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Best Friends of 30 Years Build Tiny Town So They Can Enjoy Retirement Together

When retirement came for a group of close friends in Austin, Texas, they decided to one up everyone else . . . by building a tiny town.

photo of tiny houses in the Llano Exit Strategy community.
Best friends retire together in matching tiny houses. Credit: YouTube/The Llano Exit Strategy: Tiny House Compound Started By A Group Of Friends

Retirement is a word that can produce excitement, longing, apprehension, and worry all at the same time. Most people spend long days at work dreaming about the day they can leave behind the pressures, stresses, and problems of their careers.  

When you retire, you suddenly have a freedom that has eluded you since childhood, except this is even better as it comes with the autonomy of adulthood and years of financial planning. You have time to travel, see friends and family, and find out if you have any hidden talents. Have you always wanted to play piano? Or try surfing? Now’s your time! 

So, I know it seems impossible to make retirement better, but somehow, this group of close friends did just that.

The group, consisting of four couples that have been friends for about 30 years, decided to build their own tiny town so they could stay close and enjoy retirement together.

The dream

I mean, what’s better than retirement, than retiring to a small community you built with your best friends? Nothing, that’s what.

Their retirement community, aptly named Our Exit Strategy, is built along the beautiful Llano River about 80 minutes outside of Austin, Texas. Although, I have also seen their community referred to as the Llano Exit Strategy and Bestie Row. The community consists of a communal space, shared gardens, a large vacation home, and four tiny houses.

Now, contrary to popular belief, the couples don’t live here full time. This is good news for us, though as they rent the houses out when they aren’t there. Watch the video below to get an inside look at the stunning community.


For when you want to hang out with your besties but in different cabins whike having the whole property (and practically river) to yourself! #texas

♬ Joga O Bum Bum Tam Tam – MC Fioti

The couples started out thinking they would live in Our Exit Strategy full-time, but it became clear they couldn’t escape the pull of Austin completely. Thus, the community became a weekend getaway spot. It’s now a place they can all go to celebrate holidays, unwind, and reconnect with each other and nature. 

Ted Smith, one of the partners, spoke to KENS 5 about how this community is a dream come true, saying, “I arrive here and it’s like, I feel like I breathe a big sigh. I’m home. I can relax, and the nice thing is then there are people to support you when you have a problem.”

The houses

The four 350-square-foot tiny houses were designed and built by architect Matt Garcia. Each home comes with a price tag of around $40,000, a lot less than most on the market.

The houses were strategically placed in a row so every couple has a great unobstructed view of the scenic river. Instead of taking any beauty away from the surroundings, the couples wanted their houses to be as unobtrusive as possible, blending into their environment.

the tiny houses in Our Exit Strategy community
The tiny houses were designed with “butterfly roofs” and a water collection system. Credit: YouTube/Our Exit Strategy retirement community

As the community is committed to lowering their environmental footprint each house was crafted using sustainable and eco-friendliness practices. Such as using recycled materials for construction, installing “butterfly” roofs that collect rainwater, and using heavy-duty spray foam insulation. This type of insulation is energy-efficient, keeping the houses ice-free in the winter and cool in the summer.   

Why communities like this won’t be novelties for long

As the prospect of home ownership dwindles more and more for the younger generations, Gen Z especially, alternatives are needed and wanted. Gen Z hasn’t been shy about veering off the beaten path, forging a unique identity focused on happiness, community, and affordability.

So, as this generation ages, it wouldn’t be surprising to see unconventional lifestyles and communities taking root. Tiny houses have gained (and will continue to gain) global popularity due to their modernized styles, affordability, and eco-friendliness. 

Would you ever live in a tiny house? Do you want to explore alternative lifestyles and communities? Let us know what you think in the comments below.

Written By

Ella Shauman has recently graduated from the University of Michigan with a bachelor’s degree in English Language and Literature. She loves to travel, write, and spend time with family and friends.

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