Showcase Listing

Cresswind Charleston is Charleston-area's BEST active adult lifestyle community. Cresswind inspires active adults to live life to the ful...

Image
Showcase Listing

Nestled in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains, Tellico Village comprises over 5,000 acres along Tellico Lake. Established in 1986...

Image
Showcase Listing

Distinguished by its more than 125 acres of sparkling lakes, Bridgewater at Viera in Melbourne, Florida, is an amenity-rich, lifestyle-or...

Image
Showcase Listing

A Stress-Free Decision for Better Living. Traditions of America at Silver Spring is located in the  #2 "least stressful place to liv...

Image
Showcase Listing

Holiday Island, located in the Ozark Mountains of Northwest Arkansas, is a planned community situated at the edge of 53,000 acre Table Ro...

Image

Has Covid-19 Changed Your Outlook on Retirement?

Category: Retirement Planning

By Flo Williamson – Frequent contributor and Site Monitor at Topretirements

May 27, 2020 — Who knows when this Covid-19 pandemic will end, and what life will look like in the future? Besides the tragic loss of life, lost jobs, and lost income, there is a sense of loss and questioning for many retirees or those close to it, as to what the future holds during the time we have left.

Reassessing our priorities has become unavoidable– what we thought we wanted our retirement to Look like, has become for many, what we need our retirement to be. For those of us wishing to relocate and possibly downsize that option has become more difficult. Besides the obvious difficulties in visiting, buying, and selling, I for one, am questioning my initial relocation choice.

We always wanted to move to a more rural area, away from the busy suburbs where we currently reside. I think though, about a vacation/retirement home we once owned in the rural (one stop light in the entire county rural) Pennsylvania mountains. There was one grocery store in the entire county 20 miles from our cabin. What would happen if I needed something that the store didn’t have? There were no other reasonable choices available to me. I know, this is an extreme example, but the proximity of numerous stores in one area is something I never appreciated before. I’m also glad that we are in a single family home and have the ability to go outside, putter around and garden in the yard. We have talked about downsizing to a condo or more likely a townhouse, but being quarantined, with limited access to public outdoor areas, has shown me the need for my own outdoor living and working space. With that in mind, weather has also become more of a priority. There’s not much point in being able to go outside if the weather stinks. This spring on the east coast has been dismal. While I know that the weather is cyclical, I also know that there are areas that are typically more sunny and warm than where we live now.

We miss our children, who both live on the west coast. Prior to the pandemic we would visit with them several times a year and vacation together. It was hard to leave them, but at least we knew we had another visit planned and could look forward to that. So far, we’ve had to cancel two trips since January. We hope to take a road trip out west this summer, but who knows. On many levels, I would feel much better if we were within driving distance of them. And finally, I have to consider the question of moving into an assisted living facility, when that time comes. Perhaps this is the time to really consider a home where you can age in place!

How has this pandemic affected you and your retirement decisions? Please share your thoughts, plans, and concerns in the Comments section below!Also by Flo Williamson:

Also by Flo Williamson

Posted by Admin on May 25th, 2020

26 Comments »

  1. Your comments are interesting and definitely food for thought. We recently, one month ago so in the middle of the shelter in place order, moved from a single home to a townhouse and it was a great move in terms of less work and maintenance but still the feel of privacy and some outdoor space. But it is not a home to age in place and that is a concern. I am glad we are very close to a city as this pandemic has emphasized to me the importance of good medical care, and having doctors I’m familiar with already is a comfort. I do not think this pandemic will be over soon and I am happy to be near family and friends. For us, our decision to remain local was a good one.

    by Lynda Clark — May 25, 2020

  2. I appreciate Flo’s approach of coming right out and asking how the pandemic has made us take another look at our retirement and focus more on the Need than the Want. I guess I (selfishly) also like knowing that others have been thrown into this discussion that has upset the cart on best laid plans. Flo makes a lot of good points about what needs to be taken into consideration including weather and proximity to children/grandchildren. On the up side, I would like to report the pandemic has made us realize the type of home that we need is not a condo, or a cottage home, or a villa, but rather a large house where we each have our own “zones”.

    by Jemmie — May 25, 2020

  3. Flo, you read my mind. We have been so grateful for our house and tiny yard that we can escape humanity (and even each other!) during this pandemic. It has truly been a sanctuary. Of course, sooner or later you have to leave the driveway, and the surrounding area has become way too congested. And, like your area, the weather here has only a couple good months to enjoy patio and garden, and each gray, snowy winter is less bearable than the one before. Luckily our daughter and grandchild only live ten minutes away. Her new MIL seems to have found the best of both worlds—a single floor end unit patio home with small yard in a 55+ community in central PA from which she locks her door and happily flits all around the world when it suits her. I think that is our goal.

    by Daryl — May 26, 2020

  4. Jemmie,

    I couldn’t agree more with you about the need for individual space or zones. We are currently looking to upsize back to a conventional larger home since that’s what makes us comfortable. I can’t wait to get away from being on top of neighbors and barely having a bit of private space outside. I have to laugh at people who rarely park their cars in the garage as the vehicles are either too large or they are crammed with stuff. So much for downsizing…

    Fionna

    by Fionna — May 26, 2020

  5. Jemmie, Fionna, so you think a patio home won’t offer enough space or privacy? I still fantasize about a lock-and-leave, but mentally end up right back in my small ranch on 1/4 acre. Maybe a smaller ranch in a nicer neighborhood with no snow would solve the things that really bother us. It’s been really nice having a house, yard, garage and fence during this pandemic. Spouse and I have three rooms each as our private territories when needed, separate bathrooms, multiple TVs, share the kitchen. No battles or resentment.

    by Daryl — May 26, 2020

  6. We are still working and look forward to retiring in 5 or so years. We decided to sell the 5 bedroom 3 level family home and moved to a good sized ranch 3 bedrooms. Still have a yard for the dogs but we are very happy to be in a ranch for the long haul. The yard is smaller and has nice porch for entertaining. We “right sized” to a better sized kitchen. I agree having our home with good distance from people is a blessing during all of this quarantining and being home for so long. We have also had adult children and grands move
    back in due to the financial hardships they have experienced due to this pandemic. If we were in a 55 plus community we would not have been able to help them. So for this season of life we are happy with our choice.

    by Susan C — May 26, 2020

  7. Daryl, It sounds like your small ranch is working nicely for you, and a patio home may work as well. So why not look at a similar home in a milder climate if weather is the issue? As for privacy, I guess you have to ask yourself if living closer to other people would be acceptable or not? To each his/her own…

    by Fionna — May 27, 2020

  8. We moved to southern Arizona 2 years ago. Life was good. Then the pandemic hit. it is still mostly good but now we have no idea when we can visit the family back east. They were supposed to come visit in April but of course that had to be cancelled. We live in a 3 bedroom condo and right before the pandemic hit we purchased the unit above us. The intention was to rent it out to snowbirds for part of the winter and then leave it empty for family and friends to visit the rest of the year. But of course now who knows when anyone will be coming out here. The upside of this has been having an entire 2 bedroom condo right above us to visit and get away from one another during this terrible time. We call it our “vacation home” now….

    by Roberta Warshaw — May 27, 2020

  9. Flo,
    Your comments are spot-on. I am retiring just now and thought I had some plans. I was going on a summer cruise to Europe, a camping trip in the Fall; I have snow-birding reservations in Florida near my daughter. I have been researching villas, townhouses, private homes, condos, transition communities, etc., and thought I would use the snow-birding time to visit these options. I have been fortunate that I could quarantine myself and finish my career from home. However, I cancelled my trips, I am not ready to get on an airplane and visit Florida. I have always been a free spirit, but this virus has made my mortality clear to me. Wherever I decide to plant myself, I want the convenience of a gated community with the ability of personal choices (my own pool, etc.), shopping, health facilities and all other amenities. The horrors of close living quarters (assisted living/nursing) is out of the question.This virus really has put me in touch with the reality of my age (71) and the needs that come with it.

    by frank frisenda — May 27, 2020

  10. We downsized to a 2400 sq ft one story house in a 55+ community in Tucson and are really happy with our choice still. We picked the area, in part, because of good medical care and a choice of two airports, Tucson or Phoenix. I guess our family is scattered around the US, literally from the East Coast to Hawaii. Being close to them at this point doesn’t really matter because we shouldn’t be getting together anyway.
    Neighbors are helping other neighbors, and we have an active Senior Village here. I volunteer and have made phone calls to people who need or want someone to check in on them.

    We are hunkering down until Dr. Fauci and the scientists say we are good to go. I need to fly for family reasons at the end of July. I will mask, wipe, socially distance etc to decrease any risk. Life is filled with risk and reward, and we need to balance both. For us, living somewhere we don’t want to be, just in case, is not worth it.

    My parents moved to FL from NJ when I was in college. So the distance thing seems normal to me. We saw my parents about twice every year, and I can tell you they had a GREAT relationship with all 15 of their grandchildren. Our visits were really focused on being with each other for a week or two. Proximity is nice, but it’s not the only way to have close relationships with people, especially with what technology offers now.

    by Barbara — May 27, 2020

  11. Downsized to a patio home, but upsized in price. We do enjoy maintenance free living, but since we are up north and not in a typical retirement area there is no community center or activities, so the social aspect takes a lot of work. Have an unmarried daughter who doesn’t live too far away and a daughter who is out of state along with our grandchild. Unfortunately, tax wise the state that she lives in would not be an option for a retirement move. Many of the desirable communities on the east coast and inland are not close to major airports where we could fly to either place if need be in an emergency. Hate to leave my unmarried daughter here and a sister who is not in the best of health, but would like to move to a better climate. So many factors to consider!

    by Karen — May 27, 2020

  12. It’s so interesting to read everyone’s comments. I left a rural home on 5 acres, two years ago, to move into a 1040 sq. ft. ranch house on 1/2 acre in suburbia. The new house is set up for aging in place (my 90+ years old aunt and dad both lived here before me and did a lot of work), although it is not 100% set up. I have thought of moving to a patio home at some point to reduce outdoor maintenance, but now I am rethinking this as both my elder relatives lived well here into their 90s, and the thought of living so close to others in a pandemic is unnerving. Having my own “park” and garden just outside my door is becoming a mental and physical health necessity for me. I’m in walking distance to shops, bank, restaurants, library, etc., although I do need a vehicle to go grocery shopping. My rural home was a 25 mile one-way trip to anything. The retirement home on acreage is a romantic ideal for some, but I’ve lived that way already for 17 years, and at 70, I’m glad to be able to go where I want to go in less than 5 minutes, rather than 30-45 minutes one way, depending on traffic. I do not encourage the rural dream house from a pragmatic perspective based on experience. I’m good for now where I am, and I don’t need to make any decisions for several years about what’s next. I live in a semi-tropical climate with four seasons, all mild, with my dogs and cats, and within minutes to cousins. We’re keeping in touch with each other during these historic days. I’ll shelter in place for the foreseeable future. Good health to everyone!

    by Elaine C. — May 27, 2020

  13. Watching the various responses of the governors of each state and the politics of this public health crisis makes me realize more than ever that it matters whether you live in a red state or a blue state. I value science and medicine and I have been appalled at the response of the governors in some of the red states. Florida is now out forever for me.

    by Maimi — May 28, 2020

  14. Maimi, that’s very important for me and my husband as well. That’s one of the reasons why we have not moved out of California. Also, moving while social distancing makes it very difficult.

    by Mary11 — May 28, 2020

  15. To follow up on what Maimi and Mary11 said, governmental leadership at both the state and local levels can be a significant consideration in deciding where to locate in retirement. But we should remember that elected leaders can and do change in accordance with the will of the voters. We live part of the year in Florida and part in Connecticut, so experience life in both a “red” state and a “blue” state, although our official residence is in Florida. Florida has been a closely divided state politically for several years, but the Republicans have generally prevailed at the state level. My observations and intuition tell me that Florida will become a “purple” state sometime in the next decade. Also, the specific place one lives in a state can make a big difference politically. In Florida, compare leanings and voting records in the Greater Miami area with those of The Villages, for example. These are considerations that make it challenging for some people to decide where to settle in retirement. Or it can make it easier, because you may decide not to live where the majority of people are not in tune with your political positions and other beliefs.

    by Clyde — May 29, 2020

  16. As far as retirement goes, the USA is leading the world in cases and deaths, and I think the worse is yet to come. Looks like everyone will stay put for awhile. Wondering how the housing market is outside New England? I am hoping it doesn’t crash here.

    by Maimi — June 6, 2020

  17. Is anyone planning or currently living a rural retirement? With COVID-19 and civil unrest, rural living has come much more in vogue. Talking with several realtors in the Los Angeles metro area, I have found that a lot of people of all ages are interested in rural properties within California or other parts of the country. The realtors say the numbers are there. The interest and desire for rural living is building at a quick pace. For Californians the exodus hot spot is Idaho. Obviously with rural living one has a lot less amenities and medical care could become a challenge. Some complain of isolation, but that is subjective. Right now it seems like such a nice peaceful and quiet scenario.

    by Bubbajog — June 7, 2020

  18. We moved the last few comments from members who discussed the wait in receiving their stimulus check to a different blog for a better fit :
    Yes: Social Security Recipients Will Get Stimulus Check: https://www.topretirements.com/blog/financial/yes-social-security-recipients-will-get-stimulus-check.html/

    by Admin — June 7, 2020

  19. We live in Pinehurst, NC, which is a golf community. We moved there while still employed, and when I retired in 2017 we decided to explore our options. My military service stationed us in Florida for 10 years and we took care of an uncle in a continuing care facility in Gainesville. We like Florida but not the coastal areas. After retiring we rented in Gainesville; retiring in a college community is a real experience. But after a year I had shingles which went into the cornea of my left eye. The University of Florida Ophthalmology clinic was fantastic and I credit them with saving my sight. We realized that starting all over with new doctors was not wise in our late 60s. We had a nice 25 year old home and explored the options of buying, building, and renovating. Building a quality home takes more than a year. Everything on the market was a McMansion, had a pool, or multi-levels. We realized that hiring a quality builder, architect, and decorator was the best option. During our renovation we vacated our home and rented a furnished condo. We were very satisfied with the living arrangements in a two-floor unit as we sheltered in place. The only real problem was other condo owners who live in the northeast coming down to occupy their vacation rentals rather than sheltering in their home states. Keep in mind that if you move you unplug from your network of providers from appliance repairmen to physicians.

    by MARK PHILLIPS — June 10, 2020

  20. This horrible time has changed my thinking in a lot of ways. For one, being near high quality health care and not being stuck in a little town whose facilities could be overwhelmed or not up to the task, that is a problem. On the other hand, big cities and other places where you have to rely on mass transit suddenly got less attractive. Living near my grandchildren would have been a plus right now. Hopefully we will get a vaccine soon and can resume normal life.

    by Ken — June 14, 2020

  21. The pandemic is going to have a consequential effect on the housing markets in the Sunbelt. First point: There is a significant house inventory shortage in many of the most popular cities in the South. Asheville, for example, recently reported 3.3 months of homes for sale. Myrtle Beach 5 months. The real estate industry indicates 6 months is “balanced.” Developers were scared by the 2008 recession and have been slow to build new communities, Second point: The pandemic is actually driving traffic south. Many employees love working at home — flexibility, can work in shorts or even PJs, no exhausting, costly and wasteful commutes, and no need to spend on lunches and office wardrobes. Employers are finding their workers are MORE productive at home, and that businesses can save billions (in total) on rent and utilities. Therefore if you are an employee who never needs to go the office and can work from anywhere, and you have the choice of moving to a lower cost region with warm weather most of the year, what do you do? In many cases, you will move south (except if personal considerations interfere). And we all know that when aggressive demand meets short supply, prices rise, sometimes quickly and dramatically. If you are/were planning to move south in the coming year or two, understand that, if you don’t, you could wind up either paying more later on for the house you want, or settling for much less house. Understand also that if migration south does increase significantly, that could signal a rise in traffic, pollution, infrastructure costs and taxes. And politics will change as well.

    by Larry — June 15, 2020

  22. Larry, I think that your assessment of the number of people wanting to move to a southern state is way off. I believe that most people will avoid the southern states because of the way the pandemic has been mishandled there. The younger generations are are opposed to the conservative policies there and are more racially diverse than ever, and the retirees see that their lives are not valued. Never has it been more apparent that the politics of a place matter. I just don’t see anyone looking at the pandemic spikes and wanting to move to the south.

    by maimi — June 16, 2020

  23. Maimi, your point is well taken and, perhaps during the height of the pandemic. there may be some reluctance to relocate south among the pandemic-vulnerable (older) and impressionable (younger) groups. But economic reasons will ultimately win out over the political. I have looked at the cost of living differences between many northern areas and popular southern cities and towns, and the savings are tilted strongly in the southern direction, in some cases by as much as 40% per year. Those annual savings have always been impressive to Baby Boomers, but now, with younger people getting used to working remotely, and their employers realizing they can save millions of dollars by letting them do so (at no loss of productivity), I believe we will see increased relocation south by younger couples and families. As for politics, I research voting patterns in the Southeast every four years at Presidential election time, and there are many areas there in which a progressive voter could feel comfortable. College towns like Charlottesville, Columbia (SC), Raleigh/Durham, and other pockets have voted blue in the past few elections, just as some towns in my native CT voted red in 2016. And even some planned developments in otherwise reddish areas skew bluish because of the number of former Yankees living there. In the end, it will be the economy — not the overall one but the personal financial ones — that will drive more and more people to the lower cost South over the coming decade. If a couple spends, say, $60,000 on annual expenses in Connecticut, saving $24,000 per year in South Carolina is going to look mighty tempting.

    by Larry — June 17, 2020

  24. Larry,
    Your assessment is spot on. I lived in a northern state for a long time and then moved south. The cost of living and quality of life is way better in the south. I also have to respectfully disagree with a statement that the southern state’s have mishandled the Covid pandemic. Unless I am mistaken, areas of the north like New York, Connecticut, etc., have been epicenters of the virus infection. Reopening was going to result in an increase in cases and that is just common sense. I live in an area of Texas that is rapidly growing and our housing inventory is tight as well. Home builders are already ramping up additional neighborhoods and preparing for folks that will be running away from crowded cities that are the real challenge with the pandemic and moving to the suburbs. Bottom line, as it has been stated many times on this website, it is about what is important to each person as they retire.

    by Chris — June 17, 2020

  25. Maimi- I would tend to agree with you pursuant to moving to the South. Currently I am in New England and the cost of living is on the high side. The quality of education is excellent, medical care is top notch, cultural opportunities abound, transportation and travel is easily accessed and summers are beautiful. At one time, I had considered moving to the South due to milder temperatures and lower taxes. The last couple of years have indicated to me that the handling of the entire COVID-19 disaster is sorely lacking in much of the south and education and politics plays a huge role in that. I will stay put as I value, very much, what I have and I am so thankful to live in a state that has handled this recent health crisis admirably. Nothing is ever perfect, but watching what has happened over the last few months I am truly convinced that you get what you pay for.

    by Barb — June 17, 2020

  26. Here in North Los Angeles County there are very few homes for sale. Inventory is extremely tight! A For Sale sign goes up, I blink, and the sign is down. The pent up demand even with the pandemic is extremely high. When I’m out during the morning exercising, I really notice the increase in traffic. I feel the vibration from all the vehicles. It appears to be pure high growth mode.

    by Bubbajog — June 17, 2020

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Leave a comment