AARP Report Raises Concerns About Future of Medicare

Category: Health Issues

January 22, 2017 — The AARP is a solid defender of Medicare and Social Security, as you might imagine. In their most recent Special Report the organization highlights some of the issues and dangers that Medicare faces as the Trump administration and Republican controlled Congress take over. We recommend reading the entire AARP Special Medicare Report – it raises important issues that every retiree, and every American, needs to be informed on. We certainly know the issue resonates with Topretirements members, who from our surveys say they like Medicare.

Conflict between the new President and conservative Republicans – and surprising potential allies
Trump promised on the campaign trail in New Hampshire that he would protect Medicare: “Every Republican wants to do a big number on Social Security. They want to do it on Medicare. They want to do it on Medicaid. And we can’t do that. It’s not fair to the people who have been paying in for years.”

With the inauguration behind us the battle lines are a bit murkier. Speaker of the House Ryan has proposed that Medicare as we know it would be replaced by fixed payments with which beneficiaries would be able to buy (more…)

Posted by Admin on January 21st, 2017

Take This Quiz: Are You Ready to Retire – Or Not?

Category: Retirement Planning

January 15, 2017 — Not everybody wants to retire, even if that is the popular expectation. Many more people, even though they are old enough, aren’t ready to retire yet. This article will help you determine if retirement is right for you, and if this is a good time to do it.

Retirement is a big step and one that is hard to reverse. (more…)

Posted by Admin on January 14th, 2017

New Homes Drop in Size: First Time Since 2009

Category: Retirement Real Estate

January 13, 2017 — The average size of newly built homes decreased in 2016 – a sign that builders are preparing for the coming wave of first-time buyers as Millennials begin to dip their toes into the market. At least that is the conclusion reached by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).

In 2015, the typical new home had 2,689 square feet. In 2016, it dropped to 2,634, according to figures supplied by the U.S. Census Bureau. That’s the first drop in size since 2009, said Rose Quint, NAHB assistant vice president for survey research.

“The data on new home characteristics show a pattern,” she said. “2016 marked the end of an era that began in 2009 when homes got bigger and bigger with more amenities. I expect the size of homes to continue to decline as (more…)

Posted by Admin on January 12th, 2017

Affordable Places to Retire – On the Water and More

Category: Best Retirement Towns and States

January 11, 2017 — Over the years our Members have told us how important it is for them to find great places to retire that are also affordable. So at this point we have quite a collection of articles with specifics on at least 50 such towns. This article has links to all of them, starting with the original: Affordable Places to Retire on the Waterfront, Part 1. We just updated that article with 2016 real estate prices, and are happy to report that 10 of those towns are still affordable (we swapped in a new one to replace Blue Ridge, GA, which has gotten a little pricey.

More Affordable Towns
If you are looking for an affordable retirement town check out all these articles for even more ideas:

Affordable Places to Retire on the Waterfront, Part 2
20 Great and Affordable Towns to Retire – Part 1
10 Affordable and More Best Places to Retire – Part 2
8 More Affordable Places to Retire
Most Tax-Friendly Places to Retire

Posted by Admin on January 10th, 2017

My Big Southern Retirement Adventure

Category: Retirement Planning

Editor’s note: Over a period of years we watched our friends Jeff and Paulette get ready for retirement. They thought about it a lot, made field trips, and discussed it thoroughly. Not without a little trepidation, their careful plans to retire to Greenville, SC came to pass this last summer. We are very pleased that Jeff was willing to contribute his account of how a Minnesota boy came to be retired in the heart of the South.

By Jeff Alden:
January 6, 2017 — I first started coming to the Upstate of South Carolina in the seventies to visit my future wife’s family on holidays. She was a young professor at the University of Minnesota, where I was in graduate school. I grew up in St. Paul and never questioned that I’d spend the rest of my days up North, in the country I knew so well. But every Christmas or Thanksgiving, we’d travel down to Greenville to spend time with her folks (more…)

Posted by Admin on January 5th, 2017

The Retirement Wrecker You Never Imagined

Category: Family and Retirement

Editor’s note: The family we described in this article are not real, they are hypothetical. However the kinds of problems they experienced are real and painful. For a variety of reasons, more and more Americans are living in multi-generational households – 31% of those aged 25- to 29 in 2014 were living in households with parents and/or grandparents.

January 3, 2107 –June and Jim thought that their exquisitely laid retirement plan was solid. They had done so many things well – they had set up a regular savings plan, hired a good financial advisor, thought about how they would stay busy, and even made some scouting trips to potential retirement destinations. But due to circumstances they never imagined, June and Jim are worried that their retirement dream is probably finished – before it even started.

The problem wasn’t with the couple’s plan, it was their adult children. Margaret had been a great student and athlete in high school and even into college. But she lost focus somewhere along the line, and even though she graduated with a B.A. she couldn’t land a good job. So she moved back home, where she remains, not making enough to move out on her own, and her parents haven’t have the heart to ask her to pay rent. That was 5 years ago.

Justin also did well until he (more…)

Posted by Admin on January 3rd, 2017

Think You Got Away with Not Paying Your Student Loans – Think Again

Category: Financial and taxes in retirement

January 2, 2017 — Just as millions of baby boomers start to enjoy their Social Security retirement or disability checks comes a new worry. The problem arises for the folks who, for whatever reason, did not pay off all of their student loan debts. Many non-payers thought that after the initial wave of debt collection efforts subsided, they were off the hook. Wrong! The government has one last ace to play, and that is garnishment of your Social Security checks.

Last year the Feds reclaimed $171 million in unpaid student loans, and many of those paying it back were over 50 years of age – 114,000 of them in fact. According to a recent Wall Street Journal article the typical delinquent borrower sees their Social Security (more…)

Posted by Admin on January 1st, 2017

The Real Estate Roller Coaster Rides On – Where You Sit Matters

Category: Retirement Real Estate

December 30, 2016 — Real estate in the last 15 years has been like an rollercoaster – cozy ups, terrifying downs, and hairpin turns. But like a great ‘coaster, the ride feels different depending on where you sit – those on the ends get the big thrills while middle riders enjoy a slightly smoother ride. That is the conclusion of The Wall St. Journal‘s recent analysis of the latest real estate prices from October’s S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller National Home Price Index and other sources.

After dropping 27% from 2006 to 2012, average home prices rose 5.6% on the last 12 months, a record high (although not when counting inflation). But that is the national average, regional variations tell a significantly different story.

The Wall St. Journal reported that data from Weiss Analytics, a housing-data firm, indicates that zip codes where the median (more…)

Posted by Admin on December 29th, 2016

A Year in Review: The Most Popular Articles of 2016

Category: General Retirement Issues

December 27, 2016 — In many ways 2016 was one of the craziest years we can remember. Fortunately Topretirements’ 10th year was interesting, but not full of upheaval. As an annual tradition we like to see which articles grabbed the attention of the community during the year. As always, there are at least a few surprise articles that generate more readership and Comments than we expected. Here is our annual review of the best of Topretirements for 2016.

We Do Appreciate
This seems to be a great time to note our appreciation to the Topretirements community. So many of you read our articles, take the time to post Comments to Blog articles, suggest new topics to cover – thank you. Special thanks to our loyal advertisers who make this site possible. Many have been with us almost since our beginnings in 2007 – thank you for your support of this vibrant online community.

So far in 2016 Topretirements had over 1.8 million visitors (more…)

Posted by Admin on December 27th, 2016

First Salvo to Fix Social Security Fired in Congress

Category: Financial and taxes in retirement

December 21, 2016 — Almost everybody agrees Social Security needs some tweaking to keep this popular program running smoothly. After all the latest estimates are that, if no changes are made, starting in 2034 only 75% of promised benefits will be able to paid (Social Security Trustees Annual Report).

Politicians and economists have been talking about the need to fix Social Security for years, but up until now no one has done more than talk. Finally, at least one person in Congress, Rep. Sam Johnson (R-TX), has proposed something. We don’t agree with a lot of what is in his plan, but we salute him for at least proposing something. The Bipartisan Policy Center has also proposed solutions, some similar to Johnson’s and some different. Soon to be President Trump said during the campaign (more…)

Posted by Admin on December 20th, 2016