Re-Thinking the Dream of a Beach Front Retirement

Many baby boomers have grown up yearning for beach front property. Owning a house or condo near the ocean for retirement is a dream that lots of us have shared. Sadly, the Gulf oil disaster has added another reason to the list of reasons why retiring on the beach may not be such a good idea.

I’ve thought about these reasons because I’ve spent many family vacations on the beach. These are some of the negative factors that have turned me against the dream of ocean front living:

1.  The threat of natural and ecological disasters.  Powerful storms and hurricanes, beach erosion,  and now, oil spills are a serious threat. These are events that you cannot 100% protect or even insure yourself against loss, even total loss. I have stayed in “beach front” vacation homes where the beach disappeared at high tide. By now, those homes have completely disappeared.

2.  High Acquisition Costs. The adage that “they are not making anymore ocean front property” definitely applies.  To actually be on the water in almost any U.S. coastal area is practically unaffordable for most of us.

3.  High Maintenance Costs. The salt air is corrosive and the winds can take their toll as well.  The maintenance stories I hear from former beach front homeowners are scary.

4.  Noise and Traffic. It is hard to find a coastal residential community that is quiet and peaceful during the “nice weather” seasons. If you like that environment, fine. Many retirees don’t want to be in traffic jams caused by vacationers just to buy groceries. The opposite can be true in low seasons, when some oceanfront communities are mostly deserted.

So should you be permanently discouraged from your dream of waterfront living? No. You just need to re-orient your view toward affordable lake property. That’s what we did when we decided to search for a lake house as a vacation home.  We are planning on keeping that home in retirement as well.


  1. says

    Good points Mr GoTo. I fit in that basket of boomers who would have liked to retire beachfront. However, using similar logic as in your list, I think we have found a compromise. Rather than beach FRONT, we have opted for 3-4 blocks from the beach. Still allows you to walk a short way and be close to the waves. Away from the beachfront, traffic and noise is much more acceptable. And more affordable. In addition to close to the beach, we are looking for close to the small downtown – walking distance as well – nice small restaurants and coffee shops for the locals (which we hope to become), kinda like Mayberry RFD. We have some ideas and the search is fun.

  2. Claudio says

    Hi, owning a house near the ocean is nice and cozy and i love every minute of it…but the only problem i’m having are the electronics equipments like stereo,tv etc–they keep breaking all the time. any help?? please. Thank you

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