Retirement Years: The Importance of “Stuff”

So, imagine it is your first full day of retirement in your Dream Home – you know, the one you have been thinking about for years? You and your loved one cook a healthy breakfast of stewed kale and dried prunes (major yuck, by the way) with a touch of nutmeg and a sprig of mint (double yuck) and enjoy reading the local newspaper from front to back, all the while holding hands and saying “I love you” for two hours.

Man & Woman sitting at kitchen table eating breakfast. Says on the picture "A Healthy Retirement Breakfast"

And when you’re finished, the clock on the wall says 7:30 am, and you two lovebirds realize that you need some time apart, as in perhaps 8 – 10 hours??

Since January of 2002, when Doug joined the on-site sales team at Winding River Plantation in Brunswick County, he helped thousands of couples and singles determine if living in Coastal North Carolina met their requirements. Fourteen years ago, Doug opened Carolina Plantations Real Estate in Shallotte with the company’s backbone being out “Martini Theory.” Simply put, incorporating this 3-step philosophy of Area first, followed by Community, and lastly,y the Dream House has been a life-changer for thousands upon thousands of retirees.

When we speak of Area, our fantastic team of Brokers often interject the word “stuff” to describe the goods and services most of us depend on daily, monthly, or weekly. When you leave the breakfast table at 7:30 with or without your loved one, you will be more than likely to seek numerous goods and services outside your community. Yes, what is inside your community essential. However, what lies outside the finely maintained front entrance can often be more critical.

Let’s see if we can break down the technical word “stuff” for a better understanding of your lifestyle when you retire, ok?


  • First, you might be surprised how many people assume that there are good medical services wherever they search. Man, how wrong can they be? Imagine being a 45-minute to an hour drive from your primary provider, specialists, or hospital?
  • FACT: Yes, we are getting older, and most of us will need to seek more medical care as the year’s stream past us.
  • While many of us have been healthy for our first 60 or so years, we need to “anticipate” the fact that God will deal with us. So locating yourself nearby to medical care is critical.
5 pictures in one picture, first picture of doctor and patient in a office, 2nd picture is family on a vacation, 3rd picture two woman shopping, 4th picture is the blue man group beating on drums with paint, last picture is man golfing


  • Many retirees will become “foodies” and “wine connoisseurs.”
  • This is hard to do if your round trips to such dining establishments are 90 minutes or more.
  • The further away eclectic dining, fine dining, international dining, and fun dining are away from your home, the less likely you will be to experience what the area has to offer.


  • Not that shopping is critical to most retirees, but when your days are full of nothing to do vs. boardroom meetings, business trips, PTA meetings, and Rotary luncheons, you will shop.
  • And we are talking about Costco, grocery stores, Walmart, malls, gift shops, downtowns, and more.
  • Don’t forget that as we age, our eyesight and desire to drive often wains.


  • You are retired, and you will take advantage of them if you live close to lovely venues.
  • We are talking movie theaters, museums, live theater productions, concerts, and more.
  • Do you want to attend these events, have a few pops, and drive 30+ miles home when you’re 70?

Sports & Outdoor Activities

  • You cannot stay home seven days a week and watch Mary Tyler Moore reruns. You need to find outside activities to participate in (outside your community).
  • For example, additional golf courses, walking on the beach, visiting gardens, walking on a Riverwalk, spending time in a park, hiking, walking downtown are just a few to mention.
  • You might also want to join a gym or the YMCA, learn to kayak, fish on the beach, take up tennis. There is so much to do on the coast.

“Stuff” can make or break a happy retirement. Over the years, we have met hundreds of people who honestly made the simple mistake of “assuming” that all they needed was just down the street. But imagine your grocery store of choice is a 90-minute roundtrip drive. What about driving 2 hours roundtrip to get to your doctor’s. Those distances might have been acceptable in our 30s & 40s, but they will not be in our 60s and up.

When you search for a place to retire to, remember that an essential part of the search is “The Area” – and what makes up the area is “Stuff.” It’s also critical to consider that in 10 years, you’ll be in your 70s or 80s, so the distance to “Stuff” can be a game-changer for driving 90 minutes roundtrip to your doctor or favorite grocery store where it may not be an option. We at Carolina Plantations are here to help you find your retirement home here on the North Carolina Coast.

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