Showcase Listing

Birchwood at Brambleton is an exciting new community for active adults 55+ located in the heart of Loudoun County, and is intentionally d...

Image
Showcase Listing

Life at Heritage Shores is full of amenities, activities and social opportunities. When you live here, each day can be as active or laid ...

Image
Showcase Listing

Welcome to Cresswind Charlotte!  This nature-rich refuge of inviting streetscapes, manicured landscaping and miles of walking trails...

Image
Showcase Listing

Twin Oaks is a 55+ active adult community located in sunny Bradenton, Florida, and brimming with serenity and charm. Our private, pet-fri...

Image
Showcase Listing

Brookfield Residential at Two Rivers is a brand new community designed for those 55+, and offers an abundance of opportunities for a vibr...

Image
Showcase Listing

Fairfield Glade, a stunning master-planned community, is perched high atop the Cumberland Plateau, and offers serene mountain beauty as i...

Image

The Biggest Mistakes People Make When Choosing a Place to Retire

Category: Retirement Planning

February 2, 2020 — Special thanks to frequent contributor Ed Lafreniere of Retirementhumor.net for suggesting this topic (one of several he made in response to our “Most Popular Articles of 2020” article). The mistakes people make in choosing a place to retire is a topic that always generates great interest. The three part series on “Retirement Mistakes People Make” we ran a few years ago resulted in hundreds of Comments. We recommend the whole series (see links at end), but today’s article selects some of the most interesting and helpful comments from that series. We hope you find them useful.

Member Comments: Oh, the mistakes we made!
Here is a summary of what our members think are the biggest retirement mistakes you can make when it comes to choosing a place to retire (some of the comments tell how to avoid making a mistake):

Country noise. Upon retirement a few years ago from the Wash. DC area I decided to move to a 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. — Dale

Moved to be close to the children. This is a very common mistake for many (and not for others!) Sometimes you can be too close to the children, particularly if the relationship becomes strained or you feel you are being taken advantage of. The kids might have to move, leaving you stuck. Or, moving to an area that has appeal to the kids but just isn’t what you were looking for.

Didn’t really know the place. The hardest one is how to really know a place before committing to that area if you can’t/won’t rent first. Internet research is great but you absolutely must put eyes-on (and take off any preconceived blinders) before actually making a commitment. We just looked at a place while on a business trip, and while it looked fabulous online and in theory, the fact was that the nearest decent shopping was over the river and through the woods away! Fine if that’s what you want, but it isn’t for us. — Susan

Don’t neglect Universal design. Jan Cullinane suggested 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. To Jan’s comments we would add that some houses just don’t make it easy to age in them. Uneven floor heights, upstairs master bedrooms, too tall counters, etc. can be very expensive and difficult to overcome.

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. — Tom F

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.). — Sheila

Missing the familiar. My closest friend said she wishes they had never moved. 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 — Anne

Rent first. 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. 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. — Dr. Judith

Visit! 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! — Ginger

Everything is so far away!  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. — Linda

Top problems to avoid. We’ve had over 30 moves (due to the line of work we’ve been part of) in 45+ years of marriage. Our roots are 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. 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. — Susan14

Bottom line

As you can see there are plenty of potential problems that can wreak havoc with your choice of where to retire. Common sense, planning, and time on the ground can help you avoid most of them. We would love to hear what kind of issues you might see or have had in your retirement process. Please share them in the Comments section below.

Further Reading:

This article is a follow-up to a 3 part series: Part 1, the Top 10 Retirement Mistakes. Part 2, 10 Retirement Mistakes You Don;t Want to Make. Part 3, Avoid These 6 Retirement-Wrecking Mistakes. The articles continue to generate extremely interesting tips and insights, which we recommend reading.

Posted by Admin on February 1st, 2021

34 Comments »

  1. Re: Country noise

    Then there’s also the multiple barking mutts tied up outside who bark at anything and everything !

    by Fionna — February 2, 2021

  2. Do not ignore state taxes. We chose to live in a state that does not tax our pensions nor social security.
    it is important to live where you “want” to live because of family or other reasons however, you may find living in a neighboring state could save 5-7 percent of your income. We believe that serving in the Army and moving a lot gave us a different perspective than some. We have friends that would never consider moving away from grandchildren and family. We have always travelled to see grandchildren and family and live 4 and 6 hours away from them. We are happy and that is important in retirement.

    by Steve Whittaker — February 2, 2021

  3. The common and recurring theme of most of these mistakes is to visit (as often as possible, as long as possible and at different seasons) before committing to a new lifetime. Deciding on a place to retire should be fun and ideally take place over time. Visits and stays in new places also gives you different perspectives on which to base your decision.

    by RichPB — February 2, 2021

  4. We dodged a big liability issue in we feel by doing multiple visits and then digging in to real life questions. We loved one area outside Raleigh NC, but after talking to our Accountant we realized that our taxes would go up as we would loose a state exemption on our retirement income. We assumed we could make it up and then some with the move but we found many many fees and one off charges by the state and town that added costs. Finally, we dug into the HOA documents and found so many one sided charges and long term liabilities we took a pause. Have we stopped our search? For now yes but it was an eye opener for sure. Our take away is the grass is not always as green as it seems from afar.

    by BruceB — February 3, 2021

  5. Steve, I agree with you completely!! We were USNavy for 10 yrs. then moved around for work again, after that. After some idyllic time in Rhode Island, we moved to eastern Tenn. in 2007 – knowing it would be temporary. We tried to like it – but it was not a good fit, even after 11 yrs. We knew we both wanted to return to New England and when the chance came we packed up, waved to the kids and went to Maine. Best thing we could have done!! We’re in a small town with community spirit, just outside of big city, and amazing, medical services and all they have to offer. The cooler weather is perfect for us ,the neighbors are amazing and we have found so much to do. We figured it was “our time” now and we could go where we wanted to! The kids are thinking about moving to be near us.

    by HEF — February 3, 2021

  6. HEF – I’ve read a lot about a shortage of nurses, nursing home staff, and home health care workers in Maine, which is a primary reason I’ve taken it off my list. Have you looked into that at all, and if so, what have you found?

    by Joann C — February 3, 2021

  7. After reading all the mistake issues and the comments that follow, I noticed a somewhat common theme for not finding your retirement Utopia – It’s YOU!! There is no physical place that provides all your wants and desires. Of course, you need to make sure your basic needs (food; shelter; medical, mental and physical health; etc.) are taken care of (research by extended stay; not just reading articles and watching YouTube on the internet) and then you “adapt” to the rest. Retirement life is totally different than the first 60 years of life. If you did not pay attention in the first 60, then what positive dividends can you expect to receive/experience in the last 30 years. I observed my parents and my spouse’s parents over the years (they are in their 90’s) to get an idea of what to expect during the aging process. Too bad they didn’t have parents that lived passed 76 to gain an insight to their future. It’s never too late to learn to accept and adapt if you cannot move again. (Especially during these Covid times) Life is never as bad as you make it. (Oh, and yes, been there.)

    by Roland — February 3, 2021

  8. Joann – I am not aware of any shortages like that in Maine. Perhaps it depends on where you are – the northern part of the state is far more rural and yes, health care is not as easily accessible. My husband just had a hip replacement on Monday. He had nurses at his bedside whenever he needed them. It took place in a “Surgery Center” so not in the general hospital. We had Home Health/Physical Therapy at the house yesterday (Wed.) and another coming today.

    We have NEVER NEVER had to wait to get in for an appointment!! In TN, it was commonplace to wait up to 2 hours past your appointment time to get in to the Dr. The health care is wonderful if you’re within driving distance of Portland. We have run into folks from New Hampshire at several offices. I have heard of folks driving up from Mass. for Doctors here too.

    One BIG reason, we moved here, is the large Neurology Center in Scarborough – directly east of where we live. DH has Parkinsons and there are a number of highly rated Specialist at this practice – the head of which is young and on the leading edge of treatment. In TN, we had to drive 2 hrs each way to a Specialist – 12 minutes is SOOO much better!!

    So, if you have ANY health concerns – I would suggest that you target a region of the country, where you would like to live, then do the research! We wanted to come back to New England and finding the Neurology Center in Maine made the final decision easy. We are also looking into a final Retirement destination here and have visited several great communities (CCRC). Nursing care and Hospice care in southern Maine are also praised by people we’ve talked to. Come see – spend a week, ask questions and visit these places. We did that in 2015 and liked what we saw and heard very much. Still LOVE it here!!

    by HEF — February 4, 2021

  9. One more thing about Maine – just showed up in my e-mail this afternoon from our Governor Janet Mills and Maine.gov:

    Mills Administration, AARP Maine Announce Age-Friendly State Plan

    https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/MEGOV/bulletins/2bf87a2

    by Flatearth6 — February 4, 2021

  10. HEF and Joann: my parents retired to midcoast Maine (90 mins north of Portland) and they loved it, but as the out-of-state caretaker as they aged, I did not. Medical services as they aged became problematic. My mother had a falling out with a specialty doc and there were no other choices close enough, forcing her to stay in that practice. Each of them had lengthy hospitalizations that were too far for the healthy one to safely drive to to visit. Another concern, and not just related to Maine, is that it was not easy for me (9 hours away) to get to when the need arose. I couldn’t drive up for the weekend, flying took just as much time with TSA waits and travel to/from airports, etc., then renting a car because it was too far for my parents to drive. All these experiences have GREATLY influenced my thinking about where I want to retire.

    by JD — February 4, 2021

  11. Ah JD, You are right and we have thought of that – which is why we have moved closest to the best Medical options as well as the airport. We are also planning on one more move to a CCRC specifically so the kids don’t have to worry or have to get on a plane, every time we have a cold. Right now we are enjoying a smaller house and large garden but 3-8 more years – we’ll be headed for that condo style where care is at our fingertips – should we need it.

    I’m sure everyone here appreciates your input as a son who took responsibility – perhaps we don’t often think of what our choices can mean for other family members. We tried to take that in to account – glad you reminded us!!.

    by HEF — February 5, 2021

  12. I’ve been following this site for a year or so and have learned so much from contributors. I am searching diligently for a place to live and wonder if I might get replies to my queries. I do know, of course, that finding a place to live is HIGHLY personal, but many of you have been to places I haven’t been, and I would welcome insights.

    I am living now in Albuquerque, which is often touted as a good place to retire. Good weather, yes, usually. Definitely no snow to shovel. Housing cheaper, if you’re coming from CA or NJ. Traffic way less, especially if coming from TX. Lots of natural beauty – mountains, big blue skies, etc. BUT seriously high crime, tax on SS, taxes going up, very few cultural outlets, lots of chain restaurants, the good independents don’t stay in business long (and are fairly expensive). Zero walkability; a car is a must to do anything. For fun, mountain bike or hike. NO place to swim in the summer. Medical care hit or miss. Library average, with limited services. Small airport that gets you to connecting airports for international travel, nothing direct to Europe, Asia. Water a BIG issue for any SW city. As a single woman there are few social/ cultural venues for a chance to meet like-minded people of either gender. So at age 74 I’d like to make a final move to a place with more variety in terms of cultural outlets, people, food scene, entertainment even maybe opportunity for part-time work. I’ve been thinking of Greenville, SC, just because it’s on the lists as up-and-coming, with a lower cost of living; a good friend who lives in Nashville has encouraged me to look there, but I’m not convinced TN is the best place to retire; and I myself have thought of Cleveland, because I’ve heard so many good things about it. (Covid has prevented me from making the exploratory trip.) I worry, though, about heading for snow and harsh weather when most my age run in the other direction. I also wonder about moving to the rust belt. I wonder how seniors deal with the snow. I’m posting here because of the good comments about Portland; a friend of mine lived there and loved it too. But weather? I’m not sure that a retirement community is best for me as a single, I’ve read the posts about this on this website.
    I’m pretty much a city person, having spent my adult life and career in NYC. Though 74, I’m healthy and active, and while I’m very concerned about cost of living, my SS is above average and net worth over a million $. (I give this info simply because finances play a large role in considering where to live.)

    This is a long post and I thank anyone who reads this for your time. In the end, the decision is mine and your opinions are highly personal too, but I really would welcome your insights, observations, opinions. So, I’m hitting “Submit” with fingers crossed!

    by Barbara — February 5, 2021

  13. Barbara – I read your whole post and I feel for you. It’s not an easy task to plan and execute a retirement life regardless of one’s financial situation. One’s health and mobility through the coming years are critical to an enjoyable retirement. If you can maintain good health (physical, mental, emotional, family, friends, etc.) until the end, then “almost” anywhere you choose will be fine. Sometimes the best place is only 30 miles away from where you are at now.

    My spouse and I lived and worked in many states during our 40+ years. After all that, we decided to settle down in our next home ((notice I wrote “next”, not “final”) only 32 miles from where were married. Even though this place fits all our basic needs now (as I mentioned in an earlier post), we know that things change (us and/or the area), so we are not emotional attached to our house.

    So as you venture out to find “that place”, do not just visit during the best season of the year. Visit during their super cold, wet, super hot, hurricane, fire, flood, tourist, etc. seasons. Stay awhile too. Go grocery shopping. Also, be aware of the direction of the prevailing winds. Factories, breweries, refineries add a lot of unwanted aromas to your home. Just mentioning a couple of things to consider.

    Another thought, I would avoid 55+ neighborhoods. Surrounding oneself with “”Old People” makes one age quicker. (I go biking around the area with people 10-15 years younger than me. Then we reward ourselves with a beer.) Also, 55+ neighborhoods are a nightmare for your kids or next of kin to sell after you move on. Just look at The Villages in Florida. There are currently 400+ homes for sale.

    So Barbara, I hope I gave you a few things to consider for your next adventure. Have fun and don’t fret the small stuff. Stay safe during these times.

    by Roland — February 5, 2021

  14. Barbara, I too enjoyed your post and your careful consideration of “where to go.” You have put some thought in to it and keep in mind, there is no perfect place but…. you do need to visit with a list of questions and addresses of tour while you’re there. We did that and I created a large spreadsheet to be able to compare the places we thought we might go. One by one, they were crossed off until we narrowed it down. At that point, medical needs became the priority and helped make the final decision.

    I was surprised to see you’re not a fan of a “retirement community.” If I were a single woman over 65, that is exactly the place I would go – not to feel old or isolated, but to feel safe and know that if I needed care or help – it was at my fingertips. My father spent the last 13 years in a CCRC just north of the Delaware border, and wishing he had moved there sooner. There is a wide range of ages and a never ending list of activities. Some people who live there still work. You’re not locked in – you are allowed to come and go as you please! I would definitely see it as a home base – not a jail. My DH & I have been visiting the ones in our area – looking for just that set up. Some are definitely “old folk’s homes” and some are super active vibrant communities with activities available even outside the gates.

    We moved from TN to Maine. We embrace the cooler weather and have been able to hire a Plow Guy to keep the driveway clear, the neighbor boy to help with mowing the yard and some teens down the street put out a flyer, last March, saying they would happily do our shopping if we felt ill or afraid to shop. Its been awesome. There is a Medical gym that has classes (when not in lock down) for Parkinsons and MS patients. We visited for a tour when we made our trip in 2015. We also went to the library, the grocery store and took notes. We made contacts through knitting groups and other creative groups online that we had an interest in – even through this website.

    Keep asking questions and reaching out. Admin will happily forward a private message to any member if you have specific questions for anyone. GOOD LUCK!!!

    by HEF — February 6, 2021

  15. Barbara – If I was in your financial bracket and was a city person, I’d go to CA. Alas, I am neither, so my search continues.

    I currently live in the lowcountry of SC and am looking for an area with more cultural offerings and more progressive political values. I’ve thought of Greenville, SC, but it may be too conservative for me.

    If you are on FB, there are helpful group pages of single women retiring, many of them trying to figure out their next step.

    Good luck to you.

    by Judy — February 6, 2021

  16. Barbara: I’ve posted positive reviews of Cleveland in the past, incl. a long one in the Cleveland thread. I retired here from Charlotte to be near family, having lived in New England, NYC, and Pittsburgh. I’m in a similar financial position, and find that Ohio is a good financial fit. There’s definitely an extremely large elder population here with lots of senior activities. I didn’t know that the Administrator will forward emails (HEF: THANKS FOR THAT INFO), and I’ll be happy to answer questions & respond privately. Negatives are the weather for many people. Real estate prices are climbing since it’s a Seller’s market (houses/condos sell in a day in desirable suburbs). Some city neighborhoods and some surrounding small cities like Akron have crime issues, like any big city. Ohio urban areas are liberal, but the state house is still Republican. I miss being near the ocean, despite having Lake Erie and great parks. The state will be going through a lot of political angst over the next two years, as it goes through Court-ordered redistricting due to gerrymandering (take a look at the bizarre shape of Jim Jordan’s district LOL!). There were also some major recent scandals in the Republican party in the OH Statehouse, Cleveland’s mayor has a grandson in criminal trouble, and the state’s moderate OH Senator has announced he won’t be running for reelection. Loads of political drama for the foreseeable future!

    Roland and Hef gave great tips about the value of visiting possible destinations. Like Hef, I also worked with a spreadsheet. My spreadsheet really helped to compare possible destinations. I put in everything from taxes, insurance, churches, colleges for senior programs, distance to my favorite stores, quality of medical care, crime stats, airport for vacations, HOA fees, estate planning, etc. After awhile, places clearly started to weed themselves out. I also eliminated 55+ communities, although I wanted a location with a senior population.

    To speak to the comment about women being able to rely on others to help them out if they are widowed or single…. this is a risky expectation. Family can usually be counted on, but even that isn’t always certain. Good friends and nice neighbors can be very big-hearted, but that’s never a sure thing. 55+ friends and neighbors may all have their own health and other issues as everyone ages, and sometimes they can’t be there (or might even consider a needy neighbor or friend to be an imposition on their own retirement). 55+ communities appear to run in cycles. As vibrant communities age, the population tends to become less vibrant until their homes eventually get sold to younger retirees…and the cycle continues. It’s important to consider contingency plans, such as whether there are senior services in the larger community or if there are any alternatives like good assisted living facilities if/when independent living is no longer viable. Depressing, but as important to think about as estate planning, funeral arrangements and if you’d want your body shipped to another place for final arrangements. Ewwwww. I plan to solve that problem by never dying.

    by Kate — February 7, 2021

  17. Kate-

    I just want to say that I think you have a wonderful perspective. While I was raised on the Midwest and educated there and in the Northeast, I have no plans to return to the place of my developmental years. Rhode Island is now home and has been for two decades. Despite occasional challenging weather as well as the current really backward roll out of the COVID vaccine, I love this place! Close to planes, trains and buses, filled with colorful history, a reasonable political climate, many fine educational opportunities, a multitude of cultural experiences, fine health care and the sea absolutely everywhere, I have arrived at my place of contentment. It isn’t for everyone, but happiness begins within. I am thankful.

    by Barb — February 7, 2021

  18. Barb: You are so lucky to appreciate, and love, what you have. So many of us chase rainbows looking for perfection, only to find dark skies. And then there are those of us who really do not like the places we live throughout our careers and can’t wait to leave. The key, as many have said on this thread, is to avoid snap decisions while on a one-week vacation instead of selecting a place where you truly belong and that fits YOUR lifestyle for everything from social life to activities, shopping, doctors, hospitals, restaurants, cost of living and the rest of the categories that define you and make you happy.

    by Ed LaFreniere — February 7, 2021

  19. Barbara – I could almost have written your post (e.g., same age, good financial position, healthy & active) with the exception that I’m in SoCal and even though I have many of the amenities here that you lack in Albuquerque (e.g., great medical care and LAX is just an hour away), I’m looking for a place with many of the same things you are seeking for my next move. (SoCal was great while I was working here 25 years ago but moving back after retirement has turned out to be entirely different, especially in the time of Covid.) I have considered the east coast because of its proximity to Europe, but like you, question the snow and whether or not I want to deal with it. I consider moving back to NorCal because I have a nephew and niece there but question whether the expense of living in CA is justified.) I also have considered a 55+ community but again, question the wisdom of that based on comments I have read here and elsewhere. I had planned to move to France until I learned that 60% of my worldwide assets would go to the government under their inheritance tax laws if I died while a tax resident of the country. (Research will always turn up the negatives as well as the positives!) I am following the responses to your post with interest.

    by Joann C — February 7, 2021

  20. This article & posts are getting more interesting with each new post. Like Kate wrote, “… happiness begins within.” Like the saying goes, “One person’s heaven could be another person’s hell (or mistake in this case) and vice versa. There is a place (or places) for everyone on this planet. Being retired gives one time to have fun in the search and research. Enjoy life and where you are at while you can. I don’t remember ever seeing a UHaul truck following a hearse.

    by Roland — February 7, 2021

  21. Roland-

    I wrote” happiness begins within.” Kate’s message was very uplifting for me and I agree with much of it. Besides I like her name better than mine! Our perspectives are all so different and so interesting. I landed here because of a job I took in Massachusetts otherwise I might never have discovered the loveliness I now have at my doorstep.

    by Barb — February 7, 2021

  22. When thinking of 55+ communities. Remember when you pass, if your children inherit your house they will be too young to move into your house if they wish to.

    by Tom Egly — February 8, 2021

  23. Barb – Oops! I am so sorry for my inattention. I will do better next time.

    by Roland — February 8, 2021

  24. Roland-

    Absolutely no worries! Your intention was obviously very kind and that is, in today’s world, so very appreciated! I wish you the best!

    by Barb — February 9, 2021

  25. For those of you with kids who went to college, you may recall that while visiting campuses, your son or daughter would know within a minute whether he or she would feel comfortable there. My son went to a Boston area campus and his first reaction was, ‘These kids are not happy. Let’s go.’ A friend drove six hours to Colgate in New York State and his son’s immediate response was, ‘This is too hilly. It doesn’t work for me.’ Another went to Northwestern in Evanston, Illinois, and came away feeling too hemmed in and claustrophobic, in between Lake Michigan and the city of Chicago. This will happen with 55-plus retirement communities, too. We found one in north Scottsdale — while not technically 55-plus, 90% of residents are retired and the number of activities is phenomenal. We walked through a building housing an art class, a bridge group, mahjong and a TED talk for women. People uniformly smiled and greeted us. We immediately felt right at home, and we have in the three years since. Perhaps you will, too. But don’t let the marketing or sales team persuade you — go around yourself and introduce yourself and see what kind of reaction you get. You will know instantly whether this will feel like a great fit. We thought we didn’t want a 55+ community, either, but we’re so glad that we kept our minds open.

    by Ed LaFreniere — February 9, 2021

  26. Thanks so much to those who took the time to post their thoughts on finding the right “landing spot.” Of course I had hoped someone would write, THIS is the perfect place for you, and give me its name! But alas, I have to make the hard decision for myself!

    Roland – I’m thinking “final” because searching and moving is just so time-consuming, plus, at 74, how many more moves will leave me with enough time to go out and actually enjoy my remaining days? But I do agree that circumstances change and dictate what we must do. I also agree on visiting a potential locale during its worst season; so I went to Austin in August and decided I couldn’t take the incredible and incessant heat (not to mention traffic) and crossed it off my list. I share your opinion of 55+ communities, though I admit I accidentally visited one in FL when staying at an Airbnb, not realizing it was in a 55+ place. If I wasn’t ruling out FL entirely – I lived there for 4 years and don’t enjoy its humidity and TRAFFIC – I might have considered it. And thanks for the tip about winds, never thought of that one.
    HEF – Interesting that you mentioned Delaware, because that – on paper at least – is a contender. It seems to be smart from a financial perspective, and it’s close to some of the best cities for cultural getaways. And it’s easy to get to water in the summertime! My nagging fear, though, is that any place in DE is a little like Biden – boring. But Wilmington remains on my list of “must visit.” I appreciate the benefits of a retirement community, but I’m just not sure a singleton will be happy – a real city offers a real diversity of people and activities that are constantly changing, and thus possibly more stimulating and fun. And I think Portland MIGHT be worth a visit, it’s just all that snow, you know? Good info about the private messaging, Didn’t know that option was available.

    Judy – thanks for FB mention, I definitely will follow up on that. I have heard good things about Greenville from several others, SC is low cost of living, Greenville has good health care, so it might be a good “base” from which to travel. I wonder how it would work as I get older and not traveling; would there be enough to do? By the way, I don’t think million$ is a feather-down cushion, unless it’s 5 million or so, which I am not. I love CA too, but it’s expensive and TRAFFIC. Half of Albuquerque is comprised of fleeing Californians for this city’s lower housing costs (though Alb is not quite so cheap in other categories.)

    Joann C – I’ve thought of living abroad also, but I’ve been in countries highly touted by IL and Retirement Living, and once there find a very different scenario. My solution (so far) is to 1) find my landing spot here and then 2) spend 3-6 months, or even a year, in places like Baja, Berlin, Lisbon, Costa Rica, until I can no longer travel. Maybe I’m just too accustomed to the US lifestyle.

    Kate – I’m going to try to PM you with specific questions. From following your posts, I know you’ve researched some of the places I’m considering and would love to tap into your knowledge.
    Cleveland has a lot to offer, and I’ve been hoping to get there while the city is still cold and gray and snowed-in, but air travel is just too cumbersome right now.

    in exchange for all the good ideas above, I’ll throw out a small tidbit I’ve learned from living in several places: always look for a community with at least one good university. I’ve always signed up at those that have senior citizen discounts (like now at UNM), where for $15 a semester, I have access to all the fitness facilities (GREAT Olympic pool), incredible library, and computer labs with all the software you would ever want. And of course I take a class to keep my brain alive. And I’m often NOT the only senior citizen in the class, and I’ve learned a lot from the kids anyway. This is, of course, speaks to my own interests so may not be for everyone, but I do find this venue a real bargain.

    by Barbara — February 9, 2021

  27. Barbara,
    Delaware is anything but boring (btw I find Biden refreshing). We retired to Lewes from DC. We enjoy the four seasons with mild winters. The beaches are world class. There’s a wonderful small town feel but with plenty to do if you wish. Great hospitals. Very, very low taxes. No Soc. Sec. tax. No sales tax. Property tax a fifth of what we paid for in DC. Cost of housing is 50% less than DC. Traffic compared to DC is non-existence. Even during the summer months. Outdoor activities galore. The best seafood. And if you enjoy fishing, it’s got you covered with the Delaware Bay, Rehoboth Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. 2 hour drive through cornfields to DC and Philadelphia. 3 hour drive to NYC. How much excitement do you need? We are enjoying the slower pace from the frenzied DC life. Stay safe.

    by Tom Egly — February 10, 2021

  28. Barbara – It is nice of you to acknowledge postings and giving credit to those that helped. You mentioned that you hoped that folks would name their perfect place. As you know, it may be perfect for some, but not for others. However, by revealing too much information online is not safe.

    For example, posting specific information about oneself, either here or on FaceBook (especially FB) or any other social site online is not recommended. There are free tools online to find people anywhere in the world just by having a name and their city. If you reveal your age, that helps in narrowing down people with the same name in the same city. And if you have a unique name, well, that is all that is needed to locate a person.

    So, what information is out there “for free” to view: Your current and previous addresses; phone numbers and emails; pictures of your house (street and aerial views of your backyard); names of family, your ex, and associates with all their information; your neighbors, etc. Also, if you got divorced, I can tell who got the house. LoL.

    These are great tools for scammers to prey on the elderly. So, please be cognizant of what you put out there. Take care and stay safe.

    by Roland — February 10, 2021

  29. Roland: You’re right, and I imagine if anyone looking for info to target an elderly, this site would be a good starting point. I WILL be more careful, thanks for the observation.

    by Barbara — February 10, 2021

  30. Kate, I’ve been living in Cleveland for the past 28 years. If you have any questions, I’d be happy to try and answer them for you. My wife and I have always said, if it wasn’t for the cold, snowy winters, we’d retire here. Other than no tropical environment, Cleveland really has it all – one of the top theatre districts in the country, world class restaurants (at least pre-covid), professional sports, Lake Erie, and awesome state parks.

    My wife and I are looking at Las Cruces, NM, to retire. If anyone has any information about the area, I would love to hear it.

    by Brian — February 12, 2021

  31. Brian- Las Cruces, NM, should certainly be looked at as a retirement possibility. I’ve been there 2 or 3 times for overnight stays. It’s a university town (NMSU) and has most amenities a town of its size would have. Not an overage of “fine” dining restaurants, but the restaurant scene is diverse and generally satisfactory. The summer days are hot, although not very humid, and the summer evenings usually cool down to a temperature that makes it comfortable to be outside. The resort towns of Ruidoso and Cloudcroft are not far away and they’re usually considerably cooler in the summer due to their high altitude. It’s 45 minutes to El Paso and its airport. The medical facilities in Las Cruces would be adequate, but not as comprehensive as in a larger area as Cleveland, of course. I have always loved the beauty, history and serenity of much of New Mexico and researched it as a place of retirement, although for various reasons we are currently in southeast Florida (snowbirds from Connecticut), but officially Florida residents). Personally, if I were to choose New Mexico, I’ve concluded I’d choose Albuquerque because it has so many more services than any other NM city. It’s not a huge place, but does have some big city problems. But the medical care is good (UNM medical school, etc.), there’s a reasonably sizable airport, and it’s relatively inexpensive to live in. Again, the summers are hot and dry, which is the case throughout NM unless you’re in an elevated area. Staying in Cleveland if you generally like it should be considered a possibility since, when you’re retired, the snow and cold is not quite as much a factor. You don’t have to then get out in it and you can hire someone to clear your driveway, etc., or move into a condo. Maybe spend a month or two in NM in the winter to test it out. Wikipedia has informative entries on Las Cruces and Albuquerque. Good luck in your retirement search!

    by Clyde — February 13, 2021

  32. Brian, my husband and I have been to Las Cruces twice. We were set on Picacho Mountain area. Its beautiful and clean. I would love to live in.that specific area. But we decided on.Pahrump Nevada.
    Homes are less expensive and the taxes are great. Our property taxes will go from 7000 in Washington State to around 1800-2000 for a new home. And it is close enough to Vegas if I want a big city at times.
    Its getting close for us. Less than 2 yrs now!
    Good luck finding your place

    by Tomi — February 14, 2021

  33. One more BIG mistake to add – I just sat and re-read the article carefully and I have to add one more thing to the list. This has happened to several friends of mine – Failure to discuss it with their spouse – ahead of time! They just assumed.

    Recently, a friend and her husband were ready to retire. They had moved to SE TN for a new job and they knew it would only last a few years. Once he was finished they were making plans to move back to more familiar territory, closer to the new grandchild that was on the way. When they got to western PA, they rented a place and started to look around. She was STUNNED! She expected to find a place downtown, near the museums, theaters, library and all the things to do. He, apparently, wanted 5 quiet acres in the middle of nowhere. She had NO IDEA! They settled on a big house in an “executive neighborhood” sub-division. I was kind of disappointed for her – that, to me, is the epitome of a very boring life. However, guess it was the best compromise.

    My sister remembers talking to a Life Insurance salesman as he asked them what their plans were for retirement. She said, “As I though about it, without missing a beat, my (then) husband says, ‘I want to be on a lake with a pontoon boat.’ I was never so stunned in my life! I had no idea – he doesn’t even swim or like the water!” They subsequently separated and he has now passed. She is not near a lake and doesn’t have a boat.

    SO – TALK TO YOUR SPOUSE! …ALOT, AHEAD OF TIME! Sort it out BEFORE you retire.

    by HEF — February 15, 2021

  34. HEF – Very good tip. What’s the point of finding a retirement home in that perfect area when the situation between the couple inside the home is not working.

    Here is something a couple (even singles) can do if they have difficulty in having a spontaneous, open discussion about their wants/desires/needs for their retirement home and area. Try watching House Hunters and/or House Hunters International on HGTV (or even on YouTube). It’s a formula TV show (yeah, I get it); husband has his priorities and the wife has hers. Conflict builds with each making comments about the properties and about the other’s unrealistic/selfish needs as they view 3 homes. At the end, all is fine and a property is selected.

    So, this is what you and your spouse can do. Watch the show(s) and during the show make your own comments about the properties and each of the buyers’ expectations. Some are real stupid (just saying). Bottom line, this can be a great tool for couples to get better educated about their own wants/desires/needs and their spouse’s. (You may even discover that after all these years that you really don’t have anything in common and may need to split before you make a mistake of buying a new home together.)

    Another added bonus of watching these types of shows on network TV or YouTube, you might even discover a new place to explore that is not mentioned in this forum.

    by Roland — February 15, 2021

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Leave a comment