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Retirement living - Getting started - Where to go?

Retiring in 2 years.  Going to be "snow birds" such that the majority of the year we can be near our kids in NH, but want to escape the long winters.  The question is where to we go for 3 to 4 months a year?  Lots of choices of course.  Suggestions?  

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@H2NH wrote:

Retiring in 2 years.  Going to be "snow birds" such that the majority of the year we can be near our kids in NH, but want to escape the long winters.  The question is where to we go for 3 to 4 months a year?  Lots of choices of course.  Suggestions?  


I have done more research than anyone I know.. I have looked at retirement communities in every state that is usally considered and after years, my choice is Hilton Head SC..  close enough for family to visit, and everything I wanted.  Best of luck to you and do lots of research!

 

 

Life's a Journey, not a Destination" Aerosmith
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Suggest you start by exploring possible options. In person if possible, but via your computer at least. 

Winter months in north central **bleep**, southern UT, northern NM, and southern CO, are hard to beat. December thru March weather is mostly sunny and warm, nights are chilly/ cold with occasional snow, but roads are usually dry and free of ice or sleet.

Lots of interesting places to visit and great scenery!  

Stay in medium/small towns for local flavor, large cities are congested and impersonal. Feel free to ask local folks about the area why they live there. Most of them will be pleased to share their opinons.

Take your time, don't commit to a specific place right away, some times exploring options is the most fun of all. 

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Thanks for your wisdom. I'm going on without my spouse because I'm tired of not living my life...Retired. I want a place where I can wake up and take half of the day trying to remember or just not caring what day it is! For one reason or another, I returned to the Washington, DC area based on poor encouragement about 3 times. Retirement is no fun if you are doing it with someone who wants it their way or no way. I think I can survive on what I have by myself, well I know I can. Wish me the best of luck, so far Florida!

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No need to wish you luck because you're going to do great ! Just keep looking forward and think positive. Now you're on a new adventure and making happy memories that you will use to pushout the bad ones. Leave all that bad luggage in DC where it belongs. Read only positive responses and stay away from negative thinkers as they will drain your energy !

Professor Phineas J. Whoopie

 

 

 

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No need to wish you luck as you're going to do 

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We are recently retired New Yorkers.  We spent last January, February, and March traveling througout the southeast.  We stayed in timeshare units and hotels.  We plan to travel throughout the southwest this winter and hope to be able to choose different warm weather locations each winter.  Our hope is to be able to do so as long as we are healthy. At some point we may choose to stay longer in places but for now we love visiting new places.  Friends and family met us in a few places and the phone and email kept us connected to those at home.

We visited friends in The Villages and would seriously consider spending some time there in the future.    It truly must be seen to be believed!

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We also winter in the Rio Grande Valley, in Texas. Great weather, and low cost of living. You are right about the walkability, you do need to drive to some things. BUT, if you are in a planned or mobile home community, each community has it's own activities, clubs and outside entertainers that come in to perform. We have about 25 different social/activity groups: quilting, cards shuffleboard, pickleball, water aerobics, etc. We have entertainers from all over the US that that come to our park, and I belong to the Performing Arts Center which is about a 10 minute drive. Across the street is a high school..we love to attend their plays and performances. Don't write the area off till you try it out. We are in McAllen, Texas

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Give the Rio Grande area of Texas a shot. I've been in a 55+ mobile home community for two years and love it! Pine to Palm in Weslaco Texas. Tons to do all winter and inexpensive living.

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I bought a place 1.5 miles from Disney World. I stay there between 4-5 months a year. I rent out to families when I am not there. It works well. I have no mortgage, and my rentals pretty much cover my expenses. There is also the benefit of being near everything. Always new things to discover.

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I retire next week but have prepared for retirement 8 years ago by dowsizing house and cars before moving to The Villages in Florida. You have to see it to believe it. It is one of the largest retirement communities in the world spanning 3 counties and containing over 100,000 senior citizens. It was designed by the same company who designed the Universal Studios theme park. All buildings and stores have facades to reflect the area they are located in. We have three town squares, lakes, 29 golf courses and more swimming pools. We have separate lanes for golf carts as many people elect to use carts instead of cars to get around. You name it and we have it within our borders including city and state agencies for driver's licenses, etc.. The streets and sidewalks are kept immaculate and I have yet to see any garbage on one in 8 years. You automatically get a membership to all the Country clubs for dinning or drinks. Some of the best medical care for senior citizens can be found here and the last study showed that we live a little longer than most other seniors do. Every doctor here specializes in senior medical care. There are over 2,000 activities/clubs with 1,000 active each day. Lots of charity groups to join, free exercising in pools or elsewhere. This place has been called Disney World for Adults. If you are picturing old folk sitting in rocking chairs all day you are wrong. This place is for active adults and offers just about any sport you can think of from shuffleboard, archery, dragon boating, softball, tennis, pickleball, basketball, swiming and anything else you can think of. Happy hour is all day long at most places and each night there is free live music and dancing at all the town squares. Also this is a very dog friendly place. The only drawback for some is the very strict homeowner restrictions designed to keep this place beautiful and maintain your home's value. Yes it is hot in the summer but how much time do you really spend outdoors? We go from an air conditioned house to an air conditioned car to an air conditioned store or restaurant. The first few years I would sweat a lot but now we set our A/C to 80 degress in the summer. We get no real winter here and I wear shorts and a tee shirt almost year round. The people are friendly and since we are all old timers we have a lot in common. We also support and help each other as we get older and need help. You will find a lot of free support here to get you through the rough patches. Also have very nice assisted living places here too and our own state of the art hospital. Go to the website and watch the free video. You can even visit and stay in a home for cheaper than any hotel you can find. We are only an hour away from the theme parks and airport. We love it here and the ranch house we bught cost half of what we sold out NJ house for so I have no mortgage. Did I mention no City or State taxes which really add up. We visited our family here and bought a house online sight unseen. Our credit cards are all paid up and since I did OK for myself salarywise our Social Security is pretty high and we only need to supplement it a littl each year. In fact, I do not really need to invest in the stock market since we can draw down what we already saved since we have no kids to leave anything to. I am fine with CD's that keep me up with COLA. I should mention that althought they sell you on the active lifestyle, you can just live like always. My wife and I have freinds who are not joiners and basically just live our lives as before eating home cooked meals, playing cards and visiting each other as well as dining out one night a month. There are several theaters hers with top name entertainers all year round. If you want to keep busy you can but don't have to.

Retiring is trading one boss for the one you married.
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@VinnyD983161 wrote:

I retire next week but have prepared for retirement 8 years ago by dowsizing house and cars before moving to The Villages in Florida. >>>


I have to tell you that The Villages is one of the places I disliked the most.  It is like a giant suburb from the northeast.  It is in the middle of flat central Florida and I am sure the real estate costs were reflective of that.  I prefer the coast and some natural assets.

 

I also found some of the financial aspects concerning.  It is family owned and the rules and community costs are determined by that group.  

 

I would recommend a lot of research into the financial aspects of the community and the way of life for anyone considering it.  But if you are happy there than best wishes for you.

 

 

 

Life's a Journey, not a Destination" Aerosmith
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Thank you Vinny for this interesting and helpful letter !

I was hooked till I visited the site and they want me to buy another house. I've owned four and will own no more. Again thank you kindly,

Professor Phineas J. Whoopie

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where are the villages in Florida located at? It seems very interesting to me.

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The Villages are located near Ocala,FL. (North central FL) Close to I-75. Fairly close to Orlando. We know people who like living there-huge communities! We have driven by, but never visited there. We live about 3 hours south.

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The Villages are about 1.5 hrs. northwest of Orlando.

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We are from central NJ and head to Myrtle Beach right after Thanksgiving.  I fly back for Christmas and back down again.  We stay until mid to late April.  We have a condo but you can always find monthly rentals in Myrtle Beach.  Most days, are very nice averaging 20+ degrees warmer than NJ without stifling heat.  There are plenty of places to enjoy the outdoors from restaurants, theatres or cinemas, walking trails, parks and the lovely boardwalk.  Shopping for groceries etc is plentiful.  You should understand that on weekends you will encounter renters who may or may not be great neighbors.  Otherwise, it is a great place.

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@rk87223492 - I live in central NJ too, and am seriously considering a move south as well! I move from north Jersey to the shore area almost 10 years ago, but my criteria have changed .. I want to be in a walkable downtown area full of culture, but where I can find a single family ranch style house .. which isn't an easy combination! I'd rather not be as far south as Florida, but it's impossible to find walkable downtowns with ranches anywhere else along the shore on the eastern seaboard!


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Look at NC coast,lots of walkable downtowns
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@ronbabydoc - I didn't see any walkable towns in NC, that had a lot of cultural activities, and single-level living. Can you name specific towns?


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Go where it is warm and comfortably culturally inspiring.  I love St. Petersburg and Mexico Beach in Florida.  I would suggest renting 6 months per year because you avoid taxation on your unit.

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@ASTRAEA wrote:

@ronbabydoc - I didn't see any walkable towns in NC, that had a lot of cultural activities, and single-level living. Can you name specific towns?


Check out Asheville, NC

NYT - The Future of Retirement Communities - Walkable and Urban

 

 

 

 

It's Always Something . . . . Roseanna Roseannadanna
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But isn't NC a state that is least tax friendly for retirees?

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@GailL1 - There are no ranch style homes that are in the walkable downtown.


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@ASTRAEA wrote:

@GailL1 - There are no ranch style homes that are in the walkable (Asheville, NC) downtown.


Too bad - what about Atlanta or surrounding areas - got a bunch of those here.

Decatur is one that comes to mind and it is only a short distance from other (bigger and smaller) places - an uber/lyft ride away - or MARTA is right there too.. 

Walk to get groceries, coffee shops, restaurants, churches, shops, banks and other business associates - doctors, dentist and a small hospital - with a bigger one not too far away.  There are theatre groups, writers guilds and clubs, art classes - gallery openings.

 

Does get hot and sticky -

 

 

It's Always Something . . . . Roseanna Roseannadanna
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@GailL1 - The idea is to be as walkable as possible, for basics & even cultural amenities. Most cities only have high density housing within their walkable core areas, certainly no ranch houses. Some cities have walkable downtowns .. but the crime rate is significantly higher there.

 

I've used the Redfin real estate website for searching, because they allow you to select more criteria .. like single-level living.


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@ASTRAEA

 

The actual city of Decatur, Ga sounds like a good fit.

Low crime - a mix of young and old - of course there are newer town homes but surrounding the Square area are single family homes of many different types - big and small - some built in the 50' 60' 70' - yards big and small.

If you want to walk you can even reach Agnes Scott College and like I said a short Marta Ride with easy on and off can get you to Emory University too.

There are also many independent senior living facilities in the (walkable) vicinity in case one day you don't want a home to care for.

The actually City has a lot of cultural activities and then so do the nearby universities and colleges.

 

If you do a search make sure you enter "City of Decatur, Ga." - not just Decatur, Ga because that would cover much more ground.

Just a thought but if there is any place around here that is walkable for just about everything, it would be Decatur.

Not cheap by any means - just a guess but a small  '60s ranch  maybe 3/2 somewhere close to the Square, perhaps with some remodeling -

maybe $ 600,000 +.

Seniors do get a pretty good deal on their property and income taxes in Ga too.

 

Have a Great Indpendence Day !

It's Always Something . . . . Roseanna Roseannadanna
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Little Washington on Pamlico Sound,Greenville, Wilmington,Sunset Beach 10 miles from Myrtle Beach

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Go to New Zealand from December thru March. I did this for 26 years commuting from California to Christchurch.
Lon
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Retiring (early, at the latest) August '19. Converting a former prison transport van into a campervan, and getting as far away from society and people as I can. Mostly to the desert Southwest. I'll have solar, water, propane, and better than a foot ground clearance. Gonna leave this cesspool that is Austin and never...look...back. Oh, I'll go down south & see the grandkids every couple, 4, 6 months or so, but I'll be traveling solo & only interact when I need to fill my water, gas, & fuel tanks and stock up on food.

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