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"Best" places to retire (assuming you can)

Chin Diesel

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For many of us, that actually qualifies as a reason to not move there.


Fortunately unless you live within a mile of a port, not liking cruises is a non-issue.

Personally, I'm not a big fan of them but I know plenty who enjoy and know how to get great deals.
 

Chin Diesel

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Now that mention of the Bahamas is good salesmanship. I love boats. Wife hates boats. [sigh] Proximity to Key West is also appealing.
Has anybody heard anything good or bad about the new Margaritaville themed retirement communities? I went by one on the way to the Savannah airport. I had heard of them, but don't know much. This one is, of course, not actually on Hilton Head. Latitude Margaritaville - Hilton Head | New Homes for Sale in South Carolina | 55+ Community I have to confess that as a Parrothead I like the overall vibe. If I did the snowbird thing, I could see enjoying this.

Best part of taking a personal boat to the Bahamas is if you fall off, you can just swim west until you hit the beaches.

Investigators: Ex-Dolphins player did swim 9 miles after falling overboard - CBSSports.com
 

HuskyHawk

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No, but it has to be sucky and overpriced doesn't it?

It doesn't look expensive at all. Home quality seems decent. Amenities look like the kind I'd enjoy. Outdoor bandshell for concerts, giant pool like at a resort, big Margaritaville style bar, indoor and outdoor, fitness center, tennis, pickleball, kayaking, etc.
 

storrsroars

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It doesn't look expensive at all. Home quality seems decent. Amenities look like the kind I'd enjoy. Outdoor bandshell for concerts, giant pool like at a resort, big Margaritaville style bar, indoor and outdoor, fitness center, tennis, pickleball, kayaking, etc.
I can't imagine even considering such a place unless you like Buffett and parrotheads. I certainly wouldn't want to live out my final years in a community full of them.
 

HuskyHawk

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I can't imagine even considering such a place unless you like Buffett and parrotheads. I certainly wouldn't want to live out my final years in a community full of them.

Those are my people! :cool: If I was a single person, I could see moving to St. John or something and running fishing and snorkel charters by day, drinking rum punch and listening to local Caribbean music by night. But it would probably get old if it was like that all the time. I can abide just fine in an Irish pub with local musicians playing as well. Or on Frenchman street in New Orleans with beer in a geaux cup and blues/jazz/fusion stuff all around.
 

huskeynut

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For those interested in Florida, check out 55places.com. Select the State of Florida and hunt for your area or community. Great information including resale homes and new builds. Margaritaville/ Daytona is there. Also check out the builders of all these communities. Some have better records than others. It's a great site to look and see. Plus their blogs on various aspects of living in a 55+ community are usually very informative.

We live in Solivita. Always one of the top 5 retirement communities. The Villages is number 1. It's considered part of Kissimmee, even though we are southwest of Kissimmee and in Polk County, not Osceola County. Right now, approximately 4,999 homes have been built starting in 2002. Homes are sized from around 1,200 square feet to over 3,000 square feet. The market right now is very hot. Average days on market is around 12. The inventory of resale homes is under 100. Bidding wars are happening. And new homes are going up every day.

We are approximately 90 minutes from Tampa/ St. Pete area. We are about 2 hours to the Space Center. And about 45 minutes from the Mouse House. So plenty of places for a one day excursion. BTW, Tampa has some fantastic restaurants, especially in Ybor City section.

I would suggest visiting and staying in a 55+ community. Many offer a Stay and Play package of 3 days and 2 nights. Be prepared to have the sales rep give you the sales pitch. You don't have to sign anything if you don't want to.
 

Ckulmer34

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We retired almost five years ago. Three years prior, we started the research and the search to see what our destination would be.

We loved out CT home. We had great views from Newtown, across the river, into Southbury. Many referred to it as the party house. It was a perfect set-up for entertaining. But the cost of living and the tax structure, both property and income, was out of hand.

Our internet search led to our in-person search. We looked at properties in Florida and Tennessee. We were really liking the Nashville area until it snowed. That did it for the wife. We were not moving to any place that snowed. For her it's freezing out when the temps go below 75.

Our Florida search to us to St. Augustine first. As mentioned by others, it's a lot more than a tourist attraction. Some great housing options. We learned that outdoor living is just as important in Florida as indoor. We saw house that had outdoor living spaces with fireplaces, wired for TV, cable and internet. We also looked in Leesburg, Clermont and Kissimmee and Orlando. We did look at a lot of 55+ communities.

It took 2 years to sell our CT home. Housing market crash plus living in the Sandy Hook section of Newtown made for a long haul.

Bottom line, we purchased a 3 bedroom, 2.5 bath in a 55+ community in central Florida. For us, it was the right move. There are presently about 5,000 homes in the community. Two large amenities centers with pools, exercise rooms and meeting rooms. There are a total of 14 pools in the community. Two 18 hole golf courses and 3 restaurants. 250+ plus clubs operate year round. And I could go on. If you're bored in our community its your own fault. As to the weather, we love it. Contrary to popular belief, the humidity in July, September and part of October is not as intense as one would have in CT during July and August.

The life style is totally different. Very laid back and relaxed. Not as many family own restaurants as up north but we have found some really good ones. We have 2 sets of friends that have moved into our community, in part, due to our recommendation. They love it. And there is no state income tax in Florida.

My wife reaches computers in the community. Her courses are always full and yes, she gets paid. Plus she has a church job, choir director and organist, just down the road. I work with CERT (Community Emergency Response Team). We do traffic control for big events and parades. We did two COVID pods that vaccinated over 2,700 residents. I also play in two community bands, one a 16 piece jazz band and the other a 9 piece backup band for 5 vocalists. Between the two, I play in around 12 performances a year.

Do your research. Know what you want and what you don't want. Know what you can and cannot afford. Enjoy the journey.
did you look at Viera? looks nice ....
 

HuskyHawk

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I went down to Plymouth on Saturday to check out The Pinehills. It's a pretty spot, and the homes are quite attractive. My wife loved it and I had mixed opinions. The town green area is nice, and will be better post Covid when the Mayflower beer garden reopens. Nice looking golf course, and lots of other amenities. I like that it has its own shops and some restaurants and a pub. It's huge and spread out, with some denser housing need the center. It is way more hilly than I expected, and most of the streets with homes are dead-end cul-de sacs. I think this dampens some social potential, and makes walking from home to anything else very difficult.

That said, we didn't see all of it, and the part we didn't see had a lot of walking trails and the pond. That area may be more appealing to me. Downtown Plymouth is nice, plenty of nice restaurants and pubs, even if it gets too crazy with tourists in the summer. It was perfect on Saturday, sunny day looking out at the bay, not crowded at all. Ultimately, it seems like it may be too expensive still.
 

huskeynut

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Brevard County ..... just north of Melbourne

We did not go to the space coast area. Biggest reason was the frequency of hurricanes that come up the Atlantic coast. And with having 4 grandsons, being close to house the mouse built was a priority. We are 40 minutes away from Disney.

Viera is a planned community. Within Viera will be/ is Bridgewater at Viera. That is the 55+ community. Bridgewater is just one part of Viera. Lennar will be the builder. for Bridgewater We looked at Lennar homes and they are well built. Price ranges are $300,000 to $400,000. Sticker shock is probably there once you find out the price of the "extras" you want. All the communities we looked at had models with prices listed. That was the base price. Upgrades and the like jumped prices at least $50,000.

Bridgewater was started in 2017. House will range from 1,600 square feet to 2,800 square feet. Seems to be that the build out will be around 800 homes. That is a small community for 55+.

Just to give you a comparison - Solivita, when built out, will be 5,900 single family homes. Square footage ranges from 1,300 to 3,800. 2 bedrooms/ 2 baths up to 4 bedrooms/ 3.5 baths. Resale prices are from $200,000 to over $500,000. We have 2 big amenities centers will pools, exercise rooms, tennis courts, pickle ball courts, class rooms, meeting rooms and a wide variety of exercise classes. In addition there are another 12 pools in the community. We have two 18 hole golf courses, a pro shop, two restaurants and a bistro. In addition, a softball field (men's and women's leagues), two outdoor pavilions, a spa, a 500+ seat ballroom for major functions and concerts. There are over 250 clubs. several active musical groups from rock bands to studio bands to a 16 piece (jazz) swing band. HOA fees cover almost everything including lawn maintenance.

It all depends on what you are looking for and what you can afford.

Enjoy your journey.
 

HuskyHawk

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The recent high 90s and humid weather in early June convinced me I just can’t live full time in the south. So I’m back to Cape Cod as the one place we’ll probably end up. Helps that we have friends there and on MV.

I am kicking myself for not buying years ago, continuing to think the market would eventually dip. It’s just exploded. I really can’t find anything in North Falmouth for under $1M.
 

storrsroars

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Bankrate's new list of best places to retire is out. I was surprised to see Massachusetts at #5. Great healthcare, low crime, decent weather (few severe storms) and culture options. All reasons why I'll probably stay here. Taxes aren't that bad either, much better than CT or NY.

The Best And Worst States For Retirement 2021: All 50 States, Ranked | Bankrate
I find the rankings suspect.

Odd that CT ranks 36th in weather while MA is 6th. They kind of have the same weather. If anything, LI sound mitigates bad snowstorms.

PA's ranking is odd in that Metro Pittsburgh has much lower costs and better healthcare than the eastern side of the state. Pittsburgh is consistently ranked as a good area for retirees (although I don't want to retire here).

And the only reason Wyoming can rank 10th in culture (between CT and HI) is that nobody lives there so the half dozen movie theatres in the state have outsized importance. Really, for culture, wouldn't you rather be in AZ, UT, CO or MT?

Wife and I are talking San MIguel de Allende right now for practice in living outside US. Goal is still somewhere in W. Europe, but if we can't make that work, Montevideo is looking like a retirement paradise, except for the 13 hour flights to/from Pittsburgh.
 

Chin Diesel

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I find the rankings suspect.

Odd that CT ranks 36th in weather while MA is 6th. They kind of have the same weather. If anything, LI sound mitigates bad snowstorms.

PA's ranking is odd in that Metro Pittsburgh has much lower costs and better healthcare than the eastern side of the state. Pittsburgh is consistently ranked as a good area for retirees (although I don't want to retire here).

And the only reason Wyoming can rank 10th in culture (between CT and HI) is that nobody lives there so the half dozen movie theatres in the state have outsized importance. Really, for culture, wouldn't you rather be in AZ, UT, CO or MT?

Wife and I are talking San MIguel de Allende right now for practice in living outside US. Goal is still somewhere in W. Europe, but if we can't make that work, Montevideo is looking like a retirement paradise, except for the 13 hour flights to/from Pittsburgh.

I believe it's best to take all these rankings with a grain of salt. Probably a good idea to find out who is funding the survey/ranking as well.
 

HuskyHawk

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I find the rankings suspect.

Odd that CT ranks 36th in weather while MA is 6th. They kind of have the same weather. If anything, LI sound mitigates bad snowstorms.

PA's ranking is odd in that Metro Pittsburgh has much lower costs and better healthcare than the eastern side of the state. Pittsburgh is consistently ranked as a good area for retirees (although I don't want to retire here).

And the only reason Wyoming can rank 10th in culture (between CT and HI) is that nobody lives there so the half dozen movie theatres in the state have outsized importance. Really, for culture, wouldn't you rather be in AZ, UT, CO or MT?

Wife and I are talking San MIguel de Allende right now for practice in living outside US. Goal is still somewhere in W. Europe, but if we can't make that work, Montevideo is looking like a retirement paradise, except for the 13 hour flights to/from Pittsburgh.

Oh I agree some of it is nonsense. Bankrate is likely focusing on financial aspects, plus as you note, different parts of the state can be different for cost, weather, culture etc.

Mexico? Then Europe? I definitely couldn't live where English isn't the main language. Wife would probably like Ireland, but I don't think European taxes would be to my liking. Do you have focus spots in W. Europe? Northwest France can be very nice.
 

storrsroars

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Oh I agree some of it is nonsense. Bankrate is likely focusing on financial aspects, plus as you note, different parts of the state can be different for cost, weather, culture etc.

Mexico? Then Europe? I definitely couldn't live where English isn't the main language. Wife would probably like Ireland, but I don't think European taxes would be to my liking. Do you have focus spots in W. Europe? Northwest France can be very nice.
It's taken a couple of years to get my wife to even consider Mexico. San Miguel de Allende is like training wheels for international living. There's a huge expat and arts community and probably about the same diversity in food & arts as Mexico City, but on a smaller scale. We'll likely visit next year for a bit, then if she thinks she can deal with Mexico and "mañana", potable water issues, and all that, get a place for a 3 month lease, work up to 6 the following year. Having lived in Mexico before, I'm more prepared to deal with it.

I don't know where in Europe yet. I've favored Spain or Portugal, she'd probably favor France, which is OK by me, and she'd have the language advantage there. There aren't as many options as one might think for even 6 month stays. At this point she's not committing to full time living anywhere, wants to go back and forth to US. I'm good with leaving forever. But we're still at least 3-5 years from hard decisions on Europe. But it's a lifestyle decision as much as financial. Neither one of us is really interested in retiring permanently in US. It's dull and Americans think old people suck anyway.
 

HuskyHawk

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It's taken a couple of years to get my wife to even consider Mexico. San Miguel de Allende is like training wheels for international living. There's a huge expat and arts community and probably about the same diversity in food & arts as Mexico City, but on a smaller scale. We'll likely visit next year for a bit, then if she thinks she can deal with Mexico and "mañana", potable water issues, and all that, get a place for a 3 month lease, work up to 6 the following year. Having lived in Mexico before, I'm more prepared to deal with it.

I don't know where in Europe yet. I've favored Spain or Portugal, she'd probably favor France, which is OK by me, and she'd have the language advantage there. There aren't as many options as one might think for even 6 month stays. At this point she's not committing to full time living anywhere, wants to go back and forth to US. I'm good with leaving forever. But we're still at least 3-5 years from hard decisions on Europe. But it's a lifestyle decision as much as financial. Neither one of us is really interested in retiring permanently in US. It's dull and Americans think old people suck anyway.

Never been to Spain. Portugal is nice. Lovely people. Cheaper than much of Europe as well. Lisbon is beautiful and Porto is old and interesting. Braga is nice but probably too boring for a long stay.

I could see doing 3 weeks to a month, beyond that I’d miss the USA and get bored. But it sounds like you’ve got a solid plan.
 

storrsroars

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I could see doing 3 weeks to a month, beyond that I’d miss the USA and get bored. But it sounds like you’ve got a solid plan.
What's to miss? I've been everywhere in US I've wanted to go and really little desire to go back to most of those places. I don't watch TV except for sports, which I can get on the net. I don't fish or hunt, not do I really care to learn. I do golf, but that gets tiresome. I don't want to hang around old folks. And I really like food, exploring, culture, and cafe life. Not to mention culture here is devolving rather than evolving.

We don't have kids, so family not an issue although I imagine my brother and old college friends would enjoy having a ready bunk in Europe. I'm looking forward to adventure, not routine.
 

Chin Diesel

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Oh I agree some of it is nonsense. Bankrate is likely focusing on financial aspects, plus as you note, different parts of the state can be different for cost, weather, culture etc.

Mexico? Then Europe? I definitely couldn't live where English isn't the main language. Wife would probably like Ireland, but I don't think European taxes would be to my liking. Do you have focus spots in W. Europe? Northwest France can be very nice.

Think about Massachusetts, a relatively small state. Retired living on the Cape, Boston and the Berkshires are about as varied as you can get, yet they would all still be lumped together.

I'm over 650 miles from from Ft. Lauderdale and probably 700 miles from Miami but I'm in the same state.

I think most people who are looking to move in retirement are smart enough to look beyond the state and find a community within a state that fits their needs.
 

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