By Kent S. Collins
Tribune Media Services
DEAR SENIOR FORUM: To move or not to move, that is the retirement question. We live in the suburbs. We would like to live in the country. But we do not want to put too many miles between us and our children and grandchildren, who live here in the metro area. We want them to visit us.
What do you advise? – M.L.D.
ANSWER: Move to a vacation area. Resort areas are more likely to stay that way. Country property close to family in the city gets gobbled up by developers and bankers for new suburbs.
Moving is a tricky proposition for retirees. They must get more in amenities and family-friendly attractions than they give up in the emotion of the old family place.
This letter from a retired couple may give you inspiration, even if not advice.
DEAR SENIOR FORUM: We are not rich retirees. Neither of us came to the golden years with fat pensions, because my husband did a lot of job-hopping, and I interrupted my employment to raise children. At retirement time we did not have the option to travel extensively or maintain two homes or live in a fancy resort.
But after a few years, we sold our suburban house and bought a condo on a Missouri lake. It is modest – two bedrooms and a small deck overlooking the marina and one finger of the lake. It costs about what our suburban house sold for. Most of the other owners in this development are weekend-types, but about 25-percent are permanent residents. Many of those are retirees like us.
We bought this place in hopes of luring our family members here for vacation. My husband has grown children and grandchildren from his first marriage. Together, we have a son and daughter, two in-laws and three grandchildren. Then we count our brothers and sisters and their spouse. In all, some 30 people get invited to visit.
This area is located 20 minutes from a four-lane highway. There’s a commuter airport with jet service a 90-minute drive away. We keep a modest boat docked just outside the condo. And beginning after Christmas, we begin coaxing family members to make their vacation plans and to get on our “Condo Calendar.” Most visit every year. Some visit two or three times a year, like our daughter who lives just three hours’ drive time away.
The Condo Calendar is our retirement lifestyle. It is hectic in the busy summer months. It is messy with so many visitors in this small place. It is tiring, hosting one group after another. But it is important for us to be interesting and vital to people we love and like. I wonder if people would come to visit us if we still lived in the suburban subdivision? – Mrs. B.
(Send your questions and/or advice to your fellow retirees via The Senior Forum c/o Tribune Media Services, 2225 Kenmore Ave., Suite 114, Buffalo, NY 14207, or to email@example.com.) 2005 TRIBUNE MEDIA SERVICES INC.