Should We Do That?

Although we’ve recently been focusing on the idea of a big road trip, Brett and I talk almost daily about what we want to do and where we want to go when our time in Nashville is over. Mazatlan? Big road trip? New England? Settle down somewhere else in the U.S.? Something else? All of these appeal to us in one way or another, but they all come with pros and cons, and we’re grateful we have the time and opportunity now to examine all of them more deeply. It’s fun to have possibilities or to sketch out rough plans, and it gives us plenty to talk and think about together, but we’re not getting any closer to making a decision, let alone the right one. All we know for certain now is what we don’t want.

We decided this past weekend that it was time we set up a spread sheet. We need to define what we want and will need going forward, and then evaluate the different ideas and places we’ve come up with using those criteria. We’ve made a list of nine items once again, but unlike the past when many of our criteria were in support of our daughters and how a relocation would affect them, the focus this time was solely on our needs as aging retirees. We need to have a logical system for evaluating choices versus getting wrapped up in ideas that have us potentially changing our mind every couple of months or even weeks. Spontaneity, creativity, adventure, and trying something new have always played a strong role in our decision making, but this time is different.

Below is our list of nine criteria to evaluate the potential of particular locations or travel ideas. None of these have been ranked (yet) as being any more important than any other except for cost of living/affordability and healthcare. We discovered when we did this the last time that as we went through the process of evaluation our wants and needs mostly sorted themselves out and ranked themselves without our intervention. Back in 2014, much to our surprise, Kaua’i met eight of our nine criteria, but I don’t think that lightening is going to strike again. Our nine criteria this time are:

  • Cost of living/affordability
  • Healthcare/dental care
  • Housing
  • Proximity to family
  • Adventure/activities
  • Climate
  • Transportation
  • Taxes
  • Senior services

We have less than two years until it will be time to move on, and we’d like to know sooner rather than later where we’re going and what we need to be doing to get there in the most cost effective and efficient way. We’re fortunate to have a variety of choices and time on our side for now, but we know we have to get it right. There will be no more do-overs for us this next time.

14 thoughts on “Should We Do That?

  1. Two years sounds like a long time, but I’ll be commenting when you take off for the next phase “how did it go so fast??”. It still seems like yesterday you visited San Diego taking one of the girls to college!

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  2. I totally understand. My little 720 sq ft weekend/will be retirement house was in same town as my doctor, one kid, and two other kids said they were moving back there in a couple of years. I am two minutes by car from the local hospital ER, 45 minutes from the best hospital in this state. I have a basement in an area prone to tornadoes, and it is a 20 minute walk to Aldi and CVS on the same side of the street as my house so I don’t have to cross a major intersection. It is a two minute drive to Target. I won’t walk there because it is across a major intersection. It is in a major university town with culturally diverse lively neighbors thanks to all the grad students who live in the neighborhood. It is a bit noisy at all hours of the night sometimes though but I don’t care. I can feel the energy. It also has several older retirees in the neighborhood. Bonus was it was fairly cheap. I admit I originally wanted to move to the beach tho, until a hurricane took out my neighbor’s tree and landed on my roof at my work house and it is not even close to the coast, yet we still had hurricane force winds. That made me decide a big no to living at the beach. Retirement house is further north. No place will be perfect but you will find somewhere you like. I am very happy with my choice but didn’t know I had done the right thing until I moved in. It is a big decision for y’all, but y’all are resourceful, flexible folks and I have confidence you will select somewhere that is satisfactory to you and make the best of it.

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    1. No place is ever going to be perfect but it sounds like you found a great retirement place that fits your needs (and even has the stores on the right side of the street!).

      Our spreadsheet will hopefully help us get a better handle on where we want to go or do next because right now it feels like we’re jumping from one thing to another, or getting ready to jump. We want to land someplace for the right reasons, or at least as many of them as possible. Brett has said over and over he doesn’t want to move again once make a decision (a road trip would sort of change that although it might give us an extended look at other places we should/could consider). I’m grateful for the time we have, but neither of us wants to wait until the last minute to decide where we’re going.

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  3. Huge decisions. I am betting lots of your readers are in the same boat.
    Time is passing so quickly. I hear your “voice” saying the same thing. God bless military medical! (Never did I ever think I would say that). At least we have choices.
    PS- don’t forget the base hopping. I think there is a base nearish to the area the girls are.
    Maybe six months there and six months near your son? Base jump from those places?
    We all feel too young to not plan travel. How did we get to be the senior of senior citizens?

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    1. It is a huge decision, bigger than we imagined honestly, and we want to get it right and choose a location (or travel) for the right reasons. Time speeds by these days, so although nearly two years looks like a lot of time, we know it will pass quickly and we want to give ourselves time to get ready, whatever that entails.

      We did look into base hopping, but the catch is that the rent charged is what BAH is for that region! Have you seen what those are like these days? Our rent would be in the $3,000+ range per month on bases near our daughters, which is w-a-y more than we want to pay, even though rent would covers everything. So, it’s a fun idea but not economically sensible for us.

      Travel is still in our idea bin, but how and where will be different from before. That’s about all we know for now.

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  4. If you can swing it, I think you should leave Kai with one of your kids and do the National Parks road trip and then determine where you want to settle after that. I’m not surprised Kauai met a lot of your criteria! Just for fun, I looked at what rentals cost there and it’s about the same as where I live. I did find a couple of houses for rent that weren’t too bad as far as rent, but they both had no pets policies. As you age it’s just too far from family, so that would seem to be a huge negative, but at least you got to live there–twice!

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    1. LOL – I was talking with Meiling today and asked if she would be able to maybe watch Kai one of these days and she said not until her cat dies – “if it wasn’t a problem I’d already have a dog.” I asked about WenYu, but while she would love it her partner doesn’t like dogs (he’ll be here at Christmas and I’m hoping he and Kai will hit it off). Anyway, we can’t imagine being away from our pup for that long.

      There are rentals we could afford on Kaua’i but it’s so much more than just rent (and finding a rental that will accept a pet is VERY hard). For us the cost of living would include returning to the mainland every year to see the girls and their families. But, we’d love to be back there again – we’re feeling a bit homesick for Kaua’i right now.

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      1. I guess I’m not surprised you miss Kauai and probably will even more when winter comes! Could you spend the winters there and the rest of the year somewhere closer to your kids? I was thinking of going there for vacation in 2023, but I checked the prices and it’s so much more expensive than it was the last time I went in 2019. I’m hoping the prices will come down.

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      2. We talked about Kaua’i this past weekend, and as much as we live it and miss it know it would be a massive financial drain, even if we only went for a few months each year. Kaua’i requires serious money, and we know there are better locations for us even thought part of our hearts will always remain on Kaua’i.

        As it grows colder we miss it more and more, but not enough to go back. I don’t know what it’s going to take to get prices down there, but whatever it is it win’t be happening any time soon.

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  5. I think you have your priorities right. Proximity to family is more important as we age, but adult kids do move around. Health care is also paramount. As for adventures, I am finding that shorter trips scratch that itch just fine. Think a month abroad, not a year, for example. Or a city break of a week. Good luck!
    Jo

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    1. I hear you about adult kids moving around. Meling told me she’s thinking of relocating to Canada with her partner, and YaYu doesn’t know if she’ll be staying in Philly or not – it will depend on where she attends grad school. So, we’re not going to base any decision on where the kids are now.

      There is so much to think about, but the spreadsheet should help us clarify our thinking.

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  6. Isn’t it wonderful to have options and to also have the time to think about all those options! When we moved to our current location about 3 years ago, our main reasons for moving were to be closer to one of our children, to downsize, and to move to a smaller town with less crime and less bigger city woes. There still is plenty to do in this area, we are about equal distance from the mountains or the ocean and we still have seasons but don’t have to deal with shoveling snow for months on end. Healthcare is plentiful and close. We briefly thought about moving to a property we have in another state, but the nearest town of any size and nearest hospital is over 30 minutes away. After a vacation stay there, we decided it was ok for short periods but not for the long-term. Interesting how our priorities change as we age!
    I’m sure you’ll come to a great decision – and it might be something you haven’t even thought of yet!

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    1. We thought before this weekend that western NC might be a good lication for us but after visiting we realized for a variety of reasons it would be great for vacationing but not full-time living. I am grateful we have other options, and which will be the right one for us will eventually separate itself from the pack for all the right reasons.

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