Categories
Florida

Best Places to Live in Florida

Florida Retirement

Best Places to Live in Florida

Florida, known as the Sunshine State, has been attracting people almost every year since World War II due to its warm weather, world-class entertainment, beautiful beaches and recreation areas, and proximity to both North and South America as well as the Caribbean.  Although many people think of Miami or Orlando when considering moving to Florida, there are many smaller communities that are attractive and still close to those major areas.  In this article, we’ll explore why these Florida retirement communities should be considered for anyone wanting to move to a small town in Florida.

1. Naples, FL – with the first people moving to what is now know as Naples, FL arriving in the 1860’s, Naples has always been noted for it’s mild climate and plethora of fish and other game.  Socialites have always called this place home back to the time of Thomas Edison and Greta Garbo.

Why would someone want to live in an area known for celebrities? With one quarter of the population older than 65, this area is very retiree friendly as well as having beautiful beaches.  With many cultural amenities like museums and parks, there are plenty of indoor and outdoor amenities to enjoy as well. Some museums to check out include the Collier County Museum, highlighting local history through the centuries, and the Von Liebig Art Center, which showcases art after 1950 and in the local style.  Parks to enjoy include the Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary , which was the first national preserve in the US Parks System and is great for birdwatching, canoeing, and kayaking, and Fakahatchee Strand State Park which is full of endangered species including the Florida Panther.  It also has a 2,000 foot boardwalk to look at the natural setting.  If you’re daring, you can even get a guide tour of the swamp!

Overall, Naples is full of shopping as well.  Fifth Avenue South is the heart of this shopping.  There are lots of little cafes and restaurants in this area.  Whether you like natural stuff like parks or shopping,

2.  Clearwater, FL– named one of the “Ten Best Beaches From Maine to Hawaii” by USA Today, Clearwater, FL is one of the nation’s top vacation destinations.  However, with a great climate and white sand beaches, it’s also an ideal place to relocate due to a laid back lifestyle.

Located just west of Tampa, FL, Clearwater has 28 miles of beaches and is a stereotypical beach town with small roads, people hauling coolers, and lots of boats.  However, it has a diverse economy with manufacturing, education, and tourism making it an easy place for people to find jobs.  Being close to St. Petersburg International and Tampa International Airports also makes traveling and having friends visit easy as well.

With marinas, beaches, and an aquarium, Clearwater’s location on the beach means there’s lots of water sports and fishing.  As home to the biggest fishing boat fleet on the Gulf Coast of Florida, there are many opportunities to go deep-sea fishing, dolphin watching, and just leisurely sailing the clear waters.

3. Winter Park, FL– this little community is located just north of downtown Orlando and is probably one of the first “wealthy” areas of Orlando.  There is a lot of history here with professionals from Orlando’s early years residing here.

Home to Rollins College, Winter Park is a small community that has kept its roots as a vacation resort to the rich in times past to now becoming a bedroom community of Orlando.  In many parts of this small town, you can walk by various shops with a farmers market every Sunday just west of the main park north of Rollins College.

Although a bit pricey for homes due to the highly-educated and highly-paid workforce, Winter Park makes up for it in cute brick paved streets and low speed limits which makes it quiet for people living here.

Winter Park is a great community to consider living in for those who want a tight knit, classy town that has all the amenities of a small town while being a few minutes from downtown entertainment and work space.

Overall, living in Florida has its pros and cons.  Even though it’s extremely hot in the summer months, the proximity to the beach, mild temperature outside of the summer months, and slow pace of life make Florida a great relocation destination for those who want a simple life that doesn’t involve winter weather.  Naples, Clearwater, and Winter Park are all communities that a person should consider when looking at Florida 55+ homes for sale.

Copyright SmallTownRetirement.com

Categories
Retirement

Retirement Status: Is it Not Politically Correct to Say You are Retired?

Explaining to someone who inquires that you are retired and free for the day prompts an observer to later say “Quit saying that!  People are tired of hearing you say that.”

Say what?  That I am retired.  Did I put a little too much happiness into revealing my retirement status?

It seems these days proclaiming that you are retired especially if you are still in your 60’s, may bring out resentment or at least envy from others who often then longingly reply “One day maybe I can retire.”

It may not be that they are sad you are retired, but they immediately think of their current situation and prospects for their own retirement, which may have been dimmed in this prolonged Great Recession.

Saying you are retired is like saying I just bought a new BMW!  People will smile and act like they are happy for you, but secretly they feel bad because they want one too.  Has retirement become a status symbol?

So what are you supposed to say or is it the way you say it that is just as important?  If you plainly report your status as retired without any smile or indication that you may in fact be actually enjoying retirement, would that be better?  Probably.

It is hard enough for you to start saying you are retired in the first place.  You start off with saying you are trying to retire, or transitioning to retirement, then semi retired, then finally simply retired.  Now you discover you better be sensitive to others in reporting your “retired” status or at least do not show too much happiness in doing so.  Makes sense to me.   Has anyone experienced this?

Categories
Over 55 Communities

Analysis of a Move to a 55 Plus Community

55 plus community model home

Del Webb 55 Plus Community Here We Come

After looking for over a year, we found the perfect 55 plus community for us.  It is on the edge of the metro area, about 40 miles from downtown but 18 minutes from a major regional mall and more retail-shopping.  Nearby there is a winery with hotel and six restaurants, 15 minutes from outlet mall, and nearby some good places for lunch. It is far enough but not too far. We can still meet our friends in the metro suburbs for lunch every month.   It will definitely change our way of living to a new lifestyle while being close to familiar areas too. Not a major relocation but a positive adjustment none the less.

Forty percentage of the people living in Village at Deaton Creek,  this active adult community on the outer edge of our metro, still work.   This means, at age 62, some will  be our age or younger.   So the age balance is right for us.

It took us some time to come up with the model home that we decided on.  We live in a 4 bedroom, 3.5 bath two story with full  basement.  Not because we had a big family, but because we had a home office and one employee.  We no longer have the employee coming over and have cut back the business to the minimal, but still my wife and I do want our offices.   We had thought going in the perfect retirement home for us would be a “ranch with a basement”.  Basements we found out are a little pricey.  A basement runs $50,000 and then $30,000 to be finished, thus $80,000 extra for a finished basement.  At Del Webb they have come up with another less expensive option, that of a loft.  The finished loft is an option that runs $23,000 to $25 ,000 more, but does add a large room, a bedroom and a full bath upstairs. So we reasoned that would work as I could have my office in the loft and my wife could have the office on the main level and like the 2 bedroom plan.  So a 2 bedroom with a loft we went searching for.   But when touring the available homes, there was not a loft available, so it would take 5 to 6 months to  have one built the Del Webb  salesperson explained. Huh.

So next we decided to check out resales so we went through the brochures we picked up while riding around in our golf cart during our two night vacation getaway stay at the community.  I asked about any listings with a loft and none were available since the loft is a relatively new option and none of the resales have a loft.  But the agent did tell  me about another listing which is a large ranch in the Overlook section rather then the middle size homes in the Vista collection.  The plan was the Cumberland Hall floor plan.  It is all on one level and has a large corner office and 3 bedrooms, one of which could be our second office.  We liked the floor plan layout too.  In addition, this resale has a large screen porch and a nice kitchen and many extras.  The price was only $15,000 more that the two bedroom with loft that we would have to wait 6 months for.  Wow, this is maybe the one for us!

The resale agent was very helpful.  She could come to our current home and let us know the market price and what we could expect to get. So how would this work, we begin to ask.  Would we contract to buy the resale and immediately list our current home for sale.  Do you sell your current home first to reduce the risk then find a home to move to?  One resident said she listed her home for sale and put a contract for Del Webb to build her a home but her home sold within two months.  What did she do I asked?  Got on a boat and traveled she replied.

Being the cautious planner that I am (and who isn’t when you are retired), none of these options looks that great.  Yes, we could cash in a CD and buy the resale while listing our current home for sale.  Both homes are similar in price so we may almost break even.  Then take the sales proceed and buy the CD back.  Sure there is a 3 month interest penalty, but that may not stop us.  However the bigger risk is selling our current home.  We have heard story after story about negatives of selling in this market.  It is in great condition, with many improvements in a good location (doesn’t everyone think their home is special and more valuable than the rest of the neighborhood). Or another option would be to sell our current home and then find our new home, but that means maybe moving to a temporary residence if we cannot find a home to move in to right away.  I don’t like moving that much.
About now I am asking, and why are we moving?  Oh yes, the new lifestyle, new friends, activities, slower pace, nature walks around the pond, fun, etc. Yes, we are sold on the community and have a floor plan we think would work for us.  We are positive about the move, it is just how to do it.

So thinking about this during this long Memorial Day weekend, my wife and I think we don’t want to put ourselves in an uncomfortable situation right now, just because we would like to move to a 55 plus community.  We have our house paid off, we are retired, so why complicate matters. Our assessment is in this environment it is no time to roll the dice and try to sell your home if you don’t have to.  We don’t want to move twice and we don’t want a vacant unsold home to worry about. We still plan on moving to a 55 plus community and now have a much better idea of where we want to live and the floor plan that would suit us. You just don’t know until you have checked things out, if it will work for you.  We will keep our options open and look forward to making the move when the time is right for us.

Categories
Retirement Plan

Retirement – Are You Ready and Can You Do It?

Retirement – When Does It Begin?

Looking forward to retirement is the current pastime of many of us 50+ years old boomers.  Anticipating our retirement and what it will be like is a pleasant thought.  They say you really don’t know what retirement is until you actually retire.

The expected benefits are many: having more time, doing things we like, making new friends, traveling, experiencing new things, less stressful life and a better balance between work and play.

Using the new definition of retirement as being a better balance between work and play, when do we pull the trigger and consider ourselves being in retirement? When you leave your full time career job?  When you start drawing social security somewhere between age 62 to 66?  Or when you say so?  Many people find it hard to say they are retired, even after they have retired.

Some people ease in to retirement. They start working from home doing consulting or a Internet business.  People start working part time or take some time off then jump back in for a while. Some people move to a 55 plus community on the edge of a metro area and still work full time.  All of these are the transition to retirement and help easy the process. The exciting part is actually starting the process for a better balance of work and play in our life, no matter what you call it.

Robert, age 62 and retired

Categories
Retirement Hobbies

Rediscovering Passions In Retirement

Retirement Activities

Now that I am retired and have time, I am rediscovering some things I used to like to do that I have not done in say, 25 years.  Once of those things was to attend the European style Formula road races.  I guess it started when in 1972 I was taking leave from the Army (drafted in Jan 1970) while stationed in Germany.  I got my back back and sleeping bag and hit the road for 30 days to see Europe.  Well I just happened to be passing through Le Mans France when I noticed everyone getting off the train at that stop.  I follow them right in to the 24 Hour Le Mans race.  That’s when I got attracted to this type racing.  Back in Atlanta in the 1970s I started going to the same type races at Road Atlanta with my wife Mary Ann.  We even camped in the infield a couple of times.  Those were the days.

Then life happened and I was a professional accountant then real estate broker and didn’t have time for such.  I haven’t even thought about it for some time.  Now that I have more time, my friend Scott and I attended the Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta last Fall.  It was great. We went in the paddock area and saw the Peugeots, Audis, and Ferraris up close.

So last weekend when Scott wanted to know if I would go to “The Mitty”, a historic sportscar show and race at Road Atlanta, I said sure.  I found out I was not the only boomer who likes this type racing.   Many of the guys racing were in their 50s and 60s.   They were really enjoying themselves, showing off their cars and then racing them. The gentleman in the photo above is Tony Adamowicz.  He was having his 69th birthday and came in second in his class driving a 1969 Eage MK5 Formula race car that he had won the championship with in 1969.

Many boomers were taking photos at the events.  We assumed one gentleman with several long lens cameras was a photo journalist, but he said was just doing it for himself.  He was not alone.  Then there were the boomer spectators like me, enjoying the sun and fresh air while walk around the massive grounds to see the race from several view points.

Rediscovering this passion from my earlier years is a delight.  I expect to do more rediscovering of the things I used to like to do as well as new adventures.

Categories
Retirement Hobbies

Libraries Offerring More for Boomers & Retirees

Library for Boomers

Have you checked out your local library lately? These days libraries offer way more than books. For a while now they have been offering other media such as CDs, DVDs, audiobooks, film archives, all kinds of magazines and newsletters, research rooms, voter registration, and tax forms. There are wireless Internet access and computer terminals for your use, which is great when you are away from home.
Some libraries have very interesting web sites with digital content and archives, blogs and photo galleries. These are really virtual libraries where you can check out eBooks, videos and music on line and download for use for a limited period of time.
Now libraries are becoming community centers with free activities, senior programs, exhibitions, lectures by authors, and classes on many subjects.

No wonder about 66% of American 50+ already have a library card. Maybe you have a card but have not kept up with the new services your library is offering.  Now is the time to “check out” your library to get up to date.