Hat tip to daytrip for sending in this article, though it somewhat contradicts what I believe – I think you should move somewhere!
Yes, many retirees are looking for a version of Mayberry, the fictional North Carolina town that actor Andy Griffith called home in his 1960s TV show. But even the best Mayberrys, like most communities, have drawbacks.
So, before you pull up stakes, here are some cautionary tales about small towns that retirees have shared with us through the years:
• “I’m here! Hello?” The ideal town is easy enough to envision: a cozy, safe and picturesque spot with—perhaps most essential—a sense of community. It’s important, though, to be realistic about your chances of fitting in with your new surroundings. While you certainly could become part of the inner circle, many transplants find themselves instead joining the ranks of other retirees in the area.
Consider, for instance, this bumper sticker seen in Florida: “We don’t care how you did it up North.” You get the idea.
• Character traits. Along these same lines, and at the risk of overgeneralizing, retirees who relocate often are more assertive, more aggressive and more likely to have been managers or decision makers than those who stay put. (After all, starting a new life in a distant locale isn’t for the faint of heart.) But a strong personality that might have been a big help in the business world might not work as well in an unhurried environment.
In short, ask yourself if the temperament of a possible retirement destination—and, in particular, a small town—is comparable to your own. “I think new arrivals are more concerned about immediate productivity and less patient than those who have been retired 10 or 20 years,” Ms. Carlson says.
• Small—but for how long? Unfortunately, the chances of any small, attractive community staying that way are increasingly slim, as word about such places gets around much faster than before. (Indeed, Ms. Carlson asked us not to identify her new home.) If you do find your Mayberry, the best place to settle—even if you find yourself paying a premium—could be in a historic district, where future development likely will be kept to a minimum.
• Health care. Here’s what Ms. Carlson told us about relocating to a small town: “We were assured, primarily by our real-estate agent, that medical care was excellent. What we weren’t told was that there was a yearlong waiting list for an appointment with most internists. We discovered that there’s an unfavorable ratio of physicians to residents because many younger doctors aren’t interested in an area with limited opportunities for working spouses and a small school system.”
In hindsight, she says, she would have done more digging about health care, as well as asking about emergency care. “Had we asked some questions at the visitor center, instead of just picking up maps and using the restrooms, we might have received more-accurate information,” she says.
“Once we arrived and discovered how hard it is to get into a [medical] practice, I asked at the local fire district: ‘What happens if I have to call the medics?’ I was told that patients with heart problems who must be hospitalized are sent two counties over from us, and that other problems requiring hospital care mean a trip 15 or 20 miles west of here.”
• Transportation. Again, some digging is needed here. A small town is likely to have fewer public-transportation options than a larger community. And remember: You could be living in your new home for a long time. With all that in mind, what happens if you’re forced to cut back, or eliminate, your time behind the wheel? Do volunteer organizations or local government agencies offer transportation programs for older adults?
Says Ms. Carlson of her new town: “Our county has some door-to-door bus service for the disabled, but there appear to be long waits to be returned home. A carwash/gas station operates a single cab. There’s no Uber and no car-sharing rentals.”
And be aware, she adds, “that many small businesses—I’m thinking, in this case, about our local dairy that sells composted manure for gardens and yards—don’t deliver, and may not be able to refer you to delivery services.”
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