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10 Retirement Mistakes You Don’t Want to Make

Category: Retirement Planning

July 16, 2013 — Note: This is a 3 part series. Part 1 on the “Top 10 Retirement Mistakes” generated a lot (34) of comments. Part 3: Avoid These 6 Retirement-Wrecking Mistakes” was published in 2014.
Since it is so important that you seize the opportunity retirement represents – in essence it’s a partial do-over on life – we thought it would be worth revisiting the topic from a fresh perspective. In today’s article we first present a revised “10 worst” list, followed by a summary of our member’s comments to the original article. We are particularly interested in your new comments – please add them at the end of this article.

10 Retirement Mistakes You Don’t Want to Make
1. Start planning your retirement the day after you retire. That’s too late. A smart retirement has regular planning sessions with discussion about the W questions – Where, When, Why, What – and How you are going to afford it. Develop a plan and put it on paper at least a year before you retire.

2. Think you will work well into your 70s. Seven out of ten people say they will work for pay after they retire, according to the Employee Benefit Research Institute’s 23rd Retirement Confidence Survey. Usually their financial plans are based on the assumption of continued income. But the reality is somewhat different – about half of retirees stopped working before they thought they would because they tired of it, lost their jobs and couldn’t find a new one, or couldn’t work because of health issues. Only 14% worked past 65, and just 25% have any employment income at all. Premature retirement before you can really afford it can be disastrous. It’s hard to get back into the employment scene after you’ve left and your skills become rusty. Do not assume you will be employed and making money after you retire.
Couple relaxing on the beach

3. Keep living in the same house. Sure, you might want to spend your retirement in the same house you do now. But here are three reasons not to: Your maintenance, utility, and tax expenses will be much higher than they have to be. If you stay in the suburbs long enough and you can’t drive or are disabled, you will be trapped in your home, dependent on others for transportation. Chances are you will also be isolated socially than if you lived in more of a communal setting like a city, walkable town, active community, or independent/assisted living/CCRC facility.

4. Don’t visit enough places before you decide where you are going to live. You might think you have a good idea of what a place is like, but until you have visited and stayed in a community for at least a few weeks you are taking a chance. Explore several different places and be sure.

5. Buy before you have rented. You wouldn’t be the first person to visit a town or community and buy a brand new unit during your visit. We have heard this refrain enough times to repeat it again – “if only I had rented first, I would have known…” Renting is easy, and almost always a good idea.

6. Don’t do enough due diligence. We are always amazed at the otherwise careful people who brush over some of the most basic due diligence issues before they buy. The list of issues you need to check up on is long, and important. Those include reading the Home Owners Association rules, studying the most recent financial reports, getting minutes from HOA meetings, finding out about foreclosures and dues arrears, finding out what your neighbors are like, getting a fix on maintenance sinking funds, etc. If it’s a new community there will be other questions – how likely is it the community will sell out, what happens when ownership is transferred, what kind of obligations and assets will be transferred to the Home Owners association. Your realtor and attorney should be able to help you with all of these. Too many communities are having too many issues for you not to investigate everything carefully.

7. Move too far from family & friends. In our experience the #1 reason behind an unsuccessful retirement move is that the person moved too far from their families and/or friends. Most people miss being close to their children and grandchildren.

8. Be a burden to your kids. Sure you value your independence, and you think you will be forever young. The problem is that if you live long enough you could become an enormous burden on your kids, who have their own lives and responsibilities. Do them a favor and develop a plan on where and how you can age gracefully without disrupting the lives of your children. Make sure you have a current will. De-acquisition your stuff while you can, so they don’t have to do it for you.

9. Move to the wrong environment. Examples would be moving to an active adult community if you hate rules, moving to a rural environment if you crave lots of things to do, or moving to a liberal environment when you are a conservative person. Visit before you rent, rent before you buy, and there will be fewer surprises.

10. Underestimate how long your retirement will be. According to the Social Security Administration if you are fortunate enough to live to age 65 chances are you you will live to age 84 if you are a man and 86 if you are a woman. But you might live much longer than that. So you have to have the money to support you much longer than you think, along with increased medical expenses.

Summary: The Comments Made to our first article
Our members more or less concurred with the retirement mistakes we listed, yet they added more useful detail. They also listed some new mistakes to look out for. Here is a summary of what our members think are the biggest retirement mistakes:

Retiring too soon. Nothing is guaranteed so be sure you are ready.

Universal design. Our faithful correspondent Jan Cullinane reminded us to be sure to look for universal design principles in our retirement homes. Door handles instead of knobs, no steps, accessible counter heights, stepless showers, etc. You never know when you might find your own home unsuitable for your physical capabilities.

Not renting first. Rob realized too late that the community he bought into wasn’t a good fit. He also had a rude awakening in the next item (work).

Couldn’t find good work. Rob assumed he could keep working in his chosen field after he retired. Unfortunately he found out what so many others have – older people have a lot of trouble landing good jobs, no matter how talented they are.

Didn’t live enough before retiring. We like this thought from Jean Lac a lot. The essence is – don’t put off living and traveling and enjoying life for some magic retirement. Get ready for retirement, but start good habits with hobbies and enjoying your family.

Moved to close to the children. We have seen this commment before and am sure it is common. Sometimes it is not so good to be close to the children, particularly when the relationship is strained or you feel you are being taken advantage of. Or, moving to an area that has the kids but just isn’t what you were looking for.

Retirement Poll – The Big Lie and the Big Fantasy
Retirement Ranger
– Quiz: How Ready for Retirement Are You?
Countdown to Retirement Success

What do you think are the worst retirement mistakes? Have you made some yourself? Please share your ideas about retirement mistakes – and successes – in the Comments section below.

Posted by Admin on July 16th, 2013


  1. I disagree with two of your points. Planning where to live is hard when you are still working a 100% job. Financial planning is critical before retiring but other decisions, such as where to live, are best made only after the pressures of working a demanding job are behind you.
    Staying in your own home can be a great idea, particularly if you live in a town or city with a lot to offer. It costs a lot to move and if you don’t plan wisely, it can’t turn out badly, and then you are looking at another move. I have met a number of folks who left a good town in search of “the right community” only to end up bouncing around from place to place and never being happy. A very sad thing to see.

    by Tom F — July 17, 2013

  2. Great article…however…I took exception to “moving to a liberal environment when you are a conservative person”. I am proud to be a successful business owner…a job creator…AND…a liberal! You need to be careful how you word things. “or vice versa” would have been far less polarizing.

    Editor’s Comment: I guess we thought that everyone would assume this was meant as an example. We agree that the converse is true: if you are a conservative who moves to a liberal community you might very well feel out of place. No political message meant, sorry if that is how it came across. Our point – make sure you are compatible with your environment.

    by josh korotky — July 17, 2013

  3. I agree that careful planning is required when deciding where to live in retirement.

    My planning started over 22 years ago. I didn’t want to live in a big city,
    so I moved to a small town. My small town has good shopping and being a rural, farming community, all kinds of fresh meats and produce. The living is slow paced, and very refreshing spiritually. My wife and I built a home in the country, about a mile outside the city limits. We have a greenhouse, chicken coop, peach, apple, pecan, and fig trees and a very good vegetable garden. We live close to our children and grandchildren. Taxes are low, with no income tax whatever on social security. Always plenty to do here with our hobbies and desire to live in peace and quiet.

    Clanton, Alabama is a great place to live and retire.

    by Johnny Jacobs — July 17, 2013

  4. The only people who can work till they are 70 are executives, and that is not “work”. The rest of us are aged out around 60, if we are lucky. Many of us are physically unable to work until 70. Please, somebody, write these articles for the average people who are the majority of retirees. I find most retirement articles don’t apply to me, and I prepared.

    by Ed Spyhill — July 17, 2013

  5. I NEED to know Why it’s better to rent vs. Buying?? We are looking to buy a Home , so should We rent-to-own???? I’m in the process of “testing” our apt. for Mold , so far it doesn’t look “good” for Mgmt. ; here’s the “Hitch” We both are employed here-Husband-Caretaker 16 yrs.& Me as a Apt. Leasing Agent/Caretaker over 9 yrs.-SOOOOOOOO????? Please Someone give us some advice , also I don’t know if this makes a difference but my Husband is 74 & I am 55 on SSD????

    by Patti Schuler — July 17, 2013

  6. THis may not be the best place to pose this question, however, I’ve asked it a dozen times, and no one has replied. We don’t play golf, love university courses for the retired, music, walking and the water. Any suggestions for southern retirement without golf course fees?

    by jay kastel — July 17, 2013

  7. Save some money in case you live long enough to need assisted living. A hardship for both of you if you move in with your kids. The nice places are very expensive and not covered by medicare.

    by Robin Caltabiano — July 17, 2013

  8. A lot of self-employed people never quit working long enough even to take a vacation, let alone retire!

    by Judith Keefer — July 17, 2013

  9. Ed (Mr. Spyhill),
    I assure you that you don’t have to be an executive to work past 60 or 65. I’m a CRNA (Nurse Anesthetist) and intend to work until I’m at least 70 years old. I love my profession and am experienced and skilled at what I do—providing Anesthesia care to a variety of patients in a small community hospital.
    Even though I want to keep working, I still try to take the time to “smell the roses”! In May/June I went on a 12 night Mediterranean cruise. A couple of weeks ago my wife and I sent a 4 day weekend in NYC. In September, we are going to Reno, NV for a week.
    My concerns are: Making sure we have enough income to take care of ourselves without touching the principal of our retirement funds–first for both of us ,and after I die for my wife; Not being dependent on our children or the Government for our financial security (Social Security is NOT solvent and changes will have to be made); staying debt free; providing some financial security for our children and grand children are both of us die.
    Even after retirement, I hope to contribute by doing volunteer/missionary work within my profession. I just turned 68 on July 2nd.

    by David Jump — July 17, 2013

  10. Jay, I am not sure what “southern” means to you, but we plan on renting in the Asheville (western North Carolina) area, then buying after we settle on the town we like best. There are universities in the area, and they have a good library system (our marker for a great community). We don’t want to have to worry about extreme weather, and we want a change of seasons. North Carolina is full of half-backs. . .folks from the East and Midwest who thought they wanted to live in Florida, but decided to more half way back after a couple years. Asheville area was the summer retreat area from the humidity and heat of the beach communities in the south. No jobs to speak of, but tons of natural beauty. Transylvania County has tons of waterfalls.

    by Cindy M. — July 18, 2013

  11. jay,

    Here’s a link to at least get you started with ocean/higher ed:

    by Jan Cullinane — July 18, 2013

  12. I think your advice about not finding work after you reach 60 is very well founded. My job was eliminated in a huge pharma merger when I was 66. I have not been able to find gainful employment that pays more than $10 an hour and I live in the metro NJ area where jobs are supposedly more plentiful than other areas of the country. I have attempted to transfer my skill sets to other areas and have not had much success. I have retooled to do substitute teaching, but find the classroom management challenges along with the pay scale of $10 an hour and no one to back you up not worth the risks of disputes with students, parents or administrators. Overall the job scene seems very dismal. I am spending the majority of my time looking for work as I am still vital and willing to work but this doesn’t at all feel like retirement!

    by D Schons — July 19, 2013

  13. If you are over 60 and out of work: In most cases if you can find a job, one would have to accept $10 per hour and starting over. There are way too many highly skilled, high energy level, young adults also searching for meaningful employment. The reality is we know whom the employer is going to choose.

    by Bob P — July 19, 2013

  14. David Jump,
    You are my hero. We are 60 and are looking to retire at 62 1/2 when our car payment is paid.
    We are cruisers and like to travel. Our home is paid for and we have investments we will only tap into as needed, never the principal.
    I am so happy there are Americans out there like you. I hope you continue to post!

    by Vivian Collins — July 19, 2013

  15. We are from the Midwest and are looking to retire in the Washington Dc area. This area is not usually listed as a place to retire. As we look at costs it is obvious why. However, we have 4 grown children in this area with 6 grandchildren and more on the way. We would like to be closer to them. Any suggestions for communities within 90 minutes of DC that are a bit more economical?

    by Phil Nistler — July 20, 2013

  16. When I was over 60 I was hired by the state of ny as a systems analyst at a competitive pay rate. It is possible to find good jobs if u look in the right places. All government jobs are equal opportunity regardless of age, for example.

    by Ginger — July 20, 2013

  17. Phil, Delaware is very inexpensive and close to D>C. Taxes on a $200,000 home are only around $800.00 and taxes are exceptionally low. Also close to Philadelphia.

    by Stan Rajczewski,Jr. — July 20, 2013

  18. I also changed jobs at 61. Hospitals also hire older workers. However, living in NYC, I found I was more welcome in areas outside of Manhattan. But, again, that depends on the hospital. All in all, they seem very welcoming to older workers.

    by Stacey — July 20, 2013

  19. Phil Nistler — Any place you look at in Virginia close to DC is going to be pricey. HOWEVER, there’s this little area that sort of juts out of the northeastern corner of West Virginia that you might take a look at. Pretty close to DC, and from what I can tell, fairly reasonable cost of living also.

    by Judith Keefer — July 20, 2013

  20. We moved to Texas 8 yrs ago and bought a house here, to be relatively close to daughter and grand kids and escape severe winter weather. We now think we should have rented first, or come to visit for a few weeks over a couple of years. Yes, we escaped the winter, but its so hot from May – November ( certainly during summer ) that we can’t enjoy our lively patient nor backyard. The heat is oppressive and the mosquitoes are bitin’ (not to mention its “home” to West Nile Virus). The political landscape is very, very conservative..and we’re not. So we are not happy with decisions affecting all Texans because they are, in our view, repressive. The grand kids are now older and although we are close to them, they prefer to see their friends (very understandable), so we see them on holidays and special occasions only. We have considered moving but reckon that as we age, so do our friends and so if we need help ( we are 65 and 67 now) who will be able to do it? They too may be too old or ill. And when the first one of us dies we want to ensure the other has someone around to “look in”, when needed. So, we wish we’d thought about all that/ done some trying it out and researching before jumping the gun to home ownership here in the Lone Star state.

    by Sheila — July 20, 2013

  21. Phil…re: cheaper DC area housing within 90 minutes. Virginia has lower taxes than Maryland. So,in Virginia, check out Sterling, Fredericksburg, Warrenton, Culpepper, Gainesville, Haymarket, Winchester, Front Royal,and parts of Manassas.

    by Judy — July 21, 2013

  22. Sheila, we retired ….after living in the beautiful Hudson Valley (my husband’s job was there the past 18 years). ). We came to the Austin area a year ago…..have been renting an apartment since November while looking for a house to buy. We do not like the heat, the traffic, or the urban sprawl. The new houses are so close together…and the politics! Yikes!!! We came to be closer to our kids…..we are 63 and 65. We really miss the beauty of NY and I particularly miss my friends, but NY is too expensive. Where to go, want to do???? I think aboutn it 24/ 7 and so far we are not having much fun. Have you considered relocating and if so, where?

    by Linda — July 21, 2013

  23. Hello, all, I agree with the folks here who point out the need to check into the political, social, and cultural aspects of affordable retirement places, as well as their economic clime. The recent “great recession” has left its mark on many potential areas, places that you and I would have seen as acceptable, affordable destinations. Previously lauded, they are now suffering from the maladies of many larger cities, yet have few or any of their assets. Research and research again is a great mantra for all of us. And, again, and as several of these personal stories point out, let me stress how important it is to do a trial run on any place you are considering for a future home. A month or two renting in that area, while holding off a final decision, is really money saved when compared to a bad move. All best, Dr. Judith P. Sinclair

    by Dr. Judith P. Sinclair — July 21, 2013

  24. Linda…I live in Albany, ny. U may have forgotten our summer weather. It had been in the 90s with a dew point in the mid-70s, all this week. That translates to super humid and very uncomfortable. I currently boast at least 20 big mosquito bites. There is nothing special or lovely about upstate ny summer weather. Having said that, Texas has some of the worst weather in the country and I can’t guess how u managed to not know that before u moved ther. Having grown up there I tell people all the time but people only hear what they want to hear. Which brings me to my point…everyone here is presumably here to do research…..trying to do due diligence. So listen to what people say and then visit! No substitute for visiting. I thought I would like Florida till I spent a week there last year. Not so much. Visit!

    by Ginger — July 21, 2013

  25. Hi Phil read you comment about delaware..agree..have done alot research and made trips there..prop tax is very accomodating and live there 3 yrs and 65 get a reduction..and of course no sales tax..the only concern i am still working on is that Del does tax a pension after some exemptions so that could easily add a couple thous to costs to live there..but overall still good..and finally we are still checking our mediacal care and availability etc..would appreciate any comments in that area..good day

    by Robbie — July 21, 2013

  26. Does anyone have any first hand information on Savannah? GA is on my list…also like some info on Athens. Not sure if I would like Atlanta. My nephew lives in Warner-Robins sort of the middle of the state but I don’t think that would work for me.

    by Stacey — July 21, 2013

  27. Linda/Ginger: we didn’t really think that the weather would be that bad. Stupid us! It gets pretty hot and sticky in most parts of the country during the summer and there are mosquitoes too. BUT when you can’t enjoy the patio or backyard for MOST of the summer then that’s a big much. I absolutely agree with the comments about renting and/or staying for several weeks on successive vacations to the area where you are considering a relocation. We do know we will not buy again. Thats because we don’t want the expense that comes with home ownership (taxes, house insurance, maintaining it, fixing big tickets items like roof, air conditioning, etc.). We are looking at a number of things before deciding what to do: 1) which state offers best rates for pensions/retirees; 2) where do we think there are good medical facilities/available docs for Medicare patients: 3) what is the prevailing political environment in the area; 4) what access to walking to entertainment, groceries, social activities; 5) what will we do when we need help with aging (and/or only one of us is still living); 6) what’s the weather like – we prefer three seasons (and could live with winter now we are retired and no longer have to go out in it every day to go to work. Plus, we can go south and rent something if we want to do it during the worst part of it). 7) what are the pros and cons financially or staying in the U.S. or going to Canada – I am Canadian, my husband is American – although the cost of living is higher, as are taxes, healthcare is available for all at no extra cost. So many things to consider. We reckon we will continue to discuss these items and research various options before we finally decide. When we made the decision to come here 8 years ago to be with daughter and grandkids and were caught up in the excitement of all that, however, we now know, these are the things we probably should have considered BEFORE we boought our house in Texas.

    by sheila — July 21, 2013

  28. Ginger…. I am a Texan …..born here, high school and UT…my husband was in the Army for l 40 years, but we came back a lot. It is really getting much hotter. …just did not realize how bad it was….visiting a week or two compared to living in this heat is something all together different. :oops:Ironically, the heat in the summer does not bother me all that much because that is summer most places. But in many places, like New York, the coolness and beauty of the fall do come as well as ( yes, snow) and the flowering spring. Just beautiful. We came for the kids/ grandkids but still have all our things in storage. We want to want to stay in Texas ( if that makes sense) but don’t really. BUT, we are ready to get settled.

    by Linda — July 21, 2013

  29. Shelia, when you figure it out, let me know. Sounds like we are looking for much the same thing. We go to look at homes in the Austin area and rather than getting excited I feel , well, not as one might expect given all the positive reviews for this area…… I also miss the variety the east and west coast provide….you can drive a few hours and get to others states…..but in Texas it takes a day or more to even get to another state and change of scenery.

    by Linda — July 21, 2013

  30. I agree that it’s necessary to spend some time in the place you’re thinking about moving to before you commit yourself.
    But there’s an in-between stage (at least for husband & self) when you’re just not sure — so many places seem appealing, at least long distance. And there just isn’t time or money to visit them all, much less rent for weeks or months at a time.
    So … besides looking at the listings on the internet, the “booster” websites, etc., I’d recommend that people get engaged with state or area or city related forums. Easy enough to find, just google. The city-data forums seem to be pretty comprehensive in terms of any subject you might want to discuss – – I’ve been lurking on a couple of the forums there and so far am not seeing any obvious “hidden agendas” either! Then of course there are Facebook groups you can join related to the features of the community you’re interested in. These can be very opinionated (and informative!).

    by Judith Keefer — July 21, 2013

  31. Sheila, I too would like to have access to the information when you figure it out. The cost of living in the area between Lancaster County and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania is very high, ie: real estate taxes, water/sewer charges,(sewer charges have increased 33% to assist in cleaning up the Chesapeak Bay due to farm water waste run off into tributaries of the Bay) state income taxes, retirement facilities in this area are VERY expensive! We need to relocate to an area with lower cost of living and at least 3 seasons eastern USA. Delaware, N.C., S.C., Georgia, KY, Virginia? Suggestions please

    by Bonnie — July 21, 2013

  32. Phil, I live in n. VA and it is quite expensive. However, if you are able to drive, you might consider W.Va (near Charles Town) which is much cheaper than the DC area. It is only about 1.5 hrs from the Washington area.

    by Marilyn — July 22, 2013

  33. Isn’t West VA one of the states that taxes Social Security? Figuring out the net cost of living in each location is so complicated! If you have cheaper real estate, you might have higher taxes. If you have higher income taxes, you might have low HOA fees or insurance costs. My head is spinning. And of course, after you figure it all out and decide X is the perfect location, in ten years X may no longer be perfect because of tax law changes or something else.

    by Neonzeus — July 22, 2013

  34. It is indeed difficult to find a retirement place that “fits”. It takes a lot of research and visiting the area, as others have advised. However, in my experience, no place is perfect and one must compromise in some lifestyle areas. I also feel that it is often better to stay in your original area for some time before making the big move elsewhere.

    by Marilyn — July 22, 2013

  35. Linda- I grew up in the beautiful Hudson Valley, New Paltz to be exact. I loved the area and its proximity to NYC. When I was younger I tolerated the heat better and didn’t mind the snow at all. Now I don’t mind snow, and do not tolerate Texas heat well.. This is where we live right now for the next four weeks. Then we will make our permanent move to Murrells Inlet, SC . We have spent time there and while it is humid, the ocean breeze helps a lot. Also it has been in the mid 80’s while NY has been in the upper 90’s…and Texas…well it is always in the upper 90’s I the summer. I do not believe it has gotten any hotter in places, we have just gotten older and more sensitive to heat and even cold, especially extremes.

    by Diana at — July 22, 2013

  36. Phil, I ditto what Judy says in regard to choosing VA over MD. Look into heading south towards Stafford, Fredricksburg and the Northern Neck which is beautiful, quiet and still affordable. If you go towards NoVa starting in Gainsville the prices and property taxes start dropping. You might want to check South Riding, VA. It’s past Chantilly right over the Loudoun Co line. Houses of all sizes depending on your budget. It’s a wonderful community and its very convenient to DC. Been living in NoVa for 25+ years (from Centreville, South Riding and now into Fairfax – expensive but nice) and its been a great place to live and raise our family. Lived in MD for 22 years and though most of my family is still there I wouldn’t live in MD if you paid me. They’ll tax the dirt of your shoes! As for me and my hubby…we’re heading further south where our kids have settled 🙂

    by Barb — July 22, 2013

  37. We’ve had over 30 moves (due to the line of work we’ve been part of) in 45+ years of marriage, and are not alone in this. A lot of us out here have had our roots pretty shallow and are now looking for a happy, safe place to perhaps settle for a while. One thing I’ve learned is that no place is perfect so choose as well as you can, and then work on your own attitude. Learn to appreciate the good things available to you wherever you are. Every place has good and bad weather and people of differing political viewpoints. Smile and be grateful we have these options available to us. High crime rate, bad tax structure, no good libraries, lack of good, available medical care, need to drive too far for basics… those are problems tops on my list to try and avoid as much as possible. Following where kids are is problematic because they have lives to live and may move themselves. I want to provide a place, and an atmosphere, where they’ll want to come see us when they can and not feel smothered or bored.

    by Susan14 — July 22, 2013

  38. To Diane/Linda – Re: it getting hotter – I spent over 20 years in the Dallas area and feel that the growth in the area made it feel a lot hotter – all the buildings, concrete, highways, car exhaust, etc. When I got 20 minutes outside of the suburbs, there was a huge difference in how the temperature felt where there were more grassy areas and trees. I agree, it is harder to handle the heat as we get more “mature”. Happy hunting.

    by Linda B — July 22, 2013

  39. Bonnie/Linda: I think we will start by doing a spreadsheet listing all the things that are important considerations to us. Then we will list all the locations where we think we would like to relocate. Then we will do the comparisons. There are a number if websites that have the kind if info. We need to start making those comparisons. It’s funny, when I was younger, at various times, when I had to make career decisions, I used to write the pros and cons down on paper because it really helped to see it in black and white. That’s because it took the emotion out of the equation. Dunno why we didn’t think to do that before we bought our house in Houston. Probably because, we were emotional and excited about being near daughter and grandchildren. I will share those web addresses – most of which I found here here on this blog/site.

    by Sheila — July 22, 2013

  40. We vacationed for years near Beaufort, SC and have just purchased a home in Sun City. There is a U of SC campus across the street for anyone considering classes. The weather is just as hot as in FL summer(and doesn’t cool off at night like FL does) but doesn’t last quite as long and winter is a bit cooler. I was looking for much cooler, NC near Asheville or VA from Charlottesville to Roanoke. My husband didn’t want that much cold or to travel that far from our beach condo in FL. Our kids live in IN and VA but could move so moving close to them might not have lasted. This seems to be a good compromise. I still get to grow flowers that don’t grow in FL. I belong to a gym and won’t have to search one out because there are pools and fitness rooms in the community. We’ll have some ground for me to plant but lawn maintenance is included in our HOA fees.

    by Marjie — July 22, 2013

  41. To Jay Kastel – check out Dahlonega, GA -hour north of Atlanta with beautiful mountain views, good weather, good restaurants, vibrant (if not a little touristy) downtown w/music regularly, arts and crafts festivals, vineyards,home of North Ga. College with classes, large lake nearby (Lanier) and friendly people, tax exemptions for homeowners over 65 p.s. don’t tell anyone else, we like it small.

    by Cheryl Brown — July 22, 2013

  42. Also regarding golf fees, we are not golfers. Golf fees are separate from the HOA at Sun City.

    by Marjie — July 22, 2013

  43. There is no perfect place for everyone, but you can find a place that is nearly there, if you do your homework. Yes the summers are very hot and humid in most of the country, but there are places like California that have almost perfect weather year round, however, it is costly to live there. I wrote down my wish list in a notebook, did my homework, jumped in my car and explored, talked to lots of folks, checked out data online. You need to stay in the area for a while to get a feel if it would work. It’s not rocket science, just common sense. I hate packing and moving, and did not want to make a costly mistake. Good luck in finding your little slice of the good life in retirement! It’s out there!!!

    by loralee — July 22, 2013

  44. I think the mistake people make is not doing enough planning, researching, crunching numbers (finances), and having heart to heart talks with the spouse about what is important to each other. I had been doing all these things for over 10 years. At some point you have to make some compromises because no one place is 100% perfect in everything you want.

    Our budget is done out through 2022 and has been for years. Knowing where we stand financially was the biggest key for me because worrying about money is stressful. My wife wanted to live near her sister. What is near! My wife decided a two hour drive would be near so a visit could be a day trip. We agreed to downsize the house and clutter, the last being the more difficult task which is yet to be finished.

    We didn’t rent because we have vacationed in Florida many many times at different parts of the year including bad weather. But we did vacation near my wife’s sister to see how we liked the area. Things on our list included a quiet area but near enough to a larger area to go shopping. The coast was a no go because of hurricane season and extreme difficulty in obtaining home owner insurance. I did not want a Community Development District or CDD if I got the name right, which means you pay for all infrastructure instead of the government when repairs are needed. I have read of people getting a $23,000 dollar assessment to pay their share of road repair. We both liked the idea of not cutting grass and doing other yard work. Through the years, I would visit websites and read. On vacations we would go visit retirement places.

    Our goal was to make the retirement move at age 60, which for finances meant that everything was paid for – cars, house, sons’ education loans, etc. In 2012 at age 58 we visited Trilogy of Orlando, legal name Cascades of Groveland. About 15 miles from my wife’s sister, one requirement meet. We made several more visits and also researched the internet for complaints and lawsuits. The original builder went bankrupt during the housing crash, the club house and amenities were never finished. A new builder, Shea Homes, bought the project, finished the club house and amenities, which are wonderful. New homes are more expensive than existing homes so it cost us more. The community is a CDD a minus on a requirement, but after reviewing the financials from the HOA, the reserve funds are more than adequate for years to come. The mailing address is Groveland, FL out in the countryside nice and quite, meets a requirement. Clermont is about 15 minutes away and Orlando is about 35 minutes both of which have more than adequate shopping for us, met another requirement. We were sitting on the fence and debated to buy or not buy because we really liked what we saw. A special incentive was a prepaid 20 year solar lease that should eliminate most if not all of the cost of electricity except the base account charge. We knew this incentive would disappear but did not know when, also we knew that prices usually increase in the new year. Crunching numbers, this was doable with spending money left over each month. Something unusual was the cost analysis of the HOA dues – I called the providers of cable, internet, alarm system, etc to compare costs. I found that we expected to save almost $300 a month on costs of things that we do. I laid it all out in an Excel spreadsheet for my wife to review which made her more excited.

    We decided to buy in Dec 2012. Since then several price increases have occurred to about $15,000. We received the prepaid 20 year solar lease which I estimate to be worth over $36,000 based on the yearly cost of electricity for our current home. We see that as a $51,000 savings. The $300 a month savings using HOA is 50% electrical and the other $150 x 12 months x 20 years is another $36,000 in savings or cost avoidance if you like that term. Total estimated savings or cost avoidance for the next 20 years is $87,000. The prepaid solar incentive ended in July 2013, and we doubt that we have an $87,000 assessment in our lifetime that would negate the cost savings. We paid cash and received a discount of the home which saved enough money to buy all the appliances and some other things my wife wanted.

    The fitness center is very nice except that I can already to the max weight on several machines and there is no way to add weight, so that means more reps. The pool is never crowded. This is so much better than the gym and we can walk from our new home. We are already making friends. This is a social active community which is what we wanted. We are happy with our choice! So, plan, research, crunch numbers (finances), and have heart to heart talks with the spouse about what is important to each other. I urge you to do a cost analysis of living in different communities – what do you get for your money compared to what you would pay as an individual for services.
    Something that everyone needs to understand is that things change. What is great now can go bust because there is no absolute way to predict the future! All we can do is to do our due diligence in all areas and make our choice on the best information that we have.
    We hope that everyone makes a choice that brings them happiness. We look forward to 20+ years of living a resort style life.

    by Benny — July 22, 2013

  45. Here are some comments for those job searching and for relocating…. My wife and I are 65 and 62 and not planning to retire any time soon. Ten years ago I started contracting before moving from Ohio to North Carolina. I didn’t think I would like contracting after being laid off from my full time job in 2000. Reluctantly, I started contacting. Now I love it. Companies are not reluctant to hire older (experienced) people when they know that they are not paying benefits and they don’t have a long term hiring commitment. Only issue is medical insurance – which goes away when medicare kicks in. If you are in good health you can pickup a good medical insurance policy with a high deductible before Medicare kicks in.

    As far as relocating, definitely visit and spend time there during different seasons. We visited Florida in June and rented a convertible. It was so hot we were never able to put the top down. We also visited St. Simon in GA and were attacked by lovebugs – black bugs that cover everything in summer months. We also asked locals about bugs – they told us about the “no seeums” which also have their summer season and bite without you being able to even see them. We visited Atlanta and hated the traffic. We settled on Charlotte, NC after several vacation visits there. Virtually no bugs – hardly any mosquitoes like we had in Ohio….where we couldn’t go out after dusk. We also like the 4 seasons…very mild winters – usually one snow storm that lasts one or two days, long and nice fall, usually long and beautiful spring with little rain (but not this year) and warm and humid summer in 80’s and 90’s but much more bearable than FL or TX. Lots of pollen in the spring is the biggest problem if you have allergies (or even if you don’t now).

    Regarding moving where you have family – that is understandable and desirable but we were advised early on – don’t follow your kids because they might move leaving you stranded anyway. So, we focused on the area we wanted to live in. Now our kids have followed us to Charlotte and we couldn’t be happier about that. We are not moving again.

    by Dave — July 22, 2013

  46. It seems like there are always some key things to consider (affordability, culture…is it a community that I can feel comfy in and make friends and find people that share my values, health issues and health care, distance from friends/family, and weather. Then there are preferences…rural vs small town vs urban, available public transportation, availability of entertainment options. A lot to consider. A spreadsheet seems like a great idea. But remember to do it in top down order with weighted scores. If u have financial concerns then affordability probably trumps everything. If u have health issues (like, I have COPD and cannot live at high altitude), then this is a major issue. I think it is a failure to consider our true priorities that causes poor decisions. Yes the grand kids are a strong pull but they grow up…quickly…but your health and finances are issues u must deal with forever.

    by Ginger — July 22, 2013

  47. Lists and spreadsheets are great ideas, as is traveling to different areas to check them out. My personal goal is to start out by lightening the load at home as much as possible by getting rid of accumulated excess “stuff”. That makes more flexible the options for size and type of new places to consider. The less one has to cart around and dust, the less expensive the transitions are and the more time we all have to enjoy them. This is so much easier said (and listed on spreadsheets) than done, though.

    by Susan14 — July 22, 2013

  48. One thing I have not seen, weather. We live in northern Illinois, so we can four different types of weather in a day. I cannot tolerate high humidity,no more than 60%, snow is no problem. My husband does not like very hot. So where do we move to?

    by marcia easton — July 22, 2013

  49. Marjie
    My husband and I just returned from Sun City in Bluffton. Can you contact me on my email

    by Marilyn — July 23, 2013

  50. I have a number of friends, all of us of similar age, who have recently retired. Several have moved away. Most to Fl and one to northern Al. Because we keep in regular contact the conversation recently came up regarding the +/- of their decision to move. My closest friend said she wishes they had never done it. Reason: she and her husband miss the familiar. They are living in Hampton Cove, Al. a somewhat upscale area outside of Huntsville. She loves the housing, the people have been friendly but says she ” it’s just not the same’. She misses familiar sites, definitely misses the seasons, the proximity to the coast, the ability to go to either the Red Sox or Yankee games with a two hr. car ride. Same for Broadway shows. Said she never considered that she’d miss all those things the way she does. Clearly many like the changes, sort of like a ‘start over’. But here i have 3 good friends who wish they’d never done it. This causes me to wonder if I would feel the same.
    Altho used in a different context this makes me think of the Thomas Wolfe novel “You Can’t Go Home Again”.
    Do you think many feel the same after a move from the familiar? Clearly for most once done cannot be undone.

    by Anne — July 23, 2013

  51. As others have suggested doing you homework is imperative. Years ago I wanted to relocate and experience a warmer climate. For about ten years I took vacations to various parts of Fl. When it was time to move I allowed where the job offer came from to dictate where. After a year I knew it was not the perfect fit. So I made the decision to move to another city that offered more of what I needed. Renting I think is key, me personally I would never buy a property unless I had spent time there and felt that it met my needs. The second city was a perfect fit, when a job offer came from another city in Fl I declined. If you allow fear to keep you from moving you might always wonder what if. The old and familiar is comforting but the stimulating and new keeps you young. Just do your homework, and take your time making the purchase. Good Luck!

    by karla — July 23, 2013

  52. You should try eastern Tennessee. It has four seasons and the tax rate in Tennessee is reasonable compared to New England and the northeast. There are mountains in the east, so it is cooler than it is here in western Tennessee. My husband and I will be heading to Florida for eight months and back to Maine, our native state, for the other four months. We do not wish to spend summers in Florida.

    by Norma Parkinson — July 23, 2013

  53. Well, for some people relocation is not an option. If you live in an area that is too pricey to retire in, you have to move. My area is affordable, but is very poor for my health. I have COPD and heart issues and have been told I need a warmer climate with less mold in the air. This is why I am looking at Arizona. And, my choices are limited by my finances. So, I spent 33 years in San Francisco and would love to go there, and my family is there, but I can’t afford it. The choices I have made in my life have determined, to so me extent, my future path. That’s just the way it is.

    by Ginger — July 23, 2013

  54. Upon retirement a few years ago from the Wash,DC area I decided to move to a supposedly more rural area in NC for some tranquility. I was drawn to my home by the beautiful views and scenic rolling landscape. However, after being here a year now I have found there is just as much “noise” here as in the city.I call it “country noise” from farmers plowing their fields, trucks without mufflers, neighbors mowing their 10 acre lots, and aircraft flying over my home(didn’t know I was on a flight pattern) I’m thinking of moving back to the city where I’m closer to Doctors and other services. My advice for others is to give some “serious” consideration when choosing to move from the cities out to the rural areas. It’s not always more peaceful.

    by Dale — July 23, 2013

  55. We have been looking at Murrells Inlet in SC, specifically at seasons at prince creek west development. Anyone have any opinions either good or bad about that location ?

    by Catz0027 — July 24, 2013

  56. Hi Catz. I recall you previously stating that you were going to visit communities around Atlanta. Have you posted you findings from those visits? I’m very interested in your observations.

    by tmnj — July 24, 2013

  57. We love Murrells Inlet and purchased in International Club, which is very close to Prince Creek. We like the proximity to medical care, weather, and we are close to the beach. We visited a few times before we bought and bought rather than rented because it was cheaper than renting for us. Plus I got our mortgage while still working because it can be tough to acquire a mortgage on a retirement income…no matter how good your credit is. We watched our friends have a heck of a time trying to refinance their home; it took them eight months! Anyway, Murrells is lovely and if you’re a seafood lover, well it is a good place to be. I also like it for my asthma; the sea air is good for me.

    by DianaF — July 24, 2013

  58. One comment about eastern Tennessee. We lived there for 5 years. We never had any problems with allergies, living in the Midwest. Shortly after we lived there, both of us developed severe sinus/allergy issues, with accompanying frequent migraine type headaches for me. It wasn’t until we lived there that we discovered Tennessee is an allergy doctor’s haven. I have no idea how you can check for this in advance.

    by Kathi M — July 24, 2013

  59. Linda/Bonnie/Diana et al: I agree with all the comments about planning, researching, etc. and so as promised, here are a number of websites to get you started (many of which I’ve found on this blog): (provides demographics, climate, crime, voting, etc.) (state tax comparisons) (info. to compare cities) (click on “retirement” – gives good info. to do state by state comparisons on taxes for retirees/pensions) (find out where best walking/biking is located + rental info. (for those on SS only as their pension) (federal and state tax comparisons)
    Then here are a couple of other sites for extra info. for older adults: (this is a National Council on aging FREE site to assist those on a fixed income to find benefits – for over 55 yrs) (US Admin. on Agine – lists services for older adults & families) (US National Park Service – info. on $10 lifetime passes to National Parks for those over 62)

    Many of these sites I’ve found on this blog. I kept track of them and saved them on my computer. This a.m. I’ve gone online to each to see if they are still active and they are! Happy to share with you all in hopes it will help with your research and planning.
    Good luck.

    by sheila — July 24, 2013

  60. Thanks Sheila for taking the time to pull this information together,this will be a great resource!

    by karla — July 24, 2013

  61. Dale, I learned long ago that rural is not for me. I did live in the Hanover area of NH. It was for a job, so not really a choice. Although I knew that it was rural, I thought that being near Dartmouth would help. It just confirmed that rural was not for me. Like you I like the convenience of groceries stores, doctors, etc.

    Let us know where you are considering.

    by Elaine — July 24, 2013

  62. I’m really surprised no one has suggested getting an RV instead of renting or buying a retirement home initially, so you would have the freedom to stay in the areas you are considering without the obligation.
    I just retired in Feb on an early retirement incentive at the age of 53. My husband is officially retiring the end of July at the age of 52. We bot a 1995 29′ Class C RV for $14K off Craigslist; and tho gas is expensive with an mpg of 7, getting the monthly park rate makes it do-able.
    We got rid of most stuff, put the rest in storage, and rented out the house [until we can sell it for what we paid]. Tho our property is in RI, we relocated to FL, where we both grew up.
    With no debt, two pensions, and no grandkids yet, we plan to travel and visit our FB friends and family, until we decide to do something else.

    by Elaine — July 24, 2013

  63. Sheila – Thank you for posting all of the links. The only one that I think is useless is the article on where to retire on Social Security alone. I’ve posted on one of the other forums too, but I think this one is useless. It recommends locations based on average income, but the locations are primarily college towns like State College (Penn State), Lafayette Ind. (Purdue) and Blacksburg, VA (Virginia Tech). If you factor students and related school personnel into the average salaries, of course the reported income in these locations would be skewed to be low. It doesn’t mean that a retiree could live only on Social Security in those locations. (If you’re not planning on sharing a student apartment, using a student discount card and eating ramen noodles like the 20 yr olds, these locations might not be suitable LOL.)

    by Sharon — July 25, 2013

  64. Hi tmnj,
    Yes we did visit several places in Atlanta and several in South Carolina. I will give my opinion of all of them for anyone who might be interested. For some background I am 56 and my husband is 60. We are planning to retire in March 2015 when he turns 62, and we are looking for a 55+ retirement community in the southeast. We currently live in a all age community outside of DC, which caters to families so most of the activities are for children.
    Sun City Peachtree – Griffin Ga…beautiful community, lovely amenities and landscaping, prices were great for our budget, but it really is in the middle of nowhere, and would be at least a 15-20 minute commute for groceries, banking, gas, medical care etc. Just way too remote for us.
    Village at Deaton Creek – Hoschton Ga – beautiful area, and if we had not decided that Ga was too far from our children would have been the location we would have picked. A lot of these communities we saw were empty most of the time that we were there, meaning no one was using the facilities, and the community was like a ghost town. But at Deaton Creek it was a bustling community with lots of folks using the amenities and were really friendly and seemed to be very happy. There was lots of shopping, banking, medical care close by, and really was a lovely community.
    Del Webb at Lake Oconee- Greensboro Ga – again another lovely community, but the overall impression we got was that it catered to boaters, and we felt that since we do not own a boat we would feel like outsiders in this community.
    Cresswind at Lake Lanier -Gainesville Ga- pretty community, but no locals were around and the sales lady was so condescending that she completely turned us off of this community.
    Soleil Laurel Canyon- This was the one community we were really looking forward to since it was near the mountains and would provide more of a 4 season area (being raised in western NY we would like this). The community was pretty, but the entire area was lots of hills, so much that none of the homes were on streets that were flat. We felt that though we like to take daily walks, that the walking was so steep that as we got older we would not be able to take a simple walk around the block. And again, as in almost all of the communities in Ga, the amenity center was just about empty for the several hours that we were there.
    South Carolina:
    Sun City Carolina Lakes-Charlotte, SC – Since this area is closest to our kids, we were really hoping to like it more than we did. It just seemed kind of run down and not as nicely landscaped as the Del Webb areas in Ga. It probably would have seemed nicer if we had not seen the areas in Ga. It also was VERY crowded and we got the impression that the amenity center was not big enough for the community. The sales people state that a second amenity center was going to be built, but that it would be much smaller than the current amenity center so that didn’t seem to be good news for the community. Also they have raised the prices of new builds by $10,000 a home in June and are planning to raise them again in August, so they really just priced themselves out of our budget. We really loved the Charlotte area, so this was a let down. But even if the prices were better, it just wasn’t as nice as some of the others we visited.
    Baileys Glen – North of Charlotte but actually in NC – nice community but too small for us. Having an indoor pool as one of the amenities is important to us as we enjoy swimming year round, and they didn’t have one.
    Del Webb Charleston – pretty community and priced right for us. The biggest negative is that the surrounding area is really lacking in shopping, medical care, banking etc. There is a large grocery store close by, but though it has many smaller shopping buildings attached to it, almost all are empty except for a nail salon. The store was built over 2 years ago, and everyone seems to be waiting for other stores to come to the area. It made us very nervous that its been over 2 years and they are still empty. Since we liked this community, we will be watching for the next year to see if any further growth occurs.
    Sun City Hilton Head -Bluffton, SC – very large community with every amenity you could ever want, along with great shopping, etc. The place was bustling and people were nice and friendly. The negative was that the amenities seem to charge for every little thing (water aerobics were 5 bucks a visit) so we felt that they would add up very quickly. Also this was the only community that didn’t include lawn care in the HOA, and hubby has no interest in mowing the lawn for the rest of his life, and paying someone to do it on a weekly basis would again add up. Probably bc of this, this was the one community whose lawns were largely unkempt and visually unappealing. Though this community is still on our list, mainly bc of the large # of amenities, the nickel and diming for those amenities is concerning.
    The Haven – Bluffton SC – this is a smaller community about half an hour from Sun City Hilton Head, kind of like the sister community. Absolutely a beautiful community, with much bigger lots. the negative is that it is somewhat too remote for our tastes, and it didn’t have an indoor pool which is important to us. If it did have that pool, prob would be our favorite location due to the beautiful location.
    Carillon at Tuscany – Myrtle Beach SC – the numerous stairs you needed to climb to just get into the community center was a complete turn off for us. Just didn’t seem to be thought out well for a 55+ community.
    Seasons at Prince Creek West – Murrells Inlet SC- our absolute favorite so far..has 2 beautiful amenity centers, which seem to be large enough for the community. Everyone we met was very friendly, and the houses were very nice. Since we had never been to the area before, we don’t know a lot about it. Very close to the beach, and while dining in the area we really felt like we were in a resort area. Lots of shopping and things to do. This may just be the right place for us.
    Hope this information helps…

    by catz0026 — July 25, 2013

  65. Thanks, Shelia. Seems all I do is think about this 24/7. This week I an thinking Colorado Springs and wintering in Texas. But then I saw state income tax! Added to federal, there sure be a large dent in our pensions.

    by Linda — July 25, 2013

  66. Linda/Karla/Sharon: You’re welcome. There’s lots of good info. to get started. LINDA: not to worry. Do a spreadsheet using the sites to get started on the financial implications. Then look at environment, demographics, voting patterns, etc. Keep looking at this blog and comments from folks who’ve visited different places. If you can pick a few and go for a visit then I think that would be advisable. SHARON: Too bad that article didn’t work for you. I did think it had some ideas for those who might be interested in looking at those locales. As we’ve all learned – NO PLACE is perfect. We just have to decide what’s the most important of our need/want. Good luck to all, I’ll keep reading the blog to learn as much as I can too.

    by sheila — July 25, 2013

  67. I notice that virtually everyone posting mentions having a mate. I am single, retired at the age of 73, with as much saved/invested as I could manage, no debts, and no car (macular degeneration). Lucky for me, my grand piano and I (some furnishings are too important to leave behind) moved across the country to a small, secure, pet-friendly apartment in Seattle, within walking distance of shopping, first rate medical services and public transportation. Volunteering at the senior center has been my access to the community. Surely there are other singles “by choice” – especially those without abundant means – who would welcome a network that addressed their unique issues and concerns.

    By the way, why no mention of retiring on the west coast? Seattle is gorgeous, smart and vibrant so do not let a little rain scare you away. I am suggesting Florence, Oregon to my younger sister so I can visit often.

    by Sondra — July 25, 2013

  68. The one thing we know after 9 months in Texas is that we do not like the heat and it is not even August yet. We want to want to stay in Texas…..if that makes sense…..but,we don’t. At least our things are in storage and we have options.

    by Linda — July 26, 2013

  69. Hey sondra I am single too…I made a trip to Olympia wa this year to look for retirement options. Such a beautiful place but I didn’t think I could afford it…especially in Seattle. I lived in Oregon when I was a teenager/20’s and know about the rain …at that age it wasn’t an issue but I think now it would keep me in more. Love everything else there but cost of living and the rain kept me from pursuing further.

    by Iwashere — July 26, 2013

  70. sondra I am also a single woman going on 75, living in Colorado but house to bigtneed to downsize. Have 2 big dogs that need to follow me. Thinking about a retirement community outside Phoenix, but not sure about the summer heat. Never been to Oregon. Also thinking about an RV to travel around and see some places. Any advice anyone?

    by svenska — July 27, 2013

  71. Sondra-would you minding giving name of the apt. complex you moved to in Seattle? Thanks

    by judy — July 27, 2013

  72. :oops:ladies, I have been in Dfw, Tx now going on 2yrs. My things still in storage and yes I am renting. Orig from Midwest Windy City. Beautiful but too cold. Afraid to stay in Tx. Traffic is terrible, they will run you over drivers r …. Even if you re in right lane still flip u or lay the horn. Afraid to get run down. Want to stay only due to elderly parents(8 hr drive). Any suggestions that are less congested for someone that still needs to work but need to remain in state.

    by Sylvia — July 27, 2013

  73. Hi, Judy. Check out the Ballard area of Seattle, very pedestrian friendly with many new apartment complexes. It is not cheap by any means – especially with Amazon’s recent hiring frenzy impacting rental costs – but much less expensive than comparable senior housing.

    by Sondra — July 28, 2013

  74. After many many years of vacationing in Saratoga Springs, NY, I am considering it as a possible retirement destination. Does anyone have any positive/negative comments about it?

    by Linda — July 28, 2013

  75. Following the discussion, it seems to me that 55+ retirement communities would fit many of the requirements many of those blogging are looking for.
    Two web sites worth looking at are:

    For those who think the weather in Florida is “too hot” there are many other states where the 55+ communities are offered.
    In Florida, at Top of the World in Ocala and at Timber Pines near Clearwater/Tampa you can buy nice town houses for between 30K and 40K. There are many more places like this. The great thing about these communities is that they generally offer every possible amenity and lots of activities with other retires. HOA fees and cost of living is generally very reasonable (but will vary). Hope this is of some help.

    by David J — August 11, 2013

  76. Thanks for the links David. I had looked at Top of the World in Ocala, but discovered that you are only purchasing a 99 year lease instead of the property. Theoretically I am opposed to that arrangement since I plan on being around in 99 years :mrgreen:. I had liked the idea of Orlando since I thought that would guarantee my kids would visit at least once a year, but the sinkhole in this morning’s news is giving me the willies. Geez, this is a tough process.

    by Sharon — August 12, 2013

  77. Sylvia, what area of DFW are you in? Have lived there over 20 yes. Dallas traffic is MUCH worse than other areas. I may be able to help you find an area where the traffic is much less tense.
    Sharon, I was talking to a friend re the sinkhole issue and was advised to get an engineer to ultrasound the ground in area I was interested in and see if it would be sinkhole prone. Don’t know if this is feasible since I haven’t talked to anyone yet .

    by Vicki — August 12, 2013

  78. Catz0026
    We were just at Sun City Hilton Head and they said the $222./month HOA fee included complete lawn service, including cutting. I also have a letter from them which outlines the costs and it states “complete lawn care”. This is on the newer side in Jasper Co. not the older section where the Town Center is.

    by marilyn — August 12, 2013

  79. Here’s an interesting article on The Best Places for retirement…or not…
    that appeared on my Facebook timeline today.
    It references a number of sources to help in decision-making.

    by sheila bryan — August 12, 2013

  80. Here’s another link to an interesting piece on aging in place:

    by sheila — August 12, 2013

  81. Shelia..thanks for the link (milken)..found it useful..also, your blogs in past..especially, about making a spresd sheet to compare area..and may I add a few columns for info on this link as well as an important implications..we actually do a state income tax form to conclude waht the overall tax would be on our income..we have found that there is often dollar amounts left after any exemptions again thanks to all for the blogs..and as you say ..we learn more from others in our quest..and last that your place is perfect..just find one that suits most of your needs..

    by Robbie — August 13, 2013

  82. ROBBIE: absolutely. The first item on our spreadsheet was taxes – federal, state, education/property, etc. then we looked at insurance – house, flood and car. That’s because those rates are so different state to state and city to city . It’s amazing the range of prices place to place. Next is availability of Doctors who take Medicare and access to quality health care/ hospitals. We are very well now, but want to prepare for “what if/when “.
    These to me are things that will impact quality of life well before we choose the other important items. And yes indeed we sure know that no locale will be perfect.

    by Sheila — August 13, 2013

  83. Vicki…that will help u feel secure about your own home but you won’t be at home all the time. Sinkholes open in the roads and cars fall in. They can happen anywhere.

    by Ginger — August 14, 2013


    by MARK P — August 15, 2013

  85. What city on Florida’s east coast would be good to move to for a couple of retired folks (67 and 70). We don’t play golf but we love to walk and love people. Thanks.

    by marilyn — August 15, 2013

  86. Linda…I have been living in Albany NY for 7 years, just 40 mins from Saratoga Springs. I’m up there often. Here are my thoughts…Saratoga is a lovely community in many ways. Lots of cultural activities, pretty town, lovely downtown area. Good restaurants and shopping. However…not inexpensive. It is a bit of a tourist town and gets more gentrified all the time. During racing season the town is jam packed and traffic is terrible. The most walkable area, downtown, is also very pricey. The summers can be hot and muggy, and the winters are always long, cold and snowy. NY has lots of taxes and not a lot of breaks for seniors. If you are not worried about finances, don’t mind long cold winters withs lots of ice and snow…then it might be a fun place to retire. It’s very cute.

    by Ginger — August 15, 2013

  87. Marilyn regarding your question on Florida East coast try reviewing Delray Beach area. It may have what you are looking for. Nice downtown and close to the beach!

    by Skip — August 16, 2013

  88. Marilyn, another suggestion….check out Palm Coast, FL. It has the beach, three airports within driving distance, Mayo clinic up the road in Jacksonville, and it’s a friendly community.

    Jan Cullinane, The Single Woman’s Guide to Retirement

    by Jan Cullinane — August 17, 2013

  89. Thanks Jan. I was there last Winter and was told that crime is going up in the Palm Coast area due to lower housing costs and undesirable people moving in. This info was from a realtor showing us around. Any truth to this?

    by Marilyn — August 17, 2013

  90. Marilyn,

    Interesting. I live “over the bridge” on the barrier island, but go to Palm Coast regularly. I also serve on our Library Board of Trustees. I feel extremely safe.
    Here is a link: You’ll see the area is lower in violent crime, property crime, and crimes per square mile than Florida in general and also compared to the nation as a whole. Good luck in your search!

    by Jan Cullinane — August 18, 2013

  91. I am recently widowed and have lived in Colorado since the 70’s. I am now considering relocating to Oregon. Portland, Bend and surrounding areas do interest me a lot. I am healthy, active and love to ski and golf. Please give me the pros and cons. Rental vs ownership vs 55+communities vs downtown?
    I will be planning a visit in a couple of weeks so any info will be greatly appreciated.

    by josiane — August 18, 2013

  92. We are looking at retiring soon and are thinking of the Denver area. Does anyone have any suggestions or thoughts about locating anywhere in that area? thanks so much

    by Janet — August 19, 2013

  93. I had to look twice at the heading for this thread, which is supposedly about retirement mistakes. Instead the thread is now all about moving. There is also a thread on selling your home, moving, & downsizing & it might be better if the moving comments were made on that thread so the relevant posts could be found in one place.

    by Judith Keefer — August 19, 2013

  94. As suggested by a member, we have moved comments concerning downsizing, packing and selling your home to our blog “Wanted-Member Input on Selling Your Home, Moving, Downsizing Survey”. Here, posts will be more applicable and helpful to others going through this process.

    by Jane at Topretirements — August 19, 2013

  95. Josiah’s, in response to your inquiry about Oregon…Portland and bend couldn’t be more different. Portland is a very hip, liberal culture, with tons of rain in the winter. Very much a big city.
    Very cutting edge. Bend, on the other hand, is over the mountains and a different world. Bend is high desert, much drier, and very different culturally. Bend has a strong western influence where rodeos and cowboy boots are hot. Not as liberal but still progressive. Both places have a strong culture of outdoor sports and are very health conscious.

    by Ginger — August 21, 2013

  96. Josiane that last post was for you but my iPad helped me with correcting your name to Josiah . Sorry.

    by Ginger — August 21, 2013

  97. Thanks Cindy..please tell me more especially the senior life style at age 66 in bend and around the portland area?????

    by josiane — August 22, 2013

  98. Thanks Sheila..great link “next” about where to retire..certainly made alot of sense in helping to choose the ‘best place to retire’ that fits your needs not the whole world of individuals..and we suscribed to the link after you provided it..Thank You for a blog that sure will help us as to what should be our course..good luck to all..

    by Robbie — August 23, 2013

  99. Has anybody had any experience or feedback from CRF Counnities. I’m looking at the one in Lake Ashton, Florida. They are sending me a packet. I think it involves lot leasing. Thanks

    by vincent — August 23, 2013

  100. Great article. I agree with practically everything.

    Here is another great article about retirement called “Redefinig the Ideal Retirement”; (No, it’s not by me. I can’t write that well):

    by Ernie Zelinski — August 30, 2013

  101. Hi everyone, my husband and I will be 60 next year and I am researching places we might want to retire to now. I want to thank catz0026 for a fantastic post, very informative for us. I found a web site that is great and would like to share it with you. It is It gives you information on cost of living, amenities, weather, housing, demographics, education, employment, crime, etc. Over all a great site. Just put in the name of the state and population you are interested in and you can then sort it by what is most important to you. For those who want to go south but want cooler weather, sort by weather, cost of living most important, then sort by that, etc. Hope this helps you all.
    By the way, I lived in Houston, Texas for 28 years and it was very good to me. It was hot, yes, but a great state to live in!

    by glenny — June 11, 2015

  102. thanks Glenny! I have been on areavibes many times and have found it informative. I never thought of sharing the site with others as you did so good for you.

    by deb — June 12, 2015

  103. Does anyone know how Area Vibes compares to Sperlings Best Places as far as accuracy?

    by ella — June 13, 2015

  104. Hi Glenny!
    So glad to see Texas mentioned in a blog!! Everything seems to be East Coast!!! I lived on the East Coast for 30 years and have lived the remaining 35 in SoCal. In 1979, when the National Guard removed the snow (New Haven, CT) we headed West!! Enough with the winters!! Needless to say, the minute I retire, I am taking my money and running. Arizona, our first choice, is too hot for me and I want to enjoy the outdoors as much as possible. Texas is as far as my husband is willing to go and, since the living is approximately 30% cheaper (and it’s green), we’re making our second trip to the DFW, Austin, and HOU areas this winter (already made the summer trip 2 years ago). Looking at 55+ communities but not totally ignoring others. Presently live in a HOA managed community and am on the Board. While it ensures no one paints their house pink or puts a car on cinder blocks, I’m sick of managing people who couldn’t care less. Would love any insight into the HOU area. Will visit Pearland, League City and Richmond while I’m there. Insurance issues? Bug issues? Lessons learned over the years? I can be reached at for lengthier discussions, if you wish.

    by Veloris — June 13, 2015

  105. Note from Admin:
    Readers of this Blog post might also like our newest on this topic:

    by Admin — June 14, 2015

  106. I’m 68, single, rent an apt in southeastern VA & have copd, plus best exercise is walking after many knee operations. Family lives in colder climate which I can’t with COPD. I love meeting people, have a rescue poodle. Am thinking of buying a one-level house.. Love traveling and exploring new areas. Have good pension, SSA, only car payment, no cc bills & friends virtually in every state.

    by Barb — March 28, 2016

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