Make a living chose doesn’t have to be hard

The one thing that everyone should know is, “Planning is essential, but no plan survives the first serious problem.” Apologies to General Eisenhower and probably a bunch of other people. I read a lot in the retirement literature. Been trying to convince her for decades to buy a retirement home. Me, “You don’t have to live there. It just needs to be somewhere other people will want to live.” She, “It’s too risky and too much trouble.”


Life is about trade-offs. Not making a decision because you refuse to embrace this concept is still making a decision—and probably not a good one. My wife likes to constrain most problems so that there’s no possible solution.

The second thing is to learn the details. For example, taxes are a big effect on your cost of living. Learn about them! Healthcare is an issue. Learn about communities, for example in Phoenix there 55 communities in phoenix az. Great healthcare is largely useless if you can’t find a good doctor who’s accepting new patients. Almost every time that I learn new details, the “optimal” retirement landscape changes. For example, I want to leave money—if any is left when I die—to my nieces and nephews. A few states tax such bequests outside of their normal estate taxes. I won’t live in any of them.

Third. Experiment before you commit.

My wife hasn’t retired yet. I’m semi-retired. We don’t need the money from employment—not my wife’s opinion, but mine—so I won’t take a job that’s not fun, or at least mentally challenging.

I. Family

In my parent’s generation, almost everyone ( 87%) aged in place (near family) until maintenance of a home became an issue. One Uncle moved to be near his sunbelt children.

My generation is just getting to retirement age. My cousins & siblings—we’re fairly close—live from the Kansas to DC and from Cleveland to Atlanta. My wife’s siblings are more concentrated while her cousins are more spread out, but she’s less close to both groups. Many have strong business ties where they currently live in addition to family/friendship ties. Work has taken several far afield, but work may require them to move again. “Chasing” children doesn’t seem practical.

We have no children. She’d like to be near her kid brother, he’s retired already but is much younger than most of my generation.

II. Friends

We both are pretty extreme introverts. Our friendships have been mostly based on work/volunteering relationships and have mostly fallen away once regular contact ceased.

We’ve talked about trying the active communities, but we’d probably not fit in well.

One Aunt recently moved into a “progressive” retirement community. She’s also an introvert. We fear that she’s not fitting in well.

III. Medical

We both have manageable but potentially serious medical conditions. We’re looking for places with good local doctors (mostly for emergencies) and/or specialist support within about 100 miles. We’ll probably need to travel at least for yearly checkups.

Few good doctors where we live now are taking new Medicare patients unless a previous relationship was established.

IV. Climate

coupleA big one for my wife. She worries about missing medical and volunteer appointments. Locally the volunteer outfits will “fire” you if you’re snowed in while they’re open.

Warm but not too warm.

My solution was

Don’t get married.
We each have two modest homes—someplace warm in the winter and someplace pretty in the spring, someplace scenic & active in the summer, and someplace pretty or artsy in the fall.
I lost.

V. Culture

We both like concerts, plays, dining, etc. We pursued them actively until we started budgeting for retirement. Now that we have a secure retirement, our senses are starting to fail. My eyesight and hearing have fallen off significantly in the past 2 years. One Uncle and Aunt (not married) used to enjoy fine wine and dining. They don’t do either much anymore because the tastes are no longer there for them. Fortunately, this hasn’t happened to us yet.