Best Places to Live When You’re Over 50

2014 Update to Best Places to Live, here.

Two years back, I did a little research on the best places to live if you’re starting out – or starting over. I covered various ages and stages. But what if you’re at midlife, 50 or older? What if you’re in full-blown “reinvention” mode?

Let’s face it, many of us are in the “starting over” category, and more than once. We don’t necessarily have buckets of cash at our disposal or a partner ready to share and support our adventures. You could say that starting out at 22 or 25 puts you squarely in the same situation, but there’s a significant difference – life is generally all about you.

And that’s as is it should be – you’re young, strong, flying the nest or finishing college. You may be plenty scared but you’re taking off all the same, about to gain experience and discover what works for you.

And, as the saying goes, “you have your whole life ahead of you.” It’s frightening – and thrilling!

Starting over after age 50 offers its own set of considerations – advantages, yes – and realistically, constraints.

It’s not better or worse, but it’s certainly different. It’s about letting go as much as diving in. It’s more than relocation; it’s the best part of reinvention – rediscovering yourself.

Why Start Over at 50 or 60?

So why are people starting over at 50 or 55 or 60?

  • You might find yourself “free” and somewhat aimless, starting over after a marriage ends. We all know that Gray Divorce is increasingly prevalent, and widowhood may strike at any time.
  • Your kids may have moved on with their lives – and single or partnered – you long for something new, without necessarily crossing a continent or an ocean to see your children, or possibly grandchildren.
  • You may be starting over in a career or job – no longer unusual at midlife. But you will be competing with those younger than yourself, and you want to locate to a market with appropriate opportunities.
  • Whatever the reason for starting over, with your additional wisdom often comes aches and pains, the expense of doctors or medications, the need for a certain climate and also, affordability and accessibility to what you need for physical health.
  • You may be willing to admit that while you’ve always wanted to live on the West Coast or the East Coast – or London or Paris – you have less energy or emotional resilience than you had 25 years earlier. Or even five years earlier!

I’ve been surprised at how often my two-year old research continues to provide some sort of service. Recently, one or two Empty Nesters have popped by to read, so I thought I would update those findings specifically for the 50+ crowd, pull together whatever I could find on the web, and add a few thoughts of my own.

I’m no longer contemplating Empty Nest. I’m there.

Unsettled at Empty Nest

Facing those “starting over” questions is tough at any age and in all sorts of circumstances. If you’re married, you have two individuals to consider – most likely two jobs, two sets of preferences in what you envision as the next chapter, and ideally you also have someone with whom to share the stresses of any relocation.

It’s less frightening to start over when you’re not alone.

But it’s still frightening!

Single at Empty Nest?

It’s another ballgame. Theoretically, you have only yourself to depend on financially, but also only yourself to please when it comes to the future. At least, that’s what we think a few years earlier. Let me say, it doesn’t necessarily work out that way in reality.

In fact, a recent comment on “Starting Out and Starting Over” states:

I’m… struggling to feel comfortable with this next life chapter without my children… I feel so unsettled and torn.

Adding to this Empty Nester’s understandable indecision?

Young adult children spread across the US, and a strong desire to live her own life more fully, having survived a bout of cancer.

Resources on Starting Over After 50

Speaking purely of the women I know, we seem to carry the familial care-taking role with us well beyond our active care-taking years. Ceasing to do so – even provisionally – is a challenge. We find ourselves seeking compromise scenarios in which we gain additional measures of whatever we want for ourselves, without feeling as though we’re straining critical connections to those we love.

We hope to settle on reasonable geographic access to family if at all possible. For them, as well as for us.

So where do we pluck our possible locations from? If we know what the considerations are, how do we choose a place to start over while hedging our bets?

  • AARP provides a nice summary of options on Starting Over After 50. It offers its Top 10 Places to Live on $100/Day including Spokane (WA), San Antonio (TX), Roanoke (VA), and Pittsburgh (PA).

Might I also suggest that if you’re searching for potential partners, you find demographic data on available men or women in your age range? Google, for example, “Best Places for Meeting Single Men Over 50.” You get the idea.

But keep in mind that you should be focusing on this next chapter in your life – not just a year or two. Think big, or at least, “bigger.” Reinvention may be an overused term, but it’s appropriate for millions of us. This Huff Post piece, hot off the online press, mentions an upcoming PBS Special focused on exactly that!

What’s Next?

I may have mused on what’s next for Hillary Clinton not long ago (and had some fun doing it), and we may have to wait a bit to see what’s next for her in 2016. Hillary aside, most of us are not flush with funds and, simply put, a “misstep” made at 50 or 60 provides less recovery time than the same experience at 30 or 40 – financially as well as emotionally.

When you’re considering how far and wide to cast your net for potential relocation, I would certainly factor in your:

  • Propensity for risk and your ability to be flexible
  • Financial situation (not just now, but 5 years out, 10 years out, etc. – run the numbers!)
  • Comfort with travel (if children and grandchildren will be far away)
  • Need to make friends quickly; how sociable you are
  • Romantic interests (looking to date?)
  • Career / profession – whether newly starting or taking it on the road
  • Health / medical needs – not just today, but in 5 or more years’ time
  • Ability to change your mind – financially and logistically
  • Possibilities of a trial period in the proposed location if possible
  • Ability to view the new location and life as one where you can see yourself older (10+ years? 20 years?)

Gather Suggestions and Input

Suggestions for how to gather data of your own – that is tailored to you?

Do you belong to any Facebook groups in which members live in the areas you’re considering? Can you ask for input?

Perhaps you have friends or relatives you can stay with for a few weeks, as a sort of trial period without making a major move.

Have you asked your children how they feel about you’re relocating? Have you factored in travel logistics and expenses, or the extent to which you will tolerate living at a distance from family?

Are there others you can tap for their counsel?

Do you know what you’re good at? What interests you? Where can you pursue what you’d like to learn or try your hand at?

Using myself as an example, both my sons are in college. One will be in the Northeast for another few years and the other, in a matter of months, could be almost anywhere including either coast or Europe.

As to how I make my living, theoretically, a writer or consultant can work remotely anywhere I have reliable Internet. Then again, there’s the issue of proximity to service providers I’ve known for years, existing relationships (and all their complexities), not to mention the comfort of what is familiar – especially important (in my opinion) when you’re single and female.

Yes, I’ve made some assumptions in that statement. They apply to me; they may not apply to you. And I might also say that Paris is familiar!

Starting Over After 50 and Single

The woman who commented recently has specific questions. She is ahead of the game because she knows generally what she’s looking for, and she’s soliciting input and feedback. She’s in her 50s, and it sounds like she’s single.

She writes:

I want a friendly town and smart. Spiritual but authentic. A place with a lot to do but not a lot of neighborhood noise at night. No humidity. No cold. I’m thinking of Silver Lake, CA or Santa Monica.

These aren’t places I’m familiar with.

Any readers who are? Any real world input to provide? Any alternative suggestions?

I could say the same myself; while I’ve lived in Paris and loved it, I’m not sure I want to be an ocean away from my sons at this time. I’m not 100% convinced I could remake my life overseas, though that doesn’t mean I’ve dispensed with that idea; like this reader, I find myself feeling unsettled and torn.

  • So for now, do we have input on Silver Lake and Santa Monica?
  • Other suggestions for locations that are warm, friendly, authentic, and things to do?
  • And if you have some, any details on the social life and the cost of living?
  • Have you relocated at 50+ or are you considering doing so?
  • What are you learning from that experience?
  • Who else is dreaming of Paris or some other far-off locale, at least for a few weeks to soak up all it has to offer?
  • How are you managing to balance being realistic with a desire for something new?

Images, BigStockPhoto.

Image of Paris Rooftops, Yours Truly.


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  1. says

    I plan to stay right where I am. My house is all on one level with no stairs and I have insurance and money saved to just stay here. I don’t plan to live long if I become too incapacitated.

  2. says

    A relocation is probably on the horizon for Entrepreneur and I. The longer I’m separated from my kids/grand loves, the less I like it. Economically, it’s not feasible right now, employment-wise. Starting over is always full of stress and uncertainty. You’ve outlined some excellent questions and things to consider.

    • BigLittleWolf says

      We’ll be interested to know how you progress on this one, Lisa. It’s easy to think about starting over, but doing it is so much more involved – for some of us, anyway. I certainly understand the desire to be closer to loved ones. I’m hoping some readers will have suggestions for Deborah, the woman who left a comment which kicked off this “update” of reinvention / relocation considerations.

      That “unsettled” feeling which she raises is something many can relate to. And as you say, the stresses involved in starting over are not insignificant!

  3. says

    I know Silverlake very well…Santa Monica not as much. While it has an alternative vibe (artists, not a lot of cosmetic surgery, hip urbanness) Silverlake is chock full of edgy young people. I actually feel kind of old when I’m there, as much as I love it. Santa Monica is extremely expensive. In general, L.A. is very youth-centric and not particularly friendly. It’s a moneyed, who-you-know place. Asheville, NC is much friendlier towards older people…lots of retirees there, but still with that alternative, arty feeling. If I could choose, I’d pick Asheville over anywhere in L.A. anyday.

    • BigLittleWolf says

      Thanks, Anne. It occurs to me that Asheville is also wonderfully located for those who love to go to school. I don’t know Charlottesville, but I’ve heard it’s beautiful. And of course, UVA is there. So for those who would also like to be students for life… Two wonderful suggestions!

  4. says

    These words couldn’t have been more perfectly timed. Just walked through my home, surveying what needed to be packed for Goodwill and what should go with me to my next home. My lease is up in 6 months and I have NO earthly idea where I’ll go. Do I buy a sensible townhome or rent a creative loft? Stay in Atlanta or move out of town? Can I give up grass for a hassle-free environment? Should I move closer to my mom who is 82? Will my kids ever feel at home if I make a drastic change? At 60, how can I make brand new friends?

    It’s daunting. Thank you for a great article.

    • BigLittleWolf says

      Daunting. Exactly, Lisa. Maybe we’ll hear from some who are in the process or moving through to the “other side” of it…

  5. Valentine says

    We started over on Amelia Island, Florida… an island close to a big city with doctors and a nice airport… lots to do in a beach/marsh setting and travel twice a year to new places. Start over in a place that grabs your heart. Your kids, and mom, will understand and come to see you! You won’t regret it!

    • BigLittleWolf says

      Valentine, Having visited Amelia Island last summer (loved it), I can thoroughly understand why it gets a thumbs up! Wonderful people. Very walkable. Mix of ages. Accessible to so much.

      Great advice to start over in a place that grabs your heart!

  6. Madelia says

    It’s my birthday— and I realized today I’m closer to 60 that I am to 50. Son in college, son in middle school. Divorced as of this summer. (Ex moved to Asheville, ironically.) I have two housefuls of furniture— my own and my parents’ in storage— and two condos. I didn’t plan to stay here forever, but I’m tied here until at least #2 son goes to college. And maybe even then, because I like it here, my condo is better-sized than a house for retirement purposes, and the area is great, if expensive, but I expect my requirements will change somewhat at 65. It checks all the boxes, except that it’s not the Atlas Mountains of Morocco or a farmhouse in Syria, Virginia, or the high desert of Santa Fe or an Adirondack pine wood. It’s not where I expected to end up, and I wonder if I still have time to end up somewhere else. Or maybe I just get a little Airstream—

    • BigLittleWolf says

      Lovely to hear from you – and a very happy birthday, Madelia!

      I certainly understand the ties until #2 son goes to college, and there are advantages to smaller spaces as we get older. Less to pay for, less to worry about.

      Ah, Morocco and other exotic locations… I understand the wondering part as well. We just don’t know what we don’t know.

      For now, I hope you have a relaxing and enjoyable evening ahead. I remind myself that each day is a gift. May you have a wonderful day.

  7. lunaboogie says

    My husband and I plan to do this in the next 2 to 3 years in our late 50’s – move to the charming Victorian seaside town we love, 2 hours away from the city where we now live. The one thing it lacks is warmth all year, though it is drier than where we are now, but winters are more blustery. It has culture (music galore, writers’ conferences, art walks, a theater that shows fine films) plus is close to river valleys and mountains for hiking. I know I can work there, because I’ve done it before – twice. I even have some other ideas for work, more for fun than money. We tried out living there when we were newly married, moved back there again when the little girl started school but that lasted only a year for several reasons. We’re determined to try it one last time.

    Yet I cringe when I think of upping and going. I am just getting THIS house the way I want it, THIS garden the way I want it. I actually like my job here. And my mother is here. This is my daughter’s home – the reason we are not out of here already is so she can come home for the Summer at least once. Yet I know that living there, in my dream community (did I mention that people actually show they care about each other there? I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that it takes only 5 min to drive across town, not 95) I am my most authentic self. And my most happy self.

    I love Santa Monica, but it’s not really a town. Eureka is kind of artsy. So is Mendocino. So is Ashland, Oregon, especially if you love Shakespeare. Different towns on the big island of Hawaii. heaven. I recently spent 2 days in Woodstock, Vermont – very charming. Victoria BC., lovely. I haven’t yet been to the old city of Quebec, but I bet I (and you) would love it.

    • BigLittleWolf says

      Wonderful input, Lunboogie. Thank you! I don’t know BC at all. I’ve heard it’s beautiful. So many places to discover… The “upping and going” as you say, a whole other thing from visiting.

  8. says

    Well, I moved to San Diego when I was 36 and I’m now over 50. I met my husband here. I love San Diego… but like all of SoCal it’s expensive. I don’t know if I would be able to afford it on my own here. I think you can do a lot of research, but you also have to follow your heart. For three years I researched temperate climate cities while I lived in Chicago, hating the weather. Every time I would see a SoCal garden in the garden magazines, my heart would skip a beat… the agaves, rosemary bushes, lavenders… I can honestly say that I am delighted to live here.

    If you move to any small town or city you will have more difficulty finding like-minded people and making friends. Think about the things you like to do and research those. If you’re an artistic person, are there galleries in town? If you’re religious, do you have lots of church or synagogue options? if you’re into politics, does that city match your views? You get the idea.

    • Susan says

      Hi Stephanie,

      I am in my late 50’s and am looking at moving to the downtown area of San Diego. I have been currently living in Laguna Beach for 3 years, but it is just too quiet of a town for me. Can you give me your opinion on a woman my age living in downtown SD? Is the age group much younger, etc.?

      Thank you for your time.


  9. says

    All a question of wisdom BLW, and you have much of it.

    We often hear wild statements of people about relocating here or there at the other end of the planet, where the sun is warmer and the grass greener. But it doesn’t work exactly like this, and to keep on dreaming they deliberately forget to invite in the debate strong considerations of the bigger picture. Their close family of course, but also their culture or the kind of environment really suiting the way they need to live, let alone all kinds of material and financial issues.

    It doesn’t mean that one cannot dive in such a change and finally feel good from it, but one has to be sure he scanned all the inescapable parameters before he does.

    No need to say that I don’t have to deal with any quandary of that kind on my end. I always knew that my city (PARIS) was the perfect one for me, and my family as well as most of my friends live here. So where would I need to go? :)

  10. says

    Yes I know Santa Monica. No – I wouldn’t recommend it for the reasons listed above. Too expensive. Too big a city. Kerouac wrote, rightly so, that there’s no place as lonely as big cities. I’d research (and I am researching through travel and actually seeing and “feeling” a place) smaller towns. Asheville is one on my list. I’ve heard so many good things about it. And I want a warm climate. Artsy community.

    I live in Colorado so I’m more familiar with the West. I keep hearing great things about Las Cruces, NM. Good for folks our age. Artsy. Nice warm (hot) and dry climate. It’s next on my list of places to check out. We go to Albuquerque and Santa Fe often – but they’re COLD, COLD, COLD in the winter. Otherwise I love both those communities.

    I’ll check back on the conversation here.

  11. says

    SIMPLICITY. LIVE FOR LIFE AND FRIENDS, NOT THINGS. Next year Fran and I will be moving to her century-old small row house (no attic, two tiny closets) in nearby Media, an old-fashioned town with a trolley and train station within walking distance (the bus goes by our front door) and a Trader Joe’s a couple of blocks away. Inexpensive living, simple and easy as we age, and near family. We are mindfully downsizing/rightsizing. We have recently released ourselves from about eighteen boxes of our books (a few months ago did twenty boxes of books belonging to my former wife), sixteen boxes of all sorts of collected items (Memories? Take a picture, move it out), eight boxes of childhood train equipment, a number of boxes of clothing (I’m down to half of what I had – sure I told you how at my 50tth high school reunion I wore a complete set of clothes that I had worn a half century earlier), and I’m setting up to sell or give away about 10 boxes of old electronic equipment (nothing less than half a century old) at a local auction next month, and on the weekend delivered seven boxes of things I had been storing for my children (they have more space than I do). We’ll move along the small sail boat (11’ and trailer) in spring time. In some ways this has been hard to do emotionally, but every time I finally mode something out, I FEEL SO GREAT ABOUT IT! We still have more stuff than anybody really needs — we’ll about halve our possessions, keeping essential (but less) camping, backpacking, canoeing, gardening, bikes, computers, books, and meaningful family pieces. Not to misuse MLK, but starting to feel FREE AT LAST. There is a vibrant community based on groups for foodshare, timeshare, toolshare etc that we are connecting with and feels like a real community. There is a hiking park a hundred yards from our back door. Did I forget anything?

    • BigLittleWolf says

      Wow, Paul. Free at last, indeed! (I actually used to know Media, PA. Lovely. I’m delighted to know it still is – decades after I was last there!)

  12. says

    Oh, this question has plagued my husband and I for a while, and I have done research a couple of times. At just about 50 – 51, we sold the house and moved to Philly so my husband could pursue a dream of getting a Masters in Jazz Studies. Mission accomplished. Then we couldn’t deside where to go from there. Part of the problem is that we want to go to different places – I love the city and the ocean and he wants to be near our grandson and in the country (I hate the country). And while I am looking 10 or 20 years ahead, he lives in the moment. So, four years after selling our house, we are starting over again. It is exhausting.

    *Charlottesville, VA is wonderful. It is really charming. College towns are always appealing to me.
    *I haven’t been to Santa Monica, but my aunt and uncle lived there their entire married lives. Once they tried coming back to the east coast, but in one year they went back to Santa Monica.
    *I lived in San Diego – beautiful and expensive, but if you love the outdoors, there is so much to do.
    *We almost moved to Richmond, VA approximately two years ago. I found it to be a lovely little city with affordable housing.

    If you are seriously considering this, I am looking forward to reading your posts about the journey.

  13. says

    I’ve lived in the LA/Orange County area for 35 years, except when I was in college in San Diego. I would not recommend it for a single, 50+ person. It’s not easy to connect with people here – and even after 35 years, I don’t know why. I have a wonderful, extensive circle of friends, but it took me years to develop these relationships and they were, of course, helped along by having kids – all those activities kept us connecting to each other over and over again. My husband and I could never leave here, we have such strong relationships that we treasure – but to start over here? I think it would be impossibly difficult. I would vote for a smaller town with a much lower cost of living – which is the one and only thing that could get us to leave.

    • BigLittleWolf says

      So many want to live in California, Sharon. A huge state with diverse options, of course, but the expense as you point out, can really pose a problem… I hope the reader who sparked this update is checking back! Even if not, this is all wonderful input, and I thank everyone who is providing it.

  14. says

    I am from Noosa, Australia. I made a seachange/treechange thirty years ago when I divorced. I was too busy working to enjoy the reason I moved here in the first place. Two years ago I quit my job and am reinventing myself. I’m doing all of the things that I’ve always wanted to do but was too busy/afraid to do. It is both scary and exhilarating.

  15. Brett Daniels says

    What a great article. My wife and I are coming up on retirement and my wife just read book called “Borderless Broads, New Adventures for the Midlife Woman” by Morgana Morgaine. You can check it out at the author’s website. My wife raves about the book and a few of her friends have read it too. Ever since she finished reading it she’s been talking about wanting to travel more when we retire, she says our lives are just beginning again. I’ll have to show her this article. Thanks!

  16. Curtis says

    I have been lucky enough to travel extensively and live different places. I really enjoyed many of the posts above and also the input. Where to live really is based on who you are, what you want and the resources you have.

    Paul made excellent points about what he is doing to downsize and enjoy life. Many sang the attributes of Southern California as a good place to visit but not relocate to, etc etc. An FYI on Victoria is fantastic combination of beauty, university town, capital and retirement friendly community. Quebec City is great but as an Americain et pas pur laine, perhaps it is like So California and better to live than visit.

    Having said all this, what makes you happy? For many people they have lived in the same locale their whole life and this is a little of the grass is greaner or romantic ideas. Further, it is one thing to visit a place and another to live there.

    Flight connections and finances are very important as you may wish to visit friends and family. That said it is easier and about the same time to fly from Paris to New Orleans, as it is Missoula, Montana to New Orleans.

    The internet and programs such as Skype make connecting easier and more frequent so that may alleviate many issues.

    Finally I think the short distance move many are looking at is best for many as they have lived in the same locale most or all of their life. It allows people their dream place and maintains their old life. The old expression about traveling well can also be said about living well. Not all people do both well.

    My most recent move is from the deep south of the US to Canada. It has been good, but I am somewhat envious of those who lived one place and all friends and family are easily accessible. That said I am very lucky to have the experiences I have had and many good friends that most people do not have. Unfortunately those friends are spread across the US, Canada, France, Norway, Australia, Hong Kong, etc etc.

    If you are looking for a big move, consider outside the US. There are many safe places with very good health care systems and quality of life.

    In my perfect world Paris (can you say Georges Cinq) and return to Aix-en-Provence (where I lived in the summer) and Hawaii in the winter. I better buy a lottery ticket.

    • BigLittleWolf says

      Wow, Curtis. Deep South to Canada? That’s got to be quite a transition! It sounds like you have traveled a good bit of the world. It’s extraordinarily eye-opening, isn’t it?

      Yes, to that “perfect world” of the Georges V! (Hmmm. Lottery ticket. Good thinking…)

  17. Curtis says

    Yes from the Bayou to Blizzards (a slight exaggeration)

    Traveling allows you to see the world for what it is. Spending more time in a place allows you to see the beauty and the ulcers. For example I lived in Aix-en-Provence which is a picturesque town in southern France with a university, close to a big city, close to vineyards, the beach, perfume factories, surrounded by flowers (especially lavender) and a great view of Mont St Victoire every morning. Yet I found it rife with the FNJ crowd who are essentially contrary to most of my beliefs.

    Asia is beautiful, deep in history and very complex, but life can also be very cruel and cheap.

    In the US and Canada we have creature comforts and incredible wealth, but many ride the treadmill without looking around as to where they are and what else is going on. We have also lost some humanity and the ability to make meaningful human connections (not networking) that we could learn from some European countries, especially Italy.

    Why do I write this? I think it is important for people to understand that you have to know who you are, what you want and what a place is like before you move. I think people look at the roses without realizing there is also manure.

    Bought 2 tickets for the lottery – the dream is alive. Live at the Georges V and then buy and operate Le Procope (a place all Americans and students should visit if you are in Paris). Sigh…..

  18. Marie says

    I’m in my 50’s, newly single, adult kids are scattering around the country, and the pets are getting old.

    In relocating, I’d like to be closer to my siblings, who are now a long plane trip away, and decent weather. That’s the easy part. After that, it’s the people, and I am at a loss for how to research that. I grew up in the Midwest and have spent my adult life in the Northwest, and am thinking a college town in North Carolina or Virginia might be worth a look.

    • BigLittleWolf says

      Marie, I know there are readers in NC and Virginia. I hope they’ll comment and offer their experience of these areas. Please stop by again!

    • Deena says

      It is neat to see others in a similar event as mine. I am just 5o have a grown daughter and 3 granddaughters. I find myself single, jobless and recently homeless living in my parents RV till I decide what to do and where to go for work. I live in Central Oregon and there are no jobs here and housing is very expensive here. I too am very unsettled and don’t want to move too far from my family, however I recently took a road trip and fell in love with Walla Walla Washington. I am considering loading everything up and making it my new destination. Thanks for the inspiration.


      • savannah says

        Bless your heart Deena! Many in our peer group are where you are, and didn’t plan to be, just wanted to encourage you to set your mind on getting a miracle that will provide the balance back in your life. Unsettled is normal for what you have experienced!!! So the key is find what feels like home and where you can shine!!!

  19. says

    Morgana Morgaine here. I can definitely recommend Asheville, NC. It is a progressive city. Many transplants live there from other parts of the country which gives it an interesting flavor. Art is big. Outdoor beauty is big. People are more than friendly and weather is temperate (most of the time) due to the beautiful Smokey Mountains surrounding…..

  20. Lori says

    Thank you all so much for your input. I’m new to everything it seems; new 50, alone, only child with only one child & parents deceased. So of course if you can vision a fish out of water in the mud, that would be me. I have made up my mind to start fresh leaving Oh early June, to NC. Was seriously looking at Charlotte but that location was due to a possible position. Will definitely look at Asheville a bit closer from all your comments!!!

    • Laraine Meyer says

      Lori, I moved from northern Virginia to Asheville 10 years ago (when I was 50) and am on this site because I am looking for another destination. Although Asheville is easy to navigate, friendly and fairly affordable, it is also economically depressed and the job market is lousy. It is heavily dependent on tourism and most jobs are in the service sector. Winters here can be brutal, with an abundance of snow and power outages. I shall be heading south!

      • says

        Thank you for adding your input, Laraine. There’s nothing better than the experiences of those who have actually been through it to help. (And I love Southern climes, myself – especially in winter!)

  21. says

    California? Try Ventura. I could afford Harborview Villas with an ocean view, a thousand square foot deck, and a look at the Channel islands.

    Sadly, could not afford my husbands medical bills and the cost of living both. Tucson serves the need for now.

  22. Looking to start the next chapter says

    A few years ago, I was laid off from my high tech management position and couldn’t find another ‘real’ job for quite a while. My new husband (at the time) decided this was more than he bargained for and opted out. Because my youngest was still in high school, I stayed put for the time being, lived off savings until they were gone, and accrued debt. I went back to school to refresh my skills using some retirement savings. My child graduated and headed off to college. I finished my training, sold the house, paid off my debt, and took a job in another state. A year later, I’m not loving my job or the town I moved into. Fortunately, I’m renting and can move when I want (but I have multiple pets which seems to complicate things.)

    I’m not sure how to approach the next step. I have no savings at this point but I also don’t need as much as I used to. I am at a point where my environment is more important than a career path and I really want to get enjoyment out of what I do and where I do it. For me, retirement is not in the picture (or at least not any time soon!) I’m well educated, healthy, single, and 60. I live in a beautiful Northern state ~100 miles south of Canada – so winters are long and cold.

    Does it make more sense to pick a place and then figure out how to get by there or pick a job/lifestyle first and then figure out where that could possibly happen?


    • BigLittleWolf says

      I wish I had wise counsel for you, Looking to Start the Next Chapter.

      I understand very well where you find yourself. There’s nothing simple in these decisions. Perhaps some readers could offer suggestions – or considerations that might help?

  23. Robin says


    I am 53 and plan in a year or two to relocate to another City. I do not drive presently but plan on getting a drivers license. However, I would like to relocate to a city that offers some art, spiritual vitality and affordable and accessible living using public transportation. I plan also to return to college this year and hope to continue working, hopefully in the medical field. What would be a good place to start?

    I want a city that is easily accessible, affordable housing (rent/own,) modest climate, and offers enough for a future single retiree. Suggestions? Ideas?

    • BigLittleWolf says

      Robin – Believe me, I understand. These are considerations for so many of us, especially those who are single and would like to be independent but with some options for socializing. Let’s get that word out again on Twitter! And see what ideas people have to share.

  24. AdieM says

    Thank you for this site. I can definitely relate to ‘Looking to start the next chapter.’I’m almost 60 and my biggest concern is finding employment in a new place. It is imperative that I get out of the state that I am in as it is not friendly towards anyone over 40 where employment is concerned. I also am seeking a warmer climate. I too have multiple pets which does complicate things. I also have a mortgage and other debt. My last bout with unemployment lasted almost two years, then I found a job that wasn’t great but paid at least some of the bills, unfortunately it only lasted 6 months and I’m back in the same boat again. Would love to just pack up and leave, but have no clue how to begin. This is such a frustrating time, financially and emotionally. Will have to research Asheville.

  25. Sue says

    I too, can relate to Looking to Start the Next Chapter….good questions…and next time I decide to make a move to a new location, I would ‘pick a job/lifestyle’ and search for a place that would offer that. I took a flyer on a new location (rural vs. a large city) without any real plans on how I would fit in. I just assumed I was flexible and it would fit my needs. It’s been a learning experience….what I do miss is my friends, family, the culture of a large city, good restaurants and conveniences, etc. What I don’t miss is the higher cost of living, heavy traffic, constant crowds and crime….so there’s a trade off. I think you have to be clear about who you are and what you want…..and go with your gut feeling.

  26. Robert says

    My Mother was born and raised just outside Asheville and I have visited twice in the last few years to explore the possibility of a less hectic life than my current one in a city of four million people. While I like the immediate culture (it seems similar to Austin), the greater region feels a little too Southern for me, and the town itself a little too small.

    • Tya says

      Robert, I have similar feelings about Asheville. I’m not Christian and the area is very Christian. Have you considered Charlotte? Asheville is a 2 hour drive and you could do a house swap with folks in Asheville, or go visit. Charlotte has a better airport and cheaper flights, more urban, too. Does anyone have any commentary on Charlotte? Any chance of meeting new friends and finding love over 50 in Charlotte, NC without going to church or bible study?

  27. Katherine says

    I remarried at 45 and relocated from Boston to Ireland, where we lived for 12 years. Last year, we moved to France. But, the economic crash in Ireland caused us to lose most of our money, so I am reinventing myself (yet again) at 57. Not easy in France, but I believe where there’s a will there’s a way. I am also a writer, but beginning again after many years in another field. My children are in Boston, which is difficult. Thank goodness for Skype and FaceTime. Freelancing seems the way for me to go now, but I am trying to cobble together a few things to make it all work. On verra!

    • BigLittleWolf says

      From one Bostonienne to another, Katherine, I’m delighted you stopped by. (That “cobbling together” process. Je le connais trop bien… Let us know how you do in France!)

  28. SandieV says

    Great article! I am a British Expat,who lived for a couple of years in Australia and met my American husband and came to the East Coast of the US.RI to be exact.

    I have always been a bit of a nomad and in my wild youth did lots of travelling around Europe and Asia.I now find myself divorced, 50+, 2 children 1 living in the State but not at home and a Junior at High school. I have to sell my house in 2 years whch I have lived in for 20+ yrs. My nomadic life ceased after marriage, apart from vacations up and down the North East seaboard and back to the UK a couple of times.I have a chronic health problem now and will not have Health Insurance for too much longer.

    I long to move, preferably out of the State.It is very expensive. I no longer work and am going to have to survive on the proceeds of my house sale! I an looking to lease something small but in a nice area that has amenities close by but I honestly have no idea where I want to go. My kids don’t want me to go back to the UK and I’ve been away for so long I’m not sure I want to go back. I find my self in a real quandry as to where to go. Time just seemed to fly by and I always figured I would have everything planned for the day I became an Empty nester!

    After teaching my kids to become independant ,self sufficient people as I was. I am already missing my daughters company and dreading the day my son leaves for college. When did this happen, I ask myself,I always thought I knew what I wanted and here I am at the precipice of a new start in life and for once I am lost and completely clueless.

    I have enjoyed reading everyone’s experiences but I truly have no idea were I want to go next. I had thought about retiring to Cyprus or one of my favorite Greek Islands but with their economy in the can it is probably not a great idea to move there.My options seem to be to stay within the US or perhaps Canada.I have no other friends or relatives in any other part of the US so I’m literally on my own. I’m not afraid to meet new people but at the same time I do like my privacy.

    Any thoughts or suggestions on some great places to live would be most helpful, or at least where I can begin to research places to live.My only criteria is that the summers not be humid!(I have never acclimated to the humidity), the places are safe for single females and the cost of living is cheaper than where I am living now. Other than that, I am pretty much open to suggestions. Thank you for hearing me out.

    • Pati Whitley says

      Greetings Sandie— If your looking for a smaller community that will love you and your animals with medical care and natural beauty, besides culture events to attend and super nice folks, that is all about protecting the water and animals and is reasonable to live in and close to other big cities, then consider the town of Sandpoint, Idaho, located about 50 miles from the Canadian boarders and 50 miles to Spokane, seven hours to Seattle, 55 miles to Coeur D’ Alene, quaint and charming and not humid, we have warm summers, glorious falls with all the brillant colors , beautiful springtimes, our winters are in the process of changing, we used to get a ton of snow, now we get very little and get more rain instead and chilly weather, but not blowing wind, been here almost twenty years and wind only showed up twice blowing hard in wintertime, only had heavey snow once in 1997, last year we could still see the dirt in the backyard and very little snow in the driveway, there are services for folks with any disability and for transportation and many organizations that have big hearts and help out. If a person needs additional help we have what they call ” Angels Over Sandpoint” these are nurses or health care people who will come into your home for a small fee and do everything for you, including shop or walk your dog. We surround one of four of the cleanest lakes in America that is 47 miles long and over a 1000 feet at one end of all fresh water, we get the snow melts off of Montana and Canada, we also have up behind us about nine miles and about 5000 ft up a big ski resort if you ever are well enough to ski or just ride the lift for a big view of the lake, tons of little shops and live plays and great places to eat, the town is always raising money for causes and worthwhile organizations, you might want to go on the web and check out Sandpoint, Idaho 83864

  29. Christine says

    Wow, this is just where I am now. My husband left me about 2 years ago (divorce isn’t finalized) as he couldn’t handle my numerous illnesses. We live in the US but are Canadian residents. Our only child is in university in PA, just starting his second year. My soon to be ex quit his job , with an excellent health plan, to move across the country and took a health care package that doesn’t begin to cover all my medical needs. So, I have no choice but to go home to Canada. My sisters are still there, but I’ve been gone for 12 years and I have no idea what plans my son has, other than he has all his friends and girlfriend here and me leaving would cause pain for him. We do not have a great relationship, mostly due to the divorce, and I’m worried he’d never come home to visit. He too hates my medical issues, and typical teenager, doesn’t help out much in the house. I am disabled. I live in a two story house and going up and down stairs is very difficult.

    The community here looks good on paper but even my minister says it’s a hard place to find good people. I never really fit in so I won’t have too much trouble leaving. But it’s still a huge change and I am quite lost. My ex is being both supportive and generous and I am trying to save as much as I can.

    But I still need a town that is wheelchair accessible, and with access to good doctors. Your suggestions are amazingly appropriate. I’m always thinking of moving back to southern Ontario,though I would love to be out West.

    I have a dog, and I won’t give him up, and so many places don’t want “big dogs”

    Thanks for putting this topic up. Maybe some Canadians can suggest places with what I need,


    • D. A. Wolf says

      Thanks for joining the conversation, Christine, and I’m very sorry for what you’re going through. There are many Canadian readers here. Let’s see what suggestions may come your way.

      Wishing you all the best in the meantime – and do check back to see what recommendations are made – Southern Ontario or parts west, wheel-chair accessible town, good medical care, single story access, big dog friendly… What else do you enjoy?

    • says

      I will suggest Toronto: large city, good transit, access to medical services. Yes, it may be more expensive to live in the downtown core but the transit, especially the subway (wheelchair accessible), expands choices to areas which are cheaper. Obviously some feet on the ground would be necessary to find accommodation completely matching your requirements but I would think this would be your best option.

      Take that with a grain of salt as I can’t offer you an objective point by point comparison with other Canadian cities. Some research on the Net may offer such an analysis. Good luck.
      William Belle recently posted…Sex: What are the neighbours doing?My Profile

    • batticus says

      You should be aware that you may need to deal with a transitional period of time (six months to a year) where you are not eligible for health care in Canada (I don’t know if paying Canadian federal and provincial taxes on your world income helps you here? Technically, you should have been submitting Canadian tax returns too). Without knowing your employment status in Canada, finalizing your divorce settlement may be important also. In terms of a city, with the aging demographic changes, almost any place will have senior-friendly (elevator, wheel chair, dogs, etc) residences that should work for you, moving within 30min of your family is probably best since it sounds like you will need the support due to your health issues.

  30. Christine says

    Thank you, William, for your advice. I had forgotten how good public transportation is around the GTA. Now to look at the communities in the area. :)

    Batticus, I appreciate that you are trying to help. I have a tax accountant who has taken care of these issues. Also, I would add that every case is individual and not everything batticus has said applies to all returning home Canadians or expat Canadians. I would urge people to ask a professional or a Canada Revenue officer about tax payment issues.


  31. Terry says

    I am 56 year old female who has been a housewife. Now I am divorced with no income at all. I am looking for a place to work and live. Being alone does not bother me. I just want quiet not too cold I grew up in Florida so prefer that kind of weather.

    I know there are people out there who have faced this. Tell me how to survive.

    The only person is me to rely on.

    • Susanne says

      Hang in there Terry, you can do this. I am 51 and looking to return to Florida soon. I hope the economy has improved. It was good when I left in 2000 but I hear it tanked. There are lots of small studios you can rent and maybe have to work one or two jobs until you get situated. I am curious how you are doing.

  32. michelle says

    I’m 50 yrs old and the single parent of a 17 yr old. I live in a suburb of Chicago, I am currently staying with my widowed mother. I don’t like my living situation and I plan to move in 2 yrs after my son finishes his 2 yrs at comm college, he will transfer to Univ of AZ…. I’m going along with him. I don’t have a good job now, it’s a clerical job at a hospital. If I could I would move out now, but I don’t have the money. I am looking for training in a new career field, but I don’t know where to start. All I know is I can barely survive on what I make now. (My hours were cut twice!!), I have to get some kind of specialized training. Wish I would have done this when I was younger… feel alone… any advice is appreciated.

  33. Mary says

    Wow… never really stopped to realize someday I might need stability financially. No retirement funds, husband dying of Ca presently after years of being rich then not (film business) and not putting away money as figured it would always be there. I am full time employed but will be wanting to move. Have done the LA scene… too expensive at my age. Have farm rented out in KY… not my climate culturally and physically. Looking for artsy, cheap, ocean and room for animals… or Ideas!!

  34. Jane A says

    Greenville, SC is an hour south of Ashevile, NC and amazingly wonderful. It offers so much, no matter what the age. It has four definite seasons but little snow. It’s protected by the mountains. Yes, it’s a ‘church’ town but I am spiritual but not religious. I don’t attend church services and never feel pressure or embarrassment because I don’t. Everyone is so kind and accepting. I love it here. It’s worth a look. Stay close to Main Street for a true feel of this eclectic artsy city. It’s awesome!!

  35. Lorraine R says

    Hi, I have read the comments and they are good ones. I guess I am in the same boat as some of you with the exception that I now have an income as of October 2014, but no savings, at least not yet.

    My 19 year old son, 15 year old daughter and myself are living in a basement in NY, just shy of being homeless. I am 50 and have a job now, but it doesn’t pay enough to get a decent apartment, one with a kitchen and a bathroom with a shower or tub. I don’t like Brooklyn, NY and neither do my children. It’s congested, dirty and mean. We will move anywhere that the people are nice, where I can make decent money and gain new friends, just build a better life. Oh, I need to find a place where I don’t need a car. 2015 has to be better than 2014, we lost everything, I’m grateful and blessed that I have the children I do.

    • D. A. Wolf says

      Hi Lorraine. I’m so glad you wrote and shared your story. Tell us a little more about what you kinds of work you think you could do, what your 19-year-old son could do, and so on. Let’s help generate some ideas for you if we can, so you have a few more options to consider in 2015.

    • ZHDMO says

      I suspect you’ve had a very bad experience in Bklyn. I’ve lived in Bklyn for the past 18 yrs..(Ft Greene/Clinton Hill and Park Slope neighbourhoods) and can’t imagine living anywhere else in NYC. The diversity is second to none. I hope you’re now in a better place.

  36. Lori B says

    I am 59, divorced, partially disabled. My son won’t see me, my daughter is moving. What I don’t see here is ideas for people who cannot walk far. Part of me wants to recreate my youth, but I know I can’t do that. I need a low ozone area in order to go outside. I have a recumbent trike, but need flat roads/trails to ride it. Prefer to ride it out of my garage, but here it is too hilly. I need medial connections and help with house and lawn that I can’t afford (3 dogs). Have no idea where to go. I live in San Antonio. I could move just a little northeast or I have family I haven’t seen in 40 years in Knoxville. I’m not even sure what my top priorities should be.

    • D. A. Wolf says

      Excellent point. What do you think your top three must-haves are, Lori? Let’s see what suggestions we can dig up for you.

  37. Valerie says

    Hello – stumbled upon this site when randomly searching to see if there were other single women over 40 trying to find a new living situation.

    A year ago I had to go on disability and even with the help of a part time job, am now living (attempting to, anyway!) on almost half my previous income (which wasn’t large to begin with). I cannot afford to keep my condo, and had wanted to return to the East coast (I’m from NY).

    I foolishly thought I could surely find a little studio that was affordable, and was stunned to see how expensive everything is (I’ve been away for over 10 yrs). On Long Island I didn’t see a single studio under $1000 / mo…. the cheapest studio was on an affordable housing list for $900! Their minimum income requirements were thousands more than what my disability and part time income combined are. In fact I am finding that I don’t meet the minimum income requirements for affordable housing lists in any of the cities I’ve looked into (and I will be honest and say that the prospect of having to live in ‘affordable housing’ both scares and depresses me).

    How do single people living on disability survive?? I have no family to help, and lost touch with friends years ago after I moved away. I have searched online all up and down the east coast, and cannot find anything in the $500 – $600 range. Only rooms to rent for that amount.

    This is insane to me – are there places to find apartments aside from,, etc.? It seems real estate agents only help with home rentals. Craigslist sometimes seems sketchy, and I am reluctant to trust a stranger’s ad from halfway across the country.

    Are there groups that help older women find roommates – like a Golden Girls or Hot in Cleveland situation, lol? Having to share a living space at my age (50 this year, never married) would be a big adjustment, but I can’t be the only woman who needs to pool resources financially, and possibly becoming friends in the process would be great.

    As others have mentioned for different reasons, I also feel really overwhelmed. It just shouldn’t be this hard! Any advice from anyone would be appreciated!

  38. Brenda of NJ says

    Hi! I am a 53 yr. old woman without a formal education. Have been a bus driver for 10 years. Am divorcing in a few days and would like to leave NJ. The problem I am running into is not knowing which towns or states offer shuttle bus driving. I would like to be close to a local college to attend part time evenings, Does anyone know where there are shuttle bus jobs out there. For instance, driving senior citizens. It seems a lot of states have volunteer bus drivers. I can’t pay the bills that way. I need employment as a bus driver. My biggest fear is that I am limited with my skill set. I have been out to the Pacific coast and love it, but can not find any bus driving jobs listed online for the Pacific coast. Nervous in NJ.

    • D. A. Wolf says

      Hi Brenda, Glad you stopped by. I hope that your final divorce proceedings run smoothly and that you are soon looking forward to more options for both work, education, and a new place.

      A few thoughts.

      Do you have a preference as to small to medium-size metro area, large metro area, climate, or other demographics? If yes, you might want to factor those preferences into any subsequent search. If no, then it sounds like you are wide open, which is great!

      If I were in your shoes, here is what I would try.

      1. Identify 10 – 15 metro areas you would consider.
      2. Identify areas with colleges, community colleges, since you want to study.
      3. Identify areas with a considerable population over 60 or 65.
      4. Do a little digging on each area to see if there are bus driving / shuttle bus driving jobs.

      Another approach, re your skill set.

      If you are an experienced bus driver, can you also drive limos and vans? Have you looked into those sorts of car services? What about being a private driver to someone with limited mobility or simply in (other) need of a driver?

      What about tour services? Have you considered tour buses of various sorts?

      Stepping outside the box, are you a good talker and good listener? Are you especially good with older people or young children? Are you a wiz at organizing? Are there other directions (including low/no investment) entrepreneurial you could consider that rely on referencable personal recommendations that might get you a different sort of employment?

      Where do you have possible connections (people) who could help?

      As for furthering your education, have you explored your interests?

      These are a few initial thoughts. I hope they’re helpful. Please DO pop back again to discuss. Lots of great people drop by here and may have ideas for you.

  39. Glenn says

    Firstly, thank you very much for an extremely interesting article. That has lead to the subsequent eye opening posts. I envy your commitment and energy, kudos…..

    I, like at least one of your correspondees, will be divorced in a few weeks. No kids etc and no real ties to the midwest, I am looking seriously at where I should throw my hat next. Have, like many of the above, been fortunate / unfortunate to have travelled extensively, well over 100 countries. Living in several for longer periods.

    I have often used the phrase that’s its people that make or break a place. One can be in paradise and meet awful people, hence leading one to state that that place was not enjoyable etc and of the opposite. Meet fantastic people in a previously assumed, less than desirable place, leads to the statement that the place was great etc etc…

    Wishing all your readers and posters all the very best.

    Plus once again thanking you, for all your efforts and assistance.

    Seeing where the wind blows next TBFN….

    • savannah says

      Can I just say I agree…if you have lousy neighbors, coworkers that zap your positive energy, family that is dysfunctional-you could live in paradise and be miserable. Being past military, I have lived in many places, and it wasn’t so much the locale as the cultural climate that would make or break a place for me. If people are helpful and respectful, it is much easier to live out your days in a not so great climate. I didn’t enjoy the constant rain and gray of WA, but I found many of the people there to be so kind and sociable. CA was very beautiful, but the people I was exposed to were very strange and it made a beautiful setting unpalatable. CO is very pretty, but extremely transient, so people cycled through constantly making friendships and associations unsteady.

  40. Susan R says

    I am 56 yrs old though many people say I look more like 46. I raised my ADHD 21 yr old son alone since he was 3 and who had a slight learning disability and has Aspergers type social skills. When I turned 50 and hit natural menopause I had a little nervous breakdown after a 4 yr relationship ended and at 47 my dad dying and heavy financial pressures I couldn’t handle.

    I did a spur of the moment move out of my NJ rental to Orlando FL and let my son finish high school down there (big mistake because the high schools down there were not as good as in Red Bank, NJ). It took him 2 extra years to finish due to them not having the special ed services jersey had.

    Anyway I moved to Tennessee due to the cheaper cost of living there (Nashville) and after staying there a year I came back to NJ, regretting those two moves and feel I wasted my time. I had met a man in FL who moved to Nashville TN after he lost his home in FL, but he turned out to be a maniac with a bad temper.

    Now my son wants to apply to college out west and after much research I found that the only affordable rents are in Arizona. I do not own a house and raised my son in a rental and now I am staying with my 92 yr old mother til I find a better job and place to live.

    I did find that Phoenix housing is very reasonable but don’t know much about that area. Can someone tell me more about this area?

    • D. A. Wolf says

      That’s a lot to deal with, Susan. Let’s see what we can find out about Phoenix for you, from those in the know.

    • Tacy says

      I am from Red Bank NJ as well and trying to find the next chapter/place to move in my life. Recently divorced, all 5 of my children all over the country with successful careers. I was wondering how you made out since your post and how you took the steps to get there. Any advice would be great from all. I cannot seem to get past the googling everything stage and pursue. My children tell me to stop talking about moving on with my life and just do it. Seems so much easier said than done.
      Thanks : )

      • savannah says

        Sometimes you just gotta go for it, fear can limit opportunities, but taking a plunge can bring some good times. Wishing you courage to just DO it :-)

  41. Deborah says

    I have sold most of everything I own twice andmoved from CA. to Maui. The cost was comparable to Sonoma County. I lived with roommates then moved back to live with a boyfriend. Roommates is an inexpensive way to live but not real private.

    The adventure of just going with no car, no place to live and doing it is priceless. I will live in Maui again. It has everything. It is far, but when the family comes to visit, and they will, it will be fantastic. (Deb. Adventurous at heart. 55 years old)

  42. Mary says

    Deborah, you’re so brave. I’ve been wanting to move to Hawai’i for the last 20 years. Didn’t have the guts. I’m also 55, live in L.A. Lately I began searching for options again to possibly move in the near future. Unfortunately I don’t quite know how to go about it. I never feel financially secure enough to start the process. I know I would want to ship some belongings like auto, furniture, clothes and some other items. Where does one begin? I also have to think of earning a living. And if I never make the move I would regret it. Any advice for me?

    • savannah says

      Regret is not a good thing to live with…sell the stuff, travel light, it is easier to restart with minimal belongings. Hawaii is expensive so try to have something lined up on where to settle.

  43. lady hoping for better says

    I am sorry for what all others are going through on here. It’s hard being unsettled and not knowing which way to go…

    I have a strange and convoluted situation here that even U cant believe or make sense of… I am also needing advice and starting over just before 50.

    I am a church-going soccer and lacrosse mom, and just came out of a 28 year marriage. It was an unwanted divorce but he was alternately verbally and psychologically abusive these last three years, or absent and neglectful. And, he has been and is having a three year affair with a married woman with kids. He is a high powered lawyer and well connected, outwardly charming, yet privately cruel. A do not cross me type.

    I was the full time stay at home mom highly involved with 4 children… ages from 18 to 11. I was unprepared and naive, and he managed to get the house, the children, the furniture… in a brief hearing he amazingly perjured himself, twisted and outmaneuvered me, and got everything temporarily. He privately vowed never to pay child support and wanted me gone because of her.

    My lawyer was not available except by phone and I did not get a chance to say a word… not one. I practically fainted out of my chair when he temporarily got all. He outsmarted and out-lawyered me as he works for a law firm. After having been so verbally abused I was scared to cross him. I have no family in this country to go to as I am from Europe. I was scared and bullied, and I signed my life over to him in mediation.

    I have been staying with a friend for the past almost year as this has happened in order to try to fight this and to see my children the few hours I have them.

    Through this most former friends disappeared… It’s a horrible life and everything around me in this area keeps me riddled with trauma – all the memories I have to daily relive staying in this area. I am in the mid-atlantic and one of the only other places I know a little from vacations is Florida.

    I have not worked in 18 years since staying home. Never thought this would happen. I have a BS in business and in my pre-mother days I worked in politics.

    After having paid lawyers by trying to fight for my children, and since I can’t afford prices here, I need to consider other options. I do have some IRAs that will help me for awhile even with penalties and taxes, and while money is important and I am blessed to have the IRAs, it really means nothing compared to all I lost, the most important things in my life… my beloved children, my battered self esteem, all my possessions and furniture and heirlooms, my identity, my job as a mother, my sense of safety, optimism and trust, my hopes my dreams. In short, my everything….and I am alone.

    I haven’t “worked”, paid work that is, in 18 years as I was a full time mom and volunteered in their schools and for local politics as well. I miss my family and my country terribly… but cannot return if I ever hope to see my children… I am feeling frozen… I don’t want to leave kids with him… but he has them already and I am afraid to challenge him further. He threatens when I try to see them outside of the 4 hours I get every other weekend.

    Its heartbreaking because the kids and i were so so close. They were my life. By email and texts he keeps threatening arrest if I come near, even saying hello on the public street in front of the house, the unwitting 22 year old boy nanny calls him immediately.

    I feel I should leave for my own safety so he cannot follow thru on his daily threats. I want to run into my former house to see my beloved children. As strange and heartbreaking as it may sound, I think a big move may be in order for my safety. I would rather be around in years to come… and free, than another alternative. Two remaining friends advise the same as they think he is dangerous to me.

    Constructive coparenting is impossible. My children and I lose out and live as the victims of his control and the legal papers I signed under duress and from being scared of him.

    I think I need a new life and was thinking of Florida. Maybe someone can guide me in the right direction.

    I am searching for warm, quaint, pretty, walkable, seaside, low crime, low rises. Warmth is important. I never want to freeze again. Affordability is important. No state taxes would help when I need to use my IRAs. The ocean, for beauty and healing though no ocean can heal what just happened to my life. Away from large noisy crowded cities…

    Places I have been that I like include Stone Harbor NJ or Woodstock, VT.

    I was even thinking or purchasing an rv and staying in an rv lot on the gulf coast as a way to make new connections and meet people. Anyone with experience on that? Apparently not all 65 and over. But would I want that for a way of life? My kids, if they could ever visit, coming from a large house, what would they think?

    Otherwise its hard to meet people at my age starting fresh as a stranger somewhere.

    Any thoughts on where to go?

    When you have no family and especially when you are an immigrant, even though my English is perfect and you would never know I’m mot from here, life is hard if you are starting up out of nowhere or you have lost everything.

    If you have a decent family, be glad and appreciate them. Many of us do not have that.

    If I won the lottery, I think I would buy a restaurant on the water in Florida with an owners apartment above. That way I would have a job, or a bed and breakfast on the beach and combine home and work and a possible place for my children if they become homeless like I basically am. I would even have loved to provide one of the guest rooms for an abused woman needing a place. But I dont think that my IRA is enough to cover these ideas.

    Any thoughts that come to mind would be appreciated so much. Either a suggestion about the right area in Florida or other suggestions. I need to restart very soon.

    • savannah says

      Ok, bravo for getting away from the lunatic. You are a survivor and that COUNTS, so build on that. Get to a safe place 1st, and start there. You are only a stranger if you ACT like one, it takes effort, but if you meet and greet, you eventually find those that will become friends. If you have hospitality skills, or cooking skills, that could provide a living. Network within churches, and don’t let past mistakes of judgement define you. It doesnt matter what people think of your choices, they aren’t living your life, divorce sifts through who are true friends, sorry people disappointed you, but that is about them, NOT you. If FL is your dream destination, I would see what kind of outreach programs are available through the churches there and see if they can’t assist and give you guidance. :-) Call churches, talk to the Women’s ministry leaders and see what they can offer or suggest. Blessings on you!!!!

  44. Jo says

    It’s good to know I’m not alone in this, because so many here have the same concerns and doubts as I do. I think it’s awesome that you provide us all a place to to communicate about this.

    I’m almost 52, I’ve lived in the Midwest all my life and have worked at 9-1-1 for 30 years. (20 yrs as a dispatcher, 10 as a supervisor) My only daughter is a nurse, and has 3 kids of her own and lives in the same town as me. I’ve been divorced for 13 years, I’m still very active but I would love a change of just about everything. I prefer a small community, rural..with a nearby church…with more warm temps than cold; I drive a Wrangler and love having the top down..I love to fish and enjoy the outdoors, but I have no idea what to try and do for work yet. It’s daunting. The thought of setting out on my own, but waiting for the right man to enter my life, I feel I’m robbing myself of time that I can’t get back by sitting here wishing.

    In September I’m planning to go visit a couple gal-pals who live 3 hours from one another, and are friends with each other as well, in Georgia and S Carolina, both in small towns, and I am so excited…my thoughts were to check out their area and see what I think…then tonight, a friend contacted me on Facebook saying she knows someone looking for a small house here in town, and am I still looking to move..Then all of a sudden, my excitement at my road trip in September turned into total fear at the thought of really taking these steps. How do you begin to know if it’s a little voice inside your head telling you maybe you’re making a mistake, or it’s fear of the unknown gripping you? I’ve wanted to make these changes for so long, but I didn’t expect to be taking these plunges solo…yet I don’t want to miss out on experiencing a more fulfilling life just because I’m single.

    Life here has felt stagnant for so long…job opportunities are slim unless you want to work at Walmart, and it’s time for me to turn my duties over to others…30 years is a very long time to work in a place where so little of the human contact you have is positive in nature. I have no higher education…no savings to speak of because I was a single parent almost entirely.. I want to meet new people…I’d have to sell my house to afford to permanently relocate, but now that someone may actually be interested in it, I’m not sure I shouldn’t hold onto it for now… Is that cowardice talking, or a safety net “just in case”..

    I’m suddenly second guessing everything I’ve been wanting for years. Where do ya go from there?

    • D. A. Wolf says

      Jo, the questions your asking yourself are questions many of us are asking — and all over this country. Wouldn’t it be helpful if we had a ‘residence exchange’ network for 3 months with others in different cities or regions, so we could try an area out before selling a home (often at a loss) and fully relocating?

      It would be a challenge to manage and only usable by those not working for pay and past the age if raising kids… But an interesting premise perhaps…

      The fear?

      Exactly. Because recovery from any significant decision is harder in your 50s or older.

      Your idea to visit friends and check places out is excellent — maybe use Facebook to facilitate more of this?

      One more thought, and its an important factor: Healthcare costs vary significantly from state to state (cost of health insurance) so do the research before you move. This is especially important as we grow older. A part-time job or no benefits job or independent work requiring that potentially hefty medical insurance cost can pose problems. Some states have more affordable options than others.

      Who has suggestions for Jo?

    • Valerie says

      Hello Jo! I posted here some time ago too, seems like there are a lot more of us in the same position than I realized!

      I haven’t replied to anyone else before, but wanted to throw my two cents in to you because I had a strong emotional reaction to your selling your house right away, which was —- Nooooo! LOL.

      Having friends to visit in locations you are interested in is absolutely perfect! You’ll be able to physically check out the area, your friends can tell you what it’s like to actually live there, and you don’t have to make a commitment yet – if you don’t like it, you still have your home and can decide on your next steps. Also, if you do like one of those areas, you already have someone you know there as you begin a new life.

      It’s so perfect I am envious! To sell your home before you’re ready, or know exactly where you want to go, would be a mistake in my opinion. Don’t worry about a missed opportunity, when the time is right, someone else will buy your house. And you can always tell that person to check back in a few months if they haven’t found something else. Speaking from experience, it’s much easier to sell a house than correct a major life decision you made in haste.

      11 years ago, I was looking to make a big change also (I’ll spare you all the details) and moved from the northeast to Austin, TX sight unseen. Had never been here before, knew no one. Biggest mistake I have ever made in my life. I compounded it by buying a condo withing the first year instead of renting until I knew how I felt about the city for sure. I just do not fit in here, do not like it, have never been able to make really good friends, etc. I miss the seasons, being near the water, a million things. And for years, b/c of the real estate market I was stuck b/c I couldn’t afford to lose money on the place. Now I could sell, but can’t afford the rents in the northeast anymore.

      So please, absolutely 100% visit your friends and actually see the areas first. Keep your home until you do that. You may not be happy there, but it’s the devil you know until you figure out where you want to be. I think that’s a rational thing to do, not a fear based one.

      And you seem to have some clear ideas about what you want from your new area – stick to that!!! Don’t compromise. I had worries that I wouldn’t like the climate here, and it has affected me even more than I thought it would, so listen to yourself! Don’t think that you’ll adjust to things that you might not like for the sake of making a change.

      Last piece of advice – rent for at least a year, maybe two before purchasing a property again – unless you happen to realize you’ve found your Shangri-La, which I really really hope you do!!!

      Sorry I rambled on. :) I wish you the best of luck, and sincerely hope one of your friend’s towns are exactly what you’re hoping for.


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