A Resident’s Perspective – Smart Decision in Our Retirement? – Part 1

Written by Panorama resident, Mary Jo Shaw, on February 7th, 2014.

Having lived at Panorama since July 3, 2011, have we made the smartest decision we could have made, or were we taken in by marketing, first impressions and hype?

Our daughter Melody, and husband John, with 4 year old Hope, were lining up job interviews and making trips for interviews in Lacey, WA. They’d stay with his Aunt Terri. They wanted to move so Hope wouldn’t have to start school in Las Vegas.

Out of curiosity came my laptop and retirement websites in many areas in WA. Taking copious notes from e-mails and phone calls, I wasn’t sure we’d have enough income to live in a retirement facility. Why?

Chris’ employer, a major airline, had left us stranded with off-and-on work, finally filing unnecessary “bankruptcy” leaving us with only $219 a month retirement income after Chris’s work for 34 years. All we had now was social security and savings. Not enough to last for possible 30 years! I shared this with Melody and John. They offered to check out some of my researched retirement places anyway on their 5th job-interview trip to Washington.

“Maybe your parents should check out Panorama here in Lacey. I’ve heard many good things about them.” This was Aunt Terri’s cheerful advice to them to take home to us.

Oh, dear. No way can we afford Panorama. This homepage must be doctored up. There’s no retirement place this beautiful. WOW. That lighting on the bench at night. Those huge, beautiful leaves on the ground. Definitely too perfect to be “real.” If other residences are not affordable, Panorama’s GOT to be much more expensive. (I didn’t look much past the homepage). Maybe I’ll just keep on looking elsewhere. Bound to be some place we can afford.

Month later: “Mom, we’re flying up again in January to Lacey for job interviews. Sure you don’t want us to check out Panorama for you? Maybe you oughta look at the web again and e-mail or call. You never know.” I did.

I spent many hours with paper, pencil and calculator. Finally numerous e-mails to Rachel Dobry, Retirement Advisor at Panorama. But Chris was not at all interested in going to a retirement place: sort/throw out things, get the house ready to sell and SELL IT, pack, move again. All that in the worst economy of Las Vegas history.
Thinking again: We DO have great, loving friends, a few in the neighborhood and many at church. I’ll miss volunteering at church…and Jerri (my sister) lives around the corner from us and Mel, John and little Hope. I’ll miss walking over there. Our house IS nice and big, twenty-five hundred square feet, two stories, on that green belt with our big three car garage…so much space! AND it’s paid for. Why would we want to move? Chris doesn’t want to move. What do I do?

I will share more about our journey in future posts. Stay tuned for my monthly column.

Mary Jo Bio

2 thoughts on “A Resident’s Perspective – Smart Decision in Our Retirement? – Part 1

  1. Hello Jane,

    Mary Jo’s story will continue in several parts. The next piece of this story will appear later this month. In the mean time, we would love to answer your questions. A Retirement Advisor will respond to you by e-mail.

    Thank you.

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