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The options range from motor homes to condominiums

When Bermuda Village, near Winston-Salem, N.C., throws open the doors in September, 1984, scores of people will be launching a new ''career'' - active retirementm.

They'll be starting out fresh in a brand-new, multipurpose community surrounded by amenities of which many people only dream: indoor and outdoor swimming and tennis, a 27-hole championship golf course, around-the-clock security, and full membership in the Bermuda Run Country Club.

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It'll cost money, of course - from $74,000 for a life-lease apartment up to $ 170,000 for a villa, plus $750 to $1,550 a month, depending on the size of the unit, number of persons, and the services provided.

''We're a full-service community that's aimed at the upper 10 percent of the market,'' says William S. Wills, vice-president of Bermuda Village, a subsidiary of Angell Group Inc. So far the developer has received more than 13,000 inquiries; nearly half of the 180 units have been spoken for.

But for those less-well-heeled retirees, there is a wide choice of other active-retirement communities, notably in the Sunbelt, that southern tier of states which stretches from Florida in the East to California in the West.

Even such states as Utah and Arkansas are retirement goals for an increasing number of people; and then there's New Jersey, particularly along the Atlantic Coast, and even Cape Cod in Massachusetts, although the Bay State is not considered a very favorable retirement state due to its cost of living, tax structure, and climate.

''Some people think that almost all retirees move to Florida,'' says Robert W. Jahn of Eagle Wood Development Company, Hobe Sound, Fla., national chairman of the Fifty-Plus Committee of the National Association of Home Builders. He adds, ''If everyone came to Florida, we'd sink.''

Actually, to most people, retirement does not involve a move to another location. About 5 out of every 6 individuals and couples reaching retirement age stay put or move less than 200 miles from the place they call home. They're comfortable with the area, the children are probably nearby, and they don't have to establish any kind of status in a new area, if that is what they seek.

The point is: Retirement is an individual experience and depends, to a large extent, on the kind of life style you want to lead and the money you have to bankroll it.

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No matter where it's located, retirement housing is a lucrative market for builders as hundreds of adult communities blossom across the United States.

''By the time people reach the age of 50,'' Mr. Jahn says, ''they have two to three times the discretionary buying power of younger people.'' That spells opportunity to new-home developers from coast to coast and North to South.

The size of the retirement market is huge - and growing. By 2030, it is estimated that 1 in every 6 Americans will be 65 years or older. Or to put it another way, about 40 percent of all those over 21 fall into the 50-plus category.

The retiree must, of course, consider the amount of money he'll have to live on. This could include the sale of a house, perhaps all paid for, in another part of the country. Some states are expensive to live in, utility bills are high, and state and local taxes seem stacked against the low-budget retiree.

Consider this as well: Some retirees may want to work part time. Are there opportunities for such employment in an area under consideration? One point is clear: To millions of retirees, retirement doesn't have to mean loafing.

Retirement housing falls into three groups:

* An active life style that, in most cases, means having a golf course nearby , as well as a swimming pool, tennis courts, and an active entertainment and cultural-growth program in the facility.

* Congregate living, in which the people need one another more than the younger and perhaps more active group.

* More extensive support services, including life care, plus security.

If a retiree is bent on moving to a new location, people in the business urge him to first visit a few retirement communities and get to know them. Talk with some of the residents. Subscribe to, and read, the local newspaper. Think about it - a lot.

Others suggest that a preretiree rent in a retirement village for as long as six months before making the decision to buy. Try to live with your expected retirement budget and see if it all works out. If you like what you see, then maybe you'll want to buy.

Some people buy a home first and then rent it out for a few years before they hang up their cap. The important thing is to check before you buy.

Then if you do decide to buy, you'll have a wide choice of housing: single-family houses; condominiums, both high-rise and low-rise; apartments; even mobile homes or a motor home. Obviously, a few people who move to a retirement community are turned off and end up selling out and returning home.

Maybe a so-called preretirement home is your bag.

Preretirement communities are sprouting up all around the country, similar to the retirement communities in the Sunbelt. Home builders see a sharply larger market for such facilities in the years ahead.

What makes a preretirement village similar to a retirement community is a ban on kids under 18.

Retirees and ''empty nesters'' often look for smaller houses or apartments that permit them the time to enjoy their new, freer life style. They may want more amenities, things they may not have been able to afford when the children were home, and they want to spend a lot less time on maintenance, both inside and out, than in the past.

With the children now on their own, the parents look for freedom - freedom from the burdens of owning a house.

But, warns Eli Adams in the February issue of Professional Builder magazine, ''retirees and empty nesters are not a homogenous group.''

Some choose an active retirement with sports opportunities and elbow room; others choose or require a less-active life style.

Other post-workaday people take to the open road in a travel trailer or motor home. The availability of low-price fuel has tended to encourage this option. Recreational-vehicle manufacturers report sharply higher sales than a few years ago when the supply of gasoline was in doubt and prices were hitting the roof.

Motor-home buyers are selling their homes, say in the North, buying a well-equipped, road-worthy ''home'' for $20,000 to $30,000, and then setting out to see the country.

Their homes on wheels provide mobility, while the more than 14,000 campgrounds, some of them very well equipped, offer a place to park their vehicles and spend a few days or weeks. Some campgrounds provide sports activities and entertainment for a nominal campsite fee.

Scores of proprietary, or membership, parks provide more permanent campsites for the motor-home owners, including more recreational facilities than might normally be found. The options are wide no matter what you plan to do.

To help you make plans, get in touch with such groups and publications as:

* American Association for Retired Persons, 1909 K Street NW, Washington, D.C. 20049

* Whitney Communications Corporation, 850 Third Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10022, for an updated copy of ''Finding the Right Place for Your Retirement, a 50-Plus Guide.'' Cost is $3.15, including postage. The company also puts out a 7-booklet ''Planning Your Tomorrow'' kit, including data on money, health, leisure, law, and homes, as well as planning and working in retirement. Cost is $12, including postage.

* Retirement Letter, Phillips Publishing Company, 7315 Wisconsin Avenue, Bethesda, Md. 20814. Cost: $48 a year.

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