces. That’s a big difference but we really enjoyed what Fort Collins had to offer in our short visit there this summer. We’re conflicted — save some real money in Las Cruces or pay more for what Fort Collins has to offer. Any thoughts would be appreciated.

    by Dave M — August 12, 2013

  340. I lived in Florida for over seven years. I owned two condos. The HOA fees were monthly, not quarterly. But, it depends on the development as to how they are paid…..I would avoid “On Top Of The World”. As I’ve stated before, too many people in too small of an area which can make living in that type of development miserable. Most of those people seem to have too much time on their hands which can become one big headache……..About living in Orlando, it was listed as the most dangerous place to live in the country. High crime, too much traffic, too many tourists-especially during the winter-as does most of the state. Florida is not nearly as friendly to retired folks as you may think. Insurance is high, humidity is miserable during many months of the year, no season change, and you really can’t enjoy the beaches during the summer because of the heat. The upside is the warm weather year round.

    by Chuck — August 13, 2013

  341. Dave: I lived in Ft. Collins for 15 years. Loved it. Since then it has grown, more traffic congestion. cost of living is higher than Las Cruces. We left FTC because my husband lost his job and there were fewer opportunities. Both are university towns, but Ft. Collins is much more fun. New Mexico has lower taxes and if you earn $34,000 or less you can freeze your property taxes. Colorado only allows $25,000 for a discount. Weatherwise, FTC is somewhat more humid being next to the beautiful mountainss. It’s more green. Once you have seen Mesilla there isn’t much to see in the town. I live in Rio Rancho, NM. We are in a drought. My recommendation if you can afford it is Ft. Collins.

    by Krys — August 13, 2013

  342. Dave: I meant to say once you have seen Mesilla in Las Cruces there isn’t much to see in the town.

    by Krys — August 13, 2013

  343. I live at On Top of the World, in Clearwater, and I love it!
    VERY affordable- the units are very reasonably priced, the HOA is maybe around $300 per month, but that covers pools, golf course, clubs, etc, as well as a van than will take you to shopping if you want to go without a car. Plus, the cost to insure your unit is low, possibly as low as $400 a year, because the Association insures the outside. And property taxes are super low if you declare Homestead, possibly about $300 per year.
    I have found it very friendly and peaceful, with lots of fun clubs to join, and some building sponsored activities, so no need to be lonely at all.
    It’s true a couple people here got into a bizarre grudge incident, but I think that could happen anywhere. There are almost 5000 units here..
    You need to enjoy the hot weather- I go for walks and bike rides all year long- in the summer I just go early, try to get out before 8am. The complex is big, lots of green space and great for walking, and the Clearwater bike trails are fabulous.

    by LC — August 13, 2013

  344. Jeb, regarding 55+ communities on Cape Cod – there aren’t too many. Southport is in Mashpee but for us, it’s too expensive. Last time I checked, which was about 3 years ago, the HOA fees were $499.00/month plus the real estate taxes. The single family home prices began in the mid 300s. You can buy a house not in a 55+ community for a lot less than the ones in Southport and hire someone to do your lawn. It’s beautiful on the Cape and there is many active senior centers.

    by Lana — August 17, 2013

  345. Oops, sorry, meant to say there ARE many active senior centers.

    by Lana — August 17, 2013

  346. I’m recently retired in Massacusetts and would to escape the taxes and liberal politicians here. I am thinking of Nevada, but my wife doesn’t like the desert heat in southern Nevada, and I’m told property is very is very expensive around Lake Tahoe. Any suggestions for reasonably priced areas of Nevada that are not too hot would be appreciated. Also, any negatives about Nevada??

    by Tony — August 18, 2013

  347. Look into the Carson Valley (Northern Nevada). Just over the mountain from Lake Tahoe and just south of areno. More conservative and more affordable than Las Vegas area. Receives some snow, but tolerable.

    by Shellie — August 18, 2013

  348. You really missed a good one tucked away just north of Tampa, Fl. Timber Pines, in Spring Hill is far better than The Villages. The board of directors positions are voted on by the residents. We have 3 golf courses plus a 9 hole Pitch and Putt course, a Country Club,a Performing Arts Center, a Lodge and two Olympic size pools plus tennis courts and the usual Bocchiand Quates. A Free bus service is available once a week to take to residents to the nearby mall or grocery store We have all the amenities and entertainment anyone could want. We too have villages and beautiful trees.

    by Elaine Preston — August 19, 2013

  349. Does any have any info on the Florida Keys for a winter retirement spot. I’m looking for a small place with two bedrooms and have the option to rent it out during the time we don’t use it. Also are there any retirement communities in the Keys? Any info would be very appreciated.

    by Patricia — August 20, 2013

  350. Just a suggestion: How about having two Topretirements sites; one for eastern U.S. and one for western U.S. I do not know where one would draw
    the line. I would find it helpful in reading these very informative daily emails to be able to delete part of a daily email and save others. After
    reading this site for a year, for instance, and talking to people, I have narrowed my search from international to western North/South Carolina and eastern Tennessee.

    by Moving South — August 20, 2013

  351. Moving South,

    I would argue against two websites. It would work nicely for those who have decided where to live, but be a negative for those of us who have not.

    by Julie — August 21, 2013

  352. Elaine
    Is hurricane insurance high there? Also, is the HOA reasonable?

    by Marilyn — August 21, 2013

  353. I hear Henderson, Nevada is fairly inexpensive and I don’t think there is any income tax

    by MARK P — August 21, 2013

  354. Elaine how far are you to the beach? How much are the resales going for? How much for the hoa fees? Is there good medical close by? Thanks for your input!

    by Skip — August 21, 2013

  355. Let’s not over-complicate things. Besides, directional distinctions can get kinda blurry around the edges.

    by Judith Keefer — August 21, 2013

  356. Julie,
    Thank you for feedback on SW VA near Roanoke. You must be located w of 81. At the moment I am concentrating within 25-30 miles south & east of Roanoke. Agree housing costs are reasonable – taxes for most under $1000 for 1500-1800 sq ft. home. Better than 12000+ in NJ & climbing. Glad to know that people are welcoming as I consider myself outgoing & will want to be active in new community.Am stepping up the search.

    by hoofprint — August 23, 2013

  357. We are looking to retire in the Denver area. Does anyone have any suggestions or thoughts about this area? Thanks so much.

    by janet — August 25, 2013

  358. We scratched Colorado off our list cause they tax S/S benefits

    by Mark P — August 26, 2013

  359. My own concern about taxes on social security would entirely depend on what amount is excluded before the tax is applied. Colorado, for example, excludes up to $24,000. In other words, you are taxed only on what you receive over & above that amount. For me, who won’t be receiving all that much in social security, this wouldn’t amount to very much.
    I’m more concerned about property taxes, which is why, wherever I wind up, I will not be looking for a house that 1) is assessed as having a high value; and/or carries with it a burdensome property tax amount.

    by Judith Keefer — August 26, 2013

  360. Janet … I have a friend who just purchased a condo in Windsor Gardens, Denver’s oldest 55 plus community. From looking at the website, home prices there seem very reasonable for a large metro area and there a quite a few amenities. It’s next to a canal which has a lovely hiking path alongside. And it’s pet friendly.

    by Dave Moewes — August 26, 2013

  361. This very interesting comment came in from Scott:

    I had planned to retire in Pa after selling my house in New York (high taxes). We bought a place 12 or so years ago. It was a small summer home in a nice gated community in NE Pa. Then we outgrew it, sold it, and got a bigger house on a lake there in the same community. My wife is visiting one of her daughters in San Diego now. We visit there twice a year. I like it but once you leave the ocean and downtown area all the hills are brown and I worry about earthquakes.

    My wife now tells me she could see herself living there if we sold our NY home and Pa. She will retire after this coming school year but I might work till I’m 65 since health insurance would be about $14k on her teacher’s plan before 65 but $7,500 or so after Medicare becomes our primary.

    Anyway, my reason for emailing you is to say that there might be plenty of people who, when retired, could buy a small condo or beach house a few blocks from the beach north of downtown San Diego, a little south of La Jolla (where her daughter is renting now while negotiating a house). We could live in a small two bedroom and fly everywhere to visit other grandkids (three in Westchester, two in Chicago, two in San Diego) and always come back to a warm place. No fun coming back to a worse place that is cold like Pa (although I could manage).

    So, the question is, what kind of breaks does one get living in a bankrupt (or close to it) state when retired:

    Any inheritance tax?

    Any estate tax?

    Cost of car insurance (is it low because there is no winter)?

    Cost of power/electric?

    Are taxes high or low for over 65?

    How are the hospitals?

    Cost of food

    Cost of clothes (should be a lot less)

    Is my wife’s health insurance portable to California (NYS Teacher’s Empire United Healthcare)

    I know we’ve all read about each state and what are positives and minuses but I never saw it all together state by state for over 65 yr olds so it could be easy to choose where to live (like an Excel spreadsheet). Expensive and bankrupt states still might be fun to live in as long as you don’t have kids who need a good education or lack of jobs, or any of the other things retire folks don’t care about. Can older folks thrive in California? I thought moving to Pa was a done deal but maybe I should reassess.

    Editor’s note: For individual tax and other facts about states see our State guides –

    For individual cities see our city reviews. We will also work on some of the interesting ideas you have proposed here, including the spread sheet. Thanks!

    by Admin — August 26, 2013

  362. Thanks so much for the help in our move to Denver. We really appreciate your thoughts as venturing into a retirement move is like finding your way in the dark. Thanks again.

    by janet — August 26, 2013

  363. Scott,

    One thing we look for in a state to consider for retirement is fiscal health, so that would eliminate CA for us. If a state has financial problems, and don’t ignore future obligations like pensions, you can bet they will tax everyone more. State and local governments don’t get a pass because they have become fiscally irresponsible. In the worst cases state or federal appointments are made to take over, and hardships are put into place without having to pass a vote. The citizens have no say in the matter. I can’t provide a link to an example, but I do recall reading about and watching a news story (perhaps 60 minutes,) on one town in the midwest that was going through this. The citizens were not at all happy.

    I would only consider renting in such a place. You want to be able to walk away easily if things get bad.

    by Julie — August 27, 2013

  364. To Scott,

    I lived in Southern California for 13 and 1/2 years and 2 years in Northern California. Be careful, real estate taxes are high especially San Diego, watch out for additional Mello Roos tax. They don’t have any money!! I left California a bit over 2 years ago for lovely Arizona. So many people have moved to Arizona to escape Ca! I now pay at least half in real estate taxes on a beautiful new home. Gasoline tax is about 50 cents higher in Calif. Arizona personal income tax is much more beneficial to me than California! Due your homework!! 🙂

    by loralee — August 27, 2013

  365. need to go back to international retirement especially Boquet Panama. I’ve hear great things about living there and was wondering if anyone had any first hand experience. thanks Brenda

    by brenda — August 27, 2013

  366. […] For further reference Beyond Asheville: More Under-rated Places to Retire 100 Most Popular Places to Retire – 2013 […]

    by » Most Under-Rated Places to Retire Topretirements — August 27, 2013

  367. Does anyone have any info on Corpus Christi, Port Aransas or Rock Port?
    Thank you

    by CB — August 28, 2013

  368. For those asking about Rarity Bay and Tellico Village, I can tell you a littlne about the area since I grew up in Lenoir City and still have family and friends there. My summation is simple: I WANNA GO HOME!!!!! 🙁

    It’s a GREAT place to live with mild winters, great summers, beautiful fall and spring, and the lakes and mountians for entertainment. And with Knoville, Nashville, Chattanooga, and Ashville o more than a couple of hours away

    by Rick Tallent — August 31, 2013

  369. Rick, I have visited both places and agree on the beauty but…. both places are a bit remote. You really need to go to Turkey Creek in Farragut for shopping.

    by Dick — September 1, 2013

  370. My husband and I retired from Il to Sun City Anthem, Henderson Nv 14 years ago and believe it was the best decision we ever made. 4 recreation centers over 150 clubs and 2 golf courses. Gets hot here in the summer but no big deal, better than snow and tornados. The quality of life in this Del Webb Retirement community is all you could ever want.

    by Linda — September 1, 2013

  371. This question came in today from a subscriber:

    How about retiring to North Myrtle Beach?

    Editor’s comment: We think Myrtle Beach can be a great retirement spot, particularly if you like the beach, fishing, and to play golf. Winters are mild, not warm. Plenty of places to live. Traffic in season can be very bad. Nice airport. See

    by Admin — September 2, 2013

  372. […] For Further Reference: See all the articles we have written about active adult communities in our blog. Why the Villages is Perfect for Len and Ann Sunbelt Dominates 2013 List of 100 Best Retirement Towns […]

    by » Surprises Galore: The 100 Best Active Adult Communities for 2013 Topretirements — September 2, 2013

  373. We recently visited Aiken, in particular, Woodside Plantation. The development is lovely and the town of Aiken has so much to offer. We were very impressed and have placed this in our top 5 list. I’m wondering what otheres have thought of Aiken…pros/cons.

    by njtom — September 3, 2013

  374. I am in the Myrtle Beach area (Pawleys Island) this week and in looking at the real estate listings, it is clear there are still tremendous bargains to be had in real estate, including 2 BR, 2 BA cottages in a beautiful, private, gated golf community for under $200,000. Only spots directly on the ocean seem to have inched up in price since the recession. For a serious golfer who likes variety in terms of golf courses, Myrtle is loaded with value.

    by Larry — September 3, 2013

  375. […] For Further Reference: See all the articles we have written about active adult communities in our blog. Why the Villages is Perfect for Len and Ann Sunbelt Dominates 2013 List of 100 Best Retirement Towns […]

    by » Florida, North Carolina, and Delaware Dominate 2012 List of the 100 Best Active Adult Communities Topretirements — September 3, 2013

  376. njtom
    We just added Aiken to our list to visit. What did you think of the homes?
    What was the price range of homes and did they give you any HOA info or tax info that you can share?

    by Marilyn — September 4, 2013

  377. 😀 Hi Everyone,
    Can anyone tell me if there are any really pretty, clean and beautiful retirement homes or even Mobile Home Estates that would be in a really low budget for retirement. We are both former Military (husband Bob, Retired from AF) and living on retirement and SS. We haven’t really connected with a place that is not really junky or demeaning. We like really good furnishings and surroundings. We have tons of stuff to donate or sell before the downsize, but would like some ideas??? That is, if there are any out here.
    Thanks so much. I have seen some really nice places in AZ, but we really do not want to move there since my son and wife have moved to San Antonio, TX and that is way to hot and humid for me. We need to look for BUDGET… We did live in NC for 7 years, but unfortunately moved back to NY and left our ocean behind. 🙄 NC is my choice so far, maybe near Hendersonville or that area. Later…

    by Betsy in NY — September 5, 2013

  378. This question came in from Patrick. Can anyone help him out?

    I am interested in retiring in California. I realize there are many financial disadvantages to living in California, but I would like to talk to those who did retire in California. Thanks.

    by Admin — September 5, 2013

  379. Aiken…we only visited Woodside Plantation. Let me just state that the community is mixed age. We used the assistance of a local realtor. He stated that 70%-80% were ‘retiree’ age. As we drove around the community and saw a lot of people, I would agree with his figure.He stated that the yearly real estate tax would be around 3K. However, the property listings show a lesser value. So, I’m not sure if he was including an additional city tax. The HOA is around $800/yr. Why so low…(1) there is no ‘clubhouse’ as in many 55+ communities, (2) there is no full-time activities director, (3) there is a health club in the Village (located within Woodside) that you can join…different levels of membership and costs and (4) it appears that a lot of activitie are centered around the 2 golf clubs (located within Woodside), which also offer social and/or tennis memberships…each club has a swimming pools. So, if you add in the health club membership and golf club social and/or tennis membership to the HOA fee, you’ll get closer to the $200/month level.We loved the development. The houses are beautiful…open floor plans, very spacious. Our opinion is that you’ll get much more house for your money than, let’s say, in a Del Webb community. We saw lovely houses (2/3 bedrooms +den)in the 250 – 350K range, which were in the 2000 sq. ft size and above. There are also seperate ‘villages’ in Woodside that are 55+…they have an additional fee that covers lawn maintenance. It was clear to us that a lot of the recreational activities were going to be in Aiken, outside of the community…some people may not like this. Finally, location…it’s not near a major city…Atlanta and Charlotte are 2 1/2 hours away, however, Augusta, GA is a 25 minute drive.

    by njtom — September 6, 2013

  380. Hi, Patrick.

    I’m living in an active adult community (Heritage Park) in Sacramento. Warmer than average in the summer, foggier than average in the winter but pretty comfortable year round. Real estate market is coming back (has been miserable for about 6 years) but you can still get a good deal in many neighborhoods–especially the suburbs. There are more than 10 55+ communities in the immediate area but only 3 have golf courses. Most areas are very walkable. Real estate taxes average 1.15% of assessed valuation. State income taxes are high but SS is not taxed. Sales tax varies by area, but average 9%. Very liberal politics and getting moreso but/and the state’s economy is improving with rising property values and voter-approved increased sales taxes. Sacramento is ideally situated between the SF Bay area and the Sierras (Lake Tahoe) but it is a great deal more affordable than either. Decent airport. Air quality is variable based on proximity to foothills (worst in eastern foothills). Sacramento County is reportedly the most ethnically-diverse in the entire country. Bottom line…if you can afford to live here and you can tolerate the politics, come on over!

    by Shellie — September 6, 2013

  381. Betsy…..the weather in AZ is nothing at all like weather in San Antonio. Couldn’t be more different. Have you ever been to AZ? U should try it before u dismiss it. If u are looking for nice mobile home communities AZ is the perfect place. If u like cooler weather look in the Prescott or Sedona areas. Or, if u don’t mind actual cold winters, try Flagstaff.

    There is no humidity in AZ, no flys and mosquitoes….way different than TX

    by Ginger — September 6, 2013

  382. Betsy in NY,
    Don’t know if you are interested in Florida or not but there is a large community that connects to the North side of The Villages where you can easily get a nice house with a nice yard for $125,000 to $90,000. The community, Spruce Creek South in Summerfield, Fl. is a 55+ gated community with golf, huge club house, swimming pool, with lots of clubs and activities. My sister and Mother-In-Law live there so I know the people are friendly and caring. You get to take advantage of alot of The Village’s ammenities without the huge HOA and Bond that they pay. HOA’s are around $130 mo. There is shopping right outside the gate, plenty of choices for eating, with lots of medical care in the area. We have decided that Spruce Creek Sout is where we are going to retire.

    by Barb — September 6, 2013

  383. RE: Myrtle Beach and surrounding areas. We had been looking at this area for almost three years before buying; we would up in Murrells Inlet-just a bit north of Pawley’s Island. We searched North Myrtle Beach, which is just lovely, as well as Little River-liked that too, we looked in Myrtle Beach-specifically the Carolina Forest area and of course Murrells and Pawleys. It was tough to make a decision quite honestly. We saw houses, townhouses and condos! Sure, the townhomes and condos had HOA fees, but you get a lot for that. Actually, the one house we were serious about had a small HOA as well-but, once again, included a lot of amenities. It is all about what you want as far as that goes. We looked at brand new homes in Conway as well-no HOA’s at all, but about three-four months out to completion. We settled on a condo-no yard work, beautiful setting, about four miles to the beach and great, central location. It is in an area called The International Club in Murrells Inlet. If it wasn’t for the horrible experience with our movers, we would be truly loving everything-but we just need to get over the amount of breakage and enjoy our new home-we will soon enough, still unpacking 🙄 Anyway, such a great area; it is lovely/

    by DianaF — September 7, 2013

  384. Has anyone bought a home in Sun City Shadow Hills in Indio, California?

    by Kimbrlee — September 7, 2013

  385. :grin:…Hi Again,
    Thanks Ginger, and I am totally pleased to hear that there are no flies or mosquitos in AZ. That was my place of choice before my son and his wife moved to San Antonio, TX. They like it there but after living in Florida Merritt Island, I decided I do not care for the heat and the HUMIDITY! It is definitely not for me and I hear that San Antonio is very much the same or worse. I have checked out several places in Sedona, and now going to check out Flagstaff, AZ. Being from upstate NY, we are well acclimated to the cold winters, however I would like a break from the snow, ice and all that jazz.
    Thanks for your input. It is most appreciated.
    If you think of any more, buzz me.
    Thanks, Betsy~

    by Betsy — September 7, 2013

  386. 😀 Hi Again Gang,
    Thanks, Barb, and we have looked around Florida, and I will check out the Summerfield, FL Spruce Creek you mentioned. I never rule anything out, but it is the RH Factor that really gets to me. I like being outside and the RH is way to high in FL.
    Also, Diane, I have been thinking about Murrell’s Inlet. I love that place and Myrtle Beach. We used to own a condo in N Myrtle Beach and it was so great. That might be a good decision for us since we don’t care for any more yard work, although I love my beautiful trees, plants and flowers. Mowing and trimming and the gardening can be a bit much at times. Our place needs a full time gardener and it is “ME.”
    I am going to check out The International Club also. I have even thought of Henderson,NV and will give that a check also.
    Maybe Cottonwood, AZ although I know Sedona would be better or us. My son and wife lived in Fountain Hills, and sold their gorgeous home and purchased a new one in San Antonio. I do not ever want to live in Texas.

    Well, everyone have a great week and keep looking!

    by Betsy — September 7, 2013

  387. I also like to know if anyone can shed some light on Sun City Shadow Hills, Indio, CA.

    by Raman — September 8, 2013

  388. Diana thank you for your reply. Have you spent any time in the area during the winter months? I never trust the on line weather stats as they never seem accurate. We spent a week in Murrells Inlet the last week of July and found the weather tolerable compared to our home in the Dallas Texas area are you located in a flood zone and if so is it expensive? 😐

    by Skip — September 8, 2013

  389. Skip-No, I have not spent any time here in the winter.We do not trust on-line weather sites; I tried doing that before moving to Texas…I learned my lesson. What we have done is ask people who live here. People here generally are from the Northeast, but we have met people from all over the country to be honest. They all say the same thing-winter is mild, snow dusting sometimes ( 2X in the last seven years)and it is cooler at night, but about 50-60 degrees during the day. We will see. One couple told us that last winter they did not put the heat on once, but of course that is personal taste. We are not in a flood zone, we were shown charts, and our insurance is around $500 a year. Now, keep in mind, since we live in a condo, our HOA pays all kinds of insurances for the outside of the buildings. If we lived in a private home, it may cost more. I paid a lot more in Texas-and do not know why. We lived in the Austin-San Antonio area, so not “Tornado Alley”. However, we shopped for a good price-just like in Texas, the rates vary a lot for the same coverage. Our automobile insurance is a lot lower here as well. I hope this helps.

    by DianaF — September 9, 2013

  390. Diana,
    did you look at Seasons at Prince Creek West in Murrells inlet and if so what was your impression? Thanks

    by linda — September 9, 2013

  391. Dianef, what are your yearly taxes for the condo, how close are you to the ocean, and other places? Thank you

    by cb — September 10, 2013

  392. Patrick,
    My husband and I are retired school teachers who were both born and raised in California. After 30 years in rural northern CA, we put our house up for sale and bought a place in an over 55 manufactured home community in Morgan Hill, just south of San Jose. Winters are mild and while summers can range from 70s to upper 90s, we are fine with the climate. Our area has a rural feel, but close to shopping, health care, and entertainment. We have an RV and travel quite a bit while we can. Kids and grandkids are nearby, one of the reasons for the location, but we are not wealthy and found a good deal last year. Prices are rising, however. Yes, California has financial issues, but we love being an hour away from Santa Cruz and the coast, and this state is our home. I can’t imagine living anywhere else. So far we can afford what we’ve chosen, and if I want to earn extra $, I can substitute teach or tutor. 🙂

    by ML — September 10, 2013

  393. DianaF thank you again for the valuable information. We too live in the Dallas area and can’t wait to relocate to an area that offers outdoor activities and where the summer is less hot! It sounds like the winter months are very similar to our area. We lived in Florida and loved it, but insurance, housing, taxes are much higher than South Carolina and Texas. The only drawback with South Carolina is the state income tax. I hope you continue to use this site as we are interested in hearing first hand on your take on the winter months.

    by Skip — September 10, 2013

  394. Linda- no, we did not look at Prince Creek, but is beautiful from what I can tell. I don’t know why our realtor did not take us there. I guess when she first took us to The International Club, we loved it. So she concentrated on it. CB when we first bought our condo I had not retired yet, so it was considered a “second home” and our real estate taxes were 1465 a year, when we moved here permanently we did the paperwork to become full-time residents. Our estimated tax dropped to 377 per year. In January 2015 we will be able to take a Homestead tax break; you must be a resident one year to take this break, but it does not become effective until the beginning of the next calendar year. To be able to take this break one person in the household must be 65. This should cut our taxes another 25 to 30 dollars. Hope this helps!

    by DianaF — September 11, 2013

  395. Betsy…I lived 5 years in Las Vegas and want to tell you it is an awesome place to retire. Condo prices are very low since the crash and they have many really nice communities. Again no humidity or bugs. Hot in summer…that’s when you stay in more. Rest of the year is awesome. And so many things to do! The lv strip not just about gambling…awesome restaurants, museums, shopping, shows. You might want to consider. And no state tax.

    by Ginger — September 11, 2013

  396. Skip
    Just an fyi for all, South Carolina doesn’t tax social security income.

    by Marilyn — September 11, 2013

  397. I like to know if anyone has any experience or lived in Sun City (55+ community) Menifee, California. No one has ever written about this place. I will appreciate any information about this place. Thank you.

    by Raman — September 11, 2013

  398. Raman – We lived in Sun City right next to Menifee; we left six years ago before it became a part of Menifee. It houses all ages and as I understand it Del Webb’s first Sun City community. Doctors are close; everything is close and we went to Oceanside for a day trip to the beach and Laguna whenever we could… Temecula and Murrieta were close; I liked that. I have heard there have been big changes in the area – new malls, restaurants etc. we liked living there a lot, but moved to Texas in search of I don’t even remember any more. I have close friends and wonderful memories of Menifee.

    by DianaF — September 12, 2013

  399. Marilyn, thank you for the information. Are you from South Carolina? If so what is your take on the Myrtle Beach area and the winter?

    by Skip — September 12, 2013

  400. Marilyn – SC also gives an exemption for a portion of pension retirement income, but does fully tax 401k income, I believe. I guess the best way that my husband and I found is to consider the sources of retirement income and find a good fit. For us, that did turn out to be SC since the smallest piece of the pie, for us, will be annual 401k withdrawals! We have purchased property in Beaufort SC and will be moving there upon my husband’s retirement here in Maine!

    by SandraZ — September 12, 2013

  401. Skip,
    No I’m not from SC but have done extensive research in many states as we are ready to move as soon as we decide on location. Been to Myrtle 6 times and found it inexpensive however it is crowded during tourist season. Medical care in this area may not be at the level you want, depending on your needs.

    Sandra from the SC Dept of Revenue tax guide it states the following, “all residents at age 65 are eligible for deduction of up to $15,000. from income, regardless of the source. (This means you can draw $15,000./year from your 401K tax free). Before you are 65 you can take $3000./year from qualified retirement plan such as IRA’s, pensions, etc. EACH SPOUSE is entitled to receive this.” SC does not tax soc sec or railroad retirement. There is also a homestead exemption for 65 or older, of $50,000. Hope this information is helpful.

    Editor’s note: Marilyn, thanks for this helpful information. One clarification, however. The sources we are seeing in SC say that although residents 65 and over can deduct up to $15,000 from income, however they can only “deduct up to $10,000 of such
    retirement income annually at age 65 and thereafter”. This was on the SC tax site as of 12/31/13. Do you know of some recent info that changed this?

    by Marilyn — September 12, 2013

  402. Paul,
    What county is Hilton Head Lakes in?

    by Marilyn — September 12, 2013

  403. please tell me more about fort collins,co.

    by josiane — September 12, 2013

  404. widows without children and still healthy and active..where have you retired? looking for a small university town with good medical facilities out west and the pacific northwest. thanks

    by josiane — September 12, 2013

  405. Marilyn…Jasper county thought this article may enlighten you more…visit the website…beautiful place..

    This month, Behind the Gates ventures outside the confines of Hilton Head Island and Bluffton for the first time. Our first stop as we cross over into Jasper County is Hardeeville’s Hilton Head Lakes, which is kind of like making two stops, because Hilton Head Lakes is actually two separate and distinct communities operating as one.

    Traveling approximately 15 miles west on Highway 278 from the bridge to Hilton Head Island, you’ll come upon the familiar towers standing at the entrance to Hilton Head Lakes North on your right, and the serene waterfall entrance to Hilton Head Lakes South on your left. The waterfall drops a subtle hint to the community’s signature feature, a 155-acre private, navigable freshwater lake that serves as the heart of Hilton Head Lakes’ amenity offerings. “Lake Living” is what differentiates Hilton Head Lakes from other area private communities according to broker-in-charge Matt Peebles.

    “It does,” Peebles said. “In 1999, our company started this “boatable” lake concept in Myrtle Beach, and it was really the first community in the area that wasn’t revolved around golf. That in itself makes our community very different than most of them.” The same is true of Hilton Head Lakes in the Lowcountry. “We think that this is the wave of the future.”

    (this article was reduced to keep it a reasonable length)

    by paul schmidt — September 12, 2013

  406. Very helpful information about taxes on 401K withdrawals – thank you! Does NC tax 401K withdrawals? Can anyone give any information about Charlotte, NC? I have an opportunity to be relocated there. Since I’m close enough to retirement to view my next move as possibly my last move, I have to weigh the possibility of retiring in that area quickly. Sometimes the stress just piles on…

    by Sharon — September 13, 2013

  407. Found the answer on NC, that it does tax 401K withdrawals with a $2K deduction ($4K for certain retirement). Not great news for my planning, but I’ll have to also see if there’s any real impact when taking lower NC real estate taxes into account.

    by Sharon — September 13, 2013

  408. Marilyn and Editor,
    Thanks for the updated tax information on SC. Still confused about the differing statements about 10,000 or 15,000 but, I think the wording ” up to” is important. We cannot assume that we qualify for the full amount, whatever it is, which means we will probably land somewhere in the middle-as usual!

    by SandraZ — September 13, 2013

  409. It is interesting to note the difference in the availability of medical offices, hospitals and specialists between Murrells Inlet and apparently Myrtle Beach; there is so much availability of the above in MI. That was important to us. So, we are content. My husband has an appointment with a glaucoma specialist on Oct 4; I will report as to how that goes. Today, a doctor, so they say, will be coming to our home to give my husband a physical. It is free and provided by his new health insurance company. I will also report how that goes. As for the move; we are just about unpacked and settled in; all, at this point, is coming together nicely.

    by DianaF — September 13, 2013

  410. Marilyn /Editor, thank you both for the valuable information. My wife and I are both confused as well on the 15,000 deductible. Not sure if they worded it incorrectly or if it’s based on total gross income. Marilyn regarding your comment on traffic, we are from DFW and did not find the traffic to be that bad in July. We were staying a block from the beach in Surfside Beach and did all the sightseeing in the area. DianaF can tell us more about the traffic since she now lives in Murrells Inlet. I love this site!

    by Skip — September 13, 2013

  411. Editor/Marilyn info you should know…
    Homestead Tax Exemption – first $50,000 of the fair market value of a house or mobile home owned by a state resident of at least one year is exempt from municipal, county, school, and special assessment real property taxes.

    Income Tax – South Carolina will allow a $15,000 deduction from taxable income for taxpayers 65 years of age and older. Taxpayers under age 65 may exclude from taxes $3,000 of their qualified retirement income annually (SC Code 12-6-1140). At age 65, the deduction may be applied to any income up to $15,000. Once taxpayers reach age 65, they may exclude $15,000 of income from any source, including qualified retirement plans, IRAs, government pension plans, Keogh plans and private sector pensions. Total deductions cannot exceed $15,000.
    (The $15,000 total deduction may also be claimed on any source of income, not just retirement income.)

    Vehicle Discount – biennial registration fee for private passenger-carrying vehicles discounted to $20

    Sales Tax

    6% (prescription drugs and unprepared food items exempt Seniors 85 and older pay 5%, provided they request it and show proof of age at the time of the purchase.

    There is no intangibles tax in South Carolina.

    You do not pay a capital gains tax in this state on property sold in another state. Federal rules governing the exclusion of capital gains realized on the sale of a personal residence also apply in South Carolina.

    A deduction is allowed for net capital gains held for two years or longer. The deduction is 44%, making the effective tax rate 3.9% as compared to the top rate of 7% on all other income.

    Disability income for a permanent and total disability is deductible.

    Social Security benefits are not taxed in South Carolina

    Hope this helps…

    by paul schmidt — September 13, 2013

  412. Paul
    I see that Hilton Head Lakes used to be Traditions Hilton Head. The North side is the older side (2007) and the South side is the newer with these new partners developing it around the trees. The previous developers cleared the trees on the South side and Peebles is planting trees there now to make it look more like the newer side. At this time they have no plans to connect the 2 sides with a bridge over the highway, is the clubhouse/pool on the South or North side? They have turned over the main entrance road to the county, so will the roads/entrance etc. be maintained by the county and not the HOA?
    We are visiting this area in October.

    by Marilyn — September 13, 2013

  413. are correct the North side was the old Traditions where there were about 6 or 7 homes built..It went bankrupt and this group came in a bought the property they are Debt Free…The clubhouse is on the Southside..The beautiful Fazio golf course is on the North side as is the water reclmation and the new firehouse will be built on that side also…Homes on North are 250 up to 400K and on the South side homes range 350 up to millions…They have some very nice plans for the property call or see Matt Peebles @ 843-784-5253..By the way there are plenty of trees on the North side but you have a golf course which takes out a lot of trees other wise there are plenty of trees..When are you there in October..We will be there again the 1st week of October….It is a beautiful place..

    by Paul Schmidt — September 14, 2013

  414. Paul-we made arrangements for mid October. We’ve been all through this area but haven’t seen HHL, anxious to check it out.

    by Marilyn — September 14, 2013

  415. Betsy, take a look at, a community in Tucson, AZ for very affordable options in a lovely community. There are also nice mobile home communities in Prescott and cottonwood areas of AZ

    by Ginger — September 14, 2013

  416. Ginger, do you live in the voyagerry? Do you know if they allow fences. I have a dog that I like to exercise in a yard…dog is never left in yard alone.

    by Elaine — September 14, 2013

  417. Watching the morning news, and hoping all who have retired to CO including Ft. Collins are safe.

    by Ted — September 15, 2013

  418. Paul – are the income deductions you wrote about available for each person, husband and wife? even if filing jointly? Thanks for all of your helpful info!

    by SandraZ — September 15, 2013

  419. Marilyn…Great I think you will love what they have..Be sure to see Matt as I will tell him you will be there mid October…They are really great people with no pressure…We are going to move to the south side where the larger lake is only because we want a lake lot where I can fish and boat…Be sure to ask to see the plans of the property, I think you will be impressed..Being in HHL you are close to I95 which can get you to Savannah within 20 minutes or Charleston within 40 minutes..Have nice hospitals close by and the area of Bluffton is really exploding in growth…So much to like in that area..Close to HHI about 20 minutes…Beaufort a beautiful tow

    by Paul Schmidt — September 15, 2013

  420. Beaufort is a beautiful town just 20 minutes away also…So much to like in that area…If you have any questions email me at

    by Paul Schmidt — September 15, 2013

  421. Elaine, no I don’t live there but have visited there. They have two dog parks/runs for exercising dogs, and some of the units have small fenced yards.

    by Ginger — September 15, 2013

  422. Ginger, Thanks for the info…very helpful.

    by Elaine — September 15, 2013

  423. Hi Ginger,
    I checked out the VoyagerRV place and it looks interesting and quite a lot of things to do. The majority of the home for sale are quite small. I did see some that were lovely and furnished as well. I have heard that the climate there is not as hot as the Phoenix, Apache Junction area. Is this true. I haven’t checked out the climate yet.
    Thanks for all your information. I can’t get my DH interested in anything thee days. As a Military Retiree, he probably has traveled enough, but not me. I wasn’t married to him when he did all the traveling. 🙄
    I have seen the places in Sedona, and Cottonwood, and just this year they all had tons of rain but did seem to have the lower humidity, which I need.
    I am sort of looking on my own for now because my husband hasn’t been feeling very well. I am going to change that soon. He has some upcoming appointments. Love your name, Ginger, and I love the spice, Ginger too. 😉

    by Betsy — September 15, 2013

  424. Betsy….yes some of the homes are small, but also cheap. Prices go from about 15k up. And yes, Tucson averages about 10 degrees cooler than Phoenix. And the community has a lot of amenities and is very clean. And Tucson has a lot to recommend it. A university with a teaching hospital, lots of cultural opportunities, affordable, nice airport.

    by Ginger — September 15, 2013

  425. Sandra Z…yes the deductions are per person…

    by paul schmidt — September 16, 2013

  426. Following up – can anyone offer any insight into retirement in Charlotte, NC (besides the fact that it has good medical care)? Would you suggest communities to the north, south, east or west of the city? Are there any communities that are elder-friendly? I have the opportunity to be relocated there for my job, but retirement is coming up quickly too.

    by Ted — September 17, 2013

  427. Ted
    Carolina Lakes is on the Charlotte city border. It is a 55+ community and is actually in SC, so taxes are lower. It is just minutes from Charlotte and they also have a local train/shuttle into Charlotte.

    by Marilyn — September 18, 2013

  428. Thanks Marilyn. I’ll go and check it out as soon as possible.

    by Ted — September 19, 2013

  429. Has anyone have any opinions or visited the areas near Raleigh NC called Carolina Preserve or Carolina Arbors? These are 2 55+ areas that look good on paper to hubby and me. Thanks for any info

    by Linda — September 20, 2013

  430. Ted
    If you look it up, it is in Fort Mill,SC. We went there and it is literally within minutes of Charlotte. It is Sun City Carolina Lakes.

    by Marilyn — September 20, 2013

  431. To Linda from another Linda: I have visited Carolina Preserve several times because I have family in Raleigh. I liked the location. Thought the prices were high for what they were offering in the detached townhomes. Haven’t been there recently. If you’re interested in the Raleigh area, I would definitely check it out.

    by Linda — September 20, 2013

  432. You have a great blog here! Do you write professionally for a company or is this just a hobby?

    by Broderick Renegar — October 11, 2013

  433. Do the Dell Webb communities have rentals or only homes for sale?
    I am looking for a community with social contacts and recreation, but
    do not want to buy. Thanks for all the great info on thie site.

    by Moving South — October 12, 2013

  434. My husband & I have visited Carolina Preserve in Cary, NC, Carolina Lakes, SC & Sun City located in Bluffton, SC. All 3 are Del Webb communities. They are all beautiful & the residents seem friendly & happy. If you are on a budget, however, they are pricey. It’s not just the purchase price, it’s the monthly cost. Be sure to ask them about the HOA fee, property taxes & if you are looking at the attached villas, the “regime” fee. Also, the Bluffton location was having mold problems with some stucco homes which they are correcting. These Del Webb communities are really lovely if you can afford them.

    by Maureen — October 13, 2013

  435. Moving south, the answer to your question is yes regarding rentals. Your best resource would be a local Realtor in that area. Just a FYI the rent will be more than the actual mortgage in most cases. Hope this helps.

    by Skip — October 13, 2013

  436. Having been a former resident of St. Petersburg, FL, I am quite happy to have seen it ranked in the top ten of this list. Over the next few years, I would not be too surprised to see it jump up a few more places as well. Downtown St. Petersburg has been getting nicer and nicer, and there seems to be a lot more to look forward to. Additionally, I have been visiting an area in North Carolina very close to Asheville since I was a baby. This place really is gorgeous and I am not at all surprised to see that it made no. 1.

    by Stephen in Orlando — December 23, 2013

  437. Wow, I am so surprised that not one city in New Jersey made the list. NJ has hundreds of adult communities to choose from.

    by David — December 26, 2013

  438. I don’t know where you are getting your information from, but I can tell you that most of Florida is VERY expensive to live in. I live in Florida now and UNLESS you move to the sticks or have at least $3,000 or more is retirement a month, it will be VERY hard to make ends meet here! Go overseas, get out of the US while you still can!

    Editor’s note: Rob, thanks for contributing your thoughts. We couldn’t disagree more with your conclusion, however. Much of Florida, particularly the Central region, is one of the cheapest places in the entire U.S. to live. Anyone else care to share some data on this discussion.

    by Rob — December 27, 2013

  439. How about an article by people who have ALREADY retired to a community? Although I enjoy reading comments and ideas from those considering different places to retire, it would probably be very valuable to hear from those who are already retired to an area.

    by Jeanne — December 27, 2013

  440. 😎 I live in Florida & I know, first-hand, that it’s less expensive to live in Florida if you own a smaller home or have made any kind of money at all while you were/are still working. Granted, you’re not going to live by the ocean or in Orlando, Miami, etc. We have/had no problem getting home insurance & it’s no more expensive than ‘up Nort’ … We have homesteaders property deduction amounts & even more if you’re a poor senior. I am speaking from a homeowner’s point of view – not a renter. We found a small, but caring active living center that we can live on with our social security – alone – as once my husband can no longer work that is all we’ll have. Low-side wages earned from youth to now plus 2 cancers for us leaves us with no savings – nope not even a piggy bank – never had 401K’s, etc – didn’t earn enough and/or worked in businesses who didn’t offer it or couldn’t pay for it if it were. In other words, while we live comfortably, we cannot afford to live in an expensive area. We live north of Orlando & south of Gainesville, west of the ocean & east of the bay. The older homes are block so when 3 different hurricanes (been here over 20 years – that was it for the ‘canes’) passed over our area there was little damage to our home & most damage to other homes was caused by falling trees & telephone poles. I don’t like it here because of the humidity & heat – I’ve lived in dry areas with extreme heat but that didn’t bother me. Let’s face it, I’m a dyed-in-the-wool northern girl who never got over moving away from there but I couldn’t afford to go back now!!! One thing I would advise if you decide to move here & buy – take the precautionary step of finding out if sink holes were or could be in the area you’ve chosen.

    by Jeanne C — December 28, 2013

  441. Can anyone who is living at Lakeside Crossing in Conway, SC give their viewpoint on living there? Any information would be greatly appreciated.

    by Valerie L. — December 29, 2013

  442. I’d have to strongly disagree on the low cost of living in Fl. I, too, lived there for over seven years. Everything was more expensive, and not by a little, than it is in Tn. I am working with two realtors now but, due to the expected increase in insurance, I don’t think it’ll ever be feasible to move back, and they can’t guarantee your rates. It’s a beautuiful state but, I think many people are going to find their idea of paradise is about to come to an end.

    by Chuck — December 29, 2013

  443. Jeanne C., I agree with your suggestion, would be good to hear from people who speak from experience. However, that being said, are people who have already settled and found their permanent destination looking at this website?

    by Maureen — December 29, 2013

  444. I think cost of living is definitely relative. I live in NYC. According to calculators I’ve seen, I would only need a bit more than half of what I make now to live at the same level in FL. That’s a major difference.

    by Stacey — December 29, 2013

  445. I don’t see the cost of living savings in Florida. We checked ins rates for the same size house we have in Oregon. Orlando was 4 TIMES !! what we are paying here!! The insurance that is available I would guess have a high deductible and low limit. If you move to the interior the rates are more favorable, but then there are gators and snakes and bugs and stifling heat and humidity. OH ya and then there are the sinkholes. We were there in June and swore we would never go back. I read the book “why you shouldn’t move to Florida” that reinforced my decision. But then again it is all in getting acclimated to an area. It is not for me tho. Likely headed to the southwest.

    by MArk P — December 29, 2013

  446. Hi Valerie L.
    I to have visited several times and may move to this area in a year or two. The cost of these homes are from $90K to $165K , and there is a HOA fee that is around $100.00/month if the house is not near the lake front and could be as high as $400/month on the lake. For this, they have a beautiful clubhouse and enclosed pool and workout area. You should take a look at this place it maybe well worth your time.:wink:

    by WayneB — December 29, 2013

  447. Hi WayneB, Thank you very much for your reply. However,my husband and I have already visited Lakeside Crossing and have seen firsthand how lovely it is, so we are aware of their beautiful clubhouse, as well as their other amenities. But what we are actually looking for here is some feedback from those people who are already living at Lakeside Crossing (or who have lived at Lakeeside Crossing). So I repeat my question, can anyone who is residing at Lakeside Crossing please give their viewpoint on living in that particular community? Any info would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!

    by Valerie L. — December 30, 2013

  448. I think that it is too simplistic to talk about retirement (pros or cons) cost-of-living at a State level, other than perhaps the issues of State taxes on Social Security, Disability pay and pensions, or lack-thereof. We live in the Tampa Bay area. Just by way of our experience. We moved from Maryland where State and local taxes were quite high and real estate prices were through the roof, at least in the area around DC. But in Florida, our sales tax, insurance premiums and fees to register cars are much higher. I think that condo fees are higher in Florida than up north, and for whatever reason, food also seems to cost more. In the long run, cost-of-living likely varies a good deal between and within States (think home prices in Manhattan versus upstate NY). Cost-of-living needs to be calculated using many inputs, though.

    by Lynn — December 30, 2013

  449. Noticed no one mentions the high cost of insurance in coastal areas of FL.

    by Gary — December 30, 2013

  450. Thinking about Athens Georgia to retire too. I am retired military (enlisted) with small disability. My wife and I are active (love to jog and bike) and play golf (I am a 7 handicap). What are home rentals like in the Athens area and what parts are the best and safest?

    by Jeffrey Gilfoy — December 30, 2013

  451. Thus far condos were not included in the increases in flood insurance in Florida. All insurance premiums seem to be higher in Florida, though

    by Lynn — January 1, 2014

  452. Lynn
    I noticed you said you were originally from Md. and moved to Fl. We are from around the same area, and I was wondering how you think it has been beneficial to you financially, and also medically to make that move? We are planning to make the same move within the year.

    by Joan — January 2, 2014

  453. Joan,

    It is hard to compare our experience in MD versus Florida in ways other than the ones I mentioned above. Real Estate in Florida is quite a bit cheaper than where we came from, but the area surrounding DC is a good deal more expensive than the rest of Maryland. I love the weather in Florida. I find it unpleasant only about three months out of the year (hot) as opposed to six months out of the year in Maryland (both hot and cold). My husband doesn’t agree. I think the nice thing about Florida is that there a huge number of volunteer activities here. Retirees have a lot of opportunities to do very important work. I can’t comment on the differences in medical care at this point, other than to say that we found our circle of new friends very useful in identifying new physicians. Maryland is clearly a Blue State and Florida seems to have a political system unlike any other….very much dominated by folks bent on paving over anything that has yet to be paved over.

    by Lynn — January 3, 2014

  454. My husband and I are planning to relocate to Aiken, SC, from Murrieta, California (souther California ) around the end of 2014. We purchased 2 acres in Bridle Creek a few years ago but decided not to build on it. In July 2013 we took the dogs and fifth wheel and drove back again. We purchased 4 acres in Barrington Farms and are working with a builder and are in the process of designing a house. A big plus for me is that if you live in Barrington Farms, you can still join one of three “country clubs” (for lack of a better word) – Houndslake, Woodside or Cedar Creek. That help in meeting new people. We looked for weeks for an existing home and saw some lovely homes at great prices. Since I do dog agility with my Border Collies, though, we were looking for something with enough space for jumps and other equipment. We loved Woodside Plantation but just couldn’t find the right house on the right lot Other wonderful neighborhoods are Three Runs Plantation and Cedar Creek. Three Runs is equestion oriented. Cedar Creek is a neighborhood of lovely brick homes on half acre lots (give or take) and, although not age restricted, tends to be full of 55+. Coming from California, it will save us a ton of money in property tax and utiities. One of the factors in our choosing Aiken is the fact that there are so many transplants. We felt that we wouldn’t feel like fish out of water in a town where so many people were from different locales. We find that most of the people were from Florida or the Northeast. I hate leaving our friends and my training in California, but hopefully we’ll make new ones quickly. Would love to hear from others who have visited, live or are planning to move to Aiken.

    by Kbiggs — January 5, 2014

  455. Kbiggs,

    I am jealous (about the dog agility). I want to get back into it, but will need to do more of the one jump training at home and use a facility for the rest. But dog sports are a consideration in my location.

    by Elaine — January 6, 2014

  456. Hi Elaine
    Where are you? So Cal can really spoil you with trials every weekend.

    by Kbiggs — January 6, 2014

  457. This talks about dog “stuff”, but I would recommend that someone that has hobbies that are less typical retirement, think about a more metropolitan area in their search for many of those interests. This is especially true if it is part of your social life as well as a hobby.

    Summary chapel hill NC good; wilmington, NC not so good; Fredericksburg, VA ok, but you would disappointed coming from southern CA. Parts of VA and MD are quite good.

    When i started dog agility, I lived in Chapel Hill, NC that was about 20 years ago and the triangle area of NC was a decent area for agility. I moved to Wilmington, NC and not much in training. I trained in my back yard (less than 1/4 acre with teeter the only contact equipment). My new dog had never been on any other contact, but we still managed to quality in novice and open (all with placements!)…before moving. I do not recommend that area since it was a long stem to training or trials. When I moved to Virginia, I wasn’t here that long and my two dogs died one month apart, my old retired girl and my young competition dog that I trained in the back yard…depends on where but VA and MD have areas that have a lot of trials. I want to get another dog…right now I have the daughter of my boy, but she is a rehome and is not the solid temperament of her dad…agility is not in the cards for her.

    I would not move somewhere just for agility, things have changed, but dogs have been important part of my social life so need something in retirement. I Will dabble in agility, nosework and “whatever” when I move.

    Atlanta was quite good for agility (and hopefully still is) and you may be close enough to enjoy that. Asheville, NC was decent back then…not sure how that is today. But it has been six years since I have completed or trained in dog sports.

    by Elaine — January 7, 2014

  458. Thanks for your thoughts, Elaine. Like you said, we don’t want to move someplace just to accommodate my “passion”. But I want to be able to have access to trials, which I think I’ll have in Aiken. Our thoughts in selecting Aiken were (1) mild weather (i.e., no or little snow), (2) no hurricanes, earthquakes or tornadoes. Did look at Hendersonville, NC, which at first we really liked but the second time we were there, there was as much traffic as we have in So Cal, so that made us think twice. Also looked at Hickory, NC. I kind of liked it but my husband, not so much. Went through Chapel Hill but did not really spend a lot of time there. Understand that’s much hotter in summer than the Asheville/Hendersonville area. Was kind of hoping that we could get a small place in Western NC for the summer months. I know there is a lot of UKI agility in Charlotte, NC, which is doable from Aiken. We have a fifth wheel so can always camp near the dog trials. We liked Aiken also because it’s a town, not a series of strip malls like where we are.

    by Kbiggs — January 8, 2014

  459. My wife and I are ready to retire as early as next year. We are targeting South Carolina, Georgia and Florida. So far we have only visited The Landings in Savannah and Sarasota. We are looking for a gated community. Can anyone recommend other communities to visit?

    by Marty — January 12, 2014

  460. Marty … what was your impression of the Landings and Sarasota ?? My wife and I have looked extensively in the same areas you are targeting … we are visiting The Landings in March and we love Sarasota area but have not found a great gated community that has everything we want.

    by Steveb — January 13, 2014

  461. Sarasota area comment: I don’t know if this is improper soliciting or not, but for anyone looking for a place in the Srasota area, I have a great buyer/broker that I can recommend . Her name is Renee Mathews. She found a full view bayside condo for my wife and myself on longboat key, but she serves the entire Sarasota area. I believe her website is called exclusively buyers. Am sure you can locate her. She is just the best.
    Steve K.

    by Steven Kaufman — January 14, 2014

  462. Re: Sarasota-I have written before, so I will be brief this time. After an extensive two year search, we decided on a gated community, slightly north of Sarasota by Lakewood Ranch. It is the new section of Rosedale called the Links of Rosedale. It is a gated community and you would have access to all of Rosedale’s amenities – golf course, restaurant, swimming pool, fitness, etc. It is off Hwy 70, one exit north of University Parkway. There are NO CDD fees. There are many models to go through with four approved builders. We chose John Cannon, a builder we had liked elsewhere who had access to these new lots. He builds an upscale home. Our realtor that I would highly recommend is John Brink. His website is We Sell Sarasota. He is the best we’ve ever experienced in our myriad of real estate transactions. When we were totally overwhelmed, he took us to his waterfront condo and, analytically, helped us sort through our many options, and come to a conclusion. He has become our true fiend.

    by Kathi M — January 15, 2014

  463. Don’t know if Fl is the best retirement place with all of the sinkhole problems. Saw a program that said that FL is”groung zero” for sinkholes. If this is true, can’t imagine what home insurance will jump to. Love Fl and hope this won’t happen . Where is the next Fl.? TX is too hot and buggy. Any thoughts!

    by jeb — January 16, 2014

  464. This is a good site to learn more about sinkholes, and has a map showing the areas of the US with the kinds of conditions that can create sink holes.

    by Dan — January 16, 2014

  465. SteveB, we really liked The Landings, especially the fact that the trees are mature and beautiful. It didn’t hurt that we know some people who live there. I assume you are using the Discovery Package?

    What other places have you visited in the SC, GA and FL area that you would recommend?
    Thanks, Marty

    by mhmets01 — January 18, 2014

  466. 😎 Regarding Florida sink-hole areas, just be sure to check if there have been or will likely be in the area you wish to purchase in. Start by asking the realtor or local government. People keep talking about the high cost of home insurance without mentioning how much higher it is on the coast vs inland. We have a small, 1200 sq’ home, inland ( not in Orlando) & just paid $1000 for 12 months coverage. We are approx. 45 min away from the ocean. An easy drive. Hope this helps.

    by Jeanne C — January 19, 2014

  467. Jeanne: Do you have sinkhole coverage too? When you say you just paid $1000 for 12 months coverage, that seems like a lot to me. I pay $800/yr for low-deductible homeowners coverage for a 3,000+ sq’ home with an acre and an inground pool in a surburban area in Western PA. (Of course, I also pay too much in real estate taxes, but my utility bills are surprisingly low.) Figuring out the net cost of living in a each area is a major project. I’m still working, and finding it hard to find the time to collect accurate information. I’m actually thinking about hiring an unemployed college kid to do the research for me this summer LOL! This could be a great business for someone. I will identify a home value and square footage for tax and utility estimates, would want to know about retirement income taxes, sales taxes and other hidden taxes on personal property, investments, etc., availability of doctors and hospitals per capita within a region, census information (voter registrations, ages, percentage of college graduates), numbers of building permits and trends, crime, information on housing (trends up-down-stagnant; condos vs. houses); and more. I know I’m probably overthinking this. My spouse had loved a particular part of the country, and I know we would have headed there in retirement in a heartbeat. I’m not in love with any particular area, which makes finding the perfect retirement location much harder.

    by Sharon — January 20, 2014

  468. Jeanne: interesting that you’re considering paying someone to do research for you! and you say it would be a great business for someone. Does sound intriguing as a business angle. BUT — how much would someone readily pay for such research? what would YOU be willing to pay and for what? (I’m not volunteering to do the research, just wondering if this might be a feasible side business…) And don’t expect too much from a college student — some are great, but many I’m encountering these days (I work at a college) don’t really know how to do research. They’ll do maybe one google search and when they don’t find what they want tend to quit. Very little tenacity or have the ability to “drill down” to find solid info.

    by Paula — January 20, 2014

  469. To Jeanne C. Yes insurance is lower priced inland but my question is: are the deductibles higher and are there limits? I know in Hawaii if you are in lava zones 1 or 2 on the Big Island the rates are higher and there may be a limits. And some companies won’t touch a place right on the coast.

    by Mark P — January 20, 2014

  470. “Where to Retire” magazine is a great resource for people on the cusp of retirement. They frequently run a chart listing some of the top retirement cities with percentages for cost of living adjustments. You could drive yourself crazy over analyzing everything and still miss something. The magazine is wonderful and I would recommend it to all on this list.

    by Kathi M — January 20, 2014

  471. Good morning, just a comment on Florida and Sink Holes we have lived here a bit over a year and just talked with our Insurance Company. In Florida they have catastrophe ground coverage included in your home insurance with a $ 1000.00 deducable and your home is covered for a proven sink hole, that is a visible ground depression, or open hole and is causing home damage.
    This is for all of Florida and is new coverage I’m told. There use to be a separate sink hole coverage but this is new. Remember any were you may live there is a chance of settling and or ground shifting or earth quakes! We were from the west coast of the U.S. And did have these problems. Earth quake insurance is expensive and has a large deductible usually $10,000.00 yes. ( $10,000.00 ). Find an area you like and enjoy life don’t live with fear of the what if’s. Life is too short! Brad

    by Brad — January 20, 2014

  472. Paula: I’d have to pull together the specification, but perhaps $200 per city or town. It seems like once the student found resources, plugging information into a spreadsheet could go quickly. I keep thinking of more things that I want to have in retirement, such as access to a decent daily newspaper. If my list gets much longer, I’ll have to add $ to my estimate!

    Truthfully, I’m not enjoying this process as much as I should after
    40 years of work in a stressful profession, my spouse’s long degenerative illness and raising our family on my own. I’m wrongly focusing on having a higher net income from a lower net cost of living instead of focusing on what I plan to actually do with retirement. I’m a new widow, our last kids are graduating and launching professional careers this year (all going in different directions) and my job responsibilities changed in 2013, so I’m having a perfect storm of life changes just as I get closer to retirement.

    by Sharon — January 21, 2014

  473. 😎 @ Sharon: Yes, we have sink hole coverage for property being condemned & uninhabitable; otherwise not. And includes half hurricane premium with a separate deductible for hurricane losses plus half non-hurricane premium plus other requirements (fees) by the State of Florida. Also interesting to note (I’m not aware of the new homes & that might even depend on who the builder is) but for our 1960’s era home (block), it went through 3 hurricanes, all within 2 months of each other with the only loss being our metal car port. The car port stood but the top blew off in pieces. We have trees by our home which also did not topple over. If you’re building a new home be sure to get a qualified landscaper who can tell you which trees withstand wind & those that won’t take a direct hit. Hope this helps.

    by Jeanne C — January 21, 2014

  474. My wife and I would like a gated community in Florida, Georgia or South Carolina. We would like someplace where there is public transportation in the event one day we are no longer able to drive. We would also like a place where there is access to to assisted living in the event one day we need this. Can anyone recommend an area that has all of this?

    by Marty H — January 21, 2014

  475. Marty, we have purchased property to build our retirement home in a gated community in Beaufort SC. We chose Dataw Island after looking extensively in Florida and SC. Living on the coast was our first priority although we know that higher insurance will be a factor. There are several assisted living facilities nearby, but not sure about public transportation, although I suspect there is a FISH program in Beaufort. Fish programs are in most small towns, where volunteers provide transportation and other wonderful services. Good luck with your search – and I agree with others that determining the total cost of one area vs. another is very difficult. Would be a great investigative spreadsheet project for this website. I suspect the costs are hard to pin down. Also, I second the recommendation for the magazine “Where to Retire” – we started with that a few years ago and began requesting brochures and scheduling visits. The low cost experience visits are a great way to really get to know the community – most include visits with residents who are happy to discuss the plus and minuses, as well as costs for things like insurance, utilities etc. Good luck – you will know which one is “the one” and then the fun begins as you plan the next chapter of your lives!

    by SandyZ — January 22, 2014

  476. The Villages in olando florida is a good place to retire as well as fort collins, colorado or the loveland area is good also.

    by marlene nathan — January 22, 2014

  477. Any comments regarding retiring in coastal Alabama or coastal Mississippi?

    by MaryBeth — January 23, 2014

  478. Why the interest in gated communities? What is everyone afraid of?

    by Sandie — January 23, 2014

  479. Gated communities interest…. Personal and property protection. Police in my community do not have the resources to investigate or recover property thefts. Home security systems with cameras & lo-jacked vehicles are the norm. Posting the videos on Facebook and taking cops to the vehicles before they are chopped seem to be the only recourse. Tired of being on guard.

    by Jean C — January 23, 2014

  480. We are choosing a gated community for the 24 hour security as well. We live in Maine where you don’t have to lock doors or worry about safety at all, with exception of running into a deer or moose with your car! However we are moving south in retirement, and have read the daily newspaper online in our future town. More crime, mostly theft incidences than we are used to…as we age we will have no need to worry in a gated, secure community.

    by SandyZ — January 24, 2014

  481. I live in a gated community because I travel for stretches of time and can simply lock up and go knowing that it is less likely that my home will be targeted for a break-in. The good thing is you get to really know many of your neighbors. The bad thing is you get to really know many of your neighbors.

    by Barbara — January 24, 2014

  482. A lot of you are interested in gated communities but they seem to be expensive to buy homes there and then the HOA’s that suck the money out of you too. Don’t get me wrong, the gated communities are wonderful but for hose of us that have limited funds it is a little above our means.

    Have any of you considered Mobile Homes? They have come a long way since ‘trailers’. They come double wide with really nice features. I have seen some with islands in the kitchen ‘garden tubs’ and much more. The great thing about a MH is that you don’t pay taxes like you do on a home. I believe they have a ‘blue book’ value like a car and you basically pay taxes that are much lower. I don’t know how this works in other states but in CT they are taxed as vehicles. If you should put a concrete foundation under it then it become a house and you get taxed as a house. My girlfriend lives in Michigan and she bought a used one in a MH park. She has to pay about $550 a month and it includes plowing of the roads (not her parking place), garbage pick up, mowing of the common areas (not her postage stamp piece of property) and not much more. That is costing her $6,600 a year for the privilege of renting a tiny lot. This is way more than the taxes on my moderate raised ranch in very expensive CT. So this brings to mind to buy a small piece of property and putting a MH on it. Once you pay the land off you’d pay tax on the property which would be low and tax on the MH which would be low. Now the problem is where to buy the lot and if the community allows a MH to be placed on it. Many communities frown on this and claim it brings the home values down. I do agree and some people just don’t take care of their homes. But people also don’t take care of regular homes either and you see it all the time with houses falling apart. I’d like to know if anyone has experience with this issue and if you know of any nice places where people have placed the MH’s on property rather than a MH park. When my HUB and I were married over 40 years ago we started in a single wide trailer! It was really the best thing we ever did. We bought it used and paid it off in no time. We lived on HUB’s paycheck and banked mine. We saved a LOT of money and bought a piece of property and build our home in 1975 and have lived here ever since. I like my house but CT is out of control with taxes and we want to move. Our objective would be to sell the house and if we bought a MH we’d try to get a new one. We might even have one built that is customized. If we spent between $75-$100K we’d most likely get a really nice model. Then the rest of the money from the sale of the house could be used to finance our retirement! This would make an affordable retirement for us. I would LOVE to hear from people that might have done this or know people who did.

    by Louise — January 25, 2014

  483. Louise….there are very few places that allow mobile homes on private lots. However….more and more mobile home communities are selling the land with the mobile home. The ones where you pay rent on the space are called ‘land-lease’ parks. But more and more parks are not land-lease. In that case you get it all; a nice community to live in, very cheap or no space rent, and a good deal on taxes.

    by Ginger — January 25, 2014

  484. Is it just me, or do others find that this site has become extremely slow?
    When I click on a topic, I can go bake a cake before it comes on.

    by Moving South — January 25, 2014

  485. Moving South, thanks for the comment: Topretirements has received a few complaints in last few weeks that the site is very, very slow. We are very sorry that anyone has experienced this.

    This is what we know:
    – The overall site is working quite well and working fast. Most people have no trouble accessing it, but a few have had difficulty

    This is what we think:
    – Either some ISP has taken upon itself to ban access to Topretirements, or… more likely:
    – There are some relay points in the Internet that are malfunctioning to our server

    Most of the complaints are coming from the Midwest or the South.

    If you experience site slownness please be kind enough to email us your location (city/state) as well as who your Internet carrier (AOL, Comcast, att. etc) so we can try to identify the problem. Is Topretirements the only site you have difficulty loading? If you give us your ISP that would be even more helpful. Find out yours with this link:
    (your ip address will be on the first line)

    Thanks for your support and patience!

    by Admin — January 25, 2014

  486. Do you think that the site slowness could be a result of the lifting of the net neutrality?

    by Jean C — January 26, 2014

  487. I am experiencing slowness in Forked River,N.J. on Verizon and in Hamilton,N.J. with Comcast.

    by Billy — January 26, 2014

  488. Took MUCH longer to access this page (from NH)

    by Steven Metz — January 26, 2014

  489. No problems in upstate NY

    by Ginger — January 26, 2014

  490. No problems thus so far here in Pittsburgh either.

    by Valerie L. — January 27, 2014

  491. Agree with Valerie – no problems in Pittsburgh! Although I just traveled to Houston on business, and ran into a problem last week with site pages that took forever to load.

    by Ted — January 27, 2014

  492. No prob in Honduras.

    by fulanoche — January 27, 2014

  493. No problem in Colorado

    by svenska — January 27, 2014

  494. No problem in Chicago with AT&T.

    by Rich — January 27, 2014

  495. Extremely SLOW in Maryland with Metrocast

    by vickie — January 27, 2014

  496. No problems in NYS, about 100 miles north of NYC.

    by ella — January 27, 2014

  497. All is speedy in Portland Maine on TWC, despite snow, snow and more SNOW!

    by Jane — January 27, 2014

  498. Fine with Bright House in Florida

    by Lynn — January 27, 2014

  499. I too, have experienced very slow speeds. It has been going on for a while. Doesnt matter if I am at home, on Comcast, or at work, or on my iphone.

    by Pauline — January 27, 2014

  500. Believe it or not I have no difficulties here in Shanghai, China. China telecom is the internet site. Have loved reading everyones comments. My husband & I hope to return to the USA next year. Retirement here we come on Whidbey Island, Washington state.

    by Maria Gradle — January 27, 2014

  501. No problems with speed in northern IL using Comcast.

    by Tom — January 28, 2014

  502. Getting back on track re: best places to retire…….recent survey confirmed that 47,000 households in The Villages have a net worth of over 1 million dollars EXCLUDING their home values ! Definitely not a great spot for you average “Joe the Plumber”…..other than the political views. Don’t get me wrong, we stayed there and liked it other than the fact that you get nickled and dimed for all the extras !

    by jimcat8350 — January 28, 2014

  503. Typically I run into problems reading the blogs. I can get through maybe 4 or 5 comments and then it just stops bringing up the comments and reverts to the main page. I’m in the greater Detroit area and on the Bright house cable network.

    by Dan — January 28, 2014

  504. I live in Wyoming (at the very end of the Interwebs) and have no problems with this site 99% of the time.

    — ping statistics —
    10 packets transmitted, 10 received, 0% packet loss, time 9012ms
    rtt min/avg/max/mdev = 77.791/84.366/90.214/3.367 ms

    by Gary — January 28, 2014

  505. No problem here in beautiful South Florida!

    by Margie — January 29, 2014

  506. No problem here in Dallas, Texas.

    by Nikki — January 29, 2014

  507. SandyZ, thanks for your comments on Jan 22. What other communities did you visit before deciding on Dataw? My wife and I visited the Landings in Savannah and were impressed. Did you visit there?

    by Marty — February 9, 2014

  508. Marty – we did receive the brochure from the Landings and followed up with a salesperson via telephone conversation. We really were searching for a smaller and mostly 55+ community with a charming small town nearby. We visited Woodside in Aiken -we liked it very much, but too far inland for us. Several more around Jacksonville, Cascades and DW Ponte Vedra. Then on to Port st. Lucie and Stuart FL. Stuart is a fabulous small town but did not find a good community match.
    We visited Dataw Island in Beaufort on their 3day Experience Dataw package and knew it was the perfect match for us! Pat Judd was our realtor and she has been professional, so knowledgeable, and not pushy at all. Hope this helps, Marty!

    by SandyZ — February 10, 2014

  509. Has anyone retired to Colorado Springs, CO or have any thoughts on it. I am pretty sure this year we are going to make the move out of Connecticut. Like a lot of people we are looking at SC or FL but I hate humidity. I am also concerned about the cost of Flood Insurance and sink holes in FL.

    by Markg — February 10, 2014

  510. Mark, I moved from Connecticut to Colorado about 15 years ago, now planning to move to Arizona because I want warm weather all year. Colorado Springs is a great town, growing a lot, with 2 air force, 1 army and a small navy base. I live south of there so when I want to shop or browse that is where I go. It is green because they get rain, which we don’t get much of in the prairi, and they have more snow also. But certainly not as much as further north. I love Colorado but need to make a move so it is Arizona. Also no humidity in Colorado, even with 100+, sometimes in the summer, there is usually a nice breeze keeping us cool. If you can afford it there are some nice communities west of Colorado Springs. Living in the town itself might be more like Stamford Ct. A lot of traffic I would never go back to the east coast with that humidity. I lived there for over 50 years and loved the spring and fall.
    Good luck with your decision.

    by svenska — February 11, 2014

  511. Interested in Fiddlers Creek in Naples, FL. Anyone else considered this community? Concerned about the # of homes for sale in Fiddlers.

    by Carol — February 11, 2014

  512. Fiddlers Creek
    Parents had a place in Fiddlers. Initially loved it. Property has been through financial turmoil. It is lovely property

    Would recommend Verona Walk. Great amenities. Many floor plans to choose.

    by carol c — February 11, 2014

  513. Thanks Carol C for your comments. My Aunt is looking for a new home with her own pool. She loves Naples and want to stay near her current zip code 34110, east of 41 and near Vanderbilt Beach. I will check out Verona Walk to see if it its her criteria. Anyone else got any ideas. I hear GL Homes is the best builder in Naples and Florida in general.

    by Jennifer — February 11, 2014

  514. Mark, we, too, will make a move from Connecticut when my husband retires. As beautiful as it is here, it has high income, sales, and property taxes that would make it difficult to live in my home state.

    by Lynne — February 12, 2014

  515. Lynne, Those are the same reasons why we want to leave. We love RI and lived there before coming to CT, but the tax situation is worse there. My home state of Massachusetts isn’t much better. I paid my property tax bill last month for a six month period, and the amount I paid could probably take care of several years of property taxes down south. I realized I do enjoy the four seasons and not sure I’ll be that happy down south.

    by Markg — February 12, 2014

  516. […] Additional reference: Sunbelt Rules: The 2013 List of 100 Best Places to Retire Surprises Galore: 100 Best Active Adult or 55+ Communities – 2013 My Search for the (almost) […]

    by » Most Popular Places to Retire for 2014 Topretirements — February 25, 2014

  517. We live in Asheville, having moved here for jobs 9 years ago. Now we are retired and are trying to decide where to move. We love the 4 seasons and the mountains. However we haven’t bonded with Asheville, probably because of all the reasons already stated in this blog previously. The dirty, tattooed, pierced population is becoming overwhelming and makes eating at these great new restaurants, at times, disgusting. The cost of living here is also getting out of control and its time to go! Would like to move where the weather is as nice, but perhaps a bit more balanced demographics. Suggestions?

    by Susan — March 10, 2014

  518. Have you tried Greenville, SC? They have a nice downtown area that is vibrant and alive. The real estate is much cheaper than Asheville. And the “population” is more straightforward!

    by Bill Yoder — March 11, 2014

  519. Mr. Yoder,

    I have been trying for some time now to find someone who can tell me more about the weather in the upland area of SC. Is it less hot and humid in the summer than the other areas of SC? We’re looking at one of three areas: Clemson, Salem (Jocassee area), or Travlers Rest. Would greatly appreciate your answer if you can help. Thanks.

    by neko — March 11, 2014

  520. It is less hot and humid than areas such as Columbia and the coast. However, it is hot and humid.

    by Vickie morgan — March 11, 2014

  521. Tell me about Athens Georgia PLEASE!

    by Jeff Gilfoy — March 11, 2014

  522. On of the contributors to another blog here, Ladyquixote, has compiled the best research on Greenville that I have seen. You can check it out at

    by Bill Yoder — March 12, 2014

  523. Thanks for referring my research Bill! The Greenville, SC compiled info is actually here:

    The link you kindly shared has a lot of great material that may be of use to people who are in beginning stages of their retirement or relocation search and want to read about more than one retirement destination.

    Jeff, you may be interested in visiting my flipboard on Athens Ga:

    Also have info on:
    Fairhope, AL : and;
    Huntsville: AL:

    by Ladyquixote — March 12, 2014

  524. Greenville SC, has a very high crime rate.

    by Jeff — March 12, 2014

  525. Thank you Vickie.

    by neko — March 12, 2014

  526. Just visited Charlotte and Del Webb’s Carolina Lakes, and was disappointed with the traffic…traffic jams very reminiscent of Connecticut and New York. Carolina Lakes was ok, but the home designs don’t come with storage. (I don’t want to have to rent a storage unit and don’t like having to pay for a storage closet or storage room as an option). On the other hand, their community center and indoor pool were nice, and people were friendly.

    I can’t imagine what it will be like when there are 3600 homes there.

    by Ted — March 13, 2014

  527. The flipboards are so informative! Thank you for what must have been hours of work! Would love to see more of these – Admin? I see a new article on flipboards and how about developing one for each of the top 10?

    by SandyZ — March 13, 2014

  528. Jeff, re: Greenville and crime. Did you live there? And what type of crimes did were most prevalent? I only drove through, but felt safe in the downtown area…of course, it was a nice summer day.

    by elaine — March 13, 2014

  529. Re: Greenville
    As with any sizable town, there are good parts and bad. I have lived many other places and would move back to Greenville in a heartbeat. Great healthcare, charming downtown and many housing options. Vibrant community.

    by Vickie — March 13, 2014

  530. I read somewhere that what crime there is in Greenville is more on the west side. Don’t know if that’s accurate, but it’s something you can look into.

    by KBiggs — March 14, 2014

  531. Elaine, go to sperlings city data site, type in the city and state and you get crime data as well as cost of living, population mix, voting info, and other useful information. will give accurate crime info as well.

    by Jeff — March 14, 2014

  532. Elaine,

    I’m not familiar with the website Jeff mentions; but i do use Sperlings Best Places to get the same information.

    by ella — March 15, 2014

  533. Can anyone comment in Sierra Vista AZ? I will retire and am without a family and spouse. Is there sufficient opportunity for senior social life other than the usual bingo and bowling? I will check on Osher Life Long Learning Institute but closest seems to be Tuscon -75 miles away.

    by Karl S. — March 15, 2014

  534. I have been searching for a website that compares Cost-of-Living INCLUDING TAXES at no fee to the user. (Found two that require paid subscription.) Sperlings, which i mentioned above, does not include taxes, nor do others i’ve found. IF anyone knows of such a website, please let me know. Many thanks!

    by ella — March 15, 2014

  535. Elaine; sperling gives you the crime rate. When you enter the city and state, you will get general info, above that there are two rows of topics above that. Included is crime, cost of living, climate etc. The U.S. gov sit has more than one topic that will include crime, FBE info, prison populations, types of crime etc.

    by Jeff — March 15, 2014

  536. Ladyquixote thank you for the flipboard for Athens Ga but how do I log in?

    by Jeff Gilfoy — March 15, 2014

  537. I’m also a fan of the Life360 App from the I-Store. When you’re visiting a site, you can pull up crimes for that location (in our area of PA, you see the location of registered sex offenders — it’s a real shocker to discover that a convicted rapist lives in a nice house a street away, a condo complex has a resident who was convicted of child porn, or that your kid is moving into an apartment building with one of these offenders….).

    by Sharon — March 16, 2014

  538. You can also simply type the city and state on the internet and go down to the site that says profile, population, maps etc. and it will give you the crime rates, population breakdown, an idea of cost of housing compared to the average for the state etc.

    by neko — March 16, 2014

  539. Any information about Beaufort South Carolina? Ladyquixote do you have a flipboard for Beaufort?

    by Jeff Gilfoy — March 16, 2014

  540. Hi Jeff,
    You don’t need to log-in or register to view any of my flipboards. If you are using an iPad/iphone, make a swipe motion from right-to-left like you are turning a page. There is an arrow symbol on the middle right hand side of the flipboard cover page. If using desktop, laptop, just click on the arrow to turn page. Works the same if you want to go backwards on the flipboard/magazine. There will be an arrow on the left side of the page and arrow on right side of the page. You can also go backwards or forwards by tapping/clicking on the dots on the bottom of the page.

    If you want to read an article in its entirety, click/tap and a new window will open that contains the web page the article resides on. Think of the flipboard as a host for collected bookmarks.

    Regarding, Beaufort, I haven’t made a separate flipboard for this town. But you can find Beaufort articles in my general “Best of” flipboard.

    “Best of” general flipboard:
    Athens, ga flipboard:
    Fairhope, Al flipboard:
    Greenville, SC flipboard:

    by Ladyquixote — March 16, 2014

  541. Ladyquixote – thank you. Finally figured it out. Senior moment.

    by Jeff Gilfoy — March 17, 2014

  542. Wow Ladyquixote! Your general “Best Of” flipboard is so full of great articles to read! Taking it on an upcoming road trip for hours of perusal! Thank you for such a valuable addition to this website.
    Jeff. Gilfoy – my husband and I chose Beaufort after several years of research and community visits. Lovely small version of Charleston, USCB branch for cultural events, excellent choice of water based activities, and a nice choice of communities, some gated. We are still working, but will retire to Dataw Island on St. Helena Island just outside of downtown in a few years. Good luck and def plan a visit!

    by SandyZ — March 17, 2014

  543. How do I ask a question on the blog?

    by marilyn — March 17, 2014

  544. My husband and I are retired and living in Maryland. We are interested in moving to the east coast of Florida, but not necessarily a 55 and over community. Does anyone know which city would be the best city on the east coast for us – one that has good hospitals, near synagogues, new single family ranch style homes, cultural events and good living for a couple who are retired but in great health and have lots of energy.

    by marilyn — March 17, 2014

  545. My wife and I live in Naples Florida and cannot wait to leave. My wife has lived here 38 years and is dismayed by the way the town has changed and it continues to build communities and strip malls and LOOSE its uniqueness. Traffic during the “snowbird season” is horrible. If you are rich and self absorbed and want gated communities and high prices and arrogant people this is the place for you. We both work in the service industry and have never been more disrespected. The golf is amazing and the restaurants are plentiful but vastly overpriced.

    by Jeff Gilfoy — March 17, 2014

  546. Jeff, I agree, we’ve been coming here for the past 5 years (renting snow birds) and we see a big difference also. The traffic and lines to get in restaurants are getting worse. What other parts of Florida can you recommend? I just love the weather herein the southwest. Thanks

    by Virginia — March 18, 2014

  547. My husband and I just sold our home in Maryland and are heading to Venice. We are having a home built in the Plantations Golf and Country Club. It is not an age restricted community and is on the far East side of Venice. It offers many amenities for the residents and we found it to be affordable. Venice does not have too much room for more growth that will make it crazy during snowbird season.

    by Nancy C — March 18, 2014

  548. MARILYN don’t feel bad I responded to your question on Sunday but I guess the site refused to post my response.

    by Skip — March 18, 2014

  549. Virginia – We are looking also. As I am retired military (enlisted) we are planning a trip to St Augustine, St Mary’s Ga, Athens Ga, and the panhandle Fort Walton Beach to be near military facilities for health insurance reasons as the government is trying to balance the budget on the backs of retired military.

    by Jeff Gilfoy — March 19, 2014

  550. Anyone know of a good realtor in Athens Ga. Pam and I are planning a trip in May to St Augustine FL – Beaufort SC – and Athens before visiting her mom in Atlanta. Would like to start a dialog with someone in the area.

    by Jeff Gilfoy — March 19, 2014

  551. Jeff and Pam…My wife and I just bought a place in the area and we used Robyn Henke 843-816-5527…She is the best realtor I have ever used…Very very helpful and knowledgable of the Beaufort, Bluffton HHI area…She took us and told us about schools, traffic, future expansion, the military and the history of the area etc…She spent a lot of time with us and even took us to dinner a couple of times. Her and her husband are really nice people who care about you and your plans..We are still in touch with her almost daily…Hope this helps…

    by paul schmidt — March 20, 2014

  552. Paul – thank you. Will contact her before our trip. Still looking for someone in Athens Ga.

    by Jeff Gilfoy — March 20, 2014

  553. Does anyone know anything about the area of or around Florence South Carolina?

    by Brenda — March 20, 2014

  554. We will be retiring in about 3 years. Looking for walkability and 4 seasons that are mild – probably Kentucky or Tennessee. Anyone have any good locations / retirement communities?

    by stina — March 21, 2014

  555. Stina,
    Kentucky is a nice looking state but they are having financial problems and are considering doing away with their tax breaks on pensions. They also have a lot of little taxes and some big taxes on your vehicle. The eastern part of KY gets pretty cold. There are some nice places around Nashville. Franklin is a nice location and just a short drive from downtown Naahville.

    by Keith — March 21, 2014

  556. We just moved into Del Webb’s Lake Providence development in Mt. Juliet which is just east of Nashville. This place is fabulous. Can’t find anything to complain about. Great neighbors and many activities. 15 minutes to the airport and 30 minutes to downtown Music City. Top notch amenities and great selection of clubs, sports activities. We had an extraordinarily cold winter this year (who didn’t) but as far as we are concerned this area has four perfect seasons.

    by Bill — March 22, 2014

  557. Keith, thanks for the great info. Tennessee is looking better for sure and we will look into Franklin. Stina

    by stina — March 22, 2014

  558. Hi
    Looking to relocate to a small apartment in Nc Any towns come to mine No more than $1000 with AC etc Low crime access to stores Thanks

    by Jim — March 22, 2014

  559. Apologies if the topic has been discussed and I just don’t see it.
    We are somewhat concerned about sinkholes in FL. Which areas should we stay away from?

    by Godsgirl — March 23, 2014

  560. Brenda,
    I have a friend who was born, left and returned to Florence, SC. He is looking to sell his home this spring and move to Florida. He said Florence has changed a lot. I visited him about a year ago, and I was not impressed from what I saw. I thought Columbia was a much better place with a lot more to do. If you give me your contact information I will pass it on to my friend in Florence.

    by MarkG — March 23, 2014

  561. Has anyone visited Habersham in Beaufort SC.

    by Debra — March 24, 2014

  562. Stina…I currently live in Louisville, Ky…I am moving to the Hilton Head Area shortly because I am retired and want to live near the ocean and water. Louisville is a very nice city as is Lexington..You have 4 seasons hear and the cost of living is very low as the average home price in the area is about 145K..The health care is excellent however the schools (public) IMO lack a lot…The private schools are really good however. As Keith says their are many taxes…well on a typical W2 paycheck you may find taxes such as Federal, State, Local, school, and city tax so in that reguard he is correct however the infrastructure is good in Louisville and Lexington..There is much to do in either place as Louisville is more of a big city with many outlining areas…Lexington is more country feel but at the same time a city…Both have race tracks Lexington (Keenland) very beautiful and Louisville (Churchill Downs)…Both have great college sports University of Louisville and University of KY in Lexington…Louis has a beautiful waterfront and many activities along the waterfront…Crime is high in parts of west Louisville, which you would not be living in that part because there is not much there in way of amendities..Again Louisville big city such as Indianapolis, Nashville etc…Lexington more of a country setting with rolling hills and horse farms everywhere and to me much prettier…Hope this helps any questions email me :

    by paul schmidt — March 24, 2014

  563. Godsgirl, awhile back someone posted a good website for the USA…a google search should help.

    Here is one for Florida, there are many more,0,4062236.htmlpage

    by elaine — March 24, 2014

  564. Than you Paul for all the info you have given to me and others about SC, and Robyn was wonderful showing us around. We have decided to move to Venice or Longboat Key FL., We felt at home here, with the warm weather, sun, ocean and humidity. We do a lot of Caribbean/Mexico travel and if you ever been to the Mexico jungle in August, that is what we could call humidity. We are leaving in August with our two cats, and will rent till we find our new home. Down sizing have been interesting, now all we want is what would fit into a 4 x 6 trailer to tow. We are ready to start a new chapter of our life. Good luck to everyone you is still looking, all I can say when you see the area you are looking in you will know if it is right for you.

    by CB — March 24, 2014

  565. MarkG thanks for the Florence info. We are just staring to look. Our son moved to SC beach area a few months ago so we’ll be visiting a lot. This group is giving me so much info on various places. I’m still not sold on Florida for full time, looks like lots of folks are. But I’m listening and will be visiting around.

    by Brenda — March 24, 2014

  566. Thanks for the info Paul and Bill. I also saw an article about Cresswinds at Lake Lanier in Gainesville, GA and am wondering if anyone has any knowledge about it. I have heard that Georgia is retiree friendly so we are widening our search. Stina

    by stina — March 24, 2014

  567. CB…I am so glad you guys found a place to call home…I have friends at LongBoat Key and they love it…I am also glad you enjoyed Robyn she said you guys were a pleasure to deal with…I know all about that 4X6 trailer..where did we get all the stuff we accumulated over the years…Best of luck to you in your retirement years…

    by paul schmidt — March 25, 2014

  568. Does anyone have any info about the Jacksonville , Fl area. Interested b/c of Mayo Clinic and maybe not as hot and humid as farther down the state. Also, what about the New Bern, NC area. Hospitals, good dr.’s, ets. Any info would be appreciated

    by JB — March 25, 2014

  569. Retired Militart..
    Have read several times in the retirement blogs that individuals who retire from Military ..often try to locate their residence close to Military facilities..
    I am retires 29 years service..and when I ent into yhe Charleston SC VA Hospital I was told they would not treat me as I was a medicare patient first and Trivare was second..consequently, I was to be treated by physicians and services that approved Medicare,,
    when in New York I visited the West Point VA hospital and they to refused me as a patient for the same reasons..
    has anyone had that happen ..specifically, after enrolling in mecicare?…
    I did visit a small va clinic in Port Jervis NY and they told me a doctor would allow a visit but only for the veteran not a spouse..
    and any info on the matter would be appreciated..

    by Robbie — March 25, 2014

  570. Robbie – I am also retired military and living in SW Florida. They recently took away my Tricare Prime to Tricare Standard and my yearly costs are in the thousands. We too are looking to move closer to a military facility. is a site that talks about Tricare for life which is a secondary insurance for Medicare. Here is the important portion. ” VA providers cannot bill Medicare and Medicare cannot pay for services received from VA. If you receive care at a VA facility, you may be responsible for 80 percent of the bill. By law, TRICARE can only pay 20 percent of the TRICARE-allowable amount. Wish I had better answers. Things are changing and on the backs of retired military

    by Jeff Gilfoy — March 25, 2014

  571. Robbie,

    In order for a veteran to qualify for treatment at a VA facility he/she must have a service-associated disability and, depending on the level of disability, may also have to qualify based on income

    by Lynn — March 25, 2014

  572. Thanks Lynn – I have a 70% disability rating so maybe I qualify? The closest VA facility where I am is over 2 hours away so I do not use it.

    by Jeff Gilfoy — March 25, 2014

  573. Jeff, Thanks for the Tricare for Life Link. My mom passed away in 2007 from cancer. She had medicare and Tricare for Life which was wonderful as far as paying. I think you have to take medicare part B and Tricare for Life but would be covered completely. Am I missing something here. My husband is also retired military and we are counting on Tricare for Life insurance in our later years as well as medicare.

    by Vickie — March 25, 2014

  574. Jeff Gilfoy….Beaufort SC has a large military base there and a Military Hospital…As you have probably seen on here Beaufort is ranked #4 in retirement cities in America…It is a beautiful area 25 miles from Hilton Head Island, about 55 miles to Charleston, SC, and about 35 miles to Savannah, GA. Ask Robyn about the area when you visit her in May as she will research and answer all questions about that beautiful town..Thanks for your service to our country…Best wishes…

    by paul schmidt — March 26, 2014

  575. Paul Schmidt – Again thank you I talked to her yesterday and will meet with her on May on our trip. Love this web site.

    by Jeff Gilfoy — March 26, 2014

  576. Vickie,

    It is worthwhile keeping up with the goings on in Washington as the current budget has military retirees paying a lot more than they currently do. I suspect that this conversation probably belongs somewhere else but for what it is worth here is a good place,, under Legislative Updates, to see what the current plans are for Tricare for retirees and dependents may look like in the future

    by Lynn — March 26, 2014

  577. Just visited Beaufort SC yesterday. Beautiful town!! Looked at some houses on Dataw Island. Anybody have any info, good or bad on Dataw?
    Love the blog!!!!!!

    by DJB — March 26, 2014

  578. Brenda, people we know in Florida are trying to convince us it is the place to go. But, my research tells me otherwise (reading about living in the state and talking to realtors and insurance agents). Every time we visited I always felt there was something sketchy and I have been several different areas for vacation and business. My gut feeling is that we are going to end up in either the Myrtle Beach area or the Charleston area. I have to be within an hour of the beach.

    by MarkG — March 26, 2014

  579. Mark regarding you comment on South Carolina you w find summer to be less humid in the Myrtle Beach area than Charleston area. The real estate is cheaper in MYRTLE Beach and there is more to do year round.. The winter is a bit warmer down in Charleston. Before buying try renting that way you can explore both areas. Good luck.

    by Skip — March 26, 2014

  580. DJB, we have traveled to HHI for 20+ years for spring break. Always thought we would retire there, but did due diligence and looked around SC and Florida at other communities. Last spring, we bought a building lot at Dataw Island – we fell in love with Beaufort, Hunting Island, and the people in the low country. We knew when we visited on the Dataw Experience package that it was a perfect fit for us – my husband wanted golf, I wanted the indoor and outdoor pools, and we both enjoy boating and the beach. The fees are in line with other gated communities in Bluffton and HHI area, and we knew we wanted the security of a gated community. Since becoming an
    “owner” we have access to the member only website and have learned how active, social, and friendly the residents are. My only concerns are – as we age, there is no public transportation from Dataw into Beaufort, there are some, but not many assisted living or nursing homes in Beaufort so if we are ever in that situation, we may need to relocate again. We had visited inland SC and up to the Myrtle Beach area before buying at Dataw and they were just not a good match for us. We also found Florida gated communities much more affordable, but the insurance and property taxes were substantially higher. It was tough to decide, but We are confident that we will love our final choice and are excited to meet with builders at Dataw Island next month. Now I am researching what a home for retirement should include, hopefully to meet our needs for the next 30 years!

    by SandyZ — March 27, 2014

  581. We visited both Dataw Island and Callawassie Island which are both gated and have decided to make Callawassie our new home. We liked the proximity to Hilton Head, Beaufort and Bluffton for shopping, restaurants and activities. In Callawassie we felt close to everthing, but not in the middle of everything. Dataw seemed a little more remote for going out to eat except for Beaufort.

    by PamR — March 27, 2014

  582. Just curious has to the ages of the writers on this blog. I had a mandatory retirement age of 57. Been retired two years now. Wife and I are looking around, with help from ya’ll , and don’t think our views on life are much different than others.

    by Tonyr — March 28, 2014

  583. Tonyr – I am 63 and my wife is 57. I am retired from the Submarine Service and we presently are living and working in the service industry in Naples Florida and cannot wait to get out. Looking to retire near a military facility within 2-4 hours driving distance of Atlanta where my wife’s mother is in a nursing home. That’s our story and I am sticking to it. 😆

    by Jeff Gilfoy — March 29, 2014

  584. My husband and I are very interested I n the Naples area and are very interested, Jeff Gilfoy, as to why you cannot wait to get out?

    by carol — March 29, 2014

  585. Hi Tonyr,
    I’m not sure how much chronological age will tell you. I’m 64 and was pushed into ‘retirement’ by the recession in 2011. My husband is 75 and still working. His work is both mental and physical, and no one can believe he is 75. We both love to hike and plan to retire to the mountains. So, age can be only a number. That said, we have purchased Long Term Care Insurance and are aware of certain features of the home we plan to buy (master on first floor, etc.). We are looking around as well. We know that Tennessee is the most reasonable place to retire, but don’t know if we will find it as appealing as the mountains of North Carolina. Planning our first trip this May. Wishing you well.

    by ella — March 29, 2014

  586. carol- I have only lived here 4 years but my wife has been here 38 years and Naples has changed from a beautiful eclectic town with incredible wealth and wonderful down town (old town and 5th avenue) but still open spaces and affordable living and great beaches to an over developed (and growing) area of gated communities, strip malls, and “snow bird haven”. During “season” the traffic is horrendous, waiting lines are horrible for everything, and filled with self absorbed, rude people who think because they have money they are “entitled”. On the plus side the golf is amazing and the restaurants are wonderful but vastly over priced. Because my wife and I are in the service industry are view is slanted in how we are treated but we cannot wait to get out.

    by Jeff Gilfoy — March 30, 2014

  587. Carol,
    Naples still has many amenities to offer. Arts, over 100 golf courses, great shopping, good restaurants, and plenty of sunshine. It’s a great place to visit and vacation. However, if you live here full-time (the locals) you will experience heavy traffic for roughly 6 months of the year, crowded beaches, restaurants, grocery stores, etc….to nearly impossible to get around. I try to plan to when to go to the grocery and don’t even venture out to restaurants, etc during the height of season (Jan, Feb and Mar.) I find the dynamics of the people’s attitude (coming down) has changed for the worse. People are short tempered, surly and have road rage. I truly am saddened by all the growth, meaning all the beautiful and lush land they have torn down (don’t be surprised to find a bear in your backyard) and all the iconic businesses and buildings, old homes, that have been torn down to be replaced by monolithic beastly mansions (that are occupied for a few weeks a year.) And you will be in retirement community. Elderly are everywhere…and that’s okay, I’m just saying. It is what it is. So, after 38 years, I am ready to move on. It has changed to the point I don’t recognize my home anymore. The area is strong and will remain so. Buy now…prices rising. Rentals are hard to find and expensive. Good luck.

    by Pamela — March 30, 2014

  588. Just returned from the Greenville SC and Asheville NC area. Will not be moving there. Although we hate the cold winters, we’ve decided to stay in Wisconsin and go south for a couple months each winter. The Carolinas just can’t compete with the clean, lush look of Wisconsin in our opinion, but that’s just us. It was 77 degrees and walking was HOT (perhaps due to being closer to the equator?) where in Wi at 77 degrees it is comfortable. We love the 70’s and low 80’s here. The red dirt and scrubby lawns (unless you have irrigation systems) was not appealing. Our little dog would be dirty a lot under those conditions and it would be way too hot for him to exercise by walking with us. I’m sure many others of you will love the conditions and atmosphere but that’s what makes life interesting.

    by neko — April 3, 2014

  589. Neko, one of the wonderful things about loving where you live and NOT WAITING until you retire to go to that place, is that you don’t have to make a move when you are ready to retire. I realize now that that is a big mistake my husband and i made. We don’t love where we live, and are now seeking greener pastures as we prepare to retire and move on. Enjoy what you know and love, and then you can go to where it is truly warm for those frigid winter months. Happy for you!

    by ella — April 4, 2014

  590. Neko, I can relate. I love the south when I’m suffering through 8 months of winter in Western MD. But now that we can see buds on the forsythia, we are having second thoughts. I am getting news alerts for the area we were considering. The crime is high and they are already experiencing brush fires. We still have damp ground from snow and the lake is not frozen. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Snowbirding may be the best choice for us.

    by Brenda — April 4, 2014

  591. Single retired female looking into the Austin Texas surrounding area. Any input will be greatly appreciated. Presently living near Palm Springs Ca and with the water shortage problem and 120+ degree summer weather, need somewhere less erratic weather.

    by Bren — April 5, 2014

  592. My wife and I are visiting some places this month to retire near military facilities. We are looking for a good realtor in St Augustine Florida who specializes in rentals. Anyone have a recommendation?

    by Jeff Gilfoy — May 1, 2014

  593. Thanks , I have just been searching for info about this subject for a while and yours is the best I have discovered till now. However, what about the bottom line? Are you positive concerning the supply?

    by — May 14, 2014

  594. Nice, Adam! Fill me in on how that goes for you; I’m thinking of taking advantage of that at some point in the not-too-distant footure!

    by Socorro Grochmal — May 20, 2014

    Susan says

    We live in Asheville, having moved here for jobs 9 years ago. Now we are retired and are trying to decide where to move. We love the 4 seasons and the mountains. However we haven’t bonded with Asheville, probably because of all the reasons already stated in this blog previously. The dirty, tattooed, pierced population is becoming overwhelming and makes eating at these great new restaurants, at times, disgusting. The cost of living here is also getting out of control and its time to go! Would like to move where the weather is as nice, but perhaps a bit more balanced demographics. Suggestions?

    I’ve been a resident of Asheville/NC for nearly 15yrs now. It is not what it use to be. Once a small warm and inviting eclectic town, now has become the hub of Hippieville and many other malady’s that could cause one to feel an awkward and unnerving overwhelming sense of irritation and intolerance to some of the things seen and heard. There was one parade in front of the court house lawn where Women Protested on Equal Rights and were allowed to parade topless…onlookers of children and families were subjected to this while government including police, took no action whatsoever. Asheville has become a “Little/Big Mirror of High Crime place cities like NY and Cali. Some associate with it as the Little SanFran or NYC and while these places have positives the negatives outweigh them. Downtown Asheville use to be glowing and eclectic but is now a dirty attraction to tattoo’s, hippie hub and LGBT groups with it’s ongoing active protest and parades making Ash less then desireable and causing hostilities and division within the city. Taxes are outrageous as you have both State and Federal taxes. The city and it’s surrounding corridors are becoming congested and grid lock traffic is increasingly becoming intolerable year after year. Rent is crazy outrageous and purchasing a home is not much better..It’s become a tourist trap as well, no longer exuding home town flair or feel…The weather is extremely hot and humid in the summer and you barely see snow at all anymore. The streets are poorly developed and Transit is fair but would be extremely improved if Amtrak, Ash Airport, Greyhound and local Transit would get off their butts and improve these medium’s of travel for those who might not wish to own a vehicle any-longer due to rising auto and vehicle taxes. A sub train such as the one in Charlotte would do Ash allot of good. I would love to live in a city that offered great transit that would afford me access to the shops and activities downtown, provide a way of exercise for those living with disabilities who would rather not drive but walking would be an advantage to health as well as venturing out. Sad thing tho…Ash is not the once pretty and warm place it once was. It’s a terrible place for discrimination, as if you have any health challenge at all in the slightest, your become a number and no longer a name…did not use to be like this. I believe in diversity not prejudices, but there comes a time where one must drew the line on what is fair and good and right and true…Susan, I’ve lost the bond-ship as you so eloquently stated. I just thought I would add a little detail and description…So why it keeps making the list of number one is beyond me…The nearby communities don’t offer that much as the deal breaker is Asheville since that is where you go to do something, if it’s worth doing at all…Time to Go! 🙄

    by Josi — July 11, 2014

  596. I have just found some information on a community in Beaufort South Carolina called Habersham. Does anyone have any information on living there?

    by Linda — August 2, 2014

  597. hi, it seems everyone here is married. I am a widow, live in NYC and retired. I do NOT have a husband nor at my age (67) likely to get one so I need a place where I can find friends and a community. I want to stay in the northeast because 1st I love winter and 2nd my son/wife live in MA. I’ve been thinking of a town like Pittsfield in MA (small) or perhaps Philadelphia (bigger). No matter what I like to play tennis, bike, walk tons. I don’t necessarily want to live my life in a car (though of course I’ll get one when I live NYC). Does anyone have any suggestions in terms of towns or communities for singles 55+ in the northeast

    by JudyC — September 8, 2014

  598. dear Judy,
    I don’t have an answer to your exact question, but would like to recommend that you check out state taxes (including estate and inheritance) before you make your final decision being that you seem to have some freedom in your choice. Kipplingers is a good website for that. Sperlings also covers best places to live and cost-of-living. I do know that MA is quite expensive, but if you’re doing okay in NYC, you’ll be fine there. My best to you!

    by ella — September 9, 2014

  599. I looked at Habersham. It is very pretty. Something particular you want to know?

    by Debra — September 9, 2014

  600. Judy,

    Keeping a car in NYC is VERY expensive and NYC is one city where you can easily forgo a car purchase. There are many other options.

    by Jennifer — September 10, 2014

  601. OOOPs! Judy I just realized you most likely meant leave instead of live in NYC–I misread the post and just realized what you really intended to say–sorry!

    by Jennifer — September 10, 2014

  602. Thanks for the info!

    by Bob Millier — September 21, 2014

  603. Hi, I am 65 and my wife is 60. I am retired from the Submarine Service and we presently are living and working in the service industry in California. Looking to retire near a military facility within 2-4 hours driving distance of Atlanta where my wife’s mother is in a nursing home.

    Thanks !

    by Kalegley — May 29, 2015

  604. Kalegley, Fort Jackson in Columbia, SC, is 3 hours from Atlanta. There are many excellent real estate options in Columbia, which is a university town and also just 2 1/2 hours from the ocean. I have worked with a fine real estate agent in the area, former Air Force colonel, and I’d be pleased to put you in touch.

    by Larry — May 30, 2015

  605. Larry what is the “birds” number or info? Robert (10 YRS USAF)

    by Robert — May 31, 2015

  606. Robert, if you mean his name, it is Mike Wyka. He is with the Russell & Jeffcoat agency in Columbia. Just do a Google search by his name and Columbia and you will get his contact info. Please tell him I mentioned him. Thanks and good luck.

    by Larry — May 31, 2015

  607. Larry = tks, I will check it out. Actually have a military buddy that lives in Columbia, SC. The state would have to be one that does not tax SS or pension and then Real Estate taxes are always a concern. House is for sale in Pa and still searching different options but so far looks like we may return to Florida = ??

    by Robert — June 1, 2015

  608. Interesting comparison of what it costs to rent a 2 bedroom apartment in the different states in the USA.

    by Louise — June 2, 2015

  609. I should have said what hourly wages are needed to afford a two bedroom apartment in each state in the USA.

    by Louise — June 2, 2015

  610. We looked at Habersham two years ago. Great concept; still a work in progress and no real felling that the “downtown” will be completed anytime soon. House are pricey compared to Beaufort.

    by Richard — June 3, 2015

  611. I need information on the area of Georgia, around Toccoa, Lula, Alto. Taxes, Housing, form of community, ect. NO planned senior community.

    Editor’s note: Start by looking in the GA Directory. You will find a lot of what you need.

    by Bob — June 4, 2015

  612. Robert, good luck. Most states in South are gentle on pension and SS income. Keep your eye on overall cost of living, not taxes. It can be cheaper to live in a state with an income tax (e.g. SC) than in one without (e.g. FL). If you do contact Mike for assistance , please tell him I referred you. Thanks.

    by Larry — June 5, 2015

  613. Is anyone concerned about a glut of 55+ communities making it difficult or impossible to sell in the future? It seems like thousands of these homes are being built everywhere, particularly in the Southeast and AZ. What happens after the baby boomers start to die off, etc.? I know that a situation can change and bad stuff can happen suddenly, having gone through illnesses and deaths of parents, spouse and friends. We all think we’re going to plenty of warning of deteriorating health so we can make plans or changes, but sometimes it just doesn’t work that way. I am attracted to the social possibilities in a 55+ community, but am concerned about resale value too. I could need the money if I have to move for some reason, or my kids could be stuck trying to get rid of it in a market with much less interest in 55+ communities.

    by Kate — June 6, 2015

  614. Hi Kate:

    I am very wary of a community of only aging seniors. Too many builders are capitalizing on the concept of isolating seniors away from the rest of society. I know the concept sounds appealing at first, but once these properties age as well as the residents, then what? Being with mixed age groups keeps one current and active.
    I have a friend who is 92 walks three miles daily and is as sharp as a tack. She does not drive but she has a good social connection plus public transportation,Uber and cabs if needed is available. There are times, yes, when she gets a bit put out with the few young children in our community, but overall she is very happy here. One community that seems to be getting positive press is the original Sun City in Arizona. I have another friend who has visited many of the over 55+ communities says that they have one common thread…..they are very quiet… I have heard that Dell Webb is using very cheap construction and they are going up really quickly….the cost of these communities is not cheap and once the newness wears off boredom may set in. I fear boredom more than screaming children at the pool.

    by Jennifer — June 6, 2015

  615. Jennifer and Kate, you really need to go see some of these places before passing judgement. They look and feel like regular neighborhoods sans young families with children. Boredom is only an option if you are a recluse. Full time activity director where I am going. To be honest, I did get a geriatric feel from pebble creek. It’s an older community, so more old and original buyers along with newer. I am told they are building extended care facilities in the area to cover those aging out. But Canta mia brand new with a younger vibe. I went to one in Tampa area by gl homes that also had a mixture. I don’t mind some nice older people around as well, don’t get me wrong, but I think your worries are groundless as far as resale. It’s all market based, any housing glut will cause values to go down, and if you had a good time while you were there, I bet your kids would not mind at all.

    by Nancy — June 7, 2015

  616. By the way, recent issue of where to retire magazine listed top 50 planned communities in the country. Was surprised canta Mia on there and pebble creek was I recall it wasn’t only 55 plus places.

    by Nancy — June 7, 2015

  617. Nancy, beware of “best of” lists in magazines like “Where to Retire.” You will find a high percentage of their advertisers that make their best of lists. There is little objectivity in their judgments.

    by Larry — June 7, 2015

  618. Nancy — I am visiting the communities (have been a dozen+ so far). I have to agree that some feel more geriatric than others, depending on where they are on the aging cycle. In fact living in a community that welcomes geriatric residents can be a plus!

    My kids do care – having been through the illness and death of their Dad and as health care and legal professionals, they may understand more than others what is involved in estate problems. Of course you are absolutely right that you can’t live as if each year is your last, so resale shouldn’t be the only factor. Still, the thousands of 55+ units being added to the housing market for baby boomers does concern me since that bubble will eventually burst.

    by Kate — June 8, 2015

  619. Forget Florida – 50% of the people who move there move away within five years. The heat, humidity and bugs are some of the reasons but what I discovered is the whole state is flat so it doesn’t have any persaonlity – just endless flat roads. It’s so hot in the summer that you can even go to the beach. I traveled to Florida, three times just in 2014 from Miami to Jacksonville and many stops in between and have visitied 24 counties from the west coaast of Florida (Sarasota to Tarpon Springs) to the east coast as well as the central areas of Orlando, St. Cloud, etc. And try as I might I could not force myself to live there. And it’s not a cheap place to live anymore. Taxes are high, especially Palm Beach County; then you have flood and hurricane insurance. Also forget about The Villages unless you like the feeling that your living in an old age home in the middle of nowhere surrounded by cow pastures. Florida never gave me the feeling of home. It’s like you feel like your on vacation and you will leave for your real home sometime.

    Editor’s Comment: To each his own. But we question some of these comments, especially 50% of the people who move to FL move away. Just not true. Anyway, if you want the counter argument, read this 2 part series: Funky Towns in Florida

    by surfside — June 11, 2015

  620. Surfside, yes, to each his/her own, but my goodness, why so negative?
    Flat can have its benefits, esp if you like cruise control. And driving from the Villages to i.e. Clermont, it is anything but flat. I would dare you to ride a bike.
    You are right, you will find many old(er) people in this part of central Fl, but we are not feeling that we are in an old age home surrounded by cow pastures. Many vibrant young, and young at heart, people live in this area. We do visit the villages almost daily for all they have to offer. Trust me, no one will ever feel bored unless they choose to be. The people around us are an inspiration, and we are having more fun than we ever thought we would. Should the time come when we need a little more assistance, it is available to us. That is something you don’t find everywhere.
    As for the cow pastures…we love the peace and tranquility, should we choose to visit what nature has to offer.
    Our communities take care of the bugs overall, and home owners learn pretty quick how to deal with the rest,
    Please don’t judge based on a few visits, and please don’t paint such an unreal and negative picture unless you have really explored and experiences what central Fl has to offer.
    Now, if you don’t like alligators, then Fl is not for you. Those we have, and plenty of them. Talk to neighbors and the hoa, they will let you know how to live peacefully alongside them.
    And now I am off to join in on one of the many many activities offered around here.

    by godsgirl — June 12, 2015

  621. Hi. My wife linda and i moved from the philly pa. area in 2006 and now reside in sun city sc. The average 3 month winter temps here is about 50 degrees. Aside from moving to a tropical paradise,this is one of the next best places to retire. We saw a “couple” snow flakes in the last 9 years. Moreso than sc sun city is best described by it’s name. What a lucky choice by us!

    by Don Rocco — October 13, 2015

  622. Traveled to a lot of these cities for work. They were all terrific. It was Asheville that made me never want to leave.

    by Martin Murphy — July 8, 2018

  623. Surfside…

    This is my second summer in Florida (I was a snowbird previously). It’s been hotter in Minneapolis than it has been here. And I didn’t have a pool and a canal in my back yard there. I haven’t seen a gator in person yet. People here are friendly and taxes are considerably lower than they were in Minnesota. I’m very happy here and have no plans to leave.

    Editor’s Comment: Although there are lots and lots of comments to this 2013 post, we have had many new editions of “Best Places to Retire” since 2013. Here is a link to the 2017 Best Places list (2018 will come out soon)

    by Linda — July 9, 2018

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