"You've got to go there to know there." -- Zora Neale Hurston

Sunday, May 30, 2021

Where Did You Retire?

     We read so many articles about the best places to retire. The lists are typically based on statistics about climate, income, life expectancy, access to health care. But all these are theoreticals. I wonder what people really care about when they decide where they're going to live after they retire.

     I remember my parents disagreed about where they were going to retire. My mom wanted to move to warm, sandy Florida. My dad wanted cool, blustery Cape Cod. They solved the problem by selling their suburban home and buying a place in Florida along with a summer cottage in Cape Cod. They spent eight months in Florida and four months in Cape Cod. When they got into their 80s and couldn't handle two places, they finally settled in Florida.

     We had neighbors back then who didn't know where they wanted to retire. So they sold their house, rented an RV and spent a year traveling all around the country, searching for their retirement haven. They ended up in Greenville, SC. Why? I don't know. But for them it was the place to be.

     We have friends from New York who retired to Charleston, SC. They told us they had always expected to move to Florida, "because that's where New Yorkers go when they retire." They took several trips to Florida looking for a retirement location, but never settled on anything. On the last trip, they stopped in Charleston on the way home to see an old friend. "We fell in love with the city immediately," they told me. Two days later they agreed to buy a townhouse outside of Charleston. And now, five years later, they are happily living in the townhouse . . . and one of their children has now moved to Charleston as well. 

     I have two sisters. One moved to Florida in her 30s. And she's still there. The other moved all over the country and beyond. Her last job was in Phoenix, and after she retired that's where she stayed. I don't know if she really feels like Phoenix is home; but she has a grandchild there now so that's where she's gonna be.

     So what's your story? Where did you move when you retired? And what led you to go there? Or, if you never moved at all, why not?

     My wife and I moved from New York to Pennsylvania. We were both born and raised in the Northeast and realized we would never be comfortable living anywhere else. Florida? The Carolinas? The West Coast? Great places to visit. But not to live. At least for us.

    But we wanted someplace a little less expensive than our pricey New York suburb. We considered Cape Cod. Too cold and dreary for nine months of the year. We visited Annapolis, MD. It's pretty expensive there, and seemed kind of cliquey. We looked at half a dozen places in New Jersey, including Cape May. But then we found out it's a lot less expensive if you just move across the state line into Pennsylvania. 

     So that's what we did. To be honest, we might have moved to be near our children. But we have four children between us, and they are spread out all over the country. So that wasn't in the cards. B does have some family in Pennsylvania and nearby New Jersey. That was a draw. And now, occasionally, my son is able to drive an hour west from Brooklyn, and I can drive an hour east from Pennsylvania, and we'll meet up in New Jersey for a round of golf. 

     That's our real-life retirement story. What's yours?

30 comments:

gigi-hawaii said...

I lived and worked in Hawaii, California, Thailand, and New York. I thought NYC would be my permanent home, but I got sick and was forced to return to Hawaii, my birth place. So far, I like it enough to stay here forever.

Arkansas Patti said...

I retired when living in Florida. I got on the computer and searched for the things I wanted. Bang for my real estate buck, actual seasons, lots of forests and lakes in the Ozarks. I was raised like an army brat so moving someplace new was not a deterrent. Have made some wonderful friends here and am half way between my Florida and Ohio families.

ApacheDug said...

For many years I told everyone that when I retired, I was moving back home to the small town & rural setting I was born & raised. And a year into retirement, I did just that. But I wound up pretty unhappy, I'd been gone 31 years and it didn't feel like home to me anymore. Moved back to the city a few months later and have been happy here ever since. :^)

DJan said...

When I met my husband in the early 1990s, he was living in San Francisco and I in Boulder, Colorado. He quit his job and moved to Boulder, and we agreed than when I retired we'd move to the West Coast. SF was beyond our price range, so we went on a trip to find out where was best. We settled on Bellingham, Washington, in the Pacific Northwest and we've been very happy here for a decade and a half. :-)

tahoegirl.blog said...

We've been here in this area of northern Ca since 1975. We've lived in this house since 1995. So we're not going anywhere. We love California and it works for us. We both came from NY and would never ever go back.

Rian said...

DH and I are originally from New Orleans, born and raised there, but once we both graduated from LSUBR, we moved first to Florida for work, then to Texas. We've been here since 1971, raised 3 kids here, and retired here in place. We love Texas and our kids are all within a few hours driving distance - but I do miss being around the water. However, we can always visit family in around New Orleans and the coast... and do (or did before the pandemic).

Madeline Kasian said...

We are from New Jersey originally but have live in a suburb of Phoenix since 1984.I loved it here.My husband prefers the mountains 2 hours north of us. We always had summer cabins up there and when we first retired we rented out our hose and moved up there full time.It was HORRID for me.I hate the cold.I got sick.I was allergic to the juniper berries. We moved BACK to the Valley of the Sun.My husband now camps up there when he wants the trees and the cool pines. Long time ago Phoenix was a retirement haven,m now it’s a lot of younger families too.. and we are ALREADY HERE so, we retired here,lol! We grew up not he Jersey shore and it would be great to be close to the beach but we don’t like the floods we’ve seen Back East and in the Carolinas . Hurricanes in Florida make it a nice place to VISIT but not a place I’d want a home. Soo. .we’re pretty safe here in Az. (Unless we spontaneously combust from summer heat..) and so here we will stay.

We visit a fishing village near Puerto Vallarta every year and meet a bunch of Canadians who have retired there:Bucerias. I would consider moving there! ALso, another friend has taken a “fam” trip to Costa Rica where they show you how to retire there.. navigate banking, part time job,health care,rentals,etc and she is going to move there in her retirement.

So many options! But for now, Arizona is our retirementhome and I’m not really in a mood to move anytime soon. We did downsize,sold our biog house and bought our son’s smaller home from him, when he moved ot a loft in Tempe.

Janette said...

I grew up in Arizona and hubby in Idaho. None of our parents or sibs have lived past the Rockies--ever. We were military and then lived off my sales career.
When S retired at 64, we moved East to help care for my daughter's growing family. Unfortunately, we chose to live 70 miles away in Delaware because Maryland taxes are out of site. 84,000 miles and seven years later- it is time to go home. You are comfortable in the NE- we are definitely West. Our house in SE Idaho is almost complete. He has family. I have loads of family/friends who are tired of the AZ heat and are excited to tie their RVs to our place. 20 min to an airport for grandkid fixes.
It won't be our final place. I figure both our kids will do their first retirement in the next ten years. At that point the plan is to dive in and tie our house money to their retirement homes. 50/50 elder apartment time with or very near each kiddo. That is what we all have agreed on so far. We shall see.....I watched my parents, and his, age into their 80s and 90s---and, IMHE, being near family after 82ish is key to being "settled". They all outlived their doctors and pastors---so family....is it.
We have lived by the seat of our housing pants for 39 years so far together. Each of us have made well over 30 moves in our lives. We want to be buried at either Arlington or PunchBowl(HI)---so that gives us a wide area to live :).
Home is where you hang your hat.

Elle said...

Apparently in the hottest real estate market in the USA.....but I moved here in 1979 for college and simply never left this great place! Still in the home we bought in 1991 and staying in it as well. Small enough and big enough all wrapped in 1 package with fantastic garden beds and neighbors that can't be bought!

Celia said...

I sold my house in Seattle and retired from my job and then went to Oregon to help my Dad recover from surgery. I have three sisters here so looked around to see if that would work for me. But I also had a married son with one child in E WA and had been visiting there and liked it. In the end I moved to the dry side of WA and have been here ever since. I found I job I liked with a social services agency and didn't really retire for another six years. I'm still here and my reamining Seattle son moved here and there's 9 grandkids now. None of my Seattle friends live there anymore and I have new/old friends here. I think the thing that helped the most besides family here and new in-laws was being able to work here. That allowed me to make friends and put down roots rapidly. I seriously miss being close to the ocean but that's the only downside. Wine and college (3 schools) town, beautiful farms around, mountains and trees close by. It's been good.

Meryl Baer said...

We moved to the New Jersey shore after hub retired from one job and began another. He traveled a lot, and the shore was close to his company's office. I retired when we moved here. We love it. Halfway between the kids, a resort community in summer, but full-time residents also. We keep in touch with old friends and they visit in summer. We have made wonderful new friends. We travel and visit family and friends scattered everywhere, and will continue this lifestyle until we can't, due to physical limitations. What the next chapter will be we don't know, but probably a move closer to one of the kids.

Kay said...

My husband and I were both raised in Hawaii, but moved to Chicago after we both graduated with our masters. We spent 35+ years there raising our children and loving our neighborhood and life. However, my father passed away and my mother asked us when we'd be returning. Soooo... we pulled up stakes and moved back to Hawaii. We've loved our life here, but now we're separated from our children and grandchildren which makes it very difficult. Sigh...

Mona McGinnis said...

I'm the 4th generation to live on this land in NE Alberta. Will I be the last? I consider some of my neighbors family and there's a sense of community that I revel in. I've been to quite a few places in the world - England, Australia, Portugal, Costa Rica, Mexico, the western US, the east coast of Canada. There are a lot of different places in the world, but better? I do see myself moving to an urban setting when/if the time comes that I can no longer maintain this rural property.

Tom said...

Yes, like Madeline says, so many options! Doug, I never even considered retiring back to my hometown because all my old friends were long gone and I knew it wouldn't feel like home anymore. Meanwhile, my ex-wife retired to a rural area. Not for me. Too much work! But I envy anyone who can retire to live near family ... that one has been denied to me.

ApacheDug said...

Tom I don't know what to say... I wish I'd known you & your blog 6 years ago. :^)

Linda Myers said...

We found a snowbird community we like in Tucson eight years ago. We rented for two years, then bought the park model (trailer) where we live between November and May. Then we head home to our Seattle suburb family home. Last summer we remodeled the daylight basement to create a no-stairs place with lots of light. At present, one of our kids lives upstairs with his wife and our grandson.

In Tucson we have a "village" community in the winter, with many friends and activities. Most of our eight kids (blended family) live in the Seattle area.

So far, this is the perfect setup. If the time comes when we need more help, I suspect we'll choose the Pacific Northwest where most of our family lives.

Tabor said...

We moved an hour south outside of the city but will never move far from our children. Fortunately, they have not had to move!!

Jennifer (UnfoldAndBegin) said...

Not retired yet, but a couple of years ago my husband and I moved to Florida kind of as a prep. We're still not exactly sure where we're going to settle but we know it's going to be somewhere warm.

Rita said...

I was born in Washington state. After attending college and living in Sydney, Australia, for several years, we moved to Olympia, Washington. Twelve years later, we moved to Spokane, Washington, then Anchorage, Alaska. After several years of cold and a divorce, I returned to Olympia, Washington. It's where my friends are. I like it. I have a nice suburban home where I can garden and enjoy 40 rhododendrons and 12 azaleas that the former owners of my home planted, for some reason.

Laurie Stone said...

Although my husband is retired, we haven't downsized yet. I doubt we'll go far since all my family is around here, including my elderly mother. I'd love to live on a river somewhere. That's my big dream.

Kathy @ SMART Living 365.com said...

Hi Tom! So many different answers for so many different reasons. A perfect example of how people "rightsize" their retirement and where they live. Like a couple of the others we aren't fully retired yet but we still love our home in the desert of southern California. We are 2 hours from the beach, an hour from the mountains and our home is the perfect "rightsized" size so it costs us less to live there than anywhere we could pick in the world. The only "advice" I can offer to those younger than me is to not wait until you retire to move to your rightsized location. ~Kathy

Pat WD said...

We just changed from the back & forth of FL and OH to full time Florida. Not in our 80s yet, but hoping to enjoy the outdoor living here while we are still able. I didn't like the back and forth.... will how how a full summer is here!

Rebecca Olkowski said...

I'm still in Los Angeles but near Pasadena which has some character. I'm renting 1/2 of a small ADU house next door to a friend. I still love LA even though it's insanely expensive. Although for a while I considered moving to Portugal.

David @iretiredyoung said...

Born and raised in the UK, spent two thirds of my working life overseas, current retirement location is France, kind of by accident but it's working for now. What the future holds in terms of location?..now there's a question.

Mage said...

I moved to the beach in the 1970's because I thought it would be a good place to raise my kids. Georg3e moved here because his parents were here. We both discovered that we liked the cooler weather and quiet times when the crowds were gone. Now we live on top of a point of land that reaches out into the ocean. Yes, retirement here is expensive, but it is home.

Wisewebwoman said...

I knew I wanted to live by the ocean and knew it was going to be the Atlantic. I also didn't think about retirement as being in the cards, but a slow shedding of clients. I made the jump with buying a second home right on the shore out here in Newfoundland when I was 60. I transitioned for a few years between Toronto and Newfoundland.

I finally made the leap when I was 65 and packed up my Toronto life and never looked back.

Best decision I ever made. My life opened up in extraordinary ways. I started a theatre company, became the mayor of my small town, held workshops, etc. I could go on. Never expected all of this fulfilment. It was amazing.

So very many have said to me they should have jumped when they had the chance, but they didn't.

XO
WWW

RobertM said...

Florida Keys in the winter, NC mountains in the summer. Lived on Cape Cod for many years and do miss it, but not the summer traffic. Do return for a week or two in August for some fried clams, the beach, and lobsta. Kind of surreal to chase the good weather, blessed to be able to.

Barbara Miller said...

So many interesting answers. I'm a native Houstonian. Moved to Louisiana to marry a man, moved back. Moved to Florida to marry a man, moved back. I would move to a small town in Arkansas or the Pacific Northwest if I described my favorite locations but the grand kids are here so I'm sure I'll be staying. The area of town I live in is like a small town and old with many trees. I think I'll be happy here for quite a while longer.

Caillo Lisa said...

This is another testimony on how Chief Dr Lucky cured my HIV disease. Do you need a cure for your HIV disease? Do you want to be cured from your cancer disease? Or you want to be free from any type of disease. Kindly visit his website https://chiefdrluckyherbaltherapy.wordpress.com/ . He just cured my HIV disease and I’m very grateful to him, he is the only herbalist that can cure you.  
WhatsApp number : +2348132777335 
Via Email : chiefdrlucky@gmail.com
Thank you all for reading,
God bless"

Mark said...

I left the crime ridden city of Phoenix in 1990 and move to the Fort Smith, Arkansas area. I more or less picked it randomly off the map after doing some research (not easy to do since the internet was a few years away yet) I don't live in the city itself but on the edge of a small town further south. My old house is 69 years old and I couldn't be happier. Would I move again? Generally speaking not likely but with lots of living left that's always a possibility but I will NEVER ever go back to the big city life ever again.