Do You Plan on Working After You Retire?

Category: Work and Volunteering

January 14, 2018 — Do you have plans for working after you retire? And if you did, how did it work out? We know many people think they might work after they retire, either to keep busy or to help overcome an income shortfall. We would like to find out more about what people like you intend to do on this subject. Please fill out our new, quick question quiz on your plans to work post-retirement. We’ll take the results and develop an informative article that summarizes what we learn about people’s plans and the success they might have had in finding work in the next few weeks.


Posted by Admin on January 13th, 2018

Is The Villages Right for Your Retirement: Facts and Opinions

Category: Active adult communities

January 9, 2017 — When active baby boomers start investigating places to retire, sooner or later they are going to hear about The Villages (TV) in Central Florida. The big reason is that it is the largest 55+ community in the country. As of mid 2017 over 115,000 people lived in The Villages, most of them because they enjoy its mind-boggling array of amenities and non-stop active lifestyle. The population is growing fast – it was only 51,000 in the year 2000.

Clearly the lifestyle appeals to the people who live there. For folks who like to always have something to do, make instant friends, and drive their golf cart to sports, church, and shopping – The Villages is hard to beat.

Facilities and more facilities
The Villages has every kind of amenity. There are 36 executive golf courses, most of which are 9 hole courses and where residents can play at no charge. There are 10 Championship golf courses and country clubs (where owners are automatically members), plus an amazing array of other sports, amenities, crafts, and social clubs – from archery to pickle ball, polo, Tai Chi, and theatre groups. There are hundreds of clubs, including one for every state in the Union. There are 3 downtown squares (Sumter Village, Brownwood and Spanish Springs) that have restaurants, bars, and piped in music. There is a dazzling array of neighborhoods to live in,
and there seems to be no end to the expansion plans. The Villages has 32 neighborhood centers (pools for adults and other recreation), 17 village centers (pools for families and other activities like pickleball), and 8 regional centers with larger facilities including fitness centers.

Critics including the “Leisureville” book
Yet there are critics of The Villages lifestyle. One of the most famous “exposees” of The Villages came out in a book by Andrew Blechman called “Leisureville – Adventures in America’s Retirement Utopias” (the book also profiles Sun City, Arizona). Blechman is a terrific writer and weaves together a fascinating story. If you are at all interested in living in The Villages (or Sun City) you should read the book. You will get a lot of background and insight into the ownership/management structure of the place, which can be a bit murky.

The Villages

On the other hand you the book will also get a lot of opinions, most of them negative, about what it is like to live in this giant community 60 miles northwest of Orlando and south of Ocala. Knowing that Blechman is not yet of retirement age, and that he likes a good conspiracy, you won’t have to look too hard to find plenty of condescension plus a big dollop of smugness in his account. Bored at night, Blechman finds the latest-closing bar (at the bowling alley) and surprise, he finds the soft underbelly of The Villages. From here he gives you a vivid tour of a the more unusual sexual activities in the community – what life is like here for a transexual; the underground homosexual community; and particularly a Viagra-fueled, aging Adonis named Mr. Midnight. The character is highly amusing, that is for sure.

By now you have probably heard the titillating story that The Villages has the highest rate of STD’s in… (pick your place). We certainly hear it all the time. The truth is that this is just an unsubstantiated rumor, one that residents of The Villages get tired of hearing. Facts from bear that out, as you can see in the chart for Sumter County (where most of The Villages’ residents live), which shows that the County’s rates of STDs are far below the state averages. The orange bars are for Sumter County and the gray bars are for FL statewide.

Sumter County STDs vs Florida statewide

One thing “Leisureville” will help you learn a lot about is the situation with the Villages Community Development Districts (CDDs) (run by the developer but which spend resident money on infrastructure) vs. the Home Owners and Property Owners Associations. The latter were set up by residents to try to protect their interests vs. the developer. The Villages’ CDDs have been in disputes with the IRS over the tax-exempt structure of those bonds.

Politically speaking, The Villages is very red (conservative), although we are sure that there are some blue folks too. Every national Republican candidate makes a point of stopping by during election time.

Scene at The Villages

A much more straightforward and helpful resource for The Villages is a useful book by Ryan Erisman, the “Inside the Bubble: Unauthorized Guide to Florida’s Most Popular Community”. Ryan has also published the “Florida for Boomers- A Guide to Real Estate”. Erisman’s book should be required reading for anyone thinking about buying in TV. You will get a wealth of resources and facts about neighborhoods, costs, amenities, contracts, Home Owners Associations, and Commercial Development Districts. Ryan doesn’t have an axe to grind about The Villages. Instead he sets out to provide all the facts necessary to buy a home in The Villages – even down to the nitty gritty of Homeowners Insurance, Property Taxes, Real Estate Contracts, New Home Walkthrough Inspection, and Florida Real Estate Closings in The Villages. He also provides helpful links to everything about the place (full disclosure, Topretirements does receive a small commission on sales of this book).

Here at Topretirements we have a nice article that explains what it is like to live in The Villages, “Why The Villages Is the Best Place for Len and Ann to Retire“. The article explains how this Connecticut couple came to choose TV, buy a home there, and what daily life is like in TV for them.

Another essential resource for anyone considering moving to The Villages is Talk of the Villages (see link below). On this discussion forum you’ll get to eavesdrop on the concerns, joys, challenges, and gossip of every day life here. Spend an hour there online, it is fascinating.

For Further Reference:
Are There Alternatives to The Villages – You Bet (2 parts, East and West)
“Inside the Bubble: Unauthorized Guide to Florida’s Most Popular Community”
Wikipedia article about The Villages
Talk of the Villages Forum

Comments? Have you visited TV or did you actually retire there? Please share your experiences in the Comments section below.

Posted by Admin on January 8th, 2018

Lake Tahoe Retirement Life Part 2: Is the West Shore the Best Shore?

Category: Best Retirement Towns and States

Part 2: Is the West Shore the Best Shore? (See Link to Part 1, the East, at end of article)
By Flo Williamson

January 8, 2017 — There are many folks that claim the West Shore of Lake Tahoe and areas north offer the best living on the lake. The hardest part in visiting the West Shore is actually getting there, especially heading north along the lake from South Lake Tahoe.

West shore Lake Tahoe

While the areas just north of South Lake Tahoe have some of the best beaches and great state parks, it is also the route for some of Lake Tahoe’s greatest tourist attractions. In fact, this part of the lake in particular is generally much more oriented towards tourists than it is retirees. Camp Richardson is a government run campground, RV park, marina, restaurant, and more, catering to lake visitors. With 300 camping and RV sites and more cabin accommodations, the resulting traffic along this stretch of the one road around the lake can be horrendous, especially during the summer. Then, as you continue north, the road rises hundreds of feet above the lake with hairpin curves (and no guardrails) that seem like they’re ending in the lake itself – not for the faint hearted!! This leads us to Emerald Bay, one of the most beautiful and photographed bays in the world and the starting point of numerous hikes and (more…)

Posted by Admin on January 7th, 2018

Topping Our 2017 In Review: Different Takes on Best Places to Retire

Category: General Retirement Issues

January 3, 2018 — It is always a good exercise to review our most read articles of the year. It tells us what our Members are looking for, and it has the side benefit of alerting new readers to articles that struck home for others. So here goes:

Site recap
Thanks so much to our many members and visitors. We enjoy your feedback, and most of all the 1000s of incredible Comments we get to our articles each year. Your input is valued by us and your fellow members. In 2017 had over 2 million site visitors and 5 million page views. It is gratifying to know that we are being useful in some fashion to people interested in retirement. (more…)

Posted by Admin on January 3rd, 2018

A High Desert Retirement: Santa Fe, New Mexico

Category: Best Retirement Towns and States

January 3, 2018 — Many people are intrigued with the idea of retirement to one of America’s oldest communities – Santa Fe, New Mexico. They are attracted by the beautiful mountains, the dry air, the charming old architecture, and the abundance of art. In this article we will discuss our recent retirement scouting trip to Santa Fe – what we learned about retiring there along with its pluses and minuses. We also hope that our Members who are familiar with the area can give their opinions and advice too.

Spanish explorers came to this mountainous area in northwest New Mexico and were followed by mssionaries in search of souls – the native Americans, the Pueblo people. These native Americans visited the area in search of game for thousands of years, then a few hundred years before Columbus discovered America settled here to farm and live in cliff dwellings and pueblos. Spanish settlers arrived about 1600 and in 1610 Santa Fe became the capital of the territory, the oldest State Capitol in the U.S. They built its charming downtown with a central plaza in the Spanish style. There you can find the Palace of the Governors, St. Francis Cathedral, several very old churches, and an (more…)

Posted by Admin on January 2nd, 2018

What’s in a Name. And How Do Active Adult Communities Get Their Names?

Category: Active adult communities

December 27, 2017 — When we name something, either personally or for business, we are usually trying to accomplish some kind of purpose. In our personal lives, naming a child might include an aspirational goal- naming her after a virtue like Hope, a saint like Mary, or a big success story like Morgan. Perhaps the purpose might to give Junior a name that sounds pretty or fits well with your last name. Or it could be to hand down a family name, or reflect a likable character from a book or movie.

Naming goals are just as important when it comes to active and 55+ communities. So what goes on when developers put on their thinking caps, brainstorming for a name to fit their new retirement community? What attributes will they try to use to position their new property with their target audience (you!) While there are many that are unusual or exotic (Cantamia), whimsical (On Top of the World), or seemingly random (Abacoa) names of communities, there is a tremendous amount of repetition and commonality in active adult and 55+ community names. In this article we will (more…)

Posted by Admin on December 26th, 2017

Are Their Alternatives to The Villages – You Bet!

Category: Active adult communities

December 26, 2017 — Many people have heard about The Villages, the giant active adult community in north-central Florida that spans 3 counties. They know it is big (over 110,000 residents), has massive numbers of golf courses and swimming pools, and has more clubs and activities than anyone could ever even sample. But maybe they aren’t sure about the location, or don’t know if a community that big would be right for them. If you happen to be one of the people who are curious to learn about alternatives to The Villages, there is good news – there are many to consider.

To help you find other communities that are very large we have just updated two of very popular “Villages Alternatives” articles. One is devoted to very large active communities in the East, and the other to those in the West. In all we have 17 communities in the Topretirements database that have more than 10,000 residents, and another 500+ that have more than 1,000. These communities are situated in many states, but most are in Florida, Arizona, and California.

Check them out
Alternatives to The Villages – East
Alternatives in the West

Posted by Admin on December 25th, 2017

How the New Tax Bill Affects You As a Retiree

Category: Financial and taxes in retirement

December 19, 2017 — The imminent passage of the Republican tax bill makes us wonder how our audience – retirees and people about to retire – will be affected by it. We will attempt to answer that question here, recognizing that everyone’s situation is unique and might be affected differently. We are not tax experts, but have tried to digest various media reports to provide this overview.

The bill will have direct effects on retirees in 2018, as well as some possible indirect effects down the road. Let’s look at each of those in turn.

Direct effects on retirees
1. Lower tax payments. With the exception of the people described in #4 below, almost everyone will pay lower federal taxes in 2018 than they do now. However, those cuts will expire in 2025.
Effect: Good news for retirees who pay taxes, except in those who live in high tax states. Who wouldn’t want to pay lower taxes!

2. The standard deduction is now much higher, at $12,000 per person vs. the current $6500. This means that far fewer people will have enough deductions to itemize, and filing will be simplified. On the other hand the current personal deduction of $4500 has been eliminated, so the net effect in the increase in the standard exemption (more…)

Posted by Admin on December 18th, 2017

The 8 Most Interesting Places to Retire in the USA

Category: Best Retirement Towns and States

December 13, 2017 — How about this for a rhetorical question: would you like to retire in a boring place? Of course not, why would anyone choose an uninteresting place to retire. Unfortunately, many people are lazy about their decision about where to retire. The result: they end up living in a place with a lot less day to day zip than they could have had. This article will give you our ideas on the 8 most interesting places to retire in the USA, by region. We hope you will contribute your suggestions in the Comments section at the end of the article.

What makes an interesting place to retire?
Everyone probably has a different idea about what makes a town or city interesting. While a beautiful town is a great attribute in a place to retire, that is only one thing that might make it interesting. Here are some of our possibilities for what make might make (more…)

Posted by Admin on December 12th, 2017

Which Is Better: An Established 55+ Community Or a New One?

Category: Active adult communities

December 6, 2017 — Which is the smarter option: buy a home in a new 55+ or active adult community, or (more…)

Posted by Admin on December 5th, 2017