Ever dreamed about retiring to an island? Whenever I see a travel commercial with sand and water, it gets me going. The camera will zoom in behind a couple sitting in beach chairs watching the sunset with the sound of nothing but seagulls. According to the commercial, I can be just like these two people if I book a trip to Aruba, Bermuda or Hawaii. That's when I start on my fantasy island retirement daydream. Laid back lifestyle, balmy breezes, friendly local proprietors who know my name, rum punch, shellfish and flip flops. And in my fantasy, I'm looking really good walking down the beach in a thong bikini (Hey, this is my fantasy so I get to decide what my beach body looks like). Reggae music plays in the background as the waves gently roll up on the sand. Ahhh. I've arrived.
Over the years my husband and I took a few trips both with the kids and without. We would sometimes go to an island. And without fail, at some point on the journey home one of us would say, "You know, when we retire we should live on an island, someplace like Barbados or Puerto Rico or the Greek Islands." And the other one would agree and then we'd spend the next hour talking and fantasizing about what that would look like.
We'd have just a little place with an outdoor shower and maybe a talking parrot or pelican. We'd grill fish and eat bananas and take long walks along the shore. We'd hold hands and walk barefoot to our favorite clam shack. (Ok, maybe not barefoot because now my feet really need some decent arch support and you can also get ringworm from walking barefoot.) But, we'd still hold hands and walk to our favorite beach shack eatery. We'd know the waiter and bartender by name and they would know us. We'd laze away the sunny afternoon at the shack and then head to the beach to read and have a swim in the late afternoon. No worries, my friends. Take it easy. Lovely.
But would I really truly move to a Caribbean or Greek island? Would I really move to another country to live on an island? In my dreams it seems idyllic but in reality, I just don't know if I would actually pull the trigger. Lots of people do expat retirements and in many cases, depending on the country, it can be really cost efficient and a great life. But cost aside, do I want to be that far away from everything I know? I would love to live on an honest to goodness island with an island lifestyle but I might want to stick a little closer to home.
On our retirement planning website, GangsAway!, we took a look at some of our data and came up with 10 Great Island Retirement Location alternatives that are adjacent to the US mainland. They are not all tropical but then again, not everyone wants tropical. Have a look at our Top 10 mainland islands. I'll warn you, they're not cheap but maybe it will give you some food for thought and help you channel your inner Gilligan.
All the accolades, popularity and an IFC television show dedicated to the city, haven't altered what makes Portland special: The place is quirky to the core. Fueling this extended reign are, foremost, the type of people the city draws -- creative, free-spirited, stridently alternative -- and a well-supported slew of edgy local businesses.
Long a traditional oasis of liberal edginess, originality remains a badge of pride in Austin, as do progressive political stances, green living, large and convenient parks, and artsy festivals.
The offbeat crowd mixes well with the town's many college kids, and they all enjoy abundant sunshine and proximity to a vast mountain playground.
The county is a funky string of artist-haven villages edged by vast swaths of bear-haven mountains, and strung prettily along the Hudson River. Of special note to retirees: Residents age 59 1/2 and older can take $20,000 a year from qualified pensions free of state income taxes, and all pensions are tax-free for retired military and government workers.
The salt air may not cure all but it gives people who are prone to whimsy -- like retirees! -- an excellent excuse to throw caution to the wind.
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