Drop the Bridge Game and Skydive Into a More Exciting Retirement

November 10, 2012 Comments Off

Last weekend my father-in-law called to ask if he could borrow my skis, his pair didn’t make it back from the last trip in Alaska and we’re the same size. I told him that I had taken up snowboarding and sold my skis. There was a pause before he said that he was more than happy to snowboard instead because the resort he was going to had “snow wookies (aka snow bunny) that are [his] age.” My father-in-law is 85 and he will be the first to tell you it’s just a number — age is a state of mind.

Retirement Doesn’t Mean Tired

Like many retirees of the boomer generation, his exciting life started once he retired his police badge and gun. He still keeps the peace as the head of his community watch, but his days of busting bad guys have come to an end; leaving him with more time to do the things he didn’t have time for while on the force. Many times, my kids and I have trouble keeping up with him and his active retirement: visiting foreign countries, scuba diving, mountain biking, snowboarding and skydiving.

Since he has taken up coin collecting, US Money Reserve minted coins and framed dollars take up most of his shelf and wall space. In his retirement, he has three guidelines for a place to live: Bicycle friendly, strong advocacy of volunteering and doctors that take his insurance. He hasn’t settled on a place to retire and he says he’s too young to join the old folks, but here are the top three places Forbes.com recommended, which he’s strongly considering.

Madison, Wisconsin

Rated as number one in Volunteering — 40 percent are adults — and the capital of a community-minded state (known for farming and 4H-sponsored county fairs), Madison, Wisconsin is a great place to call home. The winters might be on the chilly side, but bicycle friendliness rates seventh and they are rated sixth in doctor and specialist availability. Volunteering is very important, as it keeps retirees active.

Boulder, Colorado

Also known for its skiing — which is a plus for the father-in-law — Boulder rates number two in volunteering (38 percent of adult residents participate) and fifth in biking, both great factors to consider. The city has a nice list of doctors and specialists and a low crime rate, always a plus.

Portland, Oregon

Touting a low crime rate as well, Portland, Oregon may not seem like an action-packed city, but it does offer its share of fun and excitement; it rates second on the bicycle index and is super outdoorsy. If you love hiking, mountain biking, fishing and camping, this is a perfect place to consider. Volunteering here is a bit lower than the other locations and the weather is also more temperate and mild.

If you find a place that caters to active retirees, look into the housing market, important resources and entertainment available, and also look into the other cities suggested by Forbes. It’s important to be active in a life focused on your passions.

If you’ve worked hard most of your life and had the foresight to wisely invest in your retirement, it’s time to see it all come to fruition. After all, retirement isn’t about living on the couch and getting arthritis and cataracts. Retirement is about excitement, sharing new experiences and getting on that ski lift and shredding the slope.

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