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A tale of two retirements
Old 04-13-2015, 01:33 PM   #1
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A tale of two retirements

First let me set the stage: two week I called my HR department to find out what our healthcare cost would be in retirement. My rough budget for health insurance was a conservative $2,000 a month (The Mrs, Daughter, Son and I) which incidentally is more than the social security I'll start receiving in 14 months. They quoted 1765. No complaints It is what it is. I'll check out OCare. So figuratively speaking - I am on the 18th and can see the clubhouse. So as we ponder on where we want to live in retirement. I thought I'd share two newly retired couples lifestyles - my relatives that we just visited.
Jane and her partner built a brand new 2500 plus sq ft designer three bedroom terra cotta roofed Spanish style home in a very desirable Florida neighborhood. On this block all the homes are the same model. The lots are fairly small the homes backs face a man made lake (complete with an alligator or two). Large lots require more upkeep and no one wants them I am told. Even though here the landscaping is included in the HOA fees. Their home has a massive great room, huge sliders that open on to the obligatory paver patio and screened in pool. - all right out of a magazine. This is the best of 'florida outdoor living' The kitchen features a an oversized island (at least 10ft long) stone countertops and stainless appliances. The bathrooms are large and plush and one features a huge walk stone shower. The two car garage houses the new $43k SUV. The annual taxes and association fees are about $5k. The home cost about $500k all in. It is substantially nicer then the 100 year old home they spent the last 27 years together in up north. They are more comfortable spending then either Mrs or I. Not surprisingly it seems the residents in this portion of the development are Drs, successful entrepenures and the like.

Manny and Gloria (my sister) live about and hour and half north. The inherited 2 bedroom ranch style home sits adjacent to a river (actually more a long 100 yard wide lake) . The landscaping is superb, perhaps the nicest in this 30 year old working man's community. I see bits of clear plastic that confirms the asphalt roof is brand new. My brother-in-law says: "A tile roof would have been $30k - which is why no one has them here." There are new cement walkways and an enlarged driveway that holds their 2 modest cars. The home they sold in NY was large on a big lot - Manny did it all - put in windows, laid brick, redid the kitchen etc., When they moved Down Manny swore to me that he would not be the handy man anymore. The landscape confirms my belief that he can't help himself. The interior of this smaller home is light, airy and freshly redone -the only room untouched is the kitchen. Old but in excellent condition it is clear Manny with have at it next. The view from that kitchen is a joy - the ducks, sandhill cranes, the lake just wonderful. After a tour of the town and a nice lunch out we sit in the screened in lanai and have coffee and I tell them you have a lovely home - what more do you need? I ask Manny what does a home like this cost? "$200K fixed up like ours $1200 taxes per year, 300 HOA fees per year".

I'm not sure we need or would be comfortable with a $500k florida designer home and to have 'high tea' with the "summer on the Vineyard/ Peninsula" crowd. I think I'd be happier with the Budweiser crowd.


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Old 04-13-2015, 01:41 PM   #2
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I'll take House #2 for $200,000!
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Old 04-13-2015, 01:52 PM   #3
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I'll take House #2 for $200,000!
You darn betcha!
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Old 04-13-2015, 02:04 PM   #4
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They both sound lovely!
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Old 04-13-2015, 02:16 PM   #5
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The 200k house is lovely!
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Old 04-13-2015, 02:53 PM   #6
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I'd go for the Bud house too. The High Tea house sounds like the kind of place where someone would call the HOA on me if I tried to change an alternator in my own driveway.
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Old 04-13-2015, 02:54 PM   #7
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I guess it all depends on the assets of each couple. Maybe the first couple is living within or below there means and the second is not.
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Old 04-13-2015, 03:05 PM   #8
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Different strokes, as they say. As long as both couples are content and can afford their choices, we should be happy for them both.
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Old 04-13-2015, 03:14 PM   #9
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While the description of house 2 sounds more like my preference, no location info. That could sway a decision, although a $500K house in a severely controlled neighborhood would never be my choice, it could work for some.

Agree with travelover, it also depends on what your means are and what would be comfortable expenses.
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Old 04-13-2015, 06:00 PM   #10
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#2 sounds ideal for me !
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Old 04-13-2015, 06:09 PM   #11
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Different strokes, as they say. As long as both couples are content and can afford their choices, we should be happy for them both.
That's my view on it too. I could be happy in either as long as each was affordable.
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Old 04-13-2015, 06:57 PM   #12
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I'd be happier if I inherited the first house.
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Old 04-13-2015, 09:18 PM   #13
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Although both sound nice, I prefer #2 as I enjoy the outdoors and gardening. I also don't like cookie-cutter homes.


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Old 04-14-2015, 02:40 AM   #14
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Where can I get the second one?
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A tale of two retirements
Old 04-14-2015, 05:36 AM   #15
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A tale of two retirements

I should have mentioned Jane commented "I need to stop spending". It seems in Florida there are tax advantages to doing finish work post completion of the home (so it doesn't get into you tax base and builder work is incredibly over priced).

The ceiling fans and much other work was completed post closing. The bills apparently were substantial...


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Old 04-14-2015, 07:27 AM   #16
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LOL ok I'll tell you another tale.

My sister is a retired NYC cop, she took the job mainly because everyone out of h.s was taking "government" test and jobs because of the stability. Post office, fireman, police you get the idea. She hated being a cop, her first love is interior design.

fast foward to today she is 57 and her and her husband own a 5500 square foot mcmansion in Wappinger falls NY not far from west point. A million dollar plus number. lol, her property taxes alone run her 1800 month.

She has started her interior design building, her husband is head of security at a nyc hospital and they both collect their cop pensions.

Would I have taken out a mortgage for 550K at age 50? no way BUT they are both happier than pigs in a blanket. they have no kids so no worries there and they have Long term care insurance

So to each his own. if couple in house number one are enjoying their lifestyle then who are we to say they are foolish??
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Old 04-14-2015, 07:35 AM   #17
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I'd go for the Bud house too. The High Tea house sounds like the kind of place where someone would call the HOA on me if I tried to change an alternator in my own driveway.

Well said. +1 on avoiding the HOA police !
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Old 04-14-2015, 08:46 AM   #18
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If I could easily afford house one within my budget, I would take something like that. If not, I would be happy with house 2 or even a lesser house if that's all that fit in my budget.

The key is fitting the lifestyle in the budget. I have no intent on leaving a ton of money behind......................
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Old 04-14-2015, 09:18 AM   #19
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I think it's good that different people prefer different things. Otherwise the price of house #2 would be higher, and the price of house #1 would be lower.

My house is more in the house #2 category, but I know a lot of people who prefer the house#1 type of home. That's fine. To each their own.

Personally neither house would work for me - I prefer west coast beaches to Florida beaches and don't tolerate humidity well... I'll stay in my house for now.
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Old 04-14-2015, 09:26 AM   #20
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I do not understand what the OP was trying to get across....

He tells the tale of two different couples that have retired.... both seem to be doing what they want to do... no indication that either couple can or cannot afford what they are doing... and in the end kinda snubs the 'rich' couple....


Heck, they could have cashed out some stock options and have 10s of millions of dollars and are living well below what they could afford... couple #2 seems to be a blue collar couple... and they might be spending a much higher % of their savings to live where they are....


Without any more details, I think OP is showing some bias against the 'rich' couple.... why
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