Sept 3, 2016 — Today’s installment is Part 2 our series with 3 more Topretirements Members and their retirement planning stories. It is interesting how everyone has a different approach, experiences, goals, and results. You can find links to Part 1 and Part in the “Further Reading” section at end of article.
1. Vic Chooses Port Charlotte Based on Affordable Lifestyle
Vic: Although we have not yet moved to our retirement destination, Topretirements has played a key role in our strategy and planning. It is almost 5 years ago that a general Internet search resulted in subscribing to your email news feed. At that time, retirement was years away, but the concept of winding down our careers and taking the next step was becoming a frequent topic of conversation. This stage began not long after the adjustment to being “empty nesters” was firmly established. We found ourselves asking, “Who are we” or perhaps, “Who WERE we” and can we be those people again?
Our decision to purchase our eventual home four years before moving there resulted from a morning coffee conversation. Why not lock in on low housing prices and low mortgage rates while we’re both still working? We hoped to retire when I turn 62, still young enough to enjoy an active lifestyle. It has been a stretch, but we’re now about 8 months from completing our goal. We have favored Florida as a vacation destination for years, and have experienced the brutal late summer heat. Yet, being locked in the house during long subzero stretches in Chicago is brutal in its own right. A swimming pool was a requirement. A canal with a boat was a plus.
At about that time, Topretirements published a link to the Money Magazine list of the 10 best places to retire in 2012. Port Charlotte, Florida was featured for its
affordability. As residents of Illinois, we have a very unfavorable tax environment.
We had never heard of Port Charlotte, so we began researching. By coincidence,
a former coworker purchased a house there, which he rented to us for a week in
November of 2013. It served as our home base during our property search. Nine
months of exploring on Zillow and assistance from a local realtor narrowed our
search to 15 properties, one of which we bought. The day after we closed on the house, I sat on the lanai having breakfast, enjoying a picture perfect 75 degree January day. Back home it was 25 below zero. 100 degrees of separation. Retirement could not come soon enough.
Meanwhile, it has been a wonderful vacation home and we got very lucky to settle into a neighborhood with demographically similar neighbors who are fun and look after each other. Our home has a pool and is on a canal with access to the Gulf of Mexico. We look forward to an active outdoor lifestyle that we can enjoy year-round. We’ll be the couple that looks after our “snowbird” neighbors’ homes when they fly north for summer.
2. Karen – Perspective from a Single Retiree
(These are her answers to our interview questions)
Where did you live before you retired, and how old were you when retired?
Have lived in TN, VA, NH, PA, IL, CT. Am 62 years old, readying for retirement.
How has Topretirements helped you in the retirement process?
Where not to go. What to look for in the way of amenities and logistics. What to think about as the trade offs of taxes, cost of living, proximity to family, ease of travel to/from, what to look for in the character and recreational, educational and medical support of a community.
Where did you end up retiring, and why? or, are you still looking?
STILL LOOKING! can’t find that balance between college town, very active 50’s plus group, mountains, great medical facilities, cultural, intellectual, and physically appealing place to call home – and affordable!
Are you pleased with your choice of location and lifestyle?
Cannot stand where I am now, and do not want to live where any family lives other than to be near that person, but not for the place they live (although Salt Lake is sort of an option to be near a daughter).
Anything you would like to change about Topretirements, or things we should keep the same?
Address the needs of singles too, because all too many of us are divorced or have lost spouses. Its really different to be single and 60 something, getting to a new place and navigating one’s way through unknowns with no social support present. Focus on colleges that welcome/at least give substantial tuition discount to seniors. Focus on groups that adults can join, e.g.; hiking clubs? book clubs? dinner clubs?
Special Request: Look at intentional communities as an option.
Anything else we should know about your retirement adventure?
Serious need to fill: as a single, I need travel partners to go everywhere from hiking in Bhutan to seeing Northern Lights in Lapland, to touring Copenhagen. Single supplements are financial disincentives. Not a matchmaking service, a Travel Companion service! Maybe a bulletin board for your readers of individuals seeking travel partners? I wonder how much interest there is in this.
Where I am in My Retirement Calendar
Past ready to go but can’t figure out where to go because I have too many unanswered questions. There is no obvious answer or I would already be there.
I am looking for a place that is functional, 4 seasons, easily traveled to and from, (travel is one of my top passions, and I have children and grandchildren), inspiring to me personally, spiritually, socially, and intellectually, and offers easy access to at least one major category of importance to me (e.g. university, outdoor recreation, or plenty of ways to meet others with similar interests. How welcome are newbies? How I order my priorities and what I trade off are the major challenges. Pretty is pretty. But if its lonely, the pretty fades and makes me sadder. Great access to shops is wonderful unless I have to live with lots of urban noise for that convenience. How do I make a new place work for me at this stage of life?
Being near a university setting is a must for me, unless I am the grandma on the block and therefore somewhat socially isolated. The university setting that has excellent opportunities for continuing education is ideal for me. How much do taxes really matter? What does a spreadsheet look like if I live in X or Y? (How do I really figure this out?) How much house can I afford? Don’t want to be house poor, or live down a notch that I did not really need to do. Am I willing to make the trade for an adult community and lose the daily interaction/connection with other age groups? What do I want to live near, and what do I want to drive to?
These are the kinds of “Ready-Set” questions I need to figure out before I go to the huge effort to relocate. All of this is both simplified and complicated by being a very outdoorsy, intellectually and culturally active single female. Bottom line: I am longing to find that place that is a balance of what I need and want so that I get the most out of my last chapters.
3. Wisdom from George, heading to a NC retirement after a change in direction: “The only thing worse than having to go to work, is getting up with nothing to do!”
(these are George’s responses to our interview questions)
OK. In order: Born & raised/worked in northern NJ. (specifically Morris County) Retired (I call it relocated) from there at 62. Wife made me wait until eligible for SS (haven’t yet taken it) Can’t say for sure when I found Topretirements because computer life was new to me when I retired, but I might have stumbled over the site thru my research on various retirement info sites. Been checking in pretty regularly for probably 2-3 years now. Topretirements has been a wealth of knowledge (along with City-data forums) in terms of listening to all the various opinions/suggestions. Yes, most definitely has aided the whole retirement quagmire!
Prior to 62 we had purchased a home with property in Wytheville, Va. Have long loved the Blue Ridge region, and had traveled extensively in the area for decades. Became a foregone conclusion that we would wind up in the area. I love the area, and have blended into the decided rural/small town/southern style. This has been directly attributable to me immersing myself in part time work with a rural transit company serving seniors, and operating a DAV van transporting veterans. My wife, being less involved, has not adjusted as happily. This has resulted in a move we are about to make to Waynesville, NC. It’s a more diverse area with a completely different vibe, one that will probably be more suitable for my wife. Especially, when-as statistics say-she will outlive me.
Regarding Topretirements, I personally have no complaints with the site. Why change a good thing? Lastly, I’ve always loved the comment that: the only thing worse than having to go to work, is getting up with nothing to do! I learned that approx 2 weeks into retirement. For the first time in my life, had nothing to do, no where to go, didn’t fit in. I didn’t realize how work had defined me. A huge awakening!!! With my Asheville move, I’m looking at this as retirement 2.0. We’ll see what happens!
Thanks Vic, Karen, and George for taking the time to share your stories. We wish you good luck on your retirement adventures!
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