Longing for Sunshine in Retirement? Maybe It’s Time to Get Creative

Two years ago, our oldest daughter migrated to Los Angeles in search of sunshine. Last year her sister returned home from college and departed a few months later for Hawaii. When the clouds rolled into town in October and my allergies flared up again, I turned to my husband and sighed, “What about us? How soon will we be able to move to a warmer climate?”

I’ll admit that we were in a fortunate position or I wouldn’t have asked him. In early Spring, after two failed attempts, we had finally sold our high-priced home in Kirkland. Overjoyed, we rented an apartment nearby and brain-stormed what to do next. Now that our daughters were gone, the endless gray skies and rain felt unbearable (especially to me).  Starting a new life somewhere else seemed equally daunting. Both my husband and I had lived in the Seattle area all of our lives, fifty-plus years.

Months passed as we researched our options. We concluded that our best opportunities lied in the Southwest. Narrowing it down even further, we focused on Arizona. Our dear friends had a winter home in the Phoenix area and we discovered that we could purchase a modest residence there with money to spare. Only one dilemma remained. How would we supplement our income once my husband left his current contract job? Royalties from sales of French Illusions would help, but we needed reliable monthly cash flow. More brain-storming produced an excellent solution. We decided to purchase two rental investment properties with our remaining money and manage them ourselves until full retirement.

There you have it. With some creative thinking, we reached our goals. We own a bungalow in Gilbert, a townhome in Chandler and our friends have graciously offered us the use of their home until we find one for ourselves. Arizona here we come!  I have only two remaining concerns about the move. How in the world will I cope with the high temperatures in the summer and how will I ever get my husband to remember to put on sunscreen?

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