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  Lessons Learned
Retiring to Florida
The Big Picture
Selecting Legacy
Visiting Legacy
Design Studio
Red Carpet Center
The Pool
Lessons Learned
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
Leesburg Hospital

 Some day 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 so well.


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 sidebar).  


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 drink someday.


SweetPea and Us

Traveling around with our favorite GPS

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 too far.

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.




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