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When we were young, they told us to work hard, save money, and be frugal about our "discretionary income" choices--and when we reached 50, we’d be on Easy Street.I don’t know about you, but the only "Easy Street" I’ve ever seen was just south of the NC border . . . home to a trailer park! I know this group is devoted to retirement possibilities, but the prospect is different if one is divorced or widowed, orphaned, and has neither a paid-up mortgage nor a hefty pension plan to count on. Aside from the financial concerns, there are other issues: I’ve got a few years to go before I’ll need to have all the answers, but I think I’d at least like to know what questions I should be asking. I’d welcome the input of others in unusual situations for whom being with family is not an option, and being near family is not a concern.I grew up in a large "small town" on Long Island, so I know the value of good neighbors, a safe place in which to live, and a real community where people do more than wave a polite hello now and then. Having come most recently from a very rural college town in which single women over 40 were an oddity, I live at present in what my friend calls a "development"--a few thousand people who share a common grouping of streets and avenues , and not much else (unless one is military, or has young children). I am considering moving to an over 55 community for the rest of my working years, just to be around people my own age who share some of the same memories and values, and to have a better commute to Washington, DC than I do now--but it’s very pricey, and the majority of people there seem to be a good deal older. Then there’s the housing crisis, and the gas crisis, and the prospect of making the wrong decision, and ending up a bag-lady.One does not "retire" in the Washington, DC corridor--which now stretches from central VA to southern PA, and to WV in the west, and DE in the east. (That’s how far you have to go to find what’s laughably characterized as "affordable housing"--and what is considered a "normal" commute for people who live in this area.) Ditto New York, which is my hometown--and I don’t know if I could stand the cold, after spending the last 17 years south of the Mason-Dixon, though I’m not crazy about sweltering, either. I like country living, but need to be near an academic library--and I don’t ever want to be stuck out in the boonies again, on my own with nothing to do for fun, and no one to do it with.Someone asked earlier how you’re supposed to know whether you’ll like an area until you live there? I can’t do an extended "test drive" (I’m still working, and have a hefty mortgage to pay). I’d love to hear from people who have made the leap, and found, if not nirvana, at least a happy place with some culture and a few amenities for the over 50 crowd.We "grey panthers" gotta stick together!JustMe
I just joined the group and have found this an interesting topic. It's nice to hear some insights about retirement communities, though I'm not likely to move to one anytime soon. Though I'm in my sixties I still have a son in gradeschool.
One thing I tried a number of years ago to learn about a distant community was to subscribe to the local paper. It's easy enough to find the name of a paper and dirt cheap to have it mailed (though the post office likely minds). From scanning the paper you get to find out about community events, neighborhoods and prices of homes. Sometimes the mail would come with three or four days of papers, but that's OK. I picked an area based on size, geography, and local cultural activities and feel I know the town even though I';ve never visited!