Best Places to Live When You’re Over 50

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), but 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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© D. A. Wolf

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Comments

  1. 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. 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. 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.

  4. I was thinking of Ashville, NC, or Charlottesville, VA. They do have 4 seasons, and it can be humid in the summer, but the locations are beautiful and it has everything else the reader mentioned.

    • 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!

  5. 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…

  6. 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!

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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? :)

  11. What a well-researched article. Well done and thanks for all the great resources.

  12. Santa Monica? Here you go:

    Santa Monica Beach

    The photo is not an exaggeration. It takes about an hour to get out of Santa Monica and into LA during rush hour. It used to take fifteen minutes.

  13. 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.

  14. 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!)

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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!

  19. 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…)

  20. 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…..

  21. 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!

  22. 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…..

  23. 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!!!

    • BigLittleWolf says:

      Please stop back again, Lori. And keep us posted on how you’re doing.

    • 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!

      • 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!)

  24. 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.

  25. 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?

    Peace

    • 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?

  26. Hi,

    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.

  27. 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.

  28. 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.

  29. 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.

    • 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?

  30. 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!)

  31. 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.

  32. 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,

    xo

    • 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?

    • 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

    • 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.

  33. 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.

    Thanks!

  34. 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.

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