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Retirement in the Sunny South

Florida, North Carolina and Georgia on her mind

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The Scenario: Eyes on the South

Check out the choices Donna Deans had in search of her forever home.

sanford florida aerial photo

Wangkun Jia / Alamy Stock Photo

1. Sanford, Florida - Sunny in Sanford ($849/month)

Donna’s cousins, who live in this suburb north of Orlando, talked up work possibilities and a vacation-like feel. A gorgeous two-bedroom apartment with new appliances and a small garden “felt like a steal,” says Donna.


apartment home community in wilson north carolina

Courtesy Donna Deans

2. Wilson, North Carolina - Back to Wilson ($750/month)

Donna’s father grew up here and left during the Depression. “It’s seen better days,” Donna admits. But the people were so friendly, and a one-bedroom rental came with a doorman, a fitness center and a pool.

exterior photo of a brick and tudor styled single level house

Andrew Hetherington

3. Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia - Family in Fort Oglethorpe ($750/month)

Another cousin convinced Donna to look at this inviting Chattanooga suburb (on the Georgia side), where she found a sunny, two-bedroom duplex with a patio and new appliances.

donna deans watering plants on the porch of her new home in oglethorpe georgia

Andrew Hetherington

Her pick: Option 3! The Georgia duplex!

Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia ($750/month)

“I’ve been here since May 2020 and couldn’t be happier,” Donna says. All her expenses are covered by her Social Security payments, with money left over. She adds: “I was terrified of driving, but now I tool around in a big old SUV that I absolutely love. I have a cat and a vegetable garden, I volunteer at the North Georgia Animal Alliance, I play bingo on Tuesdays, and I’m auditioning churches.”