Where to Retire???

This week’s blog was written by Elaine Barlin, my cousin and my friend (therefore, my “frousin”)  I shall miss her and her husband when they ultimately make their decision on where to spend the next chapter in their lives.  In the meantime I am interested in keeping up with her as she ruminates over her options.  I think you will enjoy this first chapter as well as those to follow.

We just sold our home. We hadn’t been planning on it, but we accepted an offer from a buyer who had been looking at houses in the neighborhood. So now we have to find someplace to live for the rest of our lives.

We have been thinking about warmer weather and a place with people our own age for a while. We want to semi-retire and have suitable, nearby physical and mental activities. That sounds like an Active Adult Community.

So we started thinking about where to look and what features we want.

We definitely want someplace where we don’t have to shovel snow. Since we will be working from home, we want space. At least two spare bedrooms. We want a place that welcomes our grandchildren for visits. We want a gym, hiking or walking trails and a pool for physical activity. We want crafts, bridge, classes and theater for mental activity. We want compatible people in the development. There’s no guarantee on that, but we can try to meet some of the residents before we buy.

Other than that, we don’t know what we want. Condo? House? Big development? Small? Brand new? Resale? Florida? Arizona? Nevada? North Carolina? Someplace else? Do we buy something nice, but within our budget, or do we stick to the lower end of our budget? What else do we have to be concerned with? What else might attract our attention? Maybe we should get a small winter place and another small place up north and become snow birds.

Our plans for researching our options are:

• Talk to friends and relatives who live in the usual retirement places to learn what they like and what they don’t like.

• Check the internet for Active Adult communities. There is so much out there, it’s quite a daunting task, but they have full brochures online.

• Visit some communities in South Florida. We will be going to a high school reunion in Boynton Beach so we will visit some communities in the area.

• Visit some communities in Las Vegas. That’s our first choice right now. Mainly because it is our children’s first choice.

• Check real costs of living in the community – association fees, taxes, what the association fees cover and what is extra.

• Check out what’s in the surrounding area. A friend recently moved to the Villages in central Florida. She loves it, but the nearest big town (Orlando) is an hour and a half away. That won’t work for us. We want choices of restaurants within a reasonable drive.

I’ll let you know when we have some answers.


Elaine grew up on the Lower East Side of Manhattan and moved to Brooklyn between her sophomore and junior year in high school. Being extremely shy, the move was traumatic and she found it very difficult to make friends in her new environment. She attended Brooklyn College, graduating with a degree in Psychology, with a minor in Math, only after a teacher literally grabbed her by the shoulders and said “You are going to college!” Thank you, Mrs. Goldfarb. She first met her husband, Mel, in college even though they had graduated high school together.

Her first job was doing actuarial research for an insurance company, and she remained there until three months before the birth of her first child. The three months was significant because that was company policy, she could not stay longer. She also was denied a promotion because she was a woman. That was legal in 1969.

Elaine took a few years off to raise three beautiful, wonderful, brilliant children. Then she was offered a part-time job programming computers from home. She had found her niche. Four years later she was running the department. She’s been working in the field over thirty years now and still enjoys being surrounded by the young, intelligent colleagues that the field attracts.




  1. Elaine Barlin says:

    Thanks Sue. I hadn’t thought of Independent Living. My step-mother lives in one of those developments, but she is giving up her apartment and coming “home.” I guess it’s not for everybody. My husband and I have decided that, if in any way possible, we don’t want to ever go to a nursing home. We have Long Term Care insurance to pay for someone to come to the house if we need care.

  2. Sue Terbay says:

    First of all why do people who are thinking about retirement continue to look younger than they did years ago??? I have a plan but life also has to be considered in it so for me I play it as it unfolds. There is a place here near where I live – CJ is familiar with it – Lincoln Park – it begins with apartments/condos and then progresses to independent living, assisted living and then nursing home – all within its grounds. Its a beautiful place and there are concerts in the summer and a nearby shopping center with wonderful stores and then near medical and mental health facilities. My kids are excited because they figure one move and mom can be within reach of whatever life situation I’ll be living. Of course my thought was that each one of them (I have six children) would take care of mom for two months out of the year and with having children in various areas of the US – I figured that would be cool. One child is in Texas – good for winter months; another child in New York – good for shopping and plays, etc. But alas my plan doesn’t always match my children’s. My one son said he would take me and have a nice dog house built in the back yard and call me Max!!! Lovely. (does that mean he considers me a ‘female dog?) Have fun in this new adventurous part of your life – for the days are ours if we make it so.

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