Rob Sassano 865-466-4969 firstname.lastname@example.org
Important Active Adult Retirement Community Considerations Area Cost of Living
This is just about the most important factor for new retirees who watch their budget, or who may be on a fixed income. Probably your two most expensive annual recurring costs will be real estate taxes and insurances for your home, autos and/or boat. So I suggest that you consider these costs first. The cost of insurance in Florida for example is expensive and may require extra wind and flood insurance policies for hurricane protection. For my family, we relocated from Florida to Tennessee and reduced our tax and insurance costs by 1/3! That’s correct… we can live for about 3 years in Tennessee for every 1 year in Florida (comparable waterfront residences and life styles). Real estate taxes are a very big factor. For example, in my research I found that owning a home in Eastern Tennessee (very close to the Smoky Mountains much like neighboring North Carolina) it is a lot less expensive than owning a home in the same proximity in North Carolina. Be sure to research your projected real estate taxes and insurance costs before you make any decisions. Compare various states and locations regarding real estate taxes and insurance costs… remember these are annual recurring costs which you will be paying for every year. Additionally there are a handful of states which have no state income tax… and if you plan on working to some extent, you’ll want to consider which sates have no state income tax. There is also a National Cost of Living Index based upon the base average of 100. Hopefully you can find your chosen city with a Cost of Living Index in the 80 – 90 range. Be sure to research a community’s activity fees for golf, tennis, wellness centers, etc. Some communities may require you to pay a large golf membership fee ($25,000+) for example, or require mandatory spending minimums at the country clubs. Do your research and know all your costs upfront. The goal is for you to enjoy your retirement, not sacrifice for it.
Weather and Seasons
One important factor to consider when deciding where to call your next home is the locate climate. What is your personal preference? How does your choice affect your social and recreational activities?
Many people prefer the warm weather all year long and head south to Florida… and that’s a great destination. But take it from someone who lived there for 25 years… It’s beautiful, but it can get old having 90+ degrees/90+ % humidity every day from June to Thanksgiving Day! Not to mention the hurricane preparation and evacuation drills every summer season. If you like warm weather all year long that’s your location… and with that in mind, it’s still a top location for many who are considering retiring. In general, most people do not head North to the colder climates for retirement. A good East Coast compromise is the Middle Atlantic and the states of North Carolina, Tennessee and Georgia (North). On the West Coast, Oregon, Washington (South) and Northern California are good bets… although more expensive. These are the questions you must ask yourself: Do you enjoy a moderate 4 season climate change? Do you enjoy the Fall colors and Spring blossoms? Do you want to live in a central geographic location for easy travel? Climate is very easy to research on the web. You can find average temperatures for any city and to determine the length and depth of its winters. Climate will ultimately factor into your decision as to where you want to be.
Active Retirement Lifestyle Communities
Today’s retirement generation is vastly different than even that of our own parents. In one generation’s time… we’re living longer thanks to advances in medicine; we’re much more mobile, active and fun seeking; and most of our generation have the financial resources to choose the retirement option that suits us individually. My parent’s retirement was pretty typical for their time. They moved from the Northeast to a condo on the 12th floor overlooking the beach in Fort Lauderdale. The weather was warm, the shuffleboard was plentiful and the early bird dinners were cheap. Fast forward to today’s retirement generation. The shuffleboard court has been replaced by kayaking, hiking, golf, tennis and softball leagues. The condo on the beach may still exist, but it’s only one of many options including living on the lake, the mountain retreat or a planned active resort lifestyle community.
This can be a very difficult choice for many people. Some people find a planned golf, lake or tennis community extremely appealing: Like-minded people, built-in recreational opportunities, social and hobby clubs, community events, and everything right there at your fingertips. Other people may consider this type of lifestyle marching to conformity. Be sure to consider the amenities a particular community has to offer: Golf? Boating? Equestrian? Special Interest Clubs? Workout Facilities? Pools? Club Houses? Entertainment? How do the costs of these amenities compare? In the final analysis the choices and options are all yours. Do your research, talk to a local real estate professional, local residents, plan a scouting trip, maybe rent an onsite property for a month and access the web for local information. If you do your homework, chances are you’ll make the right decision for you and your family!
How Remote a Community?
No matter if you choose a planned community or individual homesite location you need to ask yourself the question: “How remote a community?” Do you want the solitude of a cabin nestled in the mountains, or do you want to dine on the beach in metropolitan Fort Lauderdale? Are you willing to drive an hour to shopping centers or medical facilities and take your own trash to the recycling center? That might be the case for that cozy mountain cabin. The restaurants on Las Olas Blvd. in Fort Lauderdale are great, but are you prepared to pay the price for a Fort Lauderdale lifestyle? And are you willing to fight the crowds? Just maybe the perfect solution is a compromise. Can you find that special community that offers you privacy, nature and seclusion, but that’s also close to major medical, shopping, restaurants and entertainment? Many Active Lifestyle communities are located just outside the county line of a metropolitan city and offer all that you could ever want in terms of goods and services. Do your research and you’ll find the right location that’s a perfect fit for you and your family.
Available Recreational Activities
When considering a retirement location, lifestyle must come into the decision making process. After all, this is the time in your life that you want to do the things you never had the free time to do. What’s your passion? Golf? Bridge? Fishing? Hiking? Boating? Wood Working? Quilting? Tennis? Horse Back Riding? The Book Club? The Garden Club? The Classic Car Club? You’ll want to make sure that the activities which you enjoy are readily available in your new location. Also, how many months of the year are they available? Year Round? 10 Months out of the year? etc. Are you the social type? Do you enjoy meeting new people and groups? Do you enjoy being part of a special interest club? If so, make sure that these activities and clubs are readily available to you. Consider the ease of making new friends and meeting new neighbors in a totally new and exciting, but yet unfamiliar surrounding.
Terrain and Physical Environment
It’s very common for people to work all their lives in a typical city/suburban environment (The “Rat Race”). Many people, at this time in the lives envision an environmental change of their physical surroundings… the beach, the mountains, the lake, etc. We had the opportunity to live and enjoy the environment in Florida for 25 years. The beautiful beaches, the swaying palm trees, the turquoise waters, sailing in the keys… but over time it just seemed…. all so flat, hot and one dimensional to us. When we came for a visit to East Tennessee, with it’s diverse topography, rolling hills beautiful lakes, and distant mountains, it just seemed right to us… at this stage in our lives. Now we could never endure a northern winter, but we found the perfect compromise in the Knoxville area. I believe that’s the key for everyone… find what’s right for you at any given time in your lifetime… and you’ll just know it’s home!
In addition to all the other selection criteria discussed, you should also consider the following location factors: Local Crime Statistics, Traffic Flow or Congestion, Pollution, Hospitals and Medical Facilities, Population Size, Access to Airports, Access to Major Interstate Roadways and Average Age Statistics. In the end, if you spend your time and energy researching and planning beforehand… you will reap the benefits and rewards of a happy, prosperous and successful retirement community lifestyle for many years to come!