Retirement Done Right

Retirement Done Right

Ask the Right Questions

Retirement planning is pretty variable, so don’t expect right answers, just right questions.

In 1951, Dr. Albert Einstein was working as a physics professor at Princeton University. One day, he and his teacher’s assistant were walking across campus when the assistant asked the question, “Dr. Einstein, how do you think our advanced physics students did on their final exam?” Dr. Einstein replied, “Not very well.” The assistant looked surprised and shocked as he responded, “But Dr. Einstein, why wouldn’t our students have done well when we gave them the same test as we gave them last year?” Dr. Einstein replied, “The questions were the same, but the answers are different this time.” While this scenario applies to many situations, it definitely applies to retirement planning. 

In many ways, planning our retirement takes a similar path as 
Dr. Einstein’s advanced physics class. The questions are still the same, but the answers are different. Here are some of the more important questions:

  • Do I have enough to retire?
  • Will my money last as long as I live?
  • What kind of lifestyle can I afford?
  • How much risk should I take?
  • What to do?

Every individual should have a retirement plan regardless of his or her age. This means talking to an advisor about how much money is needed to retire using today’s assumptions regarding life span, health, income levels, inflation, and projected investment returns. As you near retirement, consider a few tactical steps to maximize your security and peace of mind.

Evaluate personal spending.

Instead of worrying about which stock to buy or sell daily, save more money and you’ll get accustomed to spending less now. The good news is that spending is typically highest in the early stages of retirement and declines as the years pass. Take an honest look at your pre-retirement lifestyle, expectations for future spending, and planned activities (such as hobbies and travel). Your conclusions in this thought process will shape your income requirements, and the level of risk in your portfolio.

Coordinate your planning.

Connect the dots between your financial plan and your estate and tax planning.  Work with a trusted fiduciary advisor who puts your interests first and can regularly meet face to face with you and your family. Empower your financial advisor to work directly with your estate lawyer and CPA to be sure you get the best results.  We do this for our clients and the results and follow through can make a big difference on tax day and when facing big life transitions.

Create a system and follow it.

Today, most individuals invest for growth. Balancing the risk/return and growth/income decision requires thoughtful portfolio design, periodic review, and rebalancing from year to year. And the personal discipline to stick with the plan! An individual is 20 times more likely to achieve desired results with a written plan. It should include details regarding risk, taxes, and portfolio design.

Manage your withdrawal rate.

Research shows that even in the most favorable market environments, taking more than 6% annually from a portfolio over a 30-year period can lead to premature depletion of assets. Determining a sustainable withdrawal rate is wise and allows retirees to maintain stable income throughout various market environments.

Plug the tax and expense drains.

The up and down movements in the stock market are out of your control, so try not to worry when they don’t move in your favor. Instead, plan for adverse markets and pay more attention to characteristics that are controllable. Evaluate the possible impact of taxes on your retirement income. How much should you withdraw from the portfolio to receive enough income after taxes? Should you first withdraw from taxable or tax deferred accounts, given your age, tax rate, asset composition, and other personal factors? What expenses are set in stone for you and which are optional?

Assume inflation.

Figure inflation into retirement spending projections and expected investment returns. Although inflation has averaged just over 3% on a long-term basis, many advisors say that a 4% assumption is more prudent. The difference between these two rates is substantial over a lengthy retirement. For instance, to maintain purchasing power throughout a 25-year retirement period, a $100,000 annual withdrawal must increase to more than $209,000, assuming 3% inflation, and $266,500 at 4% inflation. There is a big difference.

Make it count.

Many people spend more time planning their vacation or next automobile purchase than they spend thinking about retirement. Your golden years are one of the more important periods of your life – you will enjoy them better if you’re prepared. Take the time to investigate.

Keep it simple.

Invest in things you understand or that your professional advisor can explain in language that makes sense. Great results do not need to be complicated. The far more important concept is the eighth wonder of the world…time and compounding. If an investor will invest in the best businesses in the world, led by the smartest management, providing world-class goods and services to an increasing global consumer, the results tend to be good. And, in most cases, dividends that tend to increase each year helping income keep pace with inflation.

Great results are most often the product of great relationships. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and seek out qualified experts who can keep you on course as the answers change. Less worry and peace of mind is the goal. We are here to help support your success!

About the authors: Vinton Fountain III, Buck Beam, Brice Gibson and Christopher Riley CFP are members of Fountain Financial Associates, a registered Investment Advisory Firm in Wilmington, NC.  Their mission is to give clients and their families a better life. Learn more at www.fountainfinancial.net. Advisory Services offered through Fountain Financial Associates, Inc., a Registered Investment Advisor. Securities offered through Cetera Advisor Networks LLC. Member FINRA/SIPC. Fountain Financial Associates, Inc., and Cetera are not affiliated.

The Foolproof Way to Stay Social

The Foolproof Way to Stay Social

Social Interaction is Good For Your Health

Consistent social interaction is yet another requirement to ensure good health and a long, vibrant life. But for some, this is easier said than done.

Berkeley, Mayo Clinic, and the National Institute on Aging (among others) all cite evidence that suggests that social interaction improves physical health, increases cognitive functioning, and promotes a longer, more active life. Then, there are the multitude of studies that cite a direct correlation between happiness and social interaction. But, none of these studies tell us how to create or recreate social circles or form meaningful interpersonal relationships, especially after relocating or simply shifting gears during mid-life and into our senior years.

Starting Over

Americans typically spend the majority of their adult lives with their nose to the grindstone and spending free time with family. Friends often consist of colleagues and parents of children’s friends, with a few old friends and neighbors sprinkled in. Because there’s little time for forming (or keeping) the deep bonds with friends that came so easily in years past, social lives become family and children focused. So, by the time the nest empties, many simply feel that they don’t have the energy for it. This sense of defeat, combined with the loss empty-nesters often feel, can be a bit disillusioning. Yes, for some, jumping back into the social scene is like riding a bike, and they’re back in the game in no time. But for others, socializing and putting themselves out there is like pulling teeth.

Bill Clark Banner

Active Adult Communities. The Easy Way Out

This is essentially why active adult communities exist – to make staying active and social easy. Introvert or not, a healthy dose of connection does every body good. And, no matter your personality, finding where you fit into social scenes without the accessibility of organized activities, sports, clubs, and gatherings can be a challenge. This is exactly why active adult communities go above and beyond standard amenities like sports complexes, fitness clubs, and golf courses (all of which can be excellent social outlets). They develop workshops, help to form social clubs and organize events, activities, and outings in order to serve the varied needs and personalities of residents. Whether you’re a nature-lover, bird-watcher, moon-howler, pickleball player, golf fanatic, wine connoisseur, ballroom dancer, quilter, diehard volunteer, lifelong learner, or avid reader, there are people, groups, and activities designed for you. And, if you can’t make yourself go, don’t worry. That’s what having a tight-knit community full of people who have been (or are) in your shoes is all about. Neighbors will eventually get you there.

Noble’s Pond Takes Fun to New Levels with Lifestyle Director Colleen Ostafy

Noble’s Pond Takes Fun to New Levels with Lifestyle Director Colleen Ostafy

Noble’s Pond, a master-planned active adult community just outside of Dover, DE, offers its residents “more fun per square inch than anywhere you’ve ever lived”—and they just might be right. Lifestyle Director Colleen Ostafy, who has been a part of Noble’s Pond since 2008, before the first home in the community was built, recently took home the National Association of Homebuilders’ silver award. As creative as she is energetic, Colleen is the beating heart of Noble’s Pond’s vibrant social scene.

“With the 55+ community, it’s nice to have a lifestyle director. I organize all of their trips, events, and everything they do in the clubhouse,” Colleen says. “When I’m throwing a party or organizing trips, I invite everyone. It’s true community involvement.”

At Nobles Pond in Delaware, they're all in this together.

Colleen holds public dinners where new residents at Noble’s Pond get to know everyone. On the second Wednesday of every month, she also hosts Coffee with Colleen—a gathering of 100-150 people. “They share ideas, and I tell them what’s going on, what trips are coming up. This year, we went to Alaska. We have an African safari that we’re doing in August. In September, we’re taking a bus trip up to Cape Cod,” she says. “We just went to see a minor league baseball team, ate hot dogs, and saw fireworks afterward. I’m like the travel agent of the community.”

Colleen has introduced residents to riverboat cruises to give them a different take on the cruising experience. Next year, they will travel to the Smoky Mountains, Tuscany, and the Amalfi coast. “The nice part about it is that all you have to do is pack your bags and go to the clubhouse. I take it from there,” says Colleen, who enjoys trips alongside the residents, making herself available to take care of any concerns that might arise—from logistics to healthcare emergencies. “I make residents happy,” she says. “They’ve worked all their lives, taken care of people. Now it’s their time to enjoy life.”

Being the lifestyle director for an active 55+ community has its advantages. “I had it on my bucket list to go to the tulip festival in Germany. So I got together in a room of 100 of my best friends and brought it up. Close to 50 people went to Germany with me,” Colleen says.

Keeping it beautiful at Nobles Pond.Noble’s Pond residents also have a tremendous amount to do close to home. “People who come to Noble’s Pond or even look at our website are like, ‘This is just so amazing’,” Colleen says. “If people are moving in from out of state, they don’t know each other. The clubhouse is our grounding point. They can meet their neighbors, and meet other people who have something in common with them. We can show you how to play pickleball and bocce. We have a community garden.”

While Colleen is a treasure trove of ideas for activities, she is also open to residents’ input. “I’ve had suggestions for a little bit of everything. I’m never going to say no to you,” she says. “I come up with some really crazy things sometimes. We have a group of residents—we call them ambassadors. If we have an open house, they’ll come and talk to prospective people coming into the community.”

Colleen considers herself adventurous, but not as much as one of the residents who she accompanied on a trip to Niagara Falls. “One of the ladies wanted to zipline over the Falls. And she’s in her 80s!” Colleen says. “She’s my little daredevil. We went to Las Vegas…she wanted to zipline there, too.”

The residents of Noble’s Pond are also committed to giving back to their community. “We do a lot of charity events. Girls’ Night Out to Fight MS has raised over $92,000 in the past six years. It’s amazing how residents come together,” she says.

For Colleen, the greatest satisfaction lies in making her residents happy. “People realize that you can really retire and have the good life. One gentleman said to me, ‘I feel like I’m on vacation.’ Another said, ‘I just have to pinch myself every day to think that I can actually have this life and enjoy it as much as I am,’” she says. “I love what I do. I want to make it fun and entertaining. When we go on these trips, they bring their bags up, we take it from there—and they’re on their adventure!”

noblespondhomes.com

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7 Real Life Tax Stories

7 Real Life Tax Stories

Taxes Feature Waterways

 

The Stories of Seven Couples Who Lowered Their Taxes & Improved Their Lives

By Kelly Godbey

“What we saved in taxes, we now use to fund our lifestyle.”
~ Leslie Jacobson of Dataw Island, SC

In 2018, the number one reason people were considering a move was to save money in taxes, followed closely by moving to a better
climate. So, we interviewed people to see how much they saved in taxes when they relocated to a low tax state. As I spoke with each one of them, their lifestyles simply overpowered the amount that they saved. While saving money in taxes was wonderful for them all, their stories were more about the new lives they lead. Meet these joyous people who moved from a high tax state and improved their lifestyles.

Leslie and Bill Jacobson of Dataw Island and Logan Homes
Saved $6,000 a year in property taxes

“If you had told me in 2016 that I would be living in South Carolina, I would have told you that you were crazy,” said Leslie Jacobson, formerly from Montgomery County, PA. In the Spring of 2016, they mapped out a trip from Williamsburg, VA, to Savannah, GA, and toured developments down the coast. Leslie says: “On this trip a light bulb went off for me … This is what my life could be? …This is what my taxes could be? … This is what the weather would be? Then Bill said, ‘I want to look at this place I saw in Ideal-Living magazine, Dataw Island,’ so we went there and stayed with a Discovery package. We narrowed it down to two places, then we bought a lot at Dataw Island in the spring of 2017. And, we moved in May 2018.”

The Jacobson’s knew they wanted Logan Homes to build their home. The Jacobson’s home has a pond view and a golf view. “Logan Homes were in our price range, and we love the product. Logan builds quality homes and they have a great design center. They have really streamlined the process. We used one of their floor plans and customized it the way we wanted it. We made a lot of modifications in the kitchen. I tell everyone we live in paradise,” says Leslie.

“The people who we have met have been so wonderful and gracious. We have become a part of ‘Island Friends.’ Dataw Island puts together groups of nine to 12 couples who rotate dinners at their homes once a month that gives us a chance to get to know new people. We were social before, but this was even easier to meet people.”

Leslie loves the beach and Bill loves golf. Bill (64) plays golf three to four times a week and Leslie (56) just isn’t ready to retire yet. Their taxes were in excess of $11,000 prior to moving, not to mention the new SALT tax legislation that would have eaten up all of their $10,000 deduction for state and local taxes. They encourage others to do their due diligence by attending an Ideal-LIVING Real Estate Show, just as they had done. Bill says, “You’ll know the place is right when you see it.”

dataw.com 

loganhomes.com

Larry and Sherry Sherman of the Villages at Citrus Hills
Saved $5,000 a year in property taxes

As an accountant, Larry Sherman did his homework before moving from a small town in Connecticut to Citrus Hills, FL. The Shermans were tired of fighting all of the snow and ice, so climate was a big factor, but so was saving money. By moving to Florida, they saved seven percent in state income tax, as Florida is known for NO STATE INCOME TAX. And, even saved a couple thousand dollars on property tax for cars every year. Larry still works part-time as a CPA and keeps himself busy along with going outside everyday and exercising. They both take much better care of themselves living in Florida than they did previously. He says, “Sometimes I have to pinch myself to see if this is real.” He now loves to golf, as does his wife, Sherry, who has just taken up golf in addition to donating time to various charities. The Shermans are busy every day, from day trips to kayaking and socializing. He says, “Don’t wait too long in life. You only get one shot at life, so don’t hesitate; come down and try. I used to work 80 hours a week during tax season, and you have to think of yourself. You have to enjoy life while you can, even if you have to take a loss in selling your home today.”

citrushills.com

Pam Avila of Hot Springs Village, AR
Saved $9,000 a year in property taxes

Relocating from California a year and a half ago to Hot Springs, AR, was a big change and culture shock for Pam Avila, and she loves it! At 75 years young, Pam still runs a consulting business, now working with marketing. She has always been an entrepreneur. In California, she had a tech consulting business that worked with companies such as Microsoft and Apple.

When it was time to partially “retire” Pam knew that there was no way she could afford to stay in California, so she looked at places around the country and found a wonderful cost of living and tax situation in Arkansas. “It’s been an adventure!” Pam says. “I came here on a Monday and bought on a Wednesday. It just felt right! You hear about ‘Southern Hospitality,’ but you really don’t know until you experience it.” Pam now goes to dance fitness classes twice a week, enjoys kayaking, and even goes line dancing.

Just by relocating, Pam saved $9,000 a year in real estate taxes, not to mention a lower cost of living. The home costs in California were approximately three times what she paid for a home in Hot Springs Village. And, all of the costs for services like landscapers, plumbers, and electricians are much lower. And, the property tax for the same car went from $450/year to $27 per year.

Spread across 26,000 acres in the Oachita Mountains, Hot Springs Village is the largest gated community in the U.S. with all of the amenities you can imagine, including nine golf courses, 12 lakes, two marinas, fitness centers, country clubs, and over 20 miles of trails. It’s easy to see why Pam fell in love.

explorethevillage.com

Logan Homes Banner 04

Peter and Susanne Lividini of Heritage Shores, Bridgeville, DE
Saved $15,000 a year in property taxes

When the Lividini’s retired, they made a lateral move from a 2,700 sq. ft. home in New York to a 2,600 sq. ft. home with property taxes of $1,877 a year. Peter says that living in Putnam Valley was just too expensive with high taxes and a high cost of living. He was a school teacher in Harrison, NY, where the average costs for monthly taxes are between $16,000 and $60,000 a year.
The Lividinis now live the epitome of the active lifestyle. Peter retired at age 62 for a different way of life. He says, “When I was working, I had 45 to 50 minutes a day commute, and now I have so much time. The best part of retirement is that I didn’t expect retirement to be like this! At Heritage Shores, there are so many amenities. I bowl every week, play pickleball three days a week, bocce ball on Mondays, every other week there’s water volleyball, and I bike to the gym. This place is scheduled like a cruiseship with something different to do all of the time. I even started golfing and play nine holes two to three times a week.”

According to Peter, living at Heritage Shores is like being at “Cheers,” where everybody knows your name. There are many clubs where residents show up to learn about anything from history to science fiction. They even have groups where homeowners plan trips to various destinations for groups.

In addition, Peter is an artist who works on commissions and has set their new home up like a gallery. But, it’s not all about Peter, Susanne is very active too. They still make time for each other, like going for bike rides, and social gatherings. The pair loves to hang out at the Sugar Beet Market, where you’ll find lots of Heritage Shores residents listening to music or grabbing a bite to eat. Susanne participates in co-ed water volleyball, plays mahjong, and is a member of the “Red Hat Society” that raises money for charities and social issues.
Peter says, “It’s fun! It’s everything we’ve always wanted.”

heritageshores.com

Jere and Jill Hassberger of Fairfield Glade, TN
Saved $6,000 a year in property taxes

In July 2017, Jere and Jill relocated to Fairfield Glade, TN, from Ann Arbor, MI, for a better climate with four seasons of moderate temperatures with a lower cost of living. While Jere is now retired, Jill still works remotely. They have found their new life in Fairfield Glade quite enjoyable, as have many other Midwesterners. In addition to saving approximately $6,000 a year in property taxes, they have also saved his pension from being taxed, as there is no state income tax in Tennessee. (His pension was taxed in Michigan). Jere says, “When you put it all together, Fairfield Glade was great from the golfing and hiking to the community to the weather to the cost of living.”

The weather is so conducive to outdoor living that Jere now tries to play golf at least two to three days a week on one of the 90 holes and five courses available at Fairfield Glade. They also enjoy hiking and being closer to their daughter in Nashville. Many residents also enjoy boating and fishing on one of the 11 lakes in the community or enjoying the racquet sports from pickleball to tennis.

The Hassbergers had looked at planned communities in Georgia, North Carolina, and Tennessee, and recommend that others spend time in a community and take advantage of discovery travel to help them make a decision.

fairfieldglade.net

Dodie and Gary Koch of Waterways, Richmond Hill, GA
Saved over $8,000 a year in property taxes

The primary reason the Kochs decided to relocate was that living in Connecticut was cost prohibitive, in addition to cold winters. They both said, “We don’t have to suffer through this!” And, they didn’t. The Kochs relocated to Waterways in Richmond Hill, just outside of Savannah, GA, in January 2016, and they still have a summer place in Vermont. They started looking in northern Florida, but decided on Savannah for the great culture and food.

Dodie takes classes at the Savannah Learning Center and even works with the Dolphin Project where she counts dolphins in the estuaries around Savannah. Every morning they walk for three miles around Waterways, a 2,300 acre development with boat access. “The community looks like it has been here forever; they love the trees. There’s no clearcutting here!” says Dodie. They also love to cycle around the 12 miles of paved roads and talk to their neighbors.

According to the Kochs, the community is very friendly with new families, young couples, and retirees. It keeps them young at heart. It’s a melting pot with people from all over. Their new home is so well-built that it is incredibly efficient, costing less than half of what they paid in Connecticut for their utilities (they save $1,000/year just for utilities).
“As a New Englander, I always thought of Georgia as the deep South. But, I have embraced the South. I really enjoy the Southern culture,” Dodie says. And, the Kochs agree,“You are never too old to try something new. Don’t be afraid to take the leap!”

livewaterways.com

Gerard and Jane Sunderland of Brunswick Forest, Wilmington, NC
Reduced taxes by two thirds

Wilmington, NC attracts thousands of retirees each year, and three and a half years ago, it snared Gerry and Jane Sunderland from Wooster, MA. Jane was ready to retire from nursing and Gerry’s job was flexible, so they could move anywhere. Although they already had a second home in Vermont, they wanted to get closer to the sea. They knew immediately it was the right place for them when they reached Brunswick Forest.

The Sunderlands were looking for a lifestyle near a city. They thought they would downsize when they relocated, and did, but then after they built, they decided to add on a huge sunroom with air conditioning and a fireplace so they could host more parties for all of their new friends.
They now have many more friends than when they lived in Wooster, MA.
Jane had never golfed before and now is a self-acclaimed golf-aholic. They enjoy golf, tennis, pickleball, biking, and walking; they are active all day long. They love all the culture that the Wilmington area has to offer, including seeing shows at Thalian Hall and the Wilson Center.

Their taxes are now at least a third of what they were, and their cost of living is so much less, including entertainment and dining options. Even the parking is significantly cheaper than in the Boston area.
The Sunderlands advise, “Try everything at least once. Reach out and meet people. We’ve never regretted it.”

brunswickforest.com

Giving New Meaning to ‘Active Retirement’ at Fawn Lake

Giving New Meaning to ‘Active Retirement’ at Fawn Lake

Golf is just one way for active adults to get their game on at Fawn Lake.On their way into Fawn Lake, a gated lakeside community in Spotsylvania, VA, discerning visitors might notice some interesting indentations along the side of the road, accompanied by a sign: “Protected Area.” Residents have ample opportunities to stay active at Fawn Lake through access to fantastic amenities. Hiking trails, a beautiful lakeside beach, and a deep water marina are among them. But, every day, they also drive by a well-preserved piece of the past: The Civil War Wilderness Battlefield. Those indentations on the side of the road? They’re earthwork trench lines.

Given Marsha and Bob Stumpf’s history as a military family, perhaps it’s fitting that for the past 20 years, they’ve called the community of Fawn Lake home.“My career took two simultaneous paths for the most part. I served 10 years on active duty with the United States Air Force, and then 25 years in the Air Force Reserve,” Bob says. “While serving in the Reserves, I worked for MCI Telecommunications for 18 years. Marsha spent her time raising our three children, but did work as a legal secretary after college, and as an office manager in a physical therapy office when the kids were in college.”

The Stumpfs were living in Northern Virginia in a community that they liked—but it didn’t have the resort-style amenities that interested them. “An advertisement in the Washington Post led us one Saturday in early 1991 to Fawn Lake where Coach Joe Gibbs had an interest in the development company in which he planned to build a home. In the absence of a salesperson, we spoke with the secretary who provided us a map with numbers for lots on the golf course and lake. There were no homes, just lots,” Bob says of that initial visit to Fawn Lake. “After a brief tour, we returned to the sales trailer and stated that we wanted to purchase the lot on the lake in which we live today. Incidentally, it is the lot next to the lot in which Coach Gibbs built the home in which he lived for a very brief period of time. This is our 20th year at Fawn Lake and we have loved every minute.”

Active adults flock to the water for obvious reasons.Not only have the Stumpfs loved every minute, they’ve made the most of their time there. Both Marsha and Bob are physically active, and take advantage of Fawn Lake’s extensive athletic activities. “We have been and continue to be involved with sports normally played with a ball.This includes tennis, golf, and pickleball on a regular basis,” Bob says. “Fawn Lake is fortunate enough to have a world-class Arnold Palmer golf course, four Har-Tru tennis courts and six pickle ball courts. We rotate between sports, but normally play something each day. Marsha’s activities also include Mahjong, exercise classes, walking group, and working in the yard.”

Bob also plays on Fawn Lake’s Senior League golf team, which competes with other golf clubs in the mid-Virginia area, and serves on the Board of Directors of Fawn Lake Country Club. “We are members of a local church and support its activities,” he says.

With all that the Stumpfs have on their plate, it’s hard to imagine them taking on anything else, but in their full and fulfilling life at Fawn Lake, there’s always room for a little more. “This will be the 10th year for the Fawn Lake Triathlon for which I have been the race director for the last five years,” Bob says. “It takes the whole community to host the event and over 100 athletes participate each year.”

fawnlakevirginia.com

Fawn Lake - Virginia Gated Communities

Fawn Lake - Virginia Gated Communities

Spanning over 2,350 acres of gently rolling countryside just nine miles west of the historic city of Fredericksburg VA, Fawn Lake offers the unique opportunity to live in the relaxed resort atmosphere of a gated community and carefully preserved trees with a 288-acre deepwater lake with over seven miles of shoreline plus and an Arnold Palmer... Read More...


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Dance Like No One’s Watching

Dance Like No One’s Watching

Dance like no one is watching

Dance Like No One’s Watching

By Kim Henry

“Even the people who say, ‘Oh, I don’t dance,’ often end up on the dance floor having the time of their life!”

If the gym is not your first preference, but you value an active lifestyle, have no fear; there’s an increasingly popular alternative—dancing! Tone up, build stamina, and have fun while you’re doing it. This growing trend has inspired a majority of communities to include all kinds of movement-based classes to their fitness and wellness programs. Now you can two-step right out of your comfort zone, and get on down with Hula Hooping, Jazzercise, or Ballroom dance classes.

In addition to healthier hearts and lungs, weight management, and greater agility, dancing is also known to include making new friends, relieving stress, and laughing out loud. No wonder most active lifestyle communities now host an array of classes, with everything from Square Dancing to Zumba, and Shagging to Swing being readily available.

Dance-based events are also on the rise. Take the story of Jack and Jean Hester for example. They moved from Raleigh, NC, down to their dream home in the stunning 55+ community ‘On Top of the World’ in Ocala, FL. Having loved to dance all their lives, they soon took over the community’s small Events Club and more than tripled the membership in just six months by organizing themed dance nights. “Every community should have a club like this—people absolutely love it! It’s so important to come together and socialize in a fun atmosphere,” enthuses Jean as she describes the ‘Western,’ ‘Freestyle,’ and ‘Music From Around the World’ 2019 line-up. “We always have live music and even the people who say, ‘Oh, I don’t dance,’ often end up on the dance floor having the time of their life!” she smiles.

The positive health benefits of dancing are equaled by the positive social and personal benefits. Getting out to shake and shimmy is an ideal way to make new friends, deepen already formed connections, and to be reminded that you’re only as old as you feel.

Gary Morford reiterates the positive impact of being involved in a dance club. As one of the only Square Dance Callers along the coast of North Carolina, his skills are in great demand. The Buoys and Gulls Square Dance club at St. James Plantation in Southport, NC, meet once a week to ‘dosey doe’ and ‘take your partner by the hand.’

“There’s the obvious physical benefits of movement, but just as important are the mental benefits,” explains Morford. “Square dancing demands that you stay alert and respond to the spontaneous calls.” With around 60 to 100 possible dance calls, Square Dancing is as much a workout for the brain as it is for the body.

On the rise as a channel for personal and physical wellness, you can expect to find an enticing range of dance classes and events at most communities. Whether it’s Square Dancing, Five Rhythms, or Zumba, there’s a style for everybody’s body.

ontopoftheworldcommunities.com

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