Last year I was able to visit New York City for the first time, and I found it to be glorious. As we wandered from bagel shop to art museum to ribbon store, I exclaimed, "This would be such a great place to be a little old lady someday! I mean, a rich little old lady..."
I could really see myself there in my dowager days— I could have a small, accessible, elegant flat, I would walk as much as possible and take cabs and public transportation when needed, I could attend fascinating exhibits and lectures and art openings, and everything I could possibly need would be so close at hand. As a bonus, the young ones in the family would always want to come visit because it's NYC. Perhaps it was (working) vacation goggles, but New York felt like the perfect place to have a dignified, fulfilling, and fascinating retirement.
But how could I possibly swing such a thing? I'm 35 now, and have some savings but not nearly "enough." The idea of being able to afford a New York apartment someday seems laughable at the moment, but you never know. It's nice to have a dream to work toward— it makes it easier to save each dollar that I'd much rather spend on nail polish and crackers.
If my Old Lady, Big City dreams don't pan out, I could also imagine living in a little cottage, someplace warm. Nothing huge that would be difficult to clean, no stairs, well-constructed so it doesn't require a ton of maintenance, ideally about half a mile or from a nice little town with shops, a library, and a doctor's office, and near a train station or shuttle service so I could travel and my loved ones could visit. That's actually much closer to the life I'm living now, which is why New York City is my first choice. I like the idea of a retirement being something different: a beachy retirement after a landlocked Midwestern life, or small-town charm after a career in a fast-paced city.
What are your retirement dreams? Is your ideal elderly lifestyle similar to what you're living now (without the job), or totally different than your current situation? Do you think your dreams are at all feasible? What are you doing to try to make them come true? If you're having an awesome retirement or know someone who is, please tell us all about it (and how they managed it)!