When Liz White visited her parents in Naples, Florida last year, she had no idea she would end up with an apartment of her own in the same building full of retirees.
In 2021, White was living in downtown Philadelphia when her job as a marketing account director became fully remote due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The 31-year-old found herself at a crossroads — her apartment’s lease was coming to an end, and she was going through a breakup.
While taking some time to figure out what came next, White decided to move in with her parents who are retired and live in a building of fellow retired folks.
“I love the sense of community. Everyone is so nice to each other and always helping each other out,” White told CNBC Make it.
When an apartment in the building became available. White asked if she could rent it, and the owner said yes.
Each individual senior living arrangement comes with its own eligibility requirements, but typically residents have to be at least 55 years old.
In White’s parents’ building, all of the residents meet the age requirement, with the exception of White.
She says there are a couple of other residents that still work but the majority of them are retired.
“I think it helped that I knew the owners, and they knew me. They knew what they were getting when I asked to rent their apartment,” White said.
For rent on her two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment White pays around $2000 a month, which is “pretty much equivalent” to what she was paying in Philadelphia for a smaller apartment.
White’s daily routine differs from that of the retirees because she works a traditional 9-to-5 job. But when getting dinner at 3:30 with her neighbors or her parents doesn’t always work out, she does make sure to go watch the sunset every night with a big group of her neighbors.
And of the camaraderie she feels with her neighbors who are all over the age of 65, White said, “If someone’s going through something medically, others are always willing to get you groceries or take you to a doctor’s appointment. People always knock on the door with leftovers, so it’s just a sweet, giving community.”
For White, living in a retirement community means she has to follow the rules, just like every other tenant in the building. Some of them include having to report overnight guests, no glass in the pool area, and specific hours to use the laundry room.
Despite the rules, White says the perks are worth it.
“I know the rules can be a lot, but I just love the slower pace of life here,” she said. “Being able to park and not have to fight for street parking is awesome.”
And some of the perks include easy access to a pool, the beach across the street, and a handy tool closet with everything you’d need to fix something around your apartment.
White’s rent includes access to a storage room that she uses for beach equipment and whatever else she doesn’t have space for in her apartment.
“I lucked out and am planning on staying here for as long as possible. Who knows what life will bring, but I’m living the dream right now,” she says.
“I feel like everyone waits to get to a point where they retire by the beach, and I’m doing that while still working a full-time job, so it’s like I have the best of both worlds.”