Retirement: Many of us dream of it happening to us, too, someday. Some of us actually are in it, and others of us are not only in it but doing it like VIPs. The new, new state of retirement, Dawn Wotapka writes in the Wall Street Journal—or at least, the state of retirement for those who can afford it—sounds more like a dream vacation, or heaven-on-earth, than it does the old-world retirement communities, with boring food and more boring aesthetics. The new retirees are just getting started with the fun of life, and that fun shall be carried out in style! May it never end.
Take, for instance, this: "At Vivante on the Coast, a $62 million retirement community under construction in Newport Beach, Calif., renters will be able to relax in a hydromassage room or take a dip in the indoor saltwater pool. They'll watch movies in a private theater and sip wine from Napa Valley's finest vineyards. And when they're hungry, a sushi chef will be on standby," explains Wotapka. (This sounds dreamy. Can we get an invite?)
Also at the growing numbers of luxury communities, there are state-of-the-art gyms, cooking-school-trained chefs offering four-star-restaurant-quality food, the finest in tastefully designed interiors, and activities—so many activities. Since retiring boomers are hardly going to just sit back and knit (my wonderful parents, for instance, are more active than I am) they want all the bells and whistles. They may even be, as Wotapka writes, a bit "demanding." Hence, the offerings are not limited some shoddy shuffleboard or a patio out back. There is full-on stuff to do: from "entertainment areas with videogames and computers to state-of-the-art gyms with personal trainers and activities like age-modified Zumba and belly-dancing classes," not to mention fancy, fun-filled clubhouses and tennis pavilions and and billiards rooms and dog parks, too. Must love dogs.
This does not come without an investment; say, $1 million for a 2,500-square-foot villa in Scottsdale, Arizona, or anywhere between $4,000 and $11,000 a month in rent at California's Vivante on the Coast. Making luxury retirement not just a retiree's dream but also the deep ambition of an aspiring developer is that the numbers of baby boomers who may want to retire-with-zumba sometime soon are plentiful, and growing. "The National Association of Home Builders, a trade group, expects home sales in single-family communities catering to those 55 and older to increase by nearly a quarter this year, on top of 2012's 21% climb," writes Wotapka. If you built them, they will come.
Retirement does have its benefits! Though all that zumba seems a little bit exhausting. Fortunately, there's a relaxing side of things, too, should you snag a place at one of the new luxury retirement communities. Says Arch Rambeau, who lives at the Vi at Silverstone in Arizona, "It's like we decided to go live at the Hyatt in Orlando, Fla., or some place and decided to just live there the rest of our lives." Clearly, this is not your grandmother's retirement community. Or maybe it is.
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