Big Canoe – Retirement in North Georgia Mountains

Big Canoe is perfect for
Retirement in North Georgia Mountains

Big Canoe is one of the nicest large mountain resort communities in the country. Now is the perfect time to visit.

Last week we used a friends home in Big Canoe for a couple of days for a family reunion and I was reminded what a nice community Big Canoe is.  It is a beautiful mountain community with 8,000 acres, 3 or 4 lakes and 22 miles of trails.  A self sustaining park like resort community only one hour north of Atlanta GA.

Lake at Big Canoe
Lake at Big Canoe

Now Big Canoe is not officially a retirement community but they have everything say a Del Webb Community has and more. There are over 100 clubs in their activity center building as well a gym, pool, craft room, etc.  Several restaurants are in the community. Some more reasons we like Big Canoe for a retirement home. Continue reading “Big Canoe – Retirement in North Georgia Mountains”

Best Small Town for Retirement in Florida

Best Small Town for Retirement in Florida

Do you want to retire to the Sunshine State, but want to skip the crowded streets, high housing prices, and worrisome crime rates of big cities like Miami and Jacksonville? Small town Florida living offers all of the benefits you seek – great climate, senior-friendly tax laws, proximity to beaches, great healthcare facilities – without the nuisances of urban retirement. Although the “best” place to retire is a very subjective question, but several  Florida small towns really stands out. Here are some of our favorites. Continue reading “Best Small Town for Retirement in Florida”

Small Town Livability

Livability is what makes small towns a good place to live and to retire to.

Small Town Sense of Community

Many features makes up what we call livability, but for me it is a sense of community. Big cities and urbanized suburbs have much to offer, but they can’t hold a candle to small towns in offering a sense of community on a personal level. I could give many examples as I have experienced this first hand after moving from a big city urbanized suburbs to a Del Webb Community in a small town two years ago.

I loved living in the suburbs while I was working, but now that I am retired, I like my new small town community and feel a sense of pride in it. Here are reasons we live small town living. Continue reading “Small Town Livability”

Boomers Own Multiple Houses

Baby Boomers were to down size to a small home because they didn’t need as much space, supposedly because they are now empty nesters, but many have multiple homes.

We know a couple who got remarried and both keep their own homes. They stay in one for a while, then the other. Oh by the way, they have a lake house, a mountain condo and just bought another house in the foothills. I kidded him, who is 71,that he is a real estate tycoon.

Several other friends in their 70’s spend half the year or more in our Del Webb Community in North Georgia, and then head to Florida for the rest of the year. One of these lives on my street and actually has his primary residence in Florida, so he lives there 6 months and the rest here.

Some friends we know have a house in Big Canoe in the North Georgia Mountains and also a cluster home in Atlanta, then a condo in Sandy Springs. When they want a “city fix” they can spend some time in the city.

Many boomers were told to down size to a small home by the financial press, saying they could live cheaply and save money. I am not sure that is the case. Even moving to a small town in the suburbs is not that much cheaper than living in the suburbs, but there are other reasons to do so.

Many counties on the outskirts of large metro areas do offer a better property tax exemption for seniors and that will save you some money. It’s worth looking into when deciding where to live.

Why Do Boomers Own So Many Homes

Retired boomers like to have options and variety. Living in different locations during the year offers variety. Plus it’s nice way to offset harsher temperatures you often get in one location for part of the year.

Another reason boomers like to own homes, is that owning real estate has been a good investment to us over the years, dispute the big real estate downturn of 2007. Home prices have risen, especially in small towns that are growing and now have more to offer.

Some boomers just like to try out different homes and different areas.  Buying a retirement home and staying put is certainly not always the case. You may have bought a home that was too large.  Or maybe you found yourself in a home that is not large enough.  Selling and moving is not as hard to do once you already have downsized somewhat from that home you lived in for 30 years or more.

Don’t let the press tell you where to live and what size home you need in retirement.

It’s clear we baby boomers are not following the pattern of our parents in deciding where to live and what kind of house(s) we should have.

Discovering what living arrangement works for you is part of the fun we get to have in retirement.

Robert Fowler
Retired and loving it!

Don’t Be Stuck in the Suburbs After You Retire!

My wife and I were stuck in the suburbs in a 4 bedroom, 3.5 bath, three level home with a half acre lot. We were the only retired people in the whole subdivision of 25 homes! Retiring after working 45 years, we were now feeling a little out of place in a subdivision with large SUVs speeding past our house taking kids to their activities or even to their school bus stop at the entrance. I was 58.

We were good friends with our neighbors, who were 10 years younger than us and still working. We had even gone on 6 cruises with them and out to dinner most Friday nights. But during the week, we were stuck in our subdivision with no where to go except lunch.

Our city of Johns Creek did open a new senior center and we joined and became active members. I even served on the activity committee. We got a taste of how we liked doing stuff with those we liked and related to.

That was better, but that was not enough. We looked around, considering our options of where to live. Someplace that was not the suburbs that was clearly kid and work centered, something we were not.

We took our time looking around visiting Big Canoe and Bent Tree in the mountains, Destin at the beach, and small towns nearby.  We decided a small town on the outskirts of our metro area would be nice; kind of the best of both worlds. We could still visit the suburbs, be close enough to have lunch with our friends and make it back home without too much trouble. But nothing was jumping out at us.

Then we discovered Active Adult Communities and found 4 or 5 around our metro area. We made some visits to active adult communities of Del Webb and other builders.  We signed up for the program where you visit the community and stay in a villa for 2 to 4 days to see what the community is like. We did that program three times. We thought about it.

We really like the Active Adult Community concept. The locations were perfect. It would give us a welcoming community right off the bat. A lot of other people just like us were moving there. The Active Adult Communities were all in good places to live. They had done their research.

Then reality set upon us and we froze up. We needed to down size and get rid of a lot of stuff. What about selling our home we had lived in for 26 years in a down real estate market. This would be a major upset to our lives, a lot of unknowns. We procrastinated and our excitement about moving waned.

We continued getting rid of stuff and business records going back 25 years that we no longer needed. Numerous trips to the shredders and to Goodwill. Selling stuff on Craig’s List and giving stuff away and dumping the rest in the trash.

Before we knew it years had gone by, then one day we made another visit to the Active Adult Community we most liked. We came back home and decided it’s time to do this. At age 67, we were finally making our move.

We hired a buyer’s agent to help us find a home in our Del  Webb Active Adult Community.  We looked at new homes and priced all the options. The buyer’s agent said we should considered resales and we found one, a 2,777 square foot ranch called the Cumberland Hall model. She helped negotiate a deal and we moved in!

Now 10 years later, after we starting retiring, we realize we should have moved a little faster. We love living here and it’s going on two years we have been here. Why did it take us so long?

We were stuck in the suburbs, having lived in the same house for over 25 years and in the suburbs for most of our working careers.  Moving and change is hard, but it turns out it was something we managed very well. We adapted to our new home and community almost right way. We never looked back. We know we made the right decision and feel for people who are stuck in the suburbs after retiring and do not quite know what to do.

Moving to a home and a community better suited to making you happy is the way to go.

Robert and Mary Ann Fowler

small town retirement