Retirement Areas in BC Canada

BC CanadaWhen I started thinking about where I was going to retire, the obvious came to mind first: The Sunbelt. Florida. Arizona. Texas. Southern California. In addition, every time I started seriously considering any of these alternatives, I started to sweat. I am really not an all-warm-weather kind of person. I enjoy seasonal changes, low humidity, and mild summers. I actually like snow – especially if I no longer have to go out in it to go to work. Therefore, I started looking into less-cliché retirement destinations, and happened upon an article about retiring to British Columbia, Canada. I was hooked.

British Columbia, the westernmost province in Canada, sits along the Pacific Coast. The coastline stretches over 17,000 miles, and boasts deep fjords, bays, and inlets, as well as thousands of tiny coastal islands. Alaska and the Yukon Territories are to the north of B.C., the province of Alberta is to the east, and the U.S. states of Washington, Idaho, and Montana border B.C. to the south. With its metropolitan areas of Victoria and Vancouver, British Columbia offers some choice urban retirement communities for those who enjoy the multiculturalism, nightlife, and easy access to amenities found in cities; but the real draw for me was the wonderful selection of active adult communities in B.C.’s many small towns and suburbs.

British Columbia offers a long list of benefits for seniors residing there. Canada’s solid economic position, the high demand in B.C. for older, experienced workers, and, of course, the Canadian health care system all create a very hospitable environment for retirees, be they Canadians or American expats. Add the strong banking system and low, predictable inflation rates, and you can see that there are many reasons why the financially savvy 55+ crowd may seriously consider a Northern migration. Consider, for example: The average retiree in the U.S. will incur approximately $250,000 worth of medical expenses during retirement. Canadians, on the other hand, who are fully insured through government-provided basic health care, need only worry about 30 percent of those costs – or roughly $75,000. On top of that, the B.C. labor market provides a wide range of opportunities for older workers who still want to work part-time after retirement..

But finances aside, the climate, landscape, and social aspects of retiring to British Columbia are what drew me. Summers are glorious, with temperatures usually in the high 60s and 70s and a distinct lack of humidity – perfect for outdoor activities like golf, fishing, hiking, bicycling, boating, and camping (but bring your DEET!). The fishing rivals that of Minnesota, with thousands of lakes, streams, and ponds as well as unparalleled salt-water fishing along the coast. And the scenic beauty and recreational opportunities make British Columbia seem like one giant national park, with old-growth forest, gorgeous ocean views, gemlike glacial lakes, and the commanding presence of its snow-topped Canadian Cascades mountain range.

When I trekked up Interstate 5 to British Columbia to see for myself what retirement would be like there, I found some of the most pleasant, neighborly people and inclusive communities I have come across in my decades of travel. B.C.’s small towns offer the perfect combination of multiculturalism, open-mindedness, and isolation; you get a sense of belonging, acceptance, and mutual interdependence not found in many U.S. towns. The people are warm and welcoming. Neighbors help each other and engage each other at a personal level. I immediately felt at home, before I even decided where I wanted to live.

MoneySense magazine recently published their ranking of Canada’s 10 best retirement areas, with five of the top ten in British Columbia. This is likely because of the province’s relatively mild marine climate. The city of Victoria was at the top of the list, for its very cosmopolitan and international flavor and the fact that it sits within the Olympic “rain shadow” (getting less than a quarter the precipitation of Renfrew, just 80 miles away). The metropolitan area of Vancouver, B.C. and its many suburbs was next on the list. The smaller B.C. communities of Courtenay (on Vancouver Island), Salmon Arm (central B.C.), and Vernon (in the Okanagan region) also made the cut.

If you are looking for a retirement area with spectacular geography, beautiful seasonal changes, a mild climate, economic strength, an atmosphere of social unity, and vibrant multiculturalism, British Columbia, Canada may be the place for you.

The Villages in Florida is a Small Town Retirement Mecca

P1000626The Villages in Florida is a great place to retire to. Many retirees have chosen The Villages to spend their lives living a fun and interesting life surrounded by their peers. Most people look forward to retirement and this small town provides the perfect place for them to retire to. It was created specifically for senior citizens to have a place where they can come together and enjoy each other’s company. In fact, there are so many people living here that are over the age of 55 that this community is one of the world’s biggest retirement communities.

Seniors who want to visit this community before deciding whether or not to make it their home can come for a vacation and stay in a fully equipped cabana. The Creekside Cabanas can be found in Lake Sumter Landing. Those who come and stay in one of the community’s cabanas will receive a golf car that they can use for the duration of their stay. Some of the recreational activities offered include tennis and golf courts, pools and fitness & recreation centers. The signature stores found in this community offer discounts and free movie tickets to visitors. These are all privileges that the community’s residents are entitled to every day.

Visitors can board a boat for a very relaxing ride that departs from Lake Sumter Landing. They can also take a tour of the town by hopping aboard the community’s trolley. There are countless exciting activities offered to residents on a regular basis such as the community’s three town squares; Brownwood Paddock, Spanish Springs Town and the Lake Sumter Landing Market Square.

Brownwood Paddock Square is designed to look like a typical cattle town in Florida. Residents and visitors can see a movie at the Barnstorm Theatre, which shows the newest Hollywood releases. It is also the home of Brownwood Paddock Square’s log cabin, where live performances take place every single night. The Spanish Springs Town Square has a southwest feel to it, which can be seen in the town square’s shops and fountains. Some of attractions found in Spanish Springs include the Church on the Square, the Rialto Theatre and Cruise-In, which is a monthly classic car show. There are many restaurants to choose from that offer both indoor and outdoor seating. Live entertainment takes place every night at the Spanish Springs Town Square as well. Lake Sumter Landing resembles an intimate seaside village. The landing’s lighthouse is a Spanish Springs landmark. Lake Sumter Landing is also where the Old Mill Playhouse movie theatre is located.

In addition to all the fun aspects of these small towns, potential residents should know that their physical, mental and spiritual health would be taken care of while living here. There are many health care and fitness facilities on site, as well as The Villages Regional Hospital, a VA outpatient clinic and the Moffitt Cancer Center. The community has a hospital dedicated to long term acute care.

The Spanish Springs Town Square holds the MVP Sports Club, which offers personal training, spas services and exercise/fitness classes. The various fitness centers found throughout the community provide residents with a place to work out with weight training machines or treadmills.

Those residents who wish to attend church while living in the community have many choices at their disposal. Some of the churches that can be found here are the Hope Lutheran Church, Temple Shalom the Chapel of Christian Faith, St. Timothy’s Catholic Church, Open Bible Lutheran Church, and the St. George Episcopal Church.

Residents who wish to keep their minds sharp can always take classes at the community’s Lifelong Learning College. Classes are offered all year long in a variety of different subjects.

Transportation throughout the community is made easy because every resident has their own golf car, which they can easily drive to any of the attractions found in this diverse community.

Huntsville AL – A Great Town to Retire To

Magnolia Trace
Magnolia Trace

Huntsville, Alabama sounds like a small town, but it is definitely one that has experienced growth. The town of Huntsville is located in the north region of the state of Alabama. Huntsville has a current population of fewer than 200,000 people and has attracted retirees due to the vast opportunities available in this retirement city.

Huntsville, AL is a scenic and beautiful city. Though it is one of the four largest cities in the state of Alabama, Huntsville is a beautiful place with plenty of greenery. Many large cities only concentrate on building up and out, without paying attention to the natural beauty of the place. Huntsville, Alabama has plenty of wooded areas, gardens, lakes and greenery to enjoy. For this reason, Huntsville is an excellent retirement destination for those who crave the city life, while still wanting to enjoy small town luxuries.  Magnolia Trace Huntsville and Redstone Village are two Continuing Care Retirement Communities in Huntsville that offer a retirement community for independent living as well as care facilities when needed.

One thing that makes Huntsville so special is the large amount of PhD holders who live in this city. Huntsville holds more PhD holders per square mile than most other place in the United States. The reason Huntsville has so many educated citizens is due to the NASA branch located in the town of Huntsville. The city also holds many opportunities for those who hold degrees in science and engineering. Retirees who wish to have a part time job in their old field or to volunteer in the science and technology field will find Huntsville to be full of opportunities.

The growth that Huntsville, AL is expected to receive is largely due to the military opportunities that are moving to the town of Huntsville. Nearly 10,000 military jobs will be relocated to the city and a large amount of military contractor positions will be soon to follow. Military retirees who wish to remain close to a military installation and have the opportunity to contract with the military will find Huntsville to be one of the top towns to retire.

The weather in Huntsville is excellent for those who are looking to get away from cold, harsh winters without having to deal with summers that are over 100 degrees F. Most winter temperatures in the Huntsville area are around 49 degrees and temperatures in the summer are just less than 90 degrees on average. Mild falls and summers leave time to explore Monte San Mountain, a beautiful mountain and nature reserve located in south Huntsville.

The town of Huntsville’s demographics are varied, which makes for a culturally rich town. Huntsville is also located within 2 hours of both Atlanta, GA and Nashville, TN. A day trip to both of these large, popular southern cities will take no more than a few hours. Chattanooga, TN and Birmingham, AL are within one hour of Huntsville and these cities are popular destinations for large events.

The town of Huntsville, AL is the best small town for retirement for those who wish to retire in good weather and a scenic city that has lost none of its beauty. Huntsville, AL offers the ability to live well on retirement income and also offers opportunities to those who wish to stay mentally active after leaving the workforce full time.