On the coast of Oregon, just south of the Rogue River, is Gold Beach. It has a small-town vibe because that’s precisely what it is. Residents love having a simpler way of life, soaking in the sea and surf and enjoying all that the area has to offer.
Now, I’ve never been to Gold Beach, but it sounds fantastic. I know about it because I work with two folks who recently retired there.
We’ll call them the “Gold Coast Gordons”.
This married couple came to us a handful of years ago. In protection of our happy retirees, we’ve changed their names in this piece. The husband, Jack, was ready to call it a career. He was 55-years-old, and looking forward to his early and well-earned retirement.
Professionally, Jack had worked for a software company in California for many years. He and his wife, Janet, had a house in Santa Cruz, in a town called Boulder Creek. While they liked their home, they wanted something different from their retirement.
And, there was a significant financial consideration: The Gordons didn’t want to retire with a mortgage.
As many of you know, this is a keystone trait of the happiest retirees: They either have their mortgages paid off or are within five years of doing so when they say goodbye to traditional work. In fact, according to research for my book, You Can Retire Sooner Than You Think, retirees with no mortgage or few years left on their mortgage are five times more likely to be happy than those who still have years and years to go.
The Gordons had a mortgage balance of about $550,000 on their home in Boulder Creek. The house was valued at $800,000. So, because they wanted a simpler way of life – both financially and socially – they listed their home and sold it.
All told, they netted about $200,000 from the sale after fees. And here’s where their story gets especially interesting.
The Gordons took the proceeds and bought a nice RV for just over $100,000. Then, they stumbled upon something else that was ideal for their retirement dream, and it was at the Lucky Lodge RV Park.
Located just eight and a half miles upriver from the beautiful, seaside community of Gold Beach, this RV park had an ownership share for sale for $85,000. Included in the price was an owner’s site for their RV and free utilities (such as water, electric, waste removal, cable and Wi-Fi) year-round. Plus, by moving from California to Oregon, the couple would save considerably come tax time. Realizing this was a great deal for them, the Gordons decided to use their remaining proceeds to purchase a share.
The Gold Coast Gordons accomplished two of their retirement dreams in one move – they are now living mortgage-free, and are part of a community that values simple living, the beauty of nature, and, of course, salmon fishing.
For Jack, fishing is one of his core pursuits, so the proximity to Rogue River, home of the best Chinook salmon fishing on the globe, is an added bonus. And Janet loves to explore the outdoors, especially by hiking, biking, and boating. They are right at home in their new home on wheels.
The Gold Coast Gordons offer an important reminder for would-be retirees. With prudent financial planning, a handful of core pursuits and a little creativity, we can all create our version of a happy retirement – with or without the salmon.