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What are the Pros and Cons of Retirement Along the Water?
It seems that living along the water, whether it be a river, a lake or the ocean, is a lifelong dream for many people. So when retirement time arrives, it is natural to consider moving to a waterfront location. People tend to think of the positives of such a move, but they sometimes do not stop to consider some of the downsides. We look at a few of the pros and cons of a waterfront retirement.
Of course, living next to the water usually means easy access to all kinds of water activities, from sailing and boating to fishing and swimming. For people lucky enough to have a private boat slip, the cost of marina rental fees is eliminated. Having a beach just beyond your front door also means fewer parking fees, less time in traffic and less stress.
Living near the water gives you a sense of tranquility. Waterviews are soothing, and there is nothing quite like the sound of gentle ocean waves or a peaceful river current lulling you to sleep.
Waterfront living lets you connect with nature, invigorating the soul. And since all wildlife is drawn to water, wild creatures of all kinds are never far away.
Privacy is in short supply in today's world, but waterfront living can provide more of it than living in a landlocked community with neighbors all around. On a lake, ocean or river, at least one view is unblocked by development, with few humans in sight.
Yet, for all of the pluses of waterfront living, there are some negatives, too. The most obvious one, depending on the region, is the risk of hurricanes and tropical storms. Flooding and wind damage are real possibilities. Added to that is the cost of homeowners' insurance in areas that see a lot of storm activity. In some coastal Florida towns, homeowners' insurance rates have increased from 25% to 40% in recent years. This is particularly true after Hurricane Irma in 2017.
Living on a river or a lake can mean motorboat and party noise, particularly if your home home is in a popular tourist area. Few vacationers think about the noise they cause the people who live nearby.
While a waterfront home often comes with privacy, it may also come with a lack of neighbor watchfulness. Communities along the water are usually more expensive, and often houses are spread out from one another. No one can see the side facing the water, so doors and windows on that side may become easy entry points for thieves and burglars.
Wildlife is fun to watch from a distance but not so much fun to encounter up close. Snakes live in rivers and lakes all over the country, and alligators live in Southern lakes. These animals consider these bodies of water their home and the humans who live next to them the interlopers.
Unless you or your HOA owns the property between you and the water, you are most likely to have the public coming to enjoy the water with you. There are waterfront communities that have no ownership claims to the beach in front of them, and homeowners often look out onto what should be a beautiful scene only to see half naked, sweaty people frolicking in the sand. They sometimes bring children, too.
The idea of waterfront living is very appealing, and some people wait a lifetime to enjoy the lifestyle. Just be sure that you have considered all of the pros and cons before committing to a retirement along the water.
How We Choose Great Places to Retire
When looking for great places to retire, we consider a number of factors, including cost of living, medical facilities, climate, transportation, crime rates, cultural amenities, educational amenities, shopping venues, infrastructure, recreational opportunities, housing options, the poverty rate and more. No one factor alone, except a high crime rate, a high poverty rate, population loss or crumbling infrastructure, will disqualify a town as a great retirement spot. We weigh all of the evidence to decide if a town has enough going for it to make it a top place to retire. We are not affiliated with any of the places that we review.
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