To the editor:
My wife and I are now both retired — wow! Retirement raises different questions about living your life compared to, say, graduating from school or college. Two main questions facing a retiree, I’ve found, include: What should I do now? and Where should I do it?
Answers to these two questions are very closely related, and don’t come easy. Resolving these questions as a couple pose an even greater challenge to “get it right” than going it solo. Embarking on a career or taking a job usually drives where one is going to live. However, Embarking on retirement is just the opposite usually, in that one looks for a place to live that will support what they want to do in their retirement.
Last Sunday’s Charlotte Observer (Aug.3,2014, 29A, Viewpoint)served up a very timely column, “Retirees make N.C. home,” by Christopher Gergen and Stephen Martin, where they make a case for North Carolina as the leading state “for those 64 and older who are considering an out-of-state move for retirement.” Media publications routinely give North Carolina “metros” (big cities) very high rankings in “best places to retire” reviews, notably Raleigh, Charlotte, Greensboro, Asheville, Fayetteville (retired veterans). Google and see for yourself.
The column went on say that “state officials are attempting to build on these favorable trends.” Last December, the N.C. Economic Development Board reported a major way to drive economic growth through 2024 was to create a “platform for retiree attraction and business creation.”
Further, in 2008 the General Assembly created the N.C. Certified Retirement Community Program, which offers certification to any community, notably “micros” (small cities)that demonstrate they “offer a high quality of life for retirees.” Once certified, these cities are promoted nationally through the state’s RetireNC marketing program.” (N.C. is one of..10 states nationally with a retirement certification program, nine N.C. communities have achieved this certification, including nearby Lumberton and Sanford).
I think Rockingham’s leaders and planners should seek this certification. “Best Retirement Community” rankings typically focus on climate, health care, public safety, recreation, culture, standard of living, taxes, housing, affordability and location factors. Rockingham offers virtually all of these ‘quality of life’resources, a low cost of living (ex. housing), and an easy ride to surrounding communities.
In and around Rockingham are two hospitals, a veterans’ clinic, two golf courses, hiking, fishing, hunting, fitness center, senior centers, a thriving community college, cultural offerings, shopping, restaurants, Raider sports and various service organizations that serve older citizens. Perhaps most important to retirees — a very sociable, friendly diverse local population to live amongst, be it in Rockingham or the other fine communities of Richmond County.