Want to know what it's like to retire in Traverse City?
Michigander, MSU School of Hospitality. I've lived/worked in Michigan, Ohio, Iowa, Kentucky, Mississippi and Missouri. Dawn and I have traveled the world. I'm also civically active. I'm married with two daughters and two grandchildren....all local. Former hospitality executive (casinos, restaurants, hotels), former ED of the National Cherry Festival, SCORE member, Immediate Past President of United Way, President of TC Boom Boom Club (July Fourth fireworks over West Bay), etc. I'm an active grandparent, golfer, hunter, avid reader, and news junkie.
My sister lived in Kingsley, so we were familiar with TC early on: its natural beauty, open spaces, favorable real estate for our demographic (mostly variety of quiet, livable space). There is plenty to do, and growth potential with investment upside. It is politically diverse, a pretty interesting mix. The libraries are active. The TC strategic planning execution has been exemplary. There are also hundreds of non-profits trying to do good things. The area is good for healthy seniors, although I'm not sure the appeal for 75+, especially if you cannot head south due to economics/health.
The TC area can be somewhat parochial, as it is hard to comfortably get involved (other areas we've lived in were much more receptive). February is the longest month, not the shortest. The Wifi sucks. The lack of affordable housing stunts growth (ie. I'd hate to be in business up here, especially a small business. It's too hard/expensive finding enough consistent, reliable help). TC is great for $150K+ households to live comfortably, although it is currently a sellers market, and less than that is challenging. Healthcare is OK, unless you are a Veteran (they have too far to go for care). It is automobile dependent, and winter driving should not be taken lightly.
Our house was for getaways from the southern heat, family visits and holidays, so early on we were familiar with general living aspects. We spent years looking for a second home and spent a lot of time scouting and researching. We were not surprised about weather, cost of living, general day/day activities, growth prospects, non-profit/volunteerism scene, demographic characteristics, healthcare, entertainment, and natural surroundings.
Family most of all. Besides that, the beauty of the natural surroundings, outdoor activities, summer weather, early fall color, cherries and apples, etc.
Do your homework......visit, spend time getting to know the area (preferably all four seasons), ask questions, take advantage of the internet. Think about aging here. What is there to offer? What can you afford? Do your due diligence and get references!
... check out Timothy's day in the life.