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Does the “Ideal” Retirement Location Exist?

by Susan Quilty on 5 Comments

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Finding a community that balances all your needs with all your wants is crucial in finding your ideal retirement community.

For those who plan to relocate after retirement, finding an ideal destination is a top priority. Some have a dream location in mind, and others meticulously seek out a community that has everything they want in a retirement destination. Yet, with all this dreaming and planning, you have to stop and wonder: does an ideal retirement location really exit?

When searching for any ideal, people frequently come to the conclusion that nothing is perfect, particularly when it comes to personal preference. Think about your favorite movies. Are they all in the same genre? If you’re like most people, you can be in the mood for a comedy one day, but a drama or thriller the next. And sometimes it’s hard to decide what you are in the mood to see at all.

Fortunately, your preferences for a retirement location are probably less fickle than your taste in movie genres. Yet a similar tug between two contradictory characteristics can make it difficult to find an ideal destination. For example, you are not likely to find a retirement location that lets you have a rustic cabin home with a large backyard, set in the midst of a bustling city. To come close, you would have to compromise, perhaps with a community like Heritage Park in Sacramento, which is 15 minutes from the city, but offers single-family homes in a tranquil setting.

Compromises also come into play when you are living with someone else. Married retirees may have very different ideas about what constitutes an ideal retirement location. He may want a sprawling, resort-style community like Sun City Center in Florida; she may prefer a smaller, more intimate neighborhood, such as Cypress Falls at the Woodlands. On the other hand, a couple may agree on the same community style, but she favors the Arizona desert, while he dreams of the tropical Florida coast.

Some active adults find it liberating to decide that no destination will be entirely perfect. Others feel that enough research and careful planning will turn up a retirement location that does meet all of their needs. And then there are those who have found that compromising led to a location that was a better fit than they expected.

We’d love to hear from you. Have you been fortunate enough to find your own retirement paradise? Have you decided that there is no such thing as a perfect destination? Please feel free to leave a comment telling us about your own search for the ideal retirement location.

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  1. Perfect is an interesting word Susan. I think more so than location, the challenge is to know what one wants during the last 20 or 30 years of their life. You know finding happiness always starts from within.

    That said, for me, i needed a retirement location that gave me more than golf, more than hanging around the pool or the gym. I wanted a community where i could become a part of something, weave into the fabric of the community.

    That’s why the original Sun City was the “perfect” place for me to retire to. The entire infrastructure is built around ownership by those of us living here. Without giving back, we just will not be the same. For 50 years it’s worked that way, it is why we are both unique and special.

    To find that perfect place to retire, first find what it is you want in retirement, and then find the place that gives you that fulfillment.

  2. Sun City Texas in Georgeton Tx has met all of our retirement needs. Three golf courses, low monthly fees, all kinds of activities and adjacent to an ante bellum university town (Georgetown) —–and a mere thirty miles from Austin. Should be among your #1 recommendations.

  3. I believe The Villages in central Floida is the best. Single family homes sell for as little as $75,000 and as much as a couple million. The golf is phenominal with 27 executive courses that you can play for free if you are a resident or renting with a resident pass. There a several professional courses as well. There are 10 miles of off-the-road golf cart paths with underground tunnels that allow golf carts to avoid the highways.
    There are 2 beautiful town centers that provide live and free entertainment every night. There are hundreds of activities that are free as well. We joined the bike club last year. Three mornings a week we biked with a large group around the community and ended each ride at an outdoor restaurant where we socialized and met new people from all over the country. Loved it! Beth Jablonski

  4. We are looking for a 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom condo in a retirement community that has bus transportation to dr offices, shopping centers, malls, etc. We do not drive a car and need a community that offers transportation. We would also like to have an active Clubhouse that has a lot of clubs and trips. We would like to be not far from good hospitals since we both have health problems. Hopefully the people are friendly. We prefer New Jersey, New York but would consider other locations.

  5. “Ideal” is highly subjective. I’d suggest you list down all your retirement needs, highlight which should come first and which you can afford not to have. If you’re an avid golfer and think golfing would have huge impact on your retirement lifestyle, then move somewhere that makes it possible. I for one have to be somewhere near my children and grandchildren but without the hustle and bustle of the big cities. So having a home I share with my wife at Alden Place in Lebanon PA is ideal at least for me.

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