When geezers are thinking about where to live in retirement, there is often talk of sunshine and heat, specifically Florida and Arizona. Often referred to as God’s waiting rooms, both these sun-drenched states have a high proportion of seniors enjoying their golden years.
But it’s time for change. I’m proposing that we start thinking about retirement living with less sun and more cold. And when it comes to cold retirement living, who can compete with the Flickertail state, North Dakota? You may be thinking Alaska, but that state is so far away you have to go through another country to get there.
No, if you want retirement living in the lower 48, NDs your answer. Let’s compare.
Florida has the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico, so you’re never far from water. Unfortunately, as global warming raises the levels of the oceans, more retired boomers will have to move toward the center of the state. Here they will find lots of swamp water and plenty of hungry alligators.
Arizona has sand, and loads of it. This will be very helpful to Florida as global warming sucks away their beaches. There’s so much sand that if you’re retired in Arizona, a well-known fun retirement activity is renting a camel, riding it through the sand, and pretending you’re Lawrence of Arabia. At least until the sunstroke kills you.
North Dakota eschews surf and sand in favor of snow that gets as high as an elephant’s eye. White, crystalline, and pure – much like heroin, but with none of the bad side effects. Retirees can make snow angels to practice for Heaven or dig snow caves to play Pirates of the North with grandkids. And challenging your neighbor to a snowball fight is considered great winter fun.
Florida is the Sunshine State. Of course, with that sunshine comes humidity, and plenty of it. So for about six months of the year, retirees practice sweat walking – from their house to their cars, from their cars to the supermarket, from their cars to the mall, from their cars to the community clubhouse, and then all that walking back to their cars. Living in Florida, you’ll sweat so much, retirement communities sell salt licks to raise money for charity.
Arizona has sunshine with heat. We’re talking six months of dry, burning heat that only a cactus could love. In Arizona, 50% of a retiree’s budget goes to health care and 50% goes to paying the air conditioning bill. Retirees do save a little money by not turning on their gas stoves – they just fry food on the stones in their backyards.
This kind of heat and humidity is not a problem in North Dakota. In fact, the sun can actually be seen in the sky during the summer month and you’ll only need to wear one sweater when you go outside. But it’s the winter, starting in September and running through July that will keep any retiree healthy. As stated by the Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center, “There is no medicine like a crisp North Dakota winter morning to put spring and vigor into the steps of old and young alike.”
Florida has marlins galore, and I don’t mean just the baseball team. A geezer can fish till he gets skin cancer. Or, while the sand lasts, senior citizens can enjoy the glorious beaches. At least until they get skin cancer. Then, seniors can always stop eating for a few months so they can afford to take their grandkids to Disney World. Finally, for active geezers, there’s always wrasslin’ with gators in the Okefenokee Swamp.
Arizona is the Grand Canyon State. You can tour the Grand Canyon with your wife, then with the kids when they visit, then with the grandkids when you’re babysitting, then with friends from Florida, then…you will get sick of the Grand Canyon.
North Dakotaoffers a year round cornucopia of activities. During winter, the more adventurous geezer can always try snowshoeing, dog sledding, and flickertail hunting. Flickertails are Richardson’s ground squirrels, which are abundant in North Dakota – and quite edible. After the winter snow caves melt, you can clear out the slush, dig out ice-covered animals, and thaw out lost and frozen hikers.
Florida has loads of gated retirement communities. These sprawling apartment building complexes rise high in the sky, creating a sunny beehive-like atmosphere. Of course, if the elevator isn’t working, you have to stay put in your apartment. Don’t worry, it’s probably too humid to go out anyway.
Arizona has loads of gated retirement communities with championship golf courses, smooth tennis courts, and crystal clear pools. If only it ever cooled down enough to go out and enjoy these amenities.
North Dakota has many fewer retirement communities – but that’s only because it hasn’t been discovered yet. Yes, winter does bring occasional blizzards in which heavy snowfall, poor visibility, high winds, and dangerously low wind chill temperatures combine to make travel virtually impossible. But who needs a gated community with that kind of weather?
So keep North Dakota in mind when it’s time for retirement. The flickertails will welcome you – and you can eat them.
For more about retirement communities, read Welcome to Your Retirement Community Choices.