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25 Retirement Spots: How They Stack Up To Your Hometown

By Moira McGarvey

There are so many things to consider if you are contemplating a big move for your retirement. While the financial piece will dictate a lot of it, other things are important too like access to friends and family, cost of living, cost of housing, renting or buying, one home or two, and proximity of good healthcare or continuing education. Will you need a car? Is the new area safe? And, what will you do all day?

Some of the other things I wonder about are whether my friends and family will come to see me or if I’ll be able to make new friends. Who will I go for a walk with? Will I be lonely or bored? Can I start a new career in the new place? What if I sell my house and move someplace that seemed great when I visited, but once I get there I don’t like it? And, of course, there’s the big question: will I have enough money to last? What if I’m lucky enough to live until 100? Will my nest egg last 30 to 40 years? What if I get sick, who will take care of me?

Frankly, when you think about all the “what ifs” it can be paralyzing. What we’ve found on our retirement planning website, GangsAway! is that as many as 30 percent of people do plan to make a BIG move. Some think it’s the best thing they ever did, and some, not so much. If you’ve always dreamed of living in a different location and seeing and smelling different roses, don’t let the “what if’s” hold you back. That’s the funny thing about life, you never know what’s around the corner. If you’ve made it all the way to the point where you are contemplating your retirement years, then you know that you can’t let nerve-wracking possibilities keep you from moving forward with your dreams. Be smart, figure out your dollars and cents and take a chance. You’ve already had years to explore your neck of the woods, it could be fun to get to know a whole new place. New people, new experiences, new ideas. Experiencing new things and remaining curious is what will keep us young and vital and makes it worth some of the anxiety of uprooting oneself.

It’s a big world out there and, in addition to a new hometown providing the backdrop for your new chapter, you might also find a place that costs less too. Some of us want to keep working because it’s just who we are. Some of us must keep working for financial reasons. If you fall into the second bucket, moving to another part of the country might make the difference between working and not working. For example, let’s say you live in the New York City metro area and own a house valued at $400,000. If you have paid off your mortgage, you could sell the house and move to any number of other locations in the U.S., buy a great place for $200,000 and put the other $200,000 in the bank. Or if you’ve only paid off half of your mortgage, you could sell it and take the $200,000 and use that to buy a house outright and live mortgage free! Ahh, mortgage free, that sounds nice.

Using the data on our site, we’ve compiled some of the most popular retirement destinations so you can see what a move to one of these places might look like for you. It all depends on where you currently live. For some people these locations will be cheaper, some will the comparable and for some they will be more expensive. If you click on the link to each destination there is a feature on our site where you can compare one town to another. For instance, click here to compare New York City to another place. Using the compare tool will enable you to see how your hometown stacks up against some of these great spots. Once you do the comparison, a move may seem like a no brainer. Happy Hunting.

Compare your hometown to one of these popular retirement towns.

Burlington VTCompare Burlington to my hometown.
Deerfield Beach, FL/Compare Deerfield Beach to my hometown.
Destin, FL/Compare Destin FL to my hometown.
Wilmington, NC/Compare Wilmington NC to my hometown.
Nashville, TN/Compare Nashville TN to my hometown.
Portland OR/Compare Portland OR to my hometown.
Phoenix, AZ/ Compare Phoenix AZ to my hometown.
Asheville, NC/ Compare Asheville, NC to your hometown.
Bonita Springs, FL/ Compare Bonita Springs to your hometown.
Fargo, NDCompare Fargo to your hometown.
Aubern ALCompare Aubern to your hometown.
Austin, TXCompare Austin to your hometown.
Bellingham, WACompare Bellingham to your hometown.
Blacksburg, VA/ Compare Blacksburg to your hometown.
Charleston, SCCompare Charleston to your hometown.
Bluffton, SC/ Compare Bluffton to your hometown.
Las Cruces, NM/Compare Las Cruces to your hometown. 
Sarasota, FL/ Compare Sarasota to your hometown.
Eureka, CACompare Eureka to your hometown.
Palm Springs, CA/ Compare Palm Springs to your hometown.
Tuscon, AZCompare Tucson to your hometown.
Salt Lake City, UT/ Compare Salt Lake City to your hometown.
Westerly, RI/ Compare Westerly to your hometown.
Saratoga Springs, NY/ Compare Saratoga Springs to your hometown.
Durango, CO/ Compare Durango to your hometown.

15 Top Places to Retire with Your Dog

By Moira McGarvey

If you love dogs, you’ll be thinking about where you retire with an additional filter. Is the city or town friendly to Fido? Are there active 50+ communities that are especially tailored to pets? On our retirement planning site, GangsAway.com, we’re big fans of the canine. All kinds of them.

Pets are great no matter when you make them part of your family. But they can be especially beneficial as we age, for all the reasons you might surmise: companionship, protection, and exercise. Exercise is a big one. And let’s face it, dogs walk us. Getting out for a good walk, socializing at the dog park, chatting with another dog family at the coffee shop — these are all good things, but especially helpful if your inclinations might otherwise be solitary and sedentary.

Dogs are great for our health, our longevity, and well, they’re just great. We’ve looked at all the top lists and selected the best dog friendly towns that are also good retirement towns, and listed them for you below. We’ve also come across a few retirement communities that cater to pets — that might be just the kind of place you’re looking for.

Check out these towns on GangsAway.com, and if you agree, disagree, or have something to share, please make a point of adding your comments for the benefit of the community.

Louisville, KY
Doggy spas, kitty corrals and pet boutiques 
Pet School and Hotel offers grooming, board, day care and specialized training. 
• Four leashless dog parks, with plenty of open space for dogs to run and play, with separate areas for small dogs.

Nashville, TN
• Famous Centennial Park is dog friendly and there are many leash-free dog parks.
• Good number of bakeries, like See Spot Eat. 
• Pampering at pooches Come. Sit. Stay. 
• Doggie training school at Dogs and Kat.

Asheville, NC
• Adoption services like the Asheville Humane Society, with events like the Mutts + Divas fashion show.
• Pampering at Funky Mutt, Waggers Dog Depot and Something to Bark About.
• Asheville Dog Parks, like the French Broad River Park or Azalea Dog Park, both of which are leash-free and fenced. 
• Dog-friendly restaurants, like Laughing Seed Cafe, Asheville Pizza and Brewing Company and Carmel’s Restaurant and Bar.

Albuquerque, NM
Bookworks bookstore keeps dog treats behind the counter. 
• Several friendly restaurants: Gecko’s Bar, Tapas dogs, and Flying Star Cafes.
• Several dog parks, including the Tom Bolack Urban Forest, Santa Fe Village and Rio Grande dog parks, as well as the lakes of Tingley Beach.

Eugene, OR
• Oregon Truffle Festival runs a truffle-hunting seminar for curious dogs and owners. 
• Home to organic dog treat wholesaler Our Happy Hounds and Steve’s Real Food, and at least four dog-friendly restaurants.
• Many leashless dog parks and pet events, with plenty of fresh air good for both residents and their pets.

Santa Cruz, CA
Spring Dog Festival each year includes skill and talent competitions, costume competitions and more.
• Many off-leash areas like Mitchell Cove Beach.
• More than 16 dog-friendly restaurants.

Boulder, CO
• Boulder requires residents to fill out paperwork establishing them not as the animal’s owner, but legal guardian. 
• There are numerous leashless dog parks in the city and nearby 
• There are more than 144 miles of trails in undeveloped Open Space and Mountain Parks. Most open to leashless dogs.

Rocky Mount, NC
• Pet boarding, in-home pet sitting, training or exercise from Sisters Two Pet Crew Inc. 
• Three top notch veterinary hospitals. 
• Adoptive pets are available through Rocky Mount Animal Control and the Edgecombe-Nash Humane Society.

Colorado Springs, CO
• Eight leashless dog parks. 
• Dog-friendly stores at the Promenade Shops at Briargate display sporty yellow signs proclaiming Pets Welcome!

Portland, OR
• More than 32 leashless dog parks and dozens of pet friendly restaurants
• Hundreds of pet day cares, dog-sitters, veterinarians, trainers, bakeries, photographers, groomers, boutiques, boarders, and other common pet services.
• Nutritionists, holistic medicine practitioners, pooper scoopers, funeral homes, lawyers, massage therapists, acupuncturists and six listed pet psychics

Dog Friendly Active Adult Communities

Tucson, AZ
SaddleBrooke is an active adult community in Tucson, located at the base of the Santa Catalina Mountains, with amazing views and outdoor hiking opportunities. Unlike most age-restricted communities reserved for residents aged 55 and older,SaddleBrooke allows people 40 and older to reside in the community. It has a dedicated dog park.

Bend, OR
The Falls at Eagle Crest, an active adult community in Central Oregon, allows pets, but they must be on a leash. Fences are prohibited in The Falls to preserve the natural beauty of the land. The community also encompasses 15 miles of walking trails, with stations that have waste disposal bags.

Naples, FL
Del Webb Naples is an active adult community in the hometown of Ave Maria University in southwest Florida. The 5,000-acre Ave Maria master planned community is centered around an intimate town square and the University.
There are many small neighborhood parks throughout Ave Maria, plus two large community parks. The North Park includes soccer fields, baseball fields, basketball courts, picnic pavilions and a playground. The South Park, adjacent to Del Webb Naples, has a softball field, bocce ball courts, pickleball courts, horseshoe pits, an amphitheatre, dog park and picnic pavilions.

Indio, CA
Sun City Shadow Hills is Del Webb’s second active adult community in the Coachella Valley. It is located in Indio, two miles east of Sun City Palm Desert. Residents can take their furry friends to the dog park within the community and a second park is being built.

Las Vegas, NV
Ardiente in North Las Vegas is a 788-home active adult community, with gardens, a full-amenity clubhouse. Six landscaped parks, like the rose garden and dog park, weave together via an extensive network of pedestrian paths.

So if you love dogs like we do, there are loads of great options.

You Can Retire on Social Security: 5 Steps That Change the Game

By Moira McGarvey

You can retire on Social Security and live a nice life. What? I thought that was impossible? Yes, it really can be done. I’m not advocating that you do this, but the reality is that many people are facing this scenario. We dug into our data and figured out that if you fall in that group, all is not lost. You’ve got options even if you haven’t saved much of anything. If you remain relatively healthy and plan it properly, it can actually work. Of course, we’re not talking about some kind of luxury retirement in a villa in France, but it can be pleasant, safe, and happy. And, you don’t have to leave the United States (although that is one way to do it).

Let’s start with some basic facts about Social Security today (all from the U.S. Social Security website). Right now, an estimated 165 million workers are covered under Social Security.

  • 51 percent of the workforce has no private pension coverage.
  • 34 percent of the workforce has no savings set aside specifically for retirement.The average amount of monthly Social Security benefits for an individual is about $1,300. Not a lot.
  • Among elderly Social Security beneficiaries, 22 percent of married couples and about 47 percent of unmarried persons rely on Social Security for 90 percent or more of their income. Ouch!

So what do you do if you are 67, single, own a car but don’t own a home, and have only $20,000 in the bank? Not a great situation, but don’t panic. Time to be strategic and draw up a plan that takes advantage of what you do have. Trying to save money now may seem like an impossible task. Many articles discussing this problem suggest “saving now” as the solution. Well, duh! Sure, that’s a good idea and would help, but we’ve got to deal with reality and saving when you are either not working or not making much is not reality. Like I said, you can live on Social Security but you’ve got to make some very calculated choices.

If you do each of the following, and are receiving or expect to receive the average benefit amount of $1,300 per month or more, you probably can live on your Social Security. (Although, getting a part time job too might be prudent. You never know when there might be a health or personal emergency.)

#1: Find a partner in crime. If you’re married, you’ve got one leg up. You each might receive $1,300 a month making your total income $2,600. If you’re not, do it with a single friend or even get a roommate that you can pool your money with. Shared expenses for utilities, food, car, and rent will make an enormous difference in how much cash flow you have and dramatically shift the paradigm. Or consider the Golden Girls option, a group of friends sharing expenses. And it also provides a ready made social network!

#2: Live in a tax-friendly state and one that DOESN’T tax Social Security. What a lot of people don’t realize is that not all states are good places to retire with regard to taxes. I’m not just talking about income tax. Right now about half of the states tax your Social Security. So if Social Security is your primary source of income, why would you live in a state that taxes it? Also, some states have real advantages for other types of tax like income tax. Again, you need to live in a state that gives you the most advantages. Some of the most tax-friendly states for retirees are: Arizona, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Nevada. Move to one of these states and you’ll keep more of your money.

#3: Move to an area that has a temperate climate. It’s cheaper to cool a house than heat a house. If you live somewhere that never gets too hot or too cold you can save on the months with no heat or air conditioning. You need less clothing and warm weather clothing is cheaper. Fewer coats, boots, and things. Heating costs whether you rent or own can be a huge drain on your pocketbook. So living somewhere that doesn’t cuts down on this expense can make a big difference.

#4: Live like a 20-year-old. Remember when you were young and had no money? You took advantage of activities that didn’t cost anything — parks, beaches, trails, free museum days, free concerts. Make your environment your entertainment. Live some place where you like the physical environment so you can enjoy the free entertainment around you. Preferably places where you can be outside more than inside or places that have an abundance of entertainment that is cheaper. Say what you will about “early bird specials” in places like Florida (although they are now calling them something hipper, “Happy Hours”), there’s huge savings if you eat at 6 p.m. instead of 8 p.m..

#5: Live somewhere that has a lower cost of living. Low costs on everything from housing to transportation to food. This can all add up and keep more money in your pocket. When you are on a fixed income paying $50 less per month for groceries can mean a lot. Cost of living data is out there (and available on our site, GangsAway!) so do your homework. You may identify a good state to live in from a tax perspective but now you need to find specific areas within that state that have a lower than average cost of living. Be sure to cross check lower cost of living areas with crime statistics to make sure you’re not moving into a dangerous area. There are plenty of towns that are safe, offer good value, and will provide you with nice lifestyle.

So let’s go back to our original assumption. You are a couple (married or friends) with $2,600 between you in monthly Social Security. Together you own one car and have $30,000 in the bank for an emergency.

The following is a list of states/towns where two people could live on $2,600 a month and even go to the movies from time to time. The taxes are in your favor, cost of living is reasonable and decent rentals are within budget. We also looked at the crime statistics in each town to make sure they were not high.

Florida: Port St. Lucie, Palm Coast, Ormond Beach, Ocala.

Arizona: Lake Havasu City, Casa Grande, Casas Adobes, Yuma, Prescott

Delaware: Dover or Newark. (This one is for those of you who simply cannot imagine living in warm weather year round.)

Georgia: Athens, Savannah, Stockbridge, Canton, Woodstock

Louisiana: Sulphur, Terrytown

Mississippi: Greenville, Starkville, Biloxi

South Carolina: Goose Creek, Greer, Summerville, North Augusta

Nevada: Paradise, Summerlin South, Winchester

There are lots of other smaller things to look at like public transportation (many have senior discounts) or walkability if you don’t want the added expense of a car. But if you follow our 5 Steps for planning it out, you might just make it work.

10 Reasons Florida Will Always Be The Best State To Retire In

By Moira McGarvey

When I was kid, my grandparents left Long Island and moved to Florida. At first, I was incredulous. My grandparents moved so far away from me! (I had really thought that their world revolved around me. Apparently not.) But when we took our first trip down to visit them on a school break, I began to like the idea of having grandparents in Florida. It was warm and sunny, we went to the beach and the pool, and if we played our cards right, they took us to Orlando. For a kid, Orlando was the Holy Grail.

On our retirement planning site, GangsAway! we aggregate data and information to help people figure out where the best places to retire might be. A generation ago, Florida and Arizona had been THE places to retire. Over the past 20 years, retirees started venturing to other states like North and South Carolina or out west to Oregonor Colorado. On our site, despite the many varied location options, Florida far and away is the most searched for state. While people retiring today may look beyond the Sunshine State, it’s still a huge draw for some very solid reasons.

1. Taxes: 
No state income tax, no inheritance tax or estate tax. ‘Nuff said. That’s a big deal, particularly when you are on a fixed income. Why live in a state that is going to tax you when you don’t have to?

2. Climate:
Despite the naysayers who rail about how hot it is in Florida, in the summer months, the average high temperature is 81 degrees Fahrenheit (27 C), while the average annual low temperature remains a comfortable 60 degrees Fahrenheit (16 C). That said, has anyone spent any time in New York City in August? Or Washington, D.C.? Those northern locations can also get pretty toasty and unpleasant on many summer days. But truthfully, the Florida sun is really strong in the summer months, so Floridians move their activities around. In the same way people in the north spend the winter with more indoor pursuits, Floridians do the same in the warmest summer months. Go out on any summer morning early, I’m talking about 7 a.m. and people are up and out. They do their dog walking, biking, running, or whatever their thing is, early or late in the day when the sun is not as strong. The middle of the day is reserved for errands, shopping, working, or maybe a nice long lunch or movie…or both!

3. Lower Cost of Living: 
At the end of the day, if you are on a fixed income, it behooves you to live someplace where your money goes further. Living somewhere that has an average, or below average, cost of living makes sense even if you are one of the lucky ones who was able to save money for retirement. If you live in a place like Florida, your overall cost of living can be lower and you could do other things with your money like travel, spend it on family, or give it to a charity that is important to you. For the rest of us who won’t have a significant disposable income, Florida’s lower costs, on just about everything, could make a real difference to the monthly budget. Yes, there are places in Florida where the cost of living is higher, like Miami, so don’t go there. There are hundreds of other cities and towns that would fit the bill.

4. Water, Water Everywhere:
You’ve got the Atlantic Ocean on one side, The Gulf of Mexico on the other, and loads of lakes and canals all around. Free entertainment. What about Sanibel for the Gulf or Boynton Beach for the ocean? Or maybe a sweet little place like Dunedin?

5. Recreation: 
Golf, water sports, fishing, boating, canals, over 1,300 golf courses, biking, walking, running, and the new craze, Pickleball. As we get older, staying active will keep us healthier and happier. Being shut in from November to April in the Northeast or Midwest can be really hard to deal with. How about a run on the beach or a bike ride along the shore in Delray Beach?

6. A Vacation Destination:
Your friends and family (grandkids) will want to visit you, especially in the winter if they live someplace in the north. Cold and snowy in Minneapolis? Hey, let’s visit Grandpa in Naples or Bonita Springs! Let’s face it, kids are kids and a dose of sun and sand with a visit to Grandma’s doesn’t stink.

7. Wide Range of Active Adult Communities: 
If you are one of the many thousands of people who think they may want to live in an Active Adult Community, Florida has every type, style, and price point imaginable. For many of us, having a well-run community sounds great after years of managing our own homes. Also, AAC’s have all the amenities and services that you might want at this point in your life. And, of course, there is that built-in social component that you get in these communities. In fact, the largest adult community in the US calledThe Villages is located near Ocala.

8. Easy Travel by Air:
Whether it is travel to visit friends and family back home, or people coming to visit you, or you’re satisfying your global wanderlust, there are loads of airports, both domestic and international. There are easy and direct flights to many U.S. locations, as well as an abundance of accessible international airports in Fort Myers, Tampa,Miami, Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, Daytona, Key West, Melbourne, Orlando,Sarasota, St. Petersburg and Jacksonville.

9. Health care Availability: 
One nice thing about moving and retiring to a state like Florida, where so many other retirees migrate, is that there are a tremendous amount of health care options and services specifically geared towards older people. With so many “customers”, many health care providers have set up shop in and around the state. If you moved to a small town in Montana, you might have difficulty finding appropriate medical support nearby. But in Florida, providers are all over the state. There are well known hospital brands like Cleveland Clinic in Weston or the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville as well as numerous highly ranked hospitals like Florida Hospital in Orlando, Tampa General Hospital and Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Shands Jacksonville Medical Center, Sarasota Memorial Hospital, and University of Miami-Jackson Memorial Medical Center to mention a few.

10. The Arts Abound:
Big cities like Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, Clearwater, and Tampa have theater, symphonies, museums, operas, and everything in between.

BONUS REASON: Orlando. Not for everyone, and maybe a bigger draw for kids and families, but the last few times I went to Orlando, there were plenty of older people at the theme parks without kids (many, frighteningly, chomping on oversized turkey legs). Clearly, a lot of adults enjoy Disney and Universal and the other attractions in Orlando sans children. Located in the middle of the state, Orlando could be an occasional weekend getaway if you are living in Florida. And, if you have grandchildren, what kid wouldn’t like to visit Grandma more often if a side trip to Disney were part of the package?

The Best Niche Active Retirement Communities

By Moira McGarvey

As we start contemplating our retirement, many of us will opt to move. Some of us will stay in the same town and move to smaller digs, others will finally move to that new dream location or someplace where our dollars will go further. Figuring out the perfect location is a big challenge and no one place is right for everyone. But, rest assured, there is a lid for every pot.

On our retirement planning website, GangsAway!, there is information that helps you figure out the “where” piece. But once you figure out the general area or town you want be in, then comes the next question. What kind of home? Another house, a condo, a rental? Or, what about an active adult community? Or a 55+ adult community? For some of us, the idea of a pre-planned, organized, and managed community sounds terrific. No fuss, no muss. And, probably for an equal number of people, it sounds awful.

I was in the latter group. I didn’t know much about active adult communities (AAC) and my pre-conceived notion was that they were old folks towns. But since founding our retirement site, I’ve done a lot of research and a lot of looking at the current AAC landscape. I’ve realized it’s pretty different from the AAC landscape of yesteryear. There are as many different price points and personalities as there are communities. Some are well run, some, not so much. And there are way more of them than you’d imagine.

The good news is that many of today’s progressive community management companies have done their homework. They are re-imagining and configuring these communities to meet the needs of baby boomers who are looking for something very different from the previous generation. The right combination of price, location and personality depends on the person moving there, of course. But I’ve come to see the appeal of a well-run community. Some of them seem pretty fabulous, like living in a resort that’s a perfect fit for you.

Also, if you move somewhere new and buy a regular house in a regular community, it’s not so easy to meet people and get involved when you are without schools and jobs to help you engage. An AAC can mitigate all that and create instant connections. The key seems to be finding the right community that reflects your personal style, education, and political and personal outlook on life and is within your budget. You might find a place that is physically beautiful but makes you feel like an alien when conversing with your neighbors. So it’s important to make sure you like the homes and amenities as well as your potential new neighbors.

Here’s a sampling of the kinds of options, varied price points and locations we’ve found out there. Let us know what you think of these locations in comments and on GangsAway.com, so that other people can benefit from what you know.

ARIZONA

Sun City West: This is a large 55+ resort style living community with 7 golf courses, Olympic sized indoor swimming pool, shopping, bowling alley, and billiards room. Sun City West has over 100 chartered clubs with everything from arts to dance and fitness to travel. There are over 30,000 residents and the community includes a library, restaurants, and a village store.

Victory at Verrado: Verrado began as a community for all ages. Located in Buckeye, this new 55+ neighborhood at Verrado will open In January 2015; they will be the first phase of the Victory District, a smaller 55+ community within the larger multi-age Verrado community. This concept of a 55+ community within a larger community keeps older people more connected and speaks to the changing attitudes of the boomers. It also gives the option for multi-generational living, 20 miles of walking, hiking, and biking trails, a vibrant Main Street, and a Tom Lehman designed golf course.

Encanterra Country Club: In a word, golf. Located in San Tan Valley, this is a comparatively smaller more traditional AAC for real golf enthusiasts with courses also designed by Tom Lehman. Four restaurants, poolside dining, and resort style living. They have an athletic club and a spa.

Sun City Festival: Also in Buckeye, and feels like living in a resort with a huge recreation center, golf course, pool, and spa. Lots of activities like tennis, pickleball, and even a softball field. Close enough to Phoenix if you need a bigger city fix.

FLORIDA

The Villages: Located in central Florida with over 100,000 residents and sprawls over 30,000 acres. The Villages is so big that it is a town unto itself and totally self-contained. The primary mode of transportation for residents is golf carts (fun!). This enormous AAC appears to have everything: entertainment, shopping, houses of worship, recreation, medical facilities, and restaurants. Kind of like a very big adult camp. On the flip side, you are living in a huge community where you will rarely see young people or kids — but hey, maybe that sounds good to you. Some people love it… some people hate it. Again, a lid for every pot.

On Top of the World: Located in Ocala, this is a larger active adult community and is located in horse country. Multiple clubhouses, pools, game rooms, dog parks, 15 miles of walking trails, classes, outdoor sports courts, restaurants, and even a weekly farmer’s market.

SOUTH CAROLINA

Sun City Hilton Head located in Bluffton has a 45-acre town center, golf, and a performing arts center. Computer labs, two championship golf courses, three clubhouses, fitness centers, and outdoor and indoor pools, all just 30 minutes from beautiful Savannah. Also, Coastal Carolina Hospital is right in the area.

NEVADA

Sun City in Summerlin, is located right outside of Las Vegas and is the largest AAC in Nevada. It offers clubhouses, fitness centers, pools, and a theater. Live in a quiet resort but close enough to Vegas when you want some real action.

CALIFORNIA

Laguna Woods Village is an active retirement community, with horses and riding trails, 200 active clubs for everything from Pickleball to painting. The community is gated, with security. There’s a 27-hole golf course. It’s 10 minutes from Laguna Beach. Prices range from $100 thousand to $1 million, depending on size and view. The community was originally built in the early 1960s, most owners have updated, but the original construction is 50 years old. There are 18,000 residents, local homeowner governing bodies, and city government.

INDIAN

Indian-American Iggy Ignatius bought land outside of Orlando, Fla., in Tavares in 2008, and with the help of friends and veterans in the community, he started constructing Phase 1 of ShantiNiketan. With 54 condos and a common clubhouse for dining and recreation, this community is for seniors of Indian origin. Everything at the complex is cultural, starting with the food offered to the Hindu gods displayed in the prayer room. A two-bed, two-bath condo costs approximately $160,000, with a monthly expense of $800 per person including food, housekeeping, and taxes.

LGBT

Carefree Cove is surrounded by 165 acres of forest and natural beauty. It was developed exclusively for the gay and lesbian community and is located in a very gay-friendly area of North Carolina. A gated, safe neighborhood is home to 87 natural and rustic-flavor, single-family home-site lots averaging 1 acre in size. The climate is temperate with comfortable summers, distinct autumns, a skier’s paradise come winter, and crisp, green springtime. Carefree Cove is centrally located near Boone, NC. The area is know as the High Country.

HIPPIES

Rocinante located in Summertown, TN is a community for aging hippies. Residents build their own homes and then peace out! Stephen Gaskin and his wife, Ina May, started The Farm in Tennessee - a true commune, in the 60s. Now 60-something himself, Stephen describes himself as a man for whom simplicity is a precondition of everything he does. He can’t go without some project happening, so he has started a new one: “The Rocinante Project.”

So as you can see…THERE IS A LID FOR EVERY POT! Just make sure your lid fits tight.

Now, even boomers are moving back in with mom and dad

Well this is scary! As I try to launch my own children out of my house, I cannot imagine moving back with my parents. According to this article from CBS, it says cites a study done by Pew Research, 17% of American adults live in multigenerational housing. Of course, that could include loads of young adults in their 20’s still trying to figure things out. But probably more scary is the statistic from the LA Times showing that 194,000 Californians aged 50-64 live with their parents in 2012 which is a fast growing number.  Some reasons for this include older workers being downsized, unable to find jobs and needing the financial support from their parents….again. Oy Vey! This is not good. For all of you with dreams about buying a big retirement house so the family can gather….be careful what you wish for. Talk amongst yourselves.

Talking Retirement with Kim Power Stilson and GangAway!

Sirius Radio Show: Moira McGarvey, founder of Retirement Planning site, GangsAway! spends time chatting with Sirius Radio’s Kim Power Stilson about all things retirement. They cover everything from planning, dreaming and doing. The next part of your life might be the best part of all.

Retire On The Gulf Coast Of Texas

By Moira McGarvey

If you want to retire to the beach, to a warm, sunny, tropical beach, but don’t want to spend your entire savings in one fell swoop, consider the Texas Gulf Coast. It’s not top of mind for those of us who have never visited or lived in the South, but when you combine affordability with natural beauty, it’s surprising it’s not up there with Florida as a top retirement destination.

All coastal living comes with the risk of hurricanes and flooding. But if you’re willing to deal with potential weather hazards and are smart about where you buy or rent, there are some lovely gem towns along the Texas coast.

The coastal area stretches 350 miles, from South Padre Island around to Beaumont and the Louisiana border. There are peninsulas and islands and cities and towns, not to mention a wealth of natural beauty and an amazing array of birds and wildlife.

Texas is the only state in the US that has an Open Beaches Act. While beaches can be privately owned, they have to have public easement so that everyone has unrestricted access and use of the beaches.

Development along the coast is being transformed by several new urbanism style neighborhood development projects, of the kind more typically seen in California and Florida, which incorporate mixed housing, walkability, smart transportation and other elements that support a sustainable, higher quality of life.

If you’re attracted to the seashore, you probably love to eat seafood, and the Gulf has some of the world’s best shrimp and oysters. Fishing, boating, bird watching, kayaking, and all of the perks that come along with living on the water, plus year-round warmth, make living along the Texas coast attractive.

Housing prices are well below the national average, as well as the cost of food, transportation and health care. Utility prices are higher by a bit, but overall, it’s cheaper to live here than most other places in the US. And if you need it, Houston, which is only about an hour away, has some of the best medical care in the world.

Here are some of the gems. Check them out on our retirement website GangsAway!and let us know what you think or share what you know on the discussion boards.

South Padre Island
South Padre Island is situated on the coastal tip of Texas. November through February are beautiful months on South Padre Island as the average temps range from mid-50s to mid-70s.

Corpus Christi
Downtown is if you’re looking for a splash of excitement with a relatively laid back atmosphere, and housing prices haven’t skyrocketed yet. The average home goes for around $200,000. Apartments in the area range from $1,200 to $2,000 per month.

Port Aransas
Port Aransas caps the north end of Mustang Island and the harbor marks the entrance to the shipping channel that leads to Corpus Christi, less than 30 miles southwest. This small tourist town remains relatively undeveloped compared with much of the Gulf Coast. It offers 18 miles of fine sand beaches, a low crime rate, a spirited arts scene, and great dining.

Galveston
Galveston Island is located on the coastline just 50 miles south of Houston. There is a variety of homes and rental properties to choose from throughout the Island. Galveston has the amenities of a larger city, but with tight-knit small town friendliness.

Rockport
Bounded by bays and sheltered by barrier islands, the harbor at Rockport Beach is serene. Downtown on Austin Street there are shops and restaurants and locals say Rockport is the sweet spot of Texas: easygoing every day, yet close to big-city attractions.

20 Reasons Why Arizona Might Be The Best State To Retire In

By Moira McGarvey

Arizona has been a big retirement destination for many years, and for good reason. In fact, the very first Active Adult Community in the US, Sun City, was developed there over 50 years ago. But the reasons to choose Arizona are more than just the obvious. While AZ has hundreds of days of abundant sunshine and tons of golf courses, it has a lot more going for it than only sun and golf.

One big reason we think you should consider Arizona for retirement is taxes. When living on fixed incomes, it’s important you make sure you are living in a state where your money will last and the taxes are in your favor. Arizona is one of the most tax friendly states and they don’t tax your Social Security check, that matters. (About half of the states in the US do tax Social Security.)

At GangsAway! we compile information to help people figure out where to go when they retire. Below are GangsAway’s Top 20 Reasons why you might want to put Arizona on the top of your list.

1. Arizona is home to the Grand Canyon National Park and Red Rock State Park near Sedona, as well as a number of other magnificent parks. Free and fabulous entertainment.

2. Outdoor Activities Galore: White water rafting, championship golf courses, hang gliding through the desert, fishing along the Colorado River or skiing in Flagstaff.

3. The Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show started in Scottsdale in 1955 and now features over 2,000 of the world’s most beautiful Arabian horses. Owners, trainers and breeders from all over the globe compete and the event attracts hundreds of thousands of people. Also, there are 300 vendors and booths, showcasing food, demonstrations and seminars.

4. A City for Every Style: Phoenix - highly livable and affordable city; Sedona, a spiritual haven and visual miracle, Scottsdale for those looking for high-end resort style living and Flagstaff, beautiful and at a higher elevation so doesn’t get the same high heat as other parts, attracts outdoor enthusiasts and a more liberal contingency and is near enough to Phoenix if you need a bigger city fix.

5. Sunshine/Great Weather. Winter temperatures in Phoenix are like summer temperatures in the southeast but without humidity. Rainfall averages for Arizona range from less than three inches in the deserts to more than 30 inches per year in the mountains. Dry and sunny days with cool nights are typical, and the state’s major cities enjoy over 250 days with sun each year. If you like more variety in temperature, towns like Flagstaff are cooler

6. Prescott, Arizona is home to the World’s Oldest Rodeo which dates back to 1888. Ever try bull riding?

7. The actual Original London Bridge (from London, England) is now located in Lake Havasu City, AZ. Cool! You don’t even need a passport to see it.

8. Scottsdale Culinary Festival is one the longest running culinary festivals in the US and attracts over 35,000 visitors each year. The six day festival showcases gourmet food, restaurants, fine wines, micro brews and celebrity chefs.

9. Over 20 Native American tribes are represented in AZ. Out of all the states in the U.S., Arizona has the largest percentage of its land designated as Indian lands.

10. The Sonoran Hot Dog. Believed to have been created in Tucson, this special culinary treat is unique to Arizona and is essentially a hot dog wrapped in bacon and served in a crusty white bun. Layer on some pinto beans, chopped tomatoes, onions, jalapenos, mustard and mayo and you’ve gone Sonoran.

11. Tucson Folk Festival for all you Boomers wanting to go back to your 1960’s roots. The Tucson Folk Festival is one of the top folk festivals in the US attracting more than 10,000 folk music lovers with more than 20 hours of free, live bluegrass, Irish, old country and western music.

12. No Sneezing! A respite for those with allergies…the climate and dry air can be a game changer for those who suffer from bad allergies or asthma in other parts of the country. Put away the Claritin.

13. Golf! Arizona is the epicenter for desert golf. The Grand Canyon state has over 70 highly ranked public courses and attracts millions of golf enthusiasts.

14. The Great Outdoors is in your backyard. The is abundant wildlife and you can see coyotes, snakes, javelinas (kind of like a furry pig), bob-cats, and even roadrunners (get your sneakers on and call Wylie Coyote!). You won’t see roadrunners in Florida!

15. Unique local foods in Arizona including cactus jelly, mesquite honey, and prickly pear margaritas…ouch!

16. Throw away your snow shovel! No shoveling snow in most parts of AZ.

17. Affordable housing costs: According to the latest data, the median home value in AZ is just over $178K and the median rental is $1050. And, side benefit, you won’t spend a fortune on heating bills. It’s way cheaper to cool a house than heat a house.

18. NO Tax on Social Security Income. This can be huge when you are living off of your savings. Something to seriously consider when retiring. Also, There is no inheritance tax, gift tax or estate tax.

19. The Arizona State Fair is one of the top Arizona events. It attracts over 1 million people to Phoenix with concerts, rodeos, racing, livestock, and numerous food booths. Giddy-up!

20. Alice Cooper lives in Phoenix. Rock on!

If you’d like to explore Arizona further, you can find more information about the state on our retirement site, GangsAway! Or if you’d like to share a comment or your knowledge about AZ please post here or on GangsAway! and let us know what you think.

San Quentin has an Internet Startup program. Really? Really.

Okay, now I’ve seen it all. You’ve got to look at this video from CNN. The bleeding heart liberal part of me thinks….”oh, isn’t that nice, these guys get a second chance.” And I do believe in second chances. But as I listened to the interviews I couldn’t help think that San Quentin looked more like a camp or a college campus. The inmates were hanging around, playing games, taking classes. It actually looked fun. The guys they feature in this piece seem like great guys. This is prison? Isn’t San Quentin a bad ass maximum security prison for really bad people who commit crimes like murder? Are we paying for this? And, they have a whole entrepreneur program for startups there where they have a Pitch Day for startups to  bring them together with investors! What? Really? Investors want to invest in people who have been incarcerated for 20 years for murder? Are there so few ideas outside of prison that we need to go into prisons to find the next Google? Yeah, I know, rehabilitation. But still, somehow I find it unsettling. Talk amongst yourselves.