City, Small Town, or Rural Setting: Your Retirement Choice?

- October 18, 2016
A previous guest post, Downsizing To a Forever Home, generated some interesting comments about where to retire: an urban setting, long time home in the suburbs, smaller town, or in a more rural setting. Author, Barbara Hammond and husband, Dave, moved from Philadelphia to the seaside town of Cape May, New Jersey. She says the couple have found the perfect place to put down roots. It has a busy, resort feel in the summer and a quiet, locals only vibe during colder weather.

That post prompted a suggestion to ask some follow up questions about the benefits and pitfalls of each retirement choice.

Betty and I gave serious thought last year to a move to downtown Phoenix. After 30 years in our suburban Scottsdale home we liked the idea of a more vibrant environment, public transportation, and being close to restaurants, theaters, museums, and sporting venues. The smaller housing options were what we thought we wanted, too. 

Well, that wasn't our final choice. Being close to family became the deciding factor. A condo wasn't really our style and single family homes were too pricey. The lack of a yard for Bailey was a problem. We thought the concrete and traffic noise would wear us down. 

We settled on a suburban home. It was slightly bigger than the previous one, within minutes of our grandkids, and with a big backyard for family gatherings, BBQ meals, and plenty of space for Bailey to run and play. Like all American suburbs it has too many strip malls and traffic. But, there are several excellent parks nearby, a full range of restaurant choices, local theaters and a good community college just a few minutes away. 

Betty says she would love to live in a small town. She likes the idea of being able to walk more than drive, knowing the local merchants by name, and forming a real sense of community. Unfortunately, no such place exists close enough to our family without the reality of cold winters, a fatal flaw for us.

Madeline, a regular reader, thought she and her husband would enjoy living in a rural community in the White Mountains of Arizona. They moved to a smaller home in the forest that seemed like a dream location. Then, the reality of being at least 2 hours from trusted doctors and full service hospitals, very few restaurants or entertainment options, and a town that "closed" during the winter struck the couple. They decided their home back in a Phoenix suburb was a much better choice. 

So, what do you think? Which choice is one you have made, or would make if given the opportunity? Does living in a city excite you, or are you happy with the relative quiet of a suburb? Do you call a smaller town home? What are the major attractions of such a choice? How about a rural environment? Is the isolation perfect for you, or do you agree with some of Madeline's issues with that type of life?

Each retirement is a unique journey; the selection of where to live is just as individual a choice. I look forward to your comments!

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