Are Time Shares Part of Your Retirement Strategy?

Category: Retirement Real Estate

October 30, 2014 — Our member Louise recently started an interesting conversation about time shares on another of our posts. Then Caps suggested that we begin a Blog post on that topic. Seems like a fine idea, since we know that many retirees rely on time shares, aka Interval Ownership units, as a way to make their retirement life more enjoyable.

Time Shares – Different Strokes
Many folks have 1 or 2 time shares that they look forward to using every year. Some have additional weeks in different locales and time periods. Others we know have consecutive weeks in the same locale/complex, which allows them to stay in a favorite place for a long period of time. And then we know others who not only have consecutive weeks, but have multiple units at the same time so their children/grandchilden can visit.

How time shares get used also varies. Some folks stay (more…)

Posted by Admin on October 30th, 2014

Where Are the Prettiest Places to Retire?

Category: Best Retirement Towns and States

October 28, 2014 — Your editor was at a family wedding a few weeks ago when one of our smart young nephews surprised us with a question. Daeson, who was curious about Topretirements.com, queried: “What is the prettiest town you know about?” The unexpected question stunned me, maybe because there are so many choices. I didn’t have a good answer.

Eventually I managed to stutter out Naples, Florida (to which the good wife said, Naples?), and Lucca, Italy. In the days afterwards I came up with many more, better possibilities. The exercise made me realize that it might be a really good idea to go further afield and ask you, our esteemed Topretirements members, what you think are the prettiest towns. In the interest of keeping on (more…)

Posted by Admin on October 28th, 2014

Social Security Beneficiaries to Get 1.7% COLA Bump

Category: Financial and taxes in retirement

October 23,2014 — Monthly Social Security retirement benefits will increase 1.7 percent in 2015. The cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) begins in January 2015 and affects benefits received by more than 58 million Social Security beneficiaries. The Social Security Act ties the annual COLA to the increase in the Consumer Price Index as determined by the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics. To read more, please visit www.socialsecurity.gov/cola.

More Changes
The amount that beneficiaries under age 66 can receive before having (more…)

Posted by Admin on October 23rd, 2014

Tell Us Where You Are Living in Retirement

Category: Best Retirement Towns and States

October 21, 2014 — Recently one of our members asked a very helpful question: “Why don’t you get people who have actually retired someplace to tell us where and why”. The request makes a good addition to other articles we have written about where people are thinking about retiring. Sorry we can’t find who it was who made this suggestion, but whoever you are – thanks for the great idea to get feedback from people who have actually retired somewhere.

In preparing for this article we found that we already have received some (more…)

Posted by Admin on October 21st, 2014

It’s That Time Again: The Snowbird’s Leaving for the Winter Checklist

Category: Home and Garden

October 15, 2014 — Every year about this time we link to our “Snowbirds Leaving for the Winter Checklist” that we originally published in 2010. And every year we add to it and hone it in different ways, based on our own experience the previous year. We hope you find it helpful. To make it as valuable as possible we link to the original article, because there over the years there have been so many helpful and interesting Comments added by our members.

Here is the link to the original (but updated) article, “Snowbirds Leaving for the Winter Checklist

For further reading
How to Find a Great Snowbird Rental for the Winter
Our Ideal Snowbird Pairings (Summer and Winter)
Sandy’s Adventures Part ii: How to Find a Great Snowbird Location for the Winter

Posted by Admin on October 14th, 2014

How Much Should You Take from Your Retirement Funds Every Year?

Category: Financial and taxes in retirement

October 13, 2014 — Their are plenty of theories for the perfect amount to take from your retirement assets like 401(k)s and IRAs. They all try to solve the problem that if you take out too much too soon you will run out of money late in retirement, but if you are too cautious you miss out on a richer life, leaving too much your assets to someone else, possibly the government. In contrast to some of the more complex theories, some experts suggest using a simpler measure and one that is widely in use. Their idea is to use the Required Minimum Distribution (RMD) that the federal government requires retirees to take from their retirement assets beginning in the year (more…)

Posted by Admin on October 12th, 2014

The Retirement Piggy Bank You Are Probably Overlooking

Category: Financial and taxes in retirement

October 6, 2014 — According to the EBRI only 55% of retirees are very or somewhat confident about their ability to live comfortably in retirement. That leaves a lot of people worried, most of whom have very little savings and no pension to fall back on.

There is good news though
Fortunately, even if you have minimal retirement savings and no pension other than Social Security, all is not lost. You probably have a retirement piggy bank that you never even thought about – your home! Indeed for most people, the value of their homes is greater than all their other assets combined.

My home is a plus, you scoff?
After all, housing expenses consume more than half of the household income of 1 in 3 Americans over 50, according to a study by Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies and the AARP. The average person over 65 spends 30% of their income on housing. While the fact that (more…)

Posted by Admin on October 6th, 2014

Tampa Tops List of Best and Worst Places to Retire

Category: Best Retirement Towns and States

October 3, 2014 — Among the hundreds of “Best Places to Retire” lists we come across every year, once in a while we see one that has some merit to the way the list was developed. When we saw WalletHub’s recent list of the Best and Worst Places to Retire, we were impressed.

The website analyzed the 150 largest cities in the U.S. against 25 different criteria. Those included health care, affordability, weather, ability to find a job, activities, quality of life… among others. Most of the top cities were in the Southeast, Texas, and Midwest. Most you will be familiar with, but a few you might not, such as 2 of the Texas cities: Grand Prairie (a large suburb between Dallas and Fort Worth), and Plano (city just north of Dallas). Overland Park, Kansas is a suburban city south (more…)

Posted by Admin on October 3rd, 2014

How to Solve the Health Care Puzzle if You Retire Before Age 65

Category: Health Issues

September 30, 2014 Note: This is an update of an article from July, 2011. A lot has happened in the health insurance world since then, particularly with the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare). This is Part 3 in our Health Care Insurance series – see links to Parts 1 and 2 in Further Reading below

Congratulations on your retirement before the age of 65. Now, what the heck are you going to do about health insurance?

Millions of baby boomers are finding themselves retired before the traditional retirement age of 65. Whether your retirement is the fulfillment of a dream or an unwanted outcome, it usually comes with a huge question – what to do about health insurance? This article will help you understand your options, particularly if you find yourself retired before Medicare takes care of most of your health care insurance issues.

If you retire at age 65 or later you will most likely have no major health care insurance issues to worry about. That’s because Medicare enrollment will cover most of your health insurance needs (see links to our Medicare articles and resources in “Further Reading” below). You could still face major out-of-pocket costs for non-reimbursed expenses, so supplemental insurance might be a good idea. But if you or your spouse have not yet reached the magic age of 65, what are your health care options?

You must have health insurance now, or face a fine. In the past you might not have had health insurance for a number of reasons. Perhaps your previous employer did not provide insurance, so you are not eligible for COBRA. Or, your COBRA might have run out, you never signed up for it, or you lapsed on your payments. Now it is the law that you have some type of health care insurance. If you are too poor to afford it, the government will provide it for you (Medicaid). If you make less than $46,000 a year for an individual or $94,200 for a family of four, you should be eligible for a tax credit to make your insurance affordable under the ACA.

The Health Insurance Options
These are the major ways to get coverage:

- Healthcare insurance provided by your previous employer. Traditionally this was the ideal situation, particularly if your employer paid all or most of the premiums after (more…)

Posted by Admin on September 30th, 2014

Want to Maximize Your Retirement Dollars: Move to These States

Category: Financial and taxes in retirement

September 26, 2014 — Most people understand that some areas of the U.S. are cheaper to live in than others. For the majority of retiring baby boomers who are concerned about maintaining their pre-retirement standard of living, it make a lot of sense to act on those differences. This is highlighted by a recent study by Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies and AARP that showed that an increasing number of America’s retirement age citizens are stressed by their cost of housing. The study also warned that “the nation is unprepared for both the financial and non-financial housing challenges that will accompany the coming explosion in the elderly population.”

The Tax Foundation has developed some extremely interesting maps – by state, town, and part of the country – that shows relative differences in purchasing power. The scale is based on an a purchasing scale of $100: if you have $100 to spend, how much value will you get in different locations. Based on the difference in local prices, in some you can buy (more…)

Posted by Admin on September 25th, 2014
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