Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Living Richly In Retirement-Choosing to Stay in Place

Over the last few months, I'vebeen  exploring options in an attempt to reach a decision.  This decision has to do with where and how I live in the future. Should I move to Denver (where my sister and brother live)?  Should I downsize from this house?  Should I do both?  Many retirees face decisions such as these. In my case, here at the beginning of retirement, I've finally come to a conclusion. Along with making this decision is the knowledge that years down the road I still may want to rethink these options.

Ultimately, I've decided to remain in place. As with all decisions, although I'm happy with mine, there are ups and downs.  In this case, the advantages of staying where I am are many.  I deliberately bought a house that was fairly new (1999), all on one level, and with no basement. This means that if I stay here a long time, I will still be able to move and function with ease.  I'm thrilled with the climate overall (although I will look at summers elsewhere). Although we're not the type to see each other every week or so, all of hubby's relatives are here. This has been a big plus for the kids. I love my house and I'm happy in my church. I have easy access to roads and travel, when I want to leave. And costs, especially housing, are affordable and manageable. One of my kids is a college student and the other lives in the Cayman islands. Both are at the stage where they still fee the need to have a place to "go home to", and that affects my downsizing decision, as well as the need for "dog space". And of course I've just committed to two to three years minimum of college and would like to avoid losing even more credits through a transfer. All great reasons to stay.

There are also downsides that have to be faced.  When I'm in Denver, I'm envious of the fact that sister and brother regularly get together on weekends for dinner, football games and the like. I love it when I'm there, and that alone may cause me to move to Denver in the far future. This is especially true now that I'm single.  While I love the weather overall, I'll probably want to escape for sometime to Denver or elsewhere in the summers (and it would be nice to live a little further away from tornado alley). By not downsizing, I've committed myself to limiting my budget further and bringing in at least some form of income. Lastly, I'm a left wing hippy whose committing to living in one of the most conservative areas of the country............

As always, decisions lead to more decisions.  Yesterday my son and I sat down and made master lists-one of improvements to the house that need to be prioritized, a decluttering list, and a yard list. Many of the former are maintenance issues (not necessarily delayed maintenance, although all will of course have to be prioritized financially), some are improvements that will cut down costs and make life easier in the long one. As to my yard, we'll I've done nothing to it except mow it and grow some pots on the porch for four years, because I wasn't going to stay. Now I guess my readers will get to see first had how a fifty something gal and her college student son expand flower beds, build raised beds for gardening, plant trees, install a pond and generally turn the yard into my dream back yard.

It's amazing how things change, even in retirement.


  1. I think one winter in Colorado might make you regret a move! could you spend the summer up there? I know what you mean about get togethers - when I went to see my friend 2 hrs away it was so nice just 'hanging out' and visiting. I wish I had that here but only one other friend I get together with and because of our schedules that isn't very often.


  2. You sound happy with your decision and plans. The dream yard sounds lovely. Perhaps you can think of ways to make it easier to maintain while designing it. You might also be able to get help in specific work. Is there a scout troop associated with your church or other youth group? Perhaps they would do a service day landscaping. Do you have friends who can pass along plants to help with the cost? So much fun to make a dream become reality.

  3. I hope you are thinking of useful plants for your garden as well as flowers and pretty trees. A few fruit trees, easy herbs and veges would help your frugal lifestyle.

  4. Stellamarina, my first goal with my landscaping is to have things that use less water in tis arid climate and to lower the maintenance requirement. I may grow even more veggies than I did this past year but it will probably be in pots because of my maintenance requirements.

  5. First, I was reading the part when you were describing yourself as a "left wing hippy," and I shared your feelings about being left-wing hippy in a conservative state. Then I read the part about "growing some pot," and did a double take. I'm not that much of a left-wing hippy, I thought, a little surprised. Then I reread it and saw that you said, "growing some pots," plural. LOL


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