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…)
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…)
At the age of 62, we are beginning our 25th year of financial independence. That is quite a feat! From the beaches on Nevis, West Indies, to the shores of Phuket, Thailand we have traveled extensively through these decades, and what a ride it’s been! Young and strong in those early years, we were willing and able to tackle just about anything. Now we tend to be a bit more cautious but we’re not letting up. We still climb into the backs of pickup trucks, ride the chicken buses and soak in volcanic hot pools. The time has passed quickly from when we were the youngest, grayless couple in a group of retirees, to now where we blend in with the retiree crowd.
Still, no one can take away the dance we danced and we are filled with (more…)
– This article continues our Dueling Retirement States series. See Further Reading at end for links to the other regions compared in the series –
February 16, 2015 — The Pacific Northwest has continued to experience amazing population growth since the end of World War II. Oregon’s population, for example, grew by 400,000 between 2000 and 2010, and almost 2/3 of that was net in-migration. Many of the area’s new residents are 20 and 30 somethings who have come for jobs and the great out of doors. But another demographic segment flocking to the region for its beauty, outdoor recreation, and in many cases, to be near their adult children, is the huge baby boomer group. In this article we will compare and contrast these 2 vital states, Oregon and Washington. Population and income data is from American Fact Finder-U.S. Census Bureau.
A Few Facts
Washington is the more populous of the 2 states. It had a 1990 population of just under 4.9 million, went to 5.9 million in 2000, and climbed to 7.1 million in 2014 – a 45% increase in 25 years. Oregon’s population was 2.8 million in 1990, 3.4 million in 2000, and just under 4 million in 2015 – a 43% increase over that span. (more…)
February 11, 2015 — Baby boomers have many concerns as they contemplate their retirements, but some issues resonate more than others. The three issues that keep coming up week after week in your comments and emails are: water shortages (in Arizona and the southwest), sinkholes (in Florida), and humidity (mostly in Florida and the Southeast). This article will explore those using a combination of input from our members’ Comments to previous Blog posts as well as a look at the scientific literature.
1. Water Shortages
Our recent article by Harv on why he chose Tucson generated a river of comments about water shortages. Some of those provided helpful references that shed scientific (more…)
February 9, 2015 –Like many retirees you have probably been thinking about bucket list trips as the icing on a hard fought working career. If so the idea of visiting Australia and New Zealand might be near the top. The advantages of such a trip are many. Here we will review some of the reasons for adding this to your list, along with many tips if you do go. This article is mostly about Australia, since that is where your editor recently passed 3 agreeable weeks.
Advantages Speaking the same language. To make a parallel to what George Bernard Shaw said about Britain and the U.S., we are 2 countries separated by a common language. Travel is definitely easier when you can ask almost anyone for directions.
Rate of exchange. At one point in last few years it took over 1.10 U.S. dollar to purchase 1 Australian dollar. However in early 2015 the latter can be purchased for less than .80 U.S.
Familiar. Americans and Australians are very friendly (more…)
February 3, 2105 — If you have spent much time by now on Topretirements.com we would be surprised if you haven’t seen a lot of Member comments about Home Owners Associations (HOAs). To many, it would seem these mysterious entities are the devil incarnate. Usually without any actual experience with the demon, these folks want to avoid what they think are treacherous fees, political cabals, and mean-spirited rules at all costs. Only occasionally do we see someone sticking up in their defense. This article will try to dispel some of the misinformation about HOAs, and then let you draw your own conclusions – are they are something to be avoided or appreciated? We’ve also included links to our (more…)
Editor’s note: This is an unusual post from one of our Members, Harv. He originally posted it as a Comment to our “Dueling Retirements: AZ vs. FL” Blog article. But due to its length we thought it might be good to break it out as its own article. Please forgive the spelling and punctuation as this was originally meant to be a Comment, not an article, so there are some errors. It is also quite conversational. Hope you enjoy it.
January 28, 2015 — We retired to Tucson for very specific reasons. Many people here say “I’ll never again live where I need to own a snow shovel!” I totally agree with that sentiment, and I add that “I’ll never again live where I need to own a lawn mower!” No snow shovel … no lawn mower … life in Tucson is good!
In our view, 32 degrees is a “deal-breaker” when it comes to deciding where to retire. Bad things start to happen at 32 degrees! Water freezes! So the average number of days that temps get below 32 is very important to us. It affects safety in driving and walking. Increasingly as we age, our reactions slow, so driving or walking on snow or ice is dangerous! I find I’m less able to catch myself when I slip or stumble, and it’s not going to get any better with advancing age!
Tucson averages few days below 32 degrees … and when it happens, it usually gets (more…)