Ask people who have retired recently how they like it and you are apt to get a variety of replies. But Bob and Carole Kadunce, who recently retired to The Villages in Florida, believe they have found as perfect a place to retire as there is.
The Kadunces didn’t choose quickly when they were looking for a place to live when Bob retired after working for 40 years in the Akron, OH area. They spent a lot of time traveling around the country (during vacation time or on work-related trips) testing the waters so to speak. In doing so they chose their favorite places in different areas of the country, but when it came time to make a decision, a lot of the potential towns were lacking in what the couple decided was important: housing costs, cost of living and most especially, the proximity of quality medical care. They also wanted to live somewhere that had a “small town” feel and be able to walk to many places within the community.
They had pretty much decided to retire in the Naples area of Florida because it had excellent medical care, many churches (important to them), good services, active retirement communities and good weather. But while visiting there, a friend told them they should take a look at the new development called The Villages, about 50 miles from Orlando. Once they visited The Villages, they were sold, but continued doing their homework. They rented a couple of places in The Villages to see how living there felt and found that it was just what they wanted.
Carole and Bob Kadunce and Harley
“We like The Villages over other retirement communities in this area because of its size and the number of activities,” Bob says. The Villages boasts 55,000 residents within the active adult community with plans to expand over the next six or seven years to about 110,000. “With the large number of residents, the resources are better here than in most retirement communities,” he adds.
Golf Courses Abound
For example, Bob says that most retirement communities (which generally have between 2,000 and 8,000 people) have one or two 18-hole golf courses. At The Villages, there are currently eight 27-hole courses and 18 9-hole courses, making getting a tee time a lot easier.
The activities offered to retirees at The Villages run the gamut from the usual (bridge, chess, tai chi) to an amazing array: acoustic guitar, beginning tap, Civil War Group, creative writers, Golf Cart Drill Team, cycling, clowning, philosophy, photography and clubs for different cities and states where residents originated from; pickleball, softball, soccer and seeking spirituality.
The Villages have two town centers complete with stores, restaurants, movie theaters and services. There are also three malls in the Villages and a hospital, all of which can be reached by golf cart, a happy necessity. Free entertainment is provided every night in gazeboes in the two town squares.
Bob and Carole say that it took them about a year to plan their relocation, getting the house ready and preparing to move their lives to Florida. “We needed to get our bank accounts set up for Internet banking -- which makes it easier to relocate -- and also to decide how to set up investments and to deal with taxes.” It’s about ten percent cheaper to live in Florida than the Cleveland, OH area, he says.
Downsizing a Challenge
“Downsizing is hard,” they admit, having to go from a 2,600 sq. ft. home with a three stall garage and basement to a 1,500 sq. ft. villa with a two stall garage and no basement. But the sale and move were very easy because staff at The Villages took care of the sale of their house, packing, storage, moving, and financing -- the complete package.
Retiring does have its challenges, as anyone who has recently done it will agree. “We have met many people here,” Bob says. “We have friends from the Akron area who live here and also friends who winter in nearby Orlando. We have also made a few friends here from other areas of the country, but it’s not easy to make new friends quickly, something to think about it you are going to relocate,” he advises.
“Retirement has been very good. I have not missed the work, but I do miss the people contact. It’s very difficult to make up the people contact that I developed for 40 years.”
Bob and Carole are working on developing new relationships with new interests. “It is easier here in Florida,” they say, “because everyone is looking for new relationships outside of their families.” They have started feeling more at home now in Florida, thanks to joining a church they like. “Our days go very quickly. We are gone from the house almost all day with the activities.”
By Teresa K. Flatley