March 27, 2015 — So you are pretty sure you are financially literate – better watch out! A recent study by researchers at DePaul University and the Rush University Medical Center came up with this scary result: Seniors who got financially related answers wrong, but were the most confident they got them right, were more often victimized by fraud. Fraud victims scored 5.39 on the overconfidence scale, vs. 4.21 for non-fraud victims. The authors of the study believe that this overconfidence, combined with declining cognitive skills, is a underlying reason for an alarming (more…)
March 23, 2015 — It is no secret that there are millions of baby boomers who are wondering how on earth they are ever going to have enough money to retire. From many comments made on this site we know that a lot of you have those worries, so we thought we would help with some examples of reasonable place to retire, along with why it makes sense to downsize.
First, how a cheaper place to live puts money in your pocket
Your home is almost always your biggest expense, usually about 30% of your income. Anything you can do to reduce that is going to help you have a more comfortable retirement. The first thing you need to do in this process is to complete a retirement budget. To do that you need to know how much income you can expect to live on from Social Security, savings, pension (if any), and work. You also have to understand what (more…)
March 20, 2015 — If you have a 401(k) and/or an IRA, and you turned 70 and 1/2 last year, you have a very big deadline coming on April 1. That is the date by which you must have taken your first Required Minimum Distribution (RMD), or face significant penalties. A surprising number of people fail to take these distributions. You must also take your regular annual distribution by December 31 this year. All of the money taken from regular (more…)
March 17, 2015 — In our book you can’t just be too prepared for retirement – it’s just too important to take a chance on not enjoying it. This is Part II of our Retirement Preparation Quiz, here is where you can find the Part I Quiz.
This version of the quiz is more about the financial side of retirement. It is inspired by a recent survey by the American College of Financial Services, an educational organization for financial professionals. That study found a dismally low level of preparation on several key questions about financial literacy. A majority thought they were doing a good job of saving to live comfortably in retirement, yet only 2 in 10 had a passing grade; no one got an A. The questions on their financial literacy quiz had questions relating to (more…)
March 16, 2015 — Charlene and many other women members of Topretirements have asked us if we have any plans to post a question like: “Where did you retire as a single and why?” It seems like a great question, so here goes. We are hoping to hear from many single women (and men) who have either retired or are considering different places to retire. We think the answers are going to be fascinating.
As Charlene said: “Many of us become widows/or widowers before retirement age and that changes everything. Do you move away? Do you retire near family because your alone in case of health issues? Are you welcomed in strongly coupled communities, Etc.? In other words I’d love to read from other singles where they live and what’s their experience. I know you have had comments about this but not a complete column of just real life experience. I have read (more…)
March 11, 2015 — Whether you are in the shiny model home or the posh real estate office, it’s the positive that gets accentuated when you go looking at retirement real estate. According to the enthusiastic salesperson the amenities are great, the fees are low, and the neighbors – well, they are especially interesting and friendly. What’s more, there are only a few more great homes available before the whole project is completely sold out.
But unfortunately there are often things unsaid, whether you are looking at buying a new home in a brand new community or a pre-owned unit in a 55+ community that has been around for decades. This article will help you understand some of the potential pitfalls by pointing to situations you need to ask about. Mind you, most active communities are well run entities thoroughly enjoyed by their residents. This article is (more…)
March 3, 2015 — Note: Last year the class of 1964, the group that kicked off the baby boom when they arrived on the planet in 1946, had their 50th high school reunions.
Thank you to the almost 300 members who took the time to contribute your valuable insights to last week’s “50th Reunion” survey. We now have a much fuller idea of your intentions and attitudes towards these impending celebrations. As always, it is your insights and comments that are the most interesting part of these surveys. So as promised, here is a detailed report on the findings. At the end of this article you will also find many of the fascinating comments you provided in the open ended parts of each question – we think you will enjoy them. A list of our previous survey reports is provided at the end of the article.
This survey was one of our more whimsical ones, so we hope you enjoy (more…)
Update March 11, 2015: The publication of this strategy on air generated a good-sized controversy about its fairness (see Comments below as well as this article in Politico: The Debt Wars: Boomers vs. Millenials.
March 1, 2015 — There has been a flurry of features lately on a subject we feel is critically important to almost every retiree – maximizing your Social Security benefits. One of the most instructive pieces we have seen is a short video segment by Paul Solman, the economic correspondent for the PBS Newshour: “Trips and Tips for Getting the Most Out from Social Security Benefit”.
Even for the experts, navigating the system can be confusing and costly. In this entertaining video Solman gives 2 major tips for maximizing your Social Security benefit. Both could mean hundreds of thousands of dollars to many people. The first is on the often misunderstood spousal benefit. The second has to do when to claim, and that depends on your answer to the provocative question, “What is Your Worst Case Scenario”.
One day during a tennis game Solman’s friend and Social Security expert Larry Kotlikoff told him that he was entitled to nearly $50,000 in spousal benefits. Solman, the seasoned economic correspondent, was shocked (more…)
February 23, 2015 — There will be a LOT of baby boomers getting invitations to 50th high reunions in the next few years. In fact the first parties happened last year, when the class of 1964 got back together again. That group, which launched the baby boom with their arrival on the planet in 1946, is demographic proof of the return of American GIs from WWII. Those born in 1947, the class of 1965, will have their reunions this year. Interestingly enough the last birth year for baby boomers was 1964 – the same year the first contingent graduated from high school! Those baby boomer youngsters will blow the lights out on the baby boomer reunion party bonanza in 2032.
We confess to a mild obsession about the whole topic, which we hope is shared by a few others. In the hope that it might make an interesting article for our Topretirements members, we have constructed a simple 5 question survey that we hope you will complete. We’ll take your input on questions like, do you plan on attending (and why or why not), and write up a summary on the Blog. Although reunions aren’t exactly on topic for retirement – almost all of the folks getting these invitations will be retired by the time they get them.
February 21, 2015 – When Topretirements members and visitors dream about their best places to retire, warm places in Florida are usually featured. The Sunshine State dominates our 2015 list of the best places to retire, with 25 of its cities and towns making the cut (2 more than in 2014). Florida was followed by North Carolina (11 towns), South Carolina (10 – up from 8 last year), and Arizona and Washington with 6 each. Tennessee had 5 cities in the top 100.
The Sunbelt Rules
The Sunbelt, with 78 towns on Topretirements.com’s 9th annual list of the 100 most popular retirement spots, continues to be the target of most of our visitor’s retirement dreams. After that the American northwest and mountain states attract a lot of attention – 16 destinations made the list from Washington, Colorado, Oregon, Idaho, and Montana. Just 3 states in the Northeast made the cut: Virginia (Charlottesville, Williamsburg, and Winchester), Delaware (Lewes and Rehoboth Beach), and Pennsylvania (Pittsburgh). The Midwest failed to garner an entry on the list. The highest ranking non-Sun Belt city on our list was Charlottesville (VA) at #19. Note: To make sure you don’t miss new lists like this, sign up for our free weekly “Best Places to Retire” newsletter. See also “The Worst States for Retirement – 2014“.
10 New Towns Join as Popular Places to Retire
Ten new towns moved onto the 2015 list, one fewer in 2014. Eight of the 10 newcomers were from the Sunbelt, mostly Florida. The 8 Sunbelt towns new to the list this year were: 5 from Florida (Port St. Lucie, Cape Coral, Dunedin, Boynton Beach, and Fernandina Beach); Las Vegas (NV); and Gulf Shores (AL). The 2 non Sunbelt cities joining the list this year (more…)