Showing posts with label great places to retire. Show all posts
Showing posts with label great places to retire. Show all posts

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Green Valley Arizona Retirement Communities

Green Valley, Arizona has been a popular retirement area for nearly fifty years.  The first age restricted retirement community in the United States, Sun City, was built here in the 1960’s, and more have been developed in the area since that time.  

Why Green Valley Appeals to Retirees

Green Valley has a warm, sunny climate and a fairly low cost of living, which makes it an appealing location for many retirees.

Green Valley is located approximately twenty miles south of Tucson, Arizona, and 40 miles north of Nogales, Mexico.  Currently made up of about 59 Homeowners Associations, this charming area at the foot of the Santa Rita Mountains occupies 26.3 square miles and has a population of about 20,000 – 25,000 residents.  Most of the homeowner’s associations are restricted to individuals and couples with at least one person over the age of 55 in the household.  However, there are a few homeowners’ associations that are designed to allow families of all ages.

Green Valley, Arizona is one of the largest retirement communities in the world.  Median home prices in the area range from about $100,000 to $200,000, although luxury homes can sell for $600,000 or more.  Green Valley Recreation operates thirteen recreation centers in the community that include golf courses, fitness centers, swimming pools and similar facilities.  The winter months are quite temperate, with an occasional hard freeze at night; in the summer it can be extremely hot during the day.  After all, it is located in the Arizona desert!

Green Valley is a popular location for snow birds who choose to spend their winters in this high desert community.  Short term rentals are available, many of them in the $1,000 to $2,000 price range, although a few can be found both above and below that range.

Concerns about Green Valley

Retirees who are planning to move to Green Valley should confirm the current status of the water problems that have been a serious worry for the residents and businesses located in this area.

In a 2007 report, Pima County expressed concern about the water supply for Green Valley.  In fact, the report concluded that water supplies will be critical by 2017.  This is because of local mining operations, agriculture, golf courses and residential usage.  However, since 2007 steps have been taken to join with the US Bureau of Reclamation to transport and use Colorado River water and reduce the local reliance on excessive pumping from the aquifer.  It is hoped that these efforts will resolve the water crisis.

In addition, another concern is that the crime rate is considered somewhat high in Green Valley, particularly because of the drugs and illegal aliens that have infiltrated the area.  However, although the overall crime rate for the area is high, residents of many of the gated, age-restricted communities do not see crime as a serious local problem.

The final issue that could concern some retirees is that the nearest hospitals are in Tucson, about 24 miles away.

Bottom Line on Green Valley Retirement Communities

This has long been a popular area with retirees, and members of the local residential and business communities are working to resolve the ongoing water problems.  However, before buying a home in this area, you will want to do research on whether or not you should expect water rationing or other limitations on your water usage.  If you are concerned about crime, you may also want to live in one of the many gated communities in the area.

For more information on where to retire in the United States or abroad, common medical problems, financial planning and changing family relationships, use the tabs or pull down menu at the top of this page to find links to hundreds of additional useful articles.

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Sunday, September 23, 2012

Great Places to Retire in the Northern US

About a decade ago, a couple we knew decided to leave the popular Sun Belt city of Dallas, Texas in order to retire to the San Juan Islands in Washington State’s Puget Sound (pictured here).  They bought a sailboat and lived on it for the next decade.  As they aged, they eventually built a home in the tiny town of Friday Harbor, where they still live today. 

While we did not realize it at the time, this couple was part of a growing movement of people who are choosing to forego popular retirement areas such as Florida and Arizona and move to quiet small communities in the northern United States.  Many of them are attracted to the cooler weather, changing seasons, relaxed atmosphere and natural beauty that they are finding in these areas.

Unique Places to Retire in the US

According to a September 16, 2012 article on Yahoo!News entitled “Retirees Head to Unconventional Destinations,” some retirees are choosing to move to these cooler locations:

Camden, Maine
Ruidoso, New Mexico
Durango, Colorado
San Juan Islands, Washington
St. George, Utah
D’Alene, Idaho
Kalispell, Montana
Northern Michigan, along lakes Superior and Michigan

You’ll notice that all of these locations are either in the northern part of the United States or, like Ruidoso, are in a mountainous area with a cool climate and a northern state feeling.  Most of these areas are peppered with charming small towns containing a selection of affordable homes.  For people who want to avoid large retirement communities in hot or tropical climates, such as Florida and Arizona, these locations can seem like Heaven.

Among some of the Baby Boomers I know personally, moving to the northern United States does appear to be a growing trend.  One of the teachers I worked with in Southern California surprised us all by retiring to a small town in Montana about four years ago.  Another couple we know recently moved away from Northern California and purchased a home that is just a mile from the coast of Lake Superior.  In the winter months, when the weather can be severe, they plan to rent a house in Arizona and avoid the worst months of ice and snow.

When our children were growing up, we often took them on vacation during the summer to beautiful vacation areas near Ruidoso, NM and Durango, CO.  Although we never thought about retiring in either location ourselves, we have known other people who chose to relocate to both cities.

Why People Retire in the Northern States

There are many reasons why people are relocating to these cooler locations.  Some people simply do not enjoy the heat that predominates in the southern states of Florida, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and the Southern California desert cities of Palm Springs, La Quinta and Palm Desert.  In other cases, retirees prefer the lush green hardwood trees and heavy forests of the mountains and northern climates rather than the tropical foliage that is more common in the Sun Belt.  They enjoy having four seasons.  A third reason why people choose to live in these locations is to be nearer adult children who are living in these regions because of their jobs.  As we age, many of us prefer not to be too far away from our adult children and grandchildren.

Whatever reason you decide to select one of these more unusual retirement locations, rest assured that you are not alone in making this choice.  For example, Camden, Maine has more people living there who are in their 60’s than there are people living in the town who are in their 20’s and 30’s combined!

Most of the communities on this list are small and charming, with a low cost of living, good hospitals, recreational activities, cultural opportunities, nice restaurants and even the possibility of finding a part-time job in a restaurant, museum or similar facility.  For those who enjoy spending time outdoors hiking, skiing, biking, boating or enjoying similar sports, these towns are especially appealing.

Want more retirement ideas?  Use the tabs or pull down menu at the top of the page to find links to hundreds of additional helpful articles on where to retire in the United States or overseas, medical issues you may develop, financial planning, changing family relationships, travel and more.

If you are looking for a place to retire, you may also enjoy reading:

The Best Sunny Places to Retire (not all of them are in the South)

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