I purposely did not write where do we want to retire - what if we decide to move and we are still working?
Or, more accurately, we might decide to move while hub is still working.
We moved to our piece of paradise at the shore 2 ½ years ago. But sometimes there are troubles even in paradise. Our trouble was in the form of hurricane Sandy.
The damage is repaired and we are happily resettled in our nest, but no one knows what the future holds for our home or our town.
Actually, we do know two very important things the future holds.
And higher insurance rates.
Specifically, higher property and state taxes, as well as FEMA-mandated flood insurance increases.
At what point will we decide to cry uncle, throw up our hands and say enough - time to move on to cheaper digs?
And so, thinking ahead, we spent an afternoon a couple of weeks ago at a retirement living expo. Booth after booth of active adult communities lined the room. Communities from Florida north to Virginia, with a couple in Maryland and Delaware, displayed their wares. There were several places from Tennessee exhibiting, and some farther west from the hot, dry desert country of Arizona. Additionally, for those truly adventurous, the overseas and expat communities were represented.
We do not know where we want to go, but we know a lot of places we do NOT want to go. And we know some of the amenities we want. We want to be within walking distance of town. Most of the communities were self-contained neighborhoods miles from any town, and although they may have a small shopping center, it is not the same thing as a real town. We are not averse to driving, but are tired of getting in our car to go anyplace. We did that for years.
We do not want to pay for a golf course hub will use only occasionally and tennis courts we will never use.
It is a bit scary to think about the fact we can buy a place and pay monthly maintenance fees forever, fees that will probably keep rising forever - like the high property and state taxes we want to get away from.
But the displays, pictures and sales people make it all seem so enticing. Recreational amenities, a club house with lots of activities, a beautiful new home, lots of people to befriend with similar interests, landscaping and other maintenance part of the package…who would not want to move in?
The expo was crowded. Lots of people our age ( early sixties), a few years younger and older wandered the aisles, talked to the salespeople, collected brochures, and left their names and phone numbers, imagining life in one of these picture-perfect, ideal communities.
And perhaps they are for some people. But as we walked out with our bag of brochures, we were not enthusiastic about taking the next step. We love our piece of paradise, the life we are building, the community, the fact that it is within walking distance of shopping – a grocery store, meat market, cleaners, several restaurants, the bank, library – and the icing on the cake – the boardwalk, the sand and the sea.
We will stay as long as our pocketbook and nature allows.
If and when it is time to turn over our land to wealthier folks, we will move on.
If nature decides it is time of take over our island, we will move on.
Meanwhile, Memorial Day is only 107 days away!