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Did You Have To Leave An Area You Loved Because You Simply Couldn't Afford To Retire There?

I live in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, and I moved here about a dozen years ago. I love my friends, my church, my doctors (I am a cancer survivor, and we have a great health care system in the Bay State). The problem is, I don't have enough to retire here, because there is simply no affordable senior housing except subsidized housing that is tiny, depressing and few and far between with an incredibly long waiting list. With my ex-husband's social security that I would collect after I retire, it looks like I would have too much income to qualify for one of them anyway. I live in a small apartment as it is, and have no family here. 

My sisters live in Florida, but they are constantly complaining about how the Republican government (I guess this is the case with the majority of Southern states) is making life harder and harder for the poor and elderly. I worry that I wouldn't be able to find the quality of medical care I have in Massachusetts, and if the Republican Congress does away with Medicare, it might be the only safe state to stay in where you can keep your health insurance. 

Did any of you have to make this hard choice? Where did you live and where did you end up retiring to? Or did you just stay put, grit your teeth, tighten your belt and learn to live more lean? How did it go? Did you regret your decision? Did it turn out to be a good thing? Did you wish you had stayed put? Thanks!

Periodic Contributor

My wife and I both lived in the San Diego area of Southern California for many years and both retired there with very nice Social Security income. However, that income was not enough to meet expenses so we both had to take part time jobs. We decided that was crazy. So we sold our home and bought a larger home in the Prescott area of Arizona for half what we sold the California home for. Now we can enjoy full retirement without having to work part time.

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Two years ago our apt complex increased everyone's rent $200 a month. Shortly before that a high priced apt complex was put up 10 minute walking distance down the street. Also, a not so great mini shopping area. Alledgedly an area upgrade. My apts are 40+ years old and falling apart. Management slapped up a new color paint on the walls and some cheap carpet and told us we could move to one of these "newly refurbished" apts - of course we had to pay a $250 transfer fee for the privilege.I am still in my original apt with worn 20 yr old carpet and no telling when it was really fully painted. I have been at this complex since 1999.I doubt I will be able to stay here after I retire in 2 years. It's not all the fault of property mngmt or owners. They have to deal with rising costs due to area changes. My issue is that rental properties can charge whatever they want. There is no comparison of this concept with age, inner and outer structure with new apts. Yet we are being charged the same ridiculous price. Not mad about rent increases - just want some balance for the living conditions. 

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@MitziH243371 

 

That's all part of planning for retirement -

You are gonna have a certain amount coming in from whatever the source - then there are rainy day funds or emergency funds - so you have to plan on what expenses you can pay reasonably based on income and what you want your retirement to encompass. if financially feasible.

 

If you did not have rent - you would still have to have either a mortgage or a paid off home but property taxes and upkeep are still in the picture and on your nickel.

 

Cost of living varies greatly all over this country.

 

In the 70's and 80's various non-profits would join together and build independent senior and disabled housing.  They would get the mortgage from HUD.  As a stipulation for the HUD loan, the 1-bedroom and efficiency units designed for the convenience of the elderly and the disabled, the non-profits would have to designate so many units at market rate, so many for a subsidized government rate (about 30% off of market rate) and so many units for Section 8 (really low income seniors and disabled). 

 

They would continue this partnership with government - meaning they would pay off the mortgage and then get another loan from HUD for major repairs, renovation, upkeep and improvements.  Many of these are still available today BUT the waiting list for any category, especially Section 8 has escalated purely because there are so many (baby boomers) and we are living longer.

 

As the market rates have increase - even without any profit built in - more and more seniors and disabled are applying for the Sect. 8 classification.  The market rate increases because there is staff, maintenance, utilities that continue to go up. 

 

The building and property cost today has escalated in most all urban and suburban area that these are no longer even feasible to build but these are still the areas that are most condusive to this demographic - they still need medical availability, convenience in shopping - so this lets out many rural areas from building them.

 

Yes, we have a problem with senior housing - best to make plans as early as possible.  In fact, around here, I tell people to go ahead and get on the waiting list for these types of units when they turn 62  especially if they have limited income - get in under whatever classification they can (afford) and then hopefully get an adjustment to another classification in the annual review down the road; but alas those are also wait listed.

 

If you or anybody else wants to take a look-see on the web for some of these type option, here are a few examples.  They work under the HUD Sect. 202 Program (described above), I am pretty sure still but I have been away from this for several years.

 

Clairmont Oaks Senior Living

 

Briarcliff Oaks Senior Living

 

AHEPA National Housing Corp (non-profit)

 

 

 

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Living in NJ could mean a property tax higher than a mortgage payment. Also the weather could be a problem for your health or liking. This may not be a viable alternative for some for a variety of reasons but you can join the increasing number of ex pats and consider living like a King in foreign countries for $1,000 a month. You can explore this possibility on UTube. Make sure you get recent info as places that were considered unsafe years ago can be safer than the US. Medellin, Colombia once considered a drug capital is a Mecca for seniors etc leaving US  now. From areas in Mexico to many areas in Latin America can be a great choice. Temperatures in many such as Medellin are mild 70s all year long !

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Yes. I had to leave Northern California in order to retire well. I was born and raised in San Francisco, but renting would have taken 50% of my pension. Each year, the rent goes up 10%! I moved to Charlotte, North Carolina a year ago and I have never been happier! I can enjoy life, volunteer, and be active at my church, without financial worries. 

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When, I was young, my Dad was in the military, so we moved back and forth  across the US so many times. I went to Guam and loved it there but the typhoons hit you practically every month and they are ferocious!

I ALSO WENT TO Japan, and what a transition.  Would I retire in a foreign country, you really have to think about it, because you must follow all their regulations, it's their county.

When, I got married I went  to Tonga where my husband was born.  But again, you must follow their regulations and don't know if I could get my SS too.  It's a wonderful place but the food is very different.

So, where did I end up? Hawaii, even tho you have beautiful weather, lovely people, great transportation ( the bus) it's getting So EXPENSIVE!  You are TAXED for everything, it's like You are Choking everyday!  You can't make enough money to buy a house, mostly everybody rents, and when you turn around, the owner raises it again.  They tell you, sorry, my Taxes went up and yes, everybody, they are not lying- it goes up every year and A lot of People are moving by the droves, including me.  

I moved with a part of my family, then got my oldest son and his family to come up, then my other 2 sons.  We hate CHOKING!! We decided to go to Nevada and see because now we can go HoloHolo ( in Hawaiian it means  traveling, going places),  We can get in our car and see so many states and what they have to offer. 

Also, my brother and his wife are moving to Arizona, which is next door to us.

So, if your CHOKING, Go HOLOHOLO!!!

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My husband recently retired after 7 years in the military and 23 years working for the federal government.  I am medically disabled after having surgery complications.  So I receive disability benefits and he now receives his retirement pay. We lived in reno Nevada as renters for 14 years. Rent is extremely high and the average medium house cost is 400,000. His retirement pay is only a third of what he was receiving when he worked full time. There was no way that we could afford to stay in reno and enjoy his retirement so we moved across the country to Michigan where he grew up and where his family is. We left our two boys, their wives and our grandchildren so that has been really hard. We love the area so far but winter here versus winter in reno has yet to be seen.

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We recently retired to North Carolina from Connecticut. We would both have had to have retirement jobs if we stayed and certainly could not have stayed in our home. Best decision for us, no regrets.

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Where we are living now we are in kind of a bind as well. What we are paying in rent we are fortunate for the most part, but the house itself has issues such as some mold and retaining moisture. But also the town we live in we are paying an outrageous water bill and trash bill for just the two of us and they just keep on raising the rates to pay for their nice little park or what ever else. So by the time we pay everything and what I get in my social security there is nothing left to pay for supplies or other groceries that what they give us in food stamps doesn't cover. It would be nice to get into a senior housing project but waiting lists are long and their hard to fin.  Seems like a no win situation sometimes.

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I am living in  FORT WORTH TX. The, prices  are getting  to a point  where I don't  like it. The apartment take all your money. You can't do anything or have visiors. I believes  if you pay you should be to have company,l if they don't have storages you CAN'T put things  on your patio..i don't like it. Make you want to live in a,tent

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I lived and worked in Northern California for over 30 years. The housing market exploded and building was occurring everywhere around me.  I sold my condo and still couldn’t afford to buy another place in CA. and traffic is a nightmare! I decided to move to Florida where I bought a beautiful, brand new house and I’m close to the beaches.  I miss family & friends, but not much else. 

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We were living in NJ, Plainsboro. We were renting. When the new hospital moved into town the rents soared. I couldn’t find anything affordable within commuting distance but then when I lost my job & ended up taking early retirement we ended up moving to southern DE. It’s great here but too far from my grand children & daughter’s family! NJ is ridiculously expensive and next to no affordable housing, it can take years to get into affordable housing.

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It's very cheap to live where I do, in deep southern Illinois, but I fought for much of my working life to remain here due to lack of employment opportunities. By making excellent grades in college, and performing in my jobs in a stellar manner, I managed to land 2 consecutive positions at companies with a large union presence, owned by big corporations with headquarters out of the area. The pay and benefits at these positions were more in line with those in larger metropolitan areas than in this rural area. While it worked out extremely well, making big city pay but living in an area with low cost of living, I was constantly worried about job security and pressured to take promotions to the big city headquarters. I presevered and managed to stay in this area.. Sadly, both of those companies have now eliminated the positions I used to hold, but not before I managed to retire comfortably at age 55.

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I am very happy for you!! 🙂

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I lived in a beautiful part of Northern Calif for 30 years where I raised my daughter and lived in the same loved house I purchased new when my income could handle it. I got lucky with tons of built up equity but could not afford to even "buy down" to remain in the area in retirement. So I took my equity $ and moved 600 miles away to a retirement community where I could afford a nice small new home at a fraction of what I used to pay.

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I left Rockport TX to move back to Corpus Christi TX so that I could save enough money to buy a manufactured home. I bought my home in January of 2017 and wanted to move back to Rockport TX but it was too expensive to live there so I chose to put my home in Aransas Pass TX which is 15 miles south of Rockport-I moved into my home in April of 2017 and on August 25, 2017 Hurricane Harvey hit Rockport TX among other small communities including Aransas Pass, but Rockport got the eye and a lot of tornadoes. God put me in Aransas Pass for a reason and I was blessed that my home only had minor damage even though I had neighbors in my MH Park that lost everything because of Harvey. I know I'm where I need to be.

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I am retiring in two to three years and hope to relocate from southern New Jersey to central Florida.  I am looking at 55+ communities in the Winter Haven, Haines City, Davenport area.  I am currently exploring communities.  Sun and CRF seem to be two of the biggest owners of these comunities.  I am also looking at some mom/pop communities.  Any input would be appreciated.  Thank you.  njgia

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This is a good topic and thought to dust it off with a fresh post about it;

So where did you move to or did you stay? 

Did you move to a 55+ community and do you like it?

What advice would you give to someone having to make this choice now?  Have read that Florida and New Jersey have the most 55+ communities do you live in either State?

Thank you all for sharing!  Marie

Contributor

I have been reading everything I can over the last year.  It is very expensive to retire to New Jersey.  Their taxes are enormous.  I live in Delaware although the property taxes are lower, everything else is going up.  We have very few supplemental choices in Delaware as most insurance companies left a few years ago.  In Delaware prescription Part d is very expensive for the same reason.  Our meds are outrageous.  Delaware taxes your pension.  

Our groceries, electric, is expensive.   Any houses at the beach, start at 350,000 and go into the millions.   

Florida is a great choice for Seniors. No state tax, cheaper Medicare supplements and Part d because they have more insurance companies to choose from.  No tax on pension or social security from Florida.  They have a tax discount for Seniors.   The Governor is trying

to lower the cost of drugs in his state.  The property taxes are not as cheap as other states but the housing is available.    Research as it will cost you a lot more to live in certain states.

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This is a good topic, so I'm adding my thoughts.

My mom passed away a few years ago on Cape Cod, and asked me if I would like to have her home. I would have loved to as it had been my second home when I was a child and I loved it. But the home needed a lot of work and the taxes were too much for this single woman, so I declined.

I live in southern California and have for 29 years, so though it's very expensive here, my tribe is here, as well as one of my children. The other two live in New York, which is equally expensive. I could try starting out fresh somewhere else, but I've read that one should live in a place for at least one year, before tearing up roots and relocating there. Where could that place be? I have no idea, but I've lived where I am for 22 years and knowing where everything is, well it's comforting. Financially though, this appears to be less of a good idea as time goes on. I've been retired for two years and like not working, so there doesn't appear to be an answer.

Sir Granny Tracy
Periodic Contributor

08-21-2015

 

Hi there, "not sure" about the place you love Cape Cod, MA.

 

It's true I have many relatives who live in Florida, including my elderly mom. It is also true the more crowded the State with the same type of people, mostly retired & elderly, the less quality care you may get from the State of Florida.

 

I recommend that since you have your sisters' in Florida, and you been living so far away for so long from them in Cape Cod, why don't you move to Virginia, Georgia, North or South Carolina? The quality of care may be the same, but there are less people living in those states.

 

Hope my advice helps you.

 

 

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I live in western Massachusetts in a small town, I find the cost of living is fairly low. You might consider relocating a bit to the west .The cost of living here is much lower than Cape Cod, though probably slightly higher than the Midwest or South. I have enjoyed my 24 years in Massachusetts, but I miss the wide open spaces of the West and I have  decided to relocate to Wyoming or Idaho, where  I expect the cost of living for a low income persom will be slightly higher. I will miss living in a state where the average IQ seems to be 15 points higher than the rest of the country, living here was almost like living in a more advanced European country. I will also miss the beautiful New England Fall, I tell friends to try not to die until you have seen Autumn in New England.

Periodic Contributor

What town in MA do you live? I love MA for the same reasons, espec. the Cape Ann area; my BFF lives there. But it is way out of my price range. I now live in SC, which I really don't like - I swear the IQ here is 15 points lower (!) than the rest of the country, and am hoping to move to New England, but need to find an affordable town.
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The State of Florida welcomes retirees.  It is a haven for those seeking a senior friendly lifestyle.  I am not happy about having to relocate but reality is that I can no longer afford to live in California.

 

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No, we did not. We also live in the SF Bay Area but financial planning helped us recover from a personal bankruptcy in our early 40's and enabled us to take early retirement despite the Great Recession of 2008-9. We have a very comfortable lifestyle and have LTCi policies to cover old age infirmities (which feel like they're already starting, LOL!).

 

But we do have friends and family who are very worried about being able to keep living here. With Prop 13 came the good/bad: education suffered a loss of financing but seniors are able to keep a home as their property taxes rise only at a defined, moderate limit. It is hard on renters, though, of any age: very little rental housing is built here (land is very, very expensive) so costs often jump dramatically.

 

One couple we know moved to Panama. It took them 2 yrs to do a permanent move and once there they moved four or five times, trying different areas/elevations. They are currently happily settled in a gated community in Boquete. But if the husband could afford it, he'd move back to the US in a heartbeat. His wife was born in South America so not a problem for her.

Contributor

My thoughts as well. I lived in MI, UT, and now NC. We need affordable housing for middle come 55+. We need AARP to go to Washington, DC or states to help the middle come seniors stay afloat and make affordable apt. living for us all. We do not quilfy for low income or make enough for "A Place for Mom".

 

Periodic Contributor

My husband and I moved into our California two-story home 37 years ago.  We were both working,  in our late 20's, and in good health. He was diagnosed with systemic lupus at age 36 and was forced to permanently retire at age 49. I was diagnosed with sarcoidosis at age 40, was the primary caregiver for my husband and two autistic grandsons (while my daughtr worked), and suffered from depression, so I retired at age 59. We are now 65 and he has major health issues: end-stage IV renal, severe heart disease, and peripheral neuropathy (in the hospital Nov-Feb-Apr). Our two-story house is very difficult for him, but we haven't relocated locally because we would be forced to part with valuable equity and settle for a far more restrictive mobile home or a condo--all we can afford due to the high cost of real estate in Orange County. It is difficult to leave this area because our three children live nearby and provide social-emotional support for us, and they will play an integral part in our aging process, as our placement in a convalescent home. We are vacillating between leaving this area/having more comfortable living conditions versus staying here/ waiting until we absolutely have to move to less accomodating living quarters.

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Yes
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No I built my retirement home back where I was raised as a child I always said I am going home whenn I retire and God made it possible for me to do so...............


@catrheaper wrote:

I live in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, and I moved here about a dozen years ago. I love my friends, my church, my doctors (I am a cancer survivor, and we have a great health care system in the Bay State). The problem is, I don't have enough to retire here, because there is simply no affordable senior housing except subsidized housing that is tiny, depressing and few and far between with an incredibly long waiting list. With my ex-husband's social security that I would collect after I retire, it looks like I would have too much income to qualify for one of them anyway. I live in a small apartment as it is, and have no family here. 

My sisters live in Florida, but they are constantly complaining about how the Republican government (I guess this is the case with the majority of Southern states) is making life harder and harder for the poor and elderly. I worry that I wouldn't be able to find the quality of medical care I have in Massachusetts, and if the Republican Congress does away with Medicare, it might be the only safe state to stay in where you can keep your health insurance. 

Did any of you have to make this hard choice? Where did you live and where did you end up retiring to? Or did you just stay put, grit your teeth, tighten your belt and learn to live more lean? How did it go? Did you regret your decision? Did it turn out to be a good thing? Did you wish you had stayed put? Thanks!


 

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