Friday, February 8, 2013

Oh Where Oh Where Do We Want to Live

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.

More taxes.

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!


  1. I've been enjoying three weeks in sunny Florida among all my fellow gray beards, where a lot of things are cheap, but flood insurance rates can run into thousands of dollars a year. Now I'm ready to get back to the real world of the Northeast (well, just as soon as they shovel out!).

    P. S. I'm not a football fan either, but in my ignorance picked Baltimore to win, and won back the dollar I lost on the golf course.

  2. I don't blame you. We're in a condo for three months here in Lake Havasu AZ. It is a beautiful community and within walking distance to down town. But I miss my little cottage in the woods, it has the tranquility I need for nine months out of the year. The condo is nice, but people, people, people all the time. Everything has its pluses and minuses. Here its warm and snow free!!! Speaking of snow, stay dry and warm and I hope Nemo can't find you!!!

  3. I am in FL for the winter and love it. I always said: NEVER Florida, NEVER a gated community, NEVER 55+ community, NEVER a mobile home. However, the present arrangement does allow me to avoid VT winters and have access to a rural beach. I do not participate in most of the community activities, but I have friends here for small, quiet get togethers. I still vote in VT. The best of both worlds for now. Who knows what the future will bring.

  4. I am in Tucson for two months and love it: the sunshine, the many activities, the interesting conversations, the friendly people, the convenience of walking, the light traffic. Our resort is eight miles from town but since my husband does the shopping that is fine with me.

    I can't see myself living here year round. I love Washington State except for the dark winters. I like neighborhood diversity, little kids running around, slouchy teenagers. We'll be home in about five weeks, and I'm fine with that.

    I'm lucky to have the best of both worlds.

  5. I don't have the ability to have two homes, but I can visit my sister in her Florida retirement community whenever I want. I returned yesterday from two weeks in the sunshine, but I'm really glad to be home and to pick up MY life again. Her community is nice, but it's just not right for me.