Retirement Homes: Life's a Beach?
By Erica and Karen
Now that we are not tethered to our places of work, and have more control over our time, we can reconsider where we want to live. For many of us, after making initial career and location choices, we just put our heads down, perhaps making minor adjustments for family reasons, and went with the flow. Now, it's different. For the first time in a long time, we can think about what makes us happy, and how we want to spend our days. Retire in place or move? We're all talking about it because there's no app for that.
How do we see ourselves spending our days? If we see lots of Airbnb in our future, does it make that much difference where we live? Do we want to be in a university community--like Philadelphia or Oxbridge--to continue our education, teach, or just be around younger folks? Do we see ourselves on the sidewalk of a city, traipsing between museums, theaters and restaurants? Or is our dream to be on a beach in the Caribbean, paddle boarding, eating local lobster and reading great books--or running a small hotel? Do we see ourselves living in Abu Dhabi or Portugal--where we don't speak the language (yet)? Are we working and, if so, doing what for whom? Are we planning for the short term, or forever? The dreams and visions that are part of this conversation are energizing.
There are, of course, other choices and practicalities that also play a part. For example: How close (or far?) do we want or need to be from parents, children and grandchildren? Are state taxes a driving factor? Do we choose on the basis of current health and abilities, or are we looking to whether we will ultimately need wheelchair access (gulp)?
For many of us, large cities are the best retirement communities ever. Others can’t imagine anything worse. It’s interesting how many couples seem to disagree on this point: one (often the woman) longs for the hustle bustle of city life, and the other longs for golf greens or small towns, seeing nothing but crowds, dirt, and noise when the discussion of city comes up.
Weather is important and older bones generally like warmer weather--but then again, there's climate change. Big or little? Some can't wait to build a mansion with rooms for all conceivable enlargements of their family. Others just want a shack on the beach, a cabin in the woods, or a small apartment. Some love supers, and others can’t imagine not having a place to fix things, or to garden.
And then, of course, there is the question of how to get around. Some of us love to drive and hate relying on anyone else. Others either dislike it intensely or at least prefer not to have to do it, all the time, for everything. Self-driving cars may change that equation!
Whatever the answer, it's good to remember that life's a beach--no matter where you are.