|Retiring to Florida
The Big Picture
Red Carpet Center
Our Finished Retirement Home
The Move: If I Only Had a Brain
The Yellow Brick Road
Fireworks, Booze and Porn, oh my!
The Emerald City
No Place Like Home
we'll be lounging about here...
Mostly lessons learned are "Gee, all the
things I would have done differently." But I like to focus on
the positive, and I know for sure there were lots of positives
here. The things I learned the most:
Absolutely go in with a plan, preferably a
budget spreadsheet in which you've itemized things as much as
possible. This was the number one lifesaver when it came to
making decisions, since we knew what we could trade off for other
items as they came up. I think it was why we made our budget
Get as much information about options as
possible. The one thing I felt was lacking was information
about specific pricing options, and the only area in which I got
blindsided was not having enough information about the pool birdcage
options. Had I had that information I'm confident I would have
been within pennies of my final budget.
Think about your color choices ahead of
time. This goes hand in hand with a budget plan -- make sure
you have a design plan as well. While we didn't know what
specific colors we wanted, we had a good general idea of what we
were looking for. We had brought a wood sample chip from Lowes
that we matched exactly, and this made choosing our tile color much
easier. We were told there were some folks who have made
repeated trips to the Red Carpet center and still haven't
chosen their house colors yet!
Keep in mind the big picture. You may get
enamored of those shiny brass faucets, but those are things you can
always buy later (and not be paying a 30 year loan for). The
things you want to concentrate on are those items that need to go
into the house now (like insulation) that can't easily be
changed down the road.
Do your research on options. We knew
going in that the vapor barrier was not cost effective in Florida,
but a lot of folks fell for the hype. We saved ourselves
$2,000 by doing the proper research beforehand.
Enjoy the experience! When all is said
and done, life is too short to get hung up on the process (see Big
Picture above). While this may be the last home you'll ever
own, it isn't the most important thing in your life, not by a long
shot. If you are lucky enough (as I am) to share this
experience with a significant other, realize this whole endeavor
should be fun.
Budget time for yourselves. This goes
hand in hand with the above. When we planned this trip we made
sure we had a couple of days (and nights) in which to enjoy
ourselves in between the scheduled appointments. It meant that
we could relax and unwind after spending the day making life
altering decisions, and the entire procedure was much more enjoyable
because of this. Now, Disney is our thing and the perfect
thing for us to get our minds off the decision making, but for some
folks it might be as simple as going out to eat, see a movie, or
take a swim at the hotel pool. Just remember that all work and
no play is not the way to live.
We actually had a blast doing all of this, and had
very little anxiety about the process... because we had done all the
hard work beforehand. As human beings we are prone to second guess
ourselves, and always wonder if we made the right choice. But the
fact remains that if you make the most informed choice at the time it is
always the right choice. There's no going back in life, no
"do overs" when it comes to this kind of thing, so live a
little and laugh at yourselves and the way things go (see
Up next for us: The Move
And please feel free to visit the Retiring
to Florida forums where you can share your experiences with
like-minded individuals. And then let's all get together for a
SweetPea and Us
Traveling around with our favorite
We had more fun this trip traveling with
our GPS than ever before.
SweetPea (so named because it's the Garmin
StreetPilot, or SP, and it speaks in a female voice) was bought
purposefully for our move to Florida, so we could at least find our way
around a strange state. She works superbly, but at times her idiosyncrasies
caused us no end of amusement on this particular trip.
Her instructions are mostly limited to
"turn left here" or "in 400 feet turn right" but there
were three times she had us in stitches. The first was when she was
directing us to an area that apparently had a new turnoff. She
instructed us to "go .3 miles and then make a U-turn" in her
oh-so-proper English accent which left us rolling on the floor (okay, so
maybe you had to be there :>). My feeling was her next
instruction would be to go 400 feet and then back up, because we had gone
The next incident was a day later, when at
night she started intoning "Turn right, turn right, turn right"
as if she had suddenly lost her mind. Imagine the Queen of England
having a fit and you get the picture.
She has always seemed confident, even
demanding, so the final incident just made us laugh until we cried when
the next night we were out and about and she said "turn..." and
then after a very long pause filled with uncertainty,
"...right". I dunno, I think we might have made her lose
her mind in such a strange place. And I feel guilty laughing at her
now. But I'll get over it.