Vail Daily column: Do people retire to the Rocky Mountains? |

Vail Daily column: Do people retire to the Rocky Mountains?

Joan Harned
Ask a Realtor
Joan Harned

Dear Joan,

My husband and I have been planning and dreaming about retiring someday in the Vail Valley. ​We have been coming here for more than 20 years and have many friends here now, not to mention that our children and grandchildren love to visit us when we are in Vail. We have told several friends​ where we live and about our plans and they think we are nuts and that we should look around in Florida, Arizona and, heaven forbid, California. ​We have been told we need to look for lower cost of living, lower taxes and convenient health care services​. I guess most people do retire to Sun Belt area​s​, and maybe life is easier in a warm, and often oppressively hot climate. Are we crazy? Does anyone else think about retiring to the Rocky Mountains​ resort areas?

Dear Not Crazy,

I believe you are not only sane, but wise. Actually, Anya Kamenetz wrote an article in the business section of the Denver Post last Sunday that totally supports my theory of choosing the best location for your retirement. Although there are a lot of supposedly standard reasons that a person should use when they are choosing where to retire, she states that “the state where you have (or see) the most family and friends should be among your top picks for retirement. Social capital, literally wealth in friendship, is a chief indicator of health, happiness and longevity.” The article went on to say that many more retirees are choosing mountain states over Sun Belt states for a wide variety of reasons.

Tied in with those retirement choices is the factor of health. My father always said that without your health, you have nothing. It did not matter how much you had saved or acquired, you need to be healthy to enjoy it. We take healthy people for granted in this valley and that energetic vitality seems to permeate all of our lives.

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We are an outdoors, sports-oriented society. Many of our second-home owners originally bought properties here because of skiing and they loved the area and their family loved to gather here. Just like you, they easily made friends and discovered they had hundreds of friends who like to visit them in the mountains.

Ultimately, you will have to make your own decision on where to retire and the only thing that matters is that you feel good about it. When it feels right, you will know you have made the right decision. My husband and I love it here and will probably never leave our great friends, but we do have a second home in Destin, Florida. You might, too, if your one son blessed you with nine grandchildren there. Family and friends make the difference for a healthy happy life and retirement. Best of luck to you.

Joan Harned is an owner and broker for Keller Williams Mountain Properties and heads up Team Black Bear, her own real estate team. Harned has been selling real estate in Eagle County for 27 years, is a past chairman of the Vail Board of Realtors, past Realtor of the Year, past director on the Great Outdoors Colorado Board and a member of the Luxury and Land Institutes. Contact Harned with your real estate questions at, 970-337-7777 and

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