Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Single Retiree-Choosing Where to Live

This week there was an article in the Dallas newspaper. In our area, the number of single retirees and seniors is at an all-time high. Somehow I think that this is a natural trend and not just a Dallas issue (although I expect that warmer climes have higher numbers)

As a single retiree, I’ve come to realize that there are many others like me out there. Some widowed, some separated, some never married. Whatever the reason, as singles enter pre-retirement and retirement, we have some unique challenges. Then again, otherchallenges we face are the same that couple retirees the world over have to deal with.
 A major decision for many retirees is where to live. Here again, we singles face some of the same challenges, but often have unique requirements.

When couples decide where to live when they retire, the usually compromise on an area that has some good things for both, and/ or they move next to family, in my experience. Singles may not have to compromise, but we also don’t have another person to bounce ideas off. And, depending on interests, we may have to make our own compromises. Do I live close to family, or where it is cheaper to live? Do I move to the east coast (my ideal location is Beaufort SC) and be hours by flight and car away from all family. Because we’re alone, many may make the choice to be closer to family.

Single retirees, especially women, may have to make greater compromises on location when it comes to safety issues. I know for myself, I’m not likely to choose a rural or semi third world location in retirement as a single gal, even if those options might have come into play when I was still a couple. Also in my case (and I am in no way a paranoid person) the home itself must have a certain level of security. And of course there are the financial implications of purchasing a home on one instead of two retirement or social security incomes (which I will address later).

From my limited experience I would also say that singles need to take social outlets and opportunity to meet others into greater account when they move. Obviously couples need social outlets and friends as well-but there is a basis in the couple’s relationships for most folks that make entering the social scene a bit easier. I certainly would want to make sure that there were outlets for singles with my interests and a church that had programs that would serve me, just to mention a couple. Not necessarily “singles” groups, but the knowledge that I would have opportunities as a single person to meet and socialize with others (both singles and couples).

Last but not least, buying a retirement location on a single income has its own challenges, as does living on one instead of two social security or retirement incomes.

While at the moment I hope to remain in this house, eventually (in five years, say) I will look to downsize. I’ve just begun to think about options. What about you-single or couple-what issues have come into play when deciding where to retire and the type of community? What kind of options have you considered for yourselves?


  1. I am also single. I prefer to live in NYC where I have always lived. There are a lot of activities here and many are inexpensive. Safety is an issue for me and I would not want to live in a remote area. It is easy to get around without a car and good medical care. Even if you are part of a couple,you have to be sure you can get along on one Social Security check-when one dies the other has to be able to pay the bills on less. If I were moving to a new location,I would look for similar amenities.

  2. I actually feel VERY safe living rural. BUT----I will probably choose to live in a city that has good snow removal. I have told my dh that I will move the minute after he is gone- because I cannot take care of the snow and grass at this place.
    Why do you think SC is a place to be? I am thinking that I will live within 4 hours of the DC area. Unless the government goes down---that is where my children will end up for the next 15 years. After that- I don't care where we "all" move. As long as I am close to the kids -and the sun shines - I can live just about anywhere.

  3. JBO I liove the immediate dc area but it is now too expensive fr me. I really love the carolina coast area. I like the climate, I can deal with the cost of living, there are lots of reasons although i will probably not end up there.

  4. DH and I don't have children, so we'll have to find some type of setting ... likely a retirement community ... that would offer various levels of care. On the other hand, I suppose that frees us to move anywhere we like ..


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