Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Sandwich Generation Headed Towards Retirement

According to a study by the Pew Research Center, as reported on the AARP blog, many people today are finding themselves part of the "sandwich generation."  In fact, almost half of all adults between the ages of 40 and 59 have a living parent who is over 65 and, at the same time, they are either still raising a child under the age of 18, or they are financially supporting an adult child.

About 27 percent of the people in the sandwich generation are providing financial support to their adult children; about 21 percent are providing some support to their aging parents.  In addition, the US Department of Health and Human Services states on their website that, according to the U.S. Census of 2000, over 2.4 million grandparents have primary responsibility for raising their grandchildren.  That number has undoubtedly grown since the year 2000.

Why We Are Providing Financial Support to our Family Members

There are several reasons why so many Baby Boomers are finding themselves in the position of providing physical and financial support for other generations of their family.  One reason is the recession which started in 2007.  Since that time, many young people have found it difficult to find jobs that pay well enough to enable them to be financially independent.  Another reason is because an increasing number of elderly parents are being forced to move in with their adult children in order to survive, especially if they lost their homes or savings during the recession or as a result of long illnesses and other financial setbacks.

When family members are in financial distress, it is natural for us to reach out and help each other.  Very few of us would feel comfortable taking care of ourselves while letting our children or parents suffer.  It is very commendable that we are willing to take on these extra burdens in order to alleviate the suffering of our relatives.

How to Protect Your Own Retirement Plans

The problem is that many Baby Boomers who are part of the Sandwich generation are finding it almost impossible to save for retirement.  While they are taking on the support of their adult children and their elderly parents, their 401K's and IRA's are sitting empty.

While I would never advocate that people let their family members suffer while they build up big bank accounts, people who find themselves in the "sandwich generation" need to do some serious financial planning so they do not find themselves destitute in retirement.  If you can think of no other reason to try to save more money towards retirement, ask yourself if you want to be a burden on your children and perpetuate the stress of being in the sandwich generation on them.

More than ever, it may be wise to consult with a financial planner and make some changes in your lifestyle now so that you can help your family members, while still being able to save for your own future at the same time.

There is no reason why anyone should feel guilty about saving for their own future.  After all, if you are able to take care of yourself during your own retirement years, you will also be helping your children by not making them financially responsible for your care.  We can all work towards the day when the size of the sandwich generation decreases once again.

How to Take Care of Yourself

In addition, it is important for Baby Boomer caregivers to take care of themselves emotionally, socially, physically and spiritually.  No matter how much you want to help others, you cannot do a good job of caring for your parents or grandchildren if you let yourself get run-down.

Take time to get exercise, eat right and sleep right.

Take advantage of any assistance you can get that will make caregiving easier.  Do you have other relatives that can help with the burden, at least once in a while?  Are there community resources, such as adult daycare, that can make life a little easier for yourself?

Keep up with your friends and religious affiliations.  You deserve to get a break from your burdens once in a while and renew yourself socially and spiritually.

Relax and get rest whenever you can.

If you are interested in learning more about where to retire, health issues that may arise while you age, financial planning, changing family relationships and more, use the tabs or pull-down menu at the top of the page to find links to hundreds of additional articles.

You may also be interested in reading:

Why Some Seniors are Choosing Cohabitation
Living with Your Kids
Retiring Former Hippies Spark a New Generation Gap
Healing Relationships with Your Adult Children

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Sunday, February 24, 2013

Retirement Living in Palm Springs and the Coachella Valley

Retirement Communities in Palm Springs and the other desert cities in the surrounding Coachella Valley of Southern California have been popular for decades.  Frank Sinatra, Bob Hope, Sonny Bono, and Gerald Ford are among the celebrities who made the area famous. 

Over the years, the valley has been so popular with movie stars and wealthy Los Angelinos, that the city of Palm Springs was once known as the Playground of the Stars.  There are many reasons why this area is so attractive to retirees.

Amenities in Palm Springs and other Desert Cities

The Coachella Valley gets approximately 332 days a year of annual sunshine in this lovely desert valley surrounded by spectacular mountains, particularly Mount St. Jacinto that rises 10,000 feet above the valley floor.  The Coachella Valley is populated by a string of small cities that begins with Palm Springs and ends with Indio.  The communities include Desert Hot Springs, Rancho Mirage, La Quinta, Indian Wells, and Desert Hot Springs

Attractive homes in the area can be purchased from less than $150,000 to over a million dollars.  In early 2012, the median selling price was about $200,000 in the city of Palm Springs.  Home prices are a bit higher in some of the other communities such as La Quinta.

Many of the gated communities that dominate the populated areas of the desert cities have their own amenities which may include country clubs, swimming pools, spas, exercise rooms and, in many cases, a golf course.  It is not a problem, however, if you move to a community that does not have its own golf course. There are over 100 golf courses in the Valley, and most of them are open to the public.

The Coachella Valley cities also offer a number of opportunities for fun and entertainment, including the 125,000 square foot Palm Springs Art Museum, the Desert Museum, a variety of festivals, shopping centers, restaurants, theaters and other entertainment venues.  Indian Wells is home to a world famous tennis complex.

There is also a large, modern medical system in the Coachella Valley, which brings peace of mind to people who choose to retire there.

Popular Coachella Valley 55+ Retirement Communities

Here is a list of some of the major retirement communities in the Coachella Valley.  If you are seriously considering relocating to this area, you will also want to contact a Realtor to help you compare current listings and find a community in the correct price range to meet your needs.  The list below is just intended to give you a general idea of the opportunities that are available to you.

Sun City Palm Desert in Palm Desert
From about $200,000 to over $1 million

Sun City Shadow Hills in Indio
From about $200,000 to about $850,000

Trilogy at La Quinta in La Quinta
From about $250,000 to over $1 million

Heritage Palms in Indio
From about $200,000 to over $600,000

Four Seasons in Palm Springs
From about $250,000 to $450,000

Villa Portofino in Palm Desert
From about $150,000 to $250,000

Villa Portofino and Heritage Palms were also recently listed by "55 Places" on their website as two of the Top 10 Snowbird Communities in the United States.

Coachella Valley Weather

The weather in the Coachella Valley is most appealing during the winter when daytime highs range from the 70's to the 80's, and nighttime temperatures drop into the 40's.  Summers, however, leave residents with no doubt that they are living in a desert.  The temperatures can rise to 105 degrees or higher during the day and frequently do not drop below 80 degrees at night.

In addition, many Palm Springs residents complain about the wind and dust storms in the summer.

Since the Coachella Valley is only about a two hour drive from Los Angeles and the beach towns of Orange County, it is not unusual for some desert residents to rent an apartment near the beach for two or three months during the summer.  This is a good compromise for people who love the desert in winter, but don't like the intense summer heat.  For example, Laguna Woods Village on the outskirts of  Laguna Beach, California is very popular in the summer with desert residents who are fleeing the heat.  Short term leases on furnished apartments are available in that community for about $1200 to $1800 a month.

If you are looking for more interesting places to retire, use the tabs or pull down menu at the top of this article to find links to hundreds of additional helpful articles.

You may also be interested in reading:

Over 55 Retirement Communities by Four Seasons
Over 55 Retirement Communities by Del Webb
Sun City Texas is a Premier Retirement Destination
Living in an RV after Retirement

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Thursday, February 21, 2013

Surprising Tips for a Healthier, Longer Life

Are you hoping to have a happy, healthy and long life after retirement?  If so, this article is full of fun and interesting tidbits of information that I have gathered from a variety of sources.  In fact, I promise to come back and update this article from time to time as I run across more interesting ideas!

Tips for Staying Healthy in your Senior Years

Take walks.  There are lots of reasons for spending at least 30 minutes a day walking.  First, taking a walk is even better at improving your memory than spending time solving puzzles.  In addition, exercise of any kind is an effective way to reduce depression, which can become a problem as we age. So, keep moving as much as possible.

Stretch frequently.  It may help to take classes in yoga or Tai Chi.  In fact, these gentle stretching exercises seem to help relieve the pain and discomfort of arthritis or fibromyalgia.

Get any type of exercise you enjoy, including gardening.  The longer you exercise in your later years, the healthier and more active you will be.  This will also make your life more enjoyable. People who live in the "Blue Zones," or areas of the world where it is common to live a healthy life until the age of 100, continue to stay active well into their 90's. Once people stop moving, their life is likely to be shortened.

Spend time outside, weather permitting.  Get a little sun on your skin, about 20 minutes a day, before putting on sunscreen.  Natural Vitamin D is protective against a host of diseases, including certain types of cancer.  When you cannot get outside, take a Vitamin D supplement.

If possible, get a pet.  They can lower your blood pressure and stress levels, as well as give you another reason to get more exercise.

Interact with other people.  Socialize. Join a club. Volunteer.  Work on building relationships with your friends and family.  Participate in the religious institution of your choice.  All of these activities will help you stay healthy and happy for years to come.  Whatever you do, do it with zest.  Having a purpose in life has been shown to help people live longer.

Slow down.  Relax.  Take a vacation.  In other words, take time to smell the roses and enjoy your life.

Tips for Living Longer

Most of the above suggestions for healthy living will also contribute to a longer life.  However, to maximize the length of your life, you will want to use the following suggestions, as well.

Watch less television.  Some researchers have concluded that one hour of watching television trims more time from your life than smoking a cigarette.

On the other hand, this doesn't mean you can keep smoking if you want to live a long life.  People who quit smoking by the age of 40 will still live about 10 years longer than those who keep smoking.

Eat a plant based diet, and eat less than you normally do.  According to National Geographic researchers, people who live in the "Blue Zones," where it is not uncommon for people to live to be 100 years old, tend to eat less meat and stop eating a meal when they are 80% full.

Drink a small amount of red wine on a regular basis.

If you are interested in more tips for healthy living, or you would like ideas about where to retire, financial planning, changing family relationships and more, use the tabs or pull down menu at the top of the page to find links to hundreds of additional helpful articles.

Sources for these health facts:

"Live Longer & Better" by Gretchen Reynolds. Parade Magazine, January 27, 2013

You may also be interested in reading these articles:

Healing Relationships with Your Adult Children
Sexually Transmitted Diseases After Age 50
How to Treat Chronic Pain
How to Prevent Bone Loss from Osteoporosis

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Sunday, February 17, 2013

How to Avoid Caregiver Burnout

Are you the primary caregiver for a sick, elderly or disabled spouse or relative in your home?  For many Baby Boomers, care giving is a loving act of kindness.  You may even appreciate the opportunity to spend time with a loved one in their final years.  In other cases, you may feel overwhelmed, but realize that you are only one in the family who is able to take on this responsibility.  Regardless of the reason you are a caring for someone in your home, it is not easy.

While you may be happy and willing to take on the responsibility for someone else, you also need to pay attention to your own needs and take care of them.   After all, if you become ill or collapse from exhaustion, you cannot help someone else.

Caring for the Caregiver

Pay attention to yourself.  Make sure you are getting enough sleep, that you are eating enough and that you are not feeling exhausted or run-down.

Think HALT.  This means do not let yourself become too hungry, angry, lonely or tired.  If you do, you are likely to become depressed, irritable or angry.  You could lash out at other members of your family, including the loved one who is in your care.  In extreme cases, this has even led to elder abuse.  You do not want this to happen to you.

Reach out to others for help.  Find out what resources are available to you.  Are there relatives who can give you a break once in a while?  Even getting a day off once a week, or a weekend off once a month can make a huge difference.  Does your city offer free or low-cost adult day care programs?  Does a nearby nursing home offer respite care or temporary care for the elderly or disabled?  These services can fill in the gaps when you do not have other family members who are able to help.

If there are problems, discuss them with your loved one's doctor.  When my mother, who has dementia, became angry, paranoid and difficult to deal with, my father, sister and brother-in-law discussed her behavior with her physician.  He prescribed an anti-depressant and almost immediately my mother's behavior improved.  Do not keep new symptoms to yourself.  Doctors may be able to help more than you think.

Do not isolate yourself.  Keep up your friendships.  Get out of the house and spend time with others as often as you can.

If your faith is important to you, maintain your religious affiliations.  Participate as often as possible.  Pray. You will benefit from the spiritual support and, sometimes, other members of your church can be helpful.

Treat yourself once in awhile to something you enjoy, whether it is a long bath, a funny movie, or a stroll around the neighborhood.  Keep up a few relaxing hobbies, such as reading your favorite books, needlework, or painting.  If possible, take an occasional short trip. 

Let go of any feelings of guilt.  You are not responsible for the health problems of your loved ones.  You deserve a good life, too.  Enjoy it to the best of your ability.

Resources for Caregivers:

If you are looking for additional help, contact these organizations:

Eldercare Locator at 1-800-677-1116 or at
Family Caregiver Alliance at

You may also be interested in reading:

Senior Living in a Med Cottage or Granny Pod
Alzheimers Symptoms, Risk Factors and Treatment Options
Avoid Grapefruit When Taking Medications
Helping Caregivers Survive the Holidays

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Photo courtesy of

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Senior Living in a Med Cottage or Granny Pod

(You can avoid sterile nursing homes.)
If you have an elderly or disabled relative who needs care, but the cost of a skilled nursing home is out of your reach, one new alternative is a Med Cottage, sometimes referred to as a Granny Pod.  These portable, backyard cottages are charming and can be personally decorated.  They also enable your loved ones to have privacy while keeping them close to their families. Even for people who can afford nursing homes, these small homes are far more appealing than a sterile, lonely room in a nursing home, removed from friends and families.  Granny pods can also be more far more affordable than paying for years of care in a nursing home.

Long Term Care in Your Own Backyard

Med Cottages are attractive portable homes.  They are delivered intact  to the backyard of your house where the cottage is then hooked up to the water, electricity and sewer system of your home.  The cottage operates like a portable nursing home with a private bathroom and kitchenette, as well as a washing machine and dryer.

Granny Pods enable family members to care for an elderly or disabled relative while allowing everyone to maintain their privacy.  At the same time, family caregivers are able to use the state-of-the art technology in the cottage to monitor the occupant, when necessary.

Advantages of Granny Pods

Many families have discovered that nursing homes are too expensive to afford for an extended period of time.  In some parts of the United States, nursing homes can cost $6000 a month or more.  Even in locations where nursing home fees are less expensive, having a Med Cottage in the backyard may be cheaper than paying to support a relative who lives in a nursing home for several years.

In addition, some nursing home patients become depressed and lonely if they are moved to a nursing home that is far away from their family, friends and old neighborhoods.  Having their own cottage just a few steps away from family members is a comfortable alternative than many seniors truly appreciate.

Facts About Med Cottages

There are currently three models of Med Cottages, ranging in size from 288 to 605 square feet.

Each one has a kitchenette that contains a microwave oven and a small refrigerator.  There is also a personal medication dispenser to help patients keep track of their own medicines.

The bathroom is handicapped accessible.

Special features make it possible for caregivers to monitor vital signs of the occupant.

For those with allergies and respiratory problems, the air can be filtered for contaminants.

The granny pods have been set up for easy communication between the cottage and the main home.  There are also special sensors that will alert caregivers to problems.  Some will notify family members in the main house if there are sounds that indicate the occupant may have fallen.

The prices that I have seen mentioned for the Med Cottages have ranged from $90,000 to $140,000, depending on the size of the cottage.  While this may seem like a lot of money, as mentioned before, nursing home care in many parts of the United States can run $6000 a month.  The Med Cottages may also be far less than the cost of building an addition onto your home and they can be easily removed when they are no longer needed.

Limitations of Granny Pods

Of course, granny pods will not keep everyone out of the nursing home.  They will not work for families that do not have a suitable backyard.  Local zoning restrictions may limit their use.

In addition, Med Cottages may not provide adequate care for those elderly patients who are seriously ill, need ongoing medical care or extensive physical therapy.  They may also not be appropriate for family members with severe dementia or Alzheimers, especially if they tend to wander away.

Despite these limitations, granny pods may be a caring way for many families to keep their elderly relatives nearby.

You can find more information about Med Cottages at

If you are looking for more medical and retirement information, use the tabs or pull down menu at the top of the page.  It will link you to hundreds of additional helpful articles.

You may also be interested in reading:

Healing Relationships with Your Adult Children 
Alzheimers Symptoms, Risk Factors and Treatment Options 
Avoid Grapefruit When Taking Medications 
Helping Caregivers Survive the Holidays

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Sunday, February 10, 2013

Ten Ways to Make Money After Retirement

If you are worried about the need to increase your retirement income, one solution is to continue to earn money well after you have stopped working at your current job.  However, many people are unsure of the best way they can make money after retirement.

A number of the "officially" retired people I know are continuing to supplement their retirement income by working at a variety of part-time jobs.   Listed below are ten common ways to supplement your retirement income.

Where to Work after Retirement

1.  Continue your current career from home and work fewer hours.  This is the most common retirement career choice for many of the people I know.  A number of my friends have continued to earn money for years after their official retirement by working as substitute teachers, neighborhood Realtors, bookkeepers for small businesses and insurance agents.

2.  Work as a consultant for firms in your former industry.  Two petroleum engineers I know have chosen this route, which has allowed them to work from home.  They earn a high income while keeping their own hours.  They only take on as many projects as they can comfortably handle, so the work is less stressful.

3.  Keep your former job, but work fewer hours.  Many people decide to job share or work part-time for their former employer.  They find this can be a pleasurable way to earn money, stay in touch with co-workers and feel productive well into their late 60's or 70's.  They often discover that their job is less stressful when they work fewer hours, and they do not have to go through the process of finding a new employer or learning new skills.  This is a common choice for people who have worked for retail stores, restaurants, and similar jobs.

4.  Provide services to other senior citizens.  A large number of retirees are discovering that they have skills that could benefit other seniors.  They charge an hourly fee to help run errands for other seniors, drive them to appointments, complete their tax returns, handle their bills (especially complicated medical bills), organize their family photographs into albums, or assist them in writing a family biography.  Many seniors are willing to pay in order to have someone else help them with these chores.

5.  Teach a class.  Several seniors in my retirement community charge a small fee to lead yoga classes, give guitar lessons, or teach their peers how to use a computer.  The teachers often enjoy the interaction as much as their students.

6.  Become a bonded babysitter.  When we took our grandchildren on a trip to Palm Springs, we hired a sitter from a local babysitting agency to care for the kids while we went out to dinner one evening.  The woman was in her late 60's, and our grandchildren loved the fun activities she brought with her to keep them busy.  She told me she only babysits on Friday and Saturday evenings, and she enjoys the extra money she earns.  Depending on how many hours you want to work, you could earn several hundred dollars a month.

7.  Work for your local school district as a crossing guard.  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, about one-third of crossing guards across the nation are over the age of 65.

8.  Apply for a job at your local senior center or retirement community.  Many of the employees of our local senior center and retirement community are residents who also live here.  Office workers, gate guards, receptionists and many other people who keep our community operating are, for the most part, over the age of 65.

9.  Try that little job that always interested you.  One former stockbroker we know went to work in a health food store after retirement.  Someone else went to work as a part-time receptionist in an art museum.  Several acquaintances of ours are working in gift shops, antique stores and art galleries.  Most of these people had intense jobs when they were younger, but always wanted to have a "fun" job that interested them in their later years.  There is no time like the present to take on an interesting little job that will enrich your life.  Earning an extra $500 to $800 a month can make a huge difference in the life of someone who is living on very little other than their Social Security benefits.

10.  Get creative!  One former Realtor we know is earning extra money on a regular basis by selling her paintings.  She is a prolific and talented artist who now sells her work at a number of Southern California art festivals throughout the year.  She loves being able to paint and earn extra money at the same time.  Other individuals, like myself, earn extra income by writing online articles or e-books.  I know women who sell their quilts and there are men in our community who build cabinets for people to use on their patios or in their garages.  All of these endeavors are a wonderful way to release that pent-up creativity and earn extra retirement money at the same time.

There is another advantage to earning extra money after retirement.  Since many retired workers will continue to pay into Social Security, depending on the amount they earn, their monthly Social Security benefits will be re-evaluated each year.  In some cases, their monthly benefits will be increased, especially if they have fewer than 35 earning years on their record.  This means that the extra money they earn in their 60's and early 70's can pay a small dividend for the rest of their lives. 

With so many employment opportunities for healthy, active senior citizens, there is no need to suffer quietly in poverty simply because you are no longer physically up to the demands of a stressful full time career.  With a little creativity, there are many ways you can supplement your income and increase your financial security as you grow older.

Looking for more financial or retirement ideas?  Use the tabs or the pull down menu at the top of this article to find links to hundreds of additional articles.

You may also be interested in reading:

Do You Need a Million Dollars to Retire?
Cheap Places to Retire
Best Places to Retire on $40,000 a Year
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Thursday, February 7, 2013

Maximize Your Social Security Benefits for an Easier Retirement

If you are dreaming of a more financially secure retirement, there are actions that even the average person can take to dramatically increase their Social Security benefits and make their retirement years much easier.

Many Retirees Earn Low Benefits

As mentioned before in this blog, the average American receives less than $1300 a month in benefits, according to Social Security Administration records.  In addition, approximately $104 a month will be deducted from that amount for those retirees who are also on Medicare.  In 2016, the Medicare deduction could increase to about $123 a month or more for many people, despite the fact that they will not receive an increase in Social Security benefits. 

The result of this is that many individuals will receive less than $1177 a month in benefits after Medicare is deducted; and the average couple will only receive about $2354 a month.  If this is not enough to cover your expenses, there is no reason why you have to accept the average payout as inevitable.  There are definite actions you can take during your working years that can make a significant difference after retirement.

How Your Benefits are Calculated

Did you know that the Social Security Administration calculates your benefits based on your 35 highest earning working years?  If you worked less than 35 years, this means that you may have a number of years with zero income averaged into your work history.  The more years you report an income, the better off you will be in retirement.   If you have worked 35 years, but earned very little income for some of them, replacing those low earning years with more recent years of work at a higher income will also make a difference.

For the same reason, there is a definite Social Security disadvantage for self-employed people who have routinely reduced their reported income by using the maximum number of deductions.  Before you retire, you want to have reported income for as many years as possible and you want to report all your income.  In the long run, you will benefit from this decision, especially if you live a long life.

Advantages of Delaying the Age When You Collect Your Benefits

In addition, if at all possible you do not want to begin to collecting your Social Security benefits until you are at least your full retirement age of about 66 or 67, depending on your current age.  Although you are allowed to begin receiving benefits as early as age 62, you will be paid approximately 25 percent less in benefits for the remainder of your life!  If you become a widow, even your survivor's benefits will be decreased.  If you can postpone receiving your benefits until you are age 70, your benefits will increase by 8 percent for each year you postpone filing after your full retirement age.

Advantage of Continuing to Work After You Begin Collecting Your Benefits

There is another way to increase your Social Security benefits.  You may decide that you will continue to work for a few years, even after you have begun to collect your benefits.  Not only will you receive annual cost of living increases when everyone else does, you may also receive an additional increase in benefits each year because you will continue to pay into the system.  The Social Security Administration recalculates your benefits each year based on the SSI taxes you paid during the previous year. This recalculation increases what you will receive now and in the future.

There are other strategies that have helped many people maximize their benefits.  You may want to order one of the Social Security books from that will help you figure out if there are other strategies that will work for you.

Everyone should also make an appointment with their local Social Security Administration office to ask questions and get more information to help them decide which strategies make the most sense for them.  We have found most employees to be knowledgeable and helpful (although we have received a few incorrect answers on occasion).  In addition, you may want to use one of the online calculators, such as AARP's Social Security Benefits Calculator, in order to estimate what your earnings would be under different scenarios.

If you are interested in learning how to maximize your finances after retirement, you may also be interested in reading these articles:

Do You Need a Million Dollars to Retire?
Cheap Places to Retire
Women and Social Security
Financial Facts Affecting Baby Boomers in 2013

You are reading from the blog:

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This content of this blog is the property of Deborah Diane and may not be reprinted without her explicit permission.  All rights reserved.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Cheap but Risky Timber Pines Florida Retirement Homes

Timber Pines Retirement Community in Spring Hill, Florida, just north of Tampa Bay, has many appealing reasons to recommend it.  However, there are also some possible issues with this community that prospective homeowners will want to know about.

In fairness, I want to present both sides in this article.  I have also included a comment that was left by a current resident.

Reasons to Buy a Home in Timber Pines, Florida

This community has many wonderful amenities that have attracted people to this highly rated community for many years.  Among the amenities are:

24 hour gated community
Minutes from the Gulf Coast beaches and fishing areas
A choice of single-family homes and attached villas
Four golf courses
Nature areas
Walk and bike paths
Tennis, shuffle board and bocce ball courts
Pools and spas
Dance Hall Lodge
Fitness Center
Facilities for woodworking, ceramics, painting, bridge, theater, choir and other activities
Nearby shopping and medical facilities

In addition, the homes in this community are very reasonably priced.  Currently, there are a number of lovely single-family homes in the $75,000 to $150,000 price range.  It sounds like the perfect place to live.  Right?  Keep reading.

The Risk of Buying a Home in Timber Pines, Florida

The area around Tampa, Spring Hill, and within the gates of Timber Pines have reported a number of sink holes.  These are not the dramatic sink holes that you see on the news that have swallowed up entire homes are neighborhoods.  These sinkholes are deep underground.  However, they could still be a serious problem.

We have relatives who live in the community.  They have reported to me that there are weeks when dump trucks drive by their home all day.  The dump trucks contain a special filling material that is pumped into the ground underneath the homes in order to fill in the underground voids and provide underpinning to the homes.  Our relatives had 12 dump trucks of this filling material pumped into the ground underneath their home.  Other people they know have required many more truckloads of material.

The real estate information site, Zillow, also had a contributor point out that there is no true warranty on either this underpinning work or on the repairs that have been made to the home.  In addition, if you purchase a home that has been repaired, it now has a pre-existing condition that may not be covered by your insurance company.  Therefore, if your home begins to crack again from another sinkhole, your insurance company may not cover it.  If the house has not been repaired, many sellers are unwilling to spend the $5000 necessary to have the ground under their home tested, so you won't know if the home has a sinkhole under it until you already own it.  In addition, some insurance companies will no longer insure against damage from sinkholes, even if it has not occurred under that home in the past.

On the other hand, one resident of Timber Pines who commented on this article (you can see their comment below), pointed out that there have been no sink holes in the community beneath the golf courses, roads or common areas.  This could indicate that some homeowners have overreacted to the possibility of sinkholes.  Whatever your thoughts on the topic, it is important that you are aware of the issue before buying a home there.

Here is the comment by TB.  I wanted to make sure everyone had the opportunity to read a recent comment by a current resident of the community:

" I am a new resident in Timber Pines. (June 2015) and my property was a sink hole activity property that was repaired in 2011-2012. I truly believe that most of the claims of sink holes in this community were not true sink holes. During a certain period of time a lot of claims were being made that were not true sink holes and the insurance companies fell for it. Think about it….there have been no reported sink holes on the roads, golf courses (4 of them), club house, lodge, pool areas etc. There are thousands of acres developed and undeveloped in this community and it seems that only the houses have reported sink holes. This raises a big doubt in my mine if all the claims were true sink holes. Sink holes don't pick and choose a certain area to open up in. With all that said, the whole state of Florida is prone to sink holes not just Timber Pines. Timber Pines is a wonderful community that is very well maintained and affordable. The golf courses are some of the best in the state of Florida."

Should You Buy Property in Timber Pines, Florida?

All this does not necessarily mean you should not buy property in Timber Pines.  Some of the homes rent for as much as $2000 a month during the winter when the "snowbirds" come down from Canada and the Northern United States.  If you purchase one of these homes for an average price of about $90,000 and rent it out, you can receive a very high return on your investment.

Second home buyers may also enjoy owning one of these homes because they are so cheap to purchase.

Even if this is going to be your primary residence, you may decide that the affordability of properties in Timber Pines makes buying one worth the risk.  This is a perfectly reasonable decision, as long as you are aware of the potential problems.

To find more information about Timber Pines, you can contact their community association at (877) 862-7767 or go online at  As you will see from their website, it is a beautiful community.

If you are interested in exploring some of the other places you might retire, use the tabs or pull down menu at the top of the page to find links to hundreds of additional articles.

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Photo of entrance to Timber Pines courtesy of