The Best Read and Most Commented Articles of 2014 on Topretirements

Category: General Retirement Issues

December 29, 2014 — It’s always fun to see which of our Blog articles grab the attention of our dear Members and Visitors. Sometimes it is the unexpected ones that generate the most comments and/or readership, while usually any article that includes “Best Place to Retire” in the title does pretty well. Here is our annual review of the best of what we’ve come up with for 2014.

But first the stats
Thanks to our members, Topretirements had its highest readership ever in 2014. Over the last 12 months we had over 1.5 million unique visitors and 7 million page views. We can’t prove it, but we are pretty sure that no other website in the retirement sphere gets this kind of traffic or engagement. This site wouldn’t exist without the valued contributions of so many people who share their experiences and expertise – thank you! We also greatly appreciate our loyal advertisers, many of which have been with us for 5 or more years, who make all of this possible.

Most Read Articles of 2014
The first few articles are no strangers to this list. We write annual editions of the “Worst (and Best) States to Retire in” and these are always list toppers. Likewise our annual list of the “Most Popular Active Communities” attracts a lot of attention. But many others on our Top 10 were one -offs – and we are so glad you liked them! Interestingly enough, more than half of the most read articles in 2014 were originally (more…)

Posted by Admin on December 29th, 2014

Baby Boomer Nostalgia Galore – 50s American Cars in Cuba

Category: Baby Boomer Retirement Issues

December 21, 2014 — Welcome back to the 50’s! Your editor had the good fortune to visit Cuba this November, only a few weeks before news of the normalization of relations was announced by the President. We found Cuba to be a fascinating country of many contradictions. Our visit was educational (we went with the Florida TREE Institute) and extremely interesting.

One of the definite highlights of the trip was the chance to be surrounded by, and even ride in, countless cars of our baby boomer youth. We’d like to share this nostalgia through some musings and photos. As an interactive exercise, we’d like to enlist your help in identifying some cars that defy our cataloging skills. At the end of this article we will share a few brief observations about Cuba, if you care to read on.

Those glorious American cars of the 50s
This might be a guy thing, but when your editor was growing up in the 1950s cars were a significant (more…)

Posted by Admin on December 25th, 2014

What Women Want in a Financial Advisor – And How to Find a Good One

Category: Financial and taxes in retirement

December 20, 2014 — Last December we posted an article asking women to tell us what they were looking for in a financial advisor, along with their war stories on how it went when they did find one. Many did, and others also asked us to continue on with a followup that summarized that input. So here goes. The first part of this article provides you with the insights and comments of those who responded to our request. Part 2 provides advice for women at 2 top firms on how to find and get the most value out of your financial advisor.

What you said
We were fortunate to receive a multitude (19) of different comments with a wide range of helpful advice. Although we recommend you read all of these comments in detail, this section summarizes and (more…)

Posted by Admin on December 20th, 2014

Obama Announces Normalization of Cuban Relations: How That Might Affect Your Retirement

Category: International Retirement

December 17, 2014 — The Obama Administration and Raoul Castro opened up the way to a normalization of relations today. Although limited in scope, it appears that family travel will be permitted, remittances will be made easier, and the U.S. will open an embassy in Havana. Americans will also be able to bring back up to $100 worth of cigars and rum, which is likely to be very popular (your editor was in Cuba in November, and wished he could have done so!).

Everybody loves the 1950s American cars here

Everybody loves the 1950s American cars here

The news also has implications for retirees. For one, it will be easier to visit, (more…)

Posted by Admin on December 17th, 2014

Best Cities for Successful Retirement Living: The 2014 Update

Category: Best Retirement Towns and States

December 15, 2014 — Most “best places to retire” lists are highly subjective and based on somebody’s personal opinions. Some others use a certain set of criteria, such as crime, climate, health care availability, etc. Another example is the annual “100 Best” lists at Topretirements, which are based on popularity – the city reviews on our site that were read most.

But there is at least “Best Places” list that truly is almost completely objective and data driven – the “Best Cities for Successful Aging” from the Milken Institute. Although you might not like all of its choices (in fact the reader comments to our 2012 version of Best Cities generated more than a few “you’ve got to be kidding” remarks), it is so fact based that it is hard (more…)

Posted by Admin on December 16th, 2014

Finding the Perfect Gift for Your Favorite Retiree

Category: Family and Retirement

December 15, 2014 — The calendar is ticking down for buying holiday gifts for that special retiree. So thanks to input from our frequent contributor Jan Cullinane, here are a few book ideas to stimulate your thought process. We’ve added some other non-book suggestions at the end.

Books (all available at your favorite independent book store, or search by title on Amazon.com or Barnes and Noble.com):

1. Working: Great Jobs for Everyone 50+ by Kerry Hannon

2. Finances: Money for Life by Steve Vernon

3. Being happy in retirement: How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free: Retirement Wisdom That You Won’t Get from Your Financial Advisor by Ernie Zelinski

4. How we think about money: Why Smart People Make Big Money Mistakes and How to Correct Them: Lessons from the Life-Changing Science of Behavioral Economics by Gary Belsky. (Jan notes that this one is a favorite because she’s heavily into behavioral economics – (more…)

Posted by Admin on December 15th, 2014

Retirement in the Mid-South Comparison: Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, and Alabama

Category: Best Retirement Towns and States

Editor’s note: This article is the latest in our series on various regional comparisons for retirement. See end of article for links to other regions in this series. We welcome ideas for future comparisons.

December 10, 2014 — The area that we will call the mid-south is an under-estimated and often misunderstood place for baby boomer retirement. All of these states are relatively favorable for taxes, cost of living, and climate compared to many others. Yet so far they definitely take a back seat in terms of popularity compared to the Carolinas, Florida, and Arizona. In this comparison we will evaluate various factors for these states that affect retirement, letting our readers draw their own conclusions from the facts. As always, please remember that areas and neighborhoods within a state, even a Metro, can be very different – so generalizations are tricky. Reader (more…)

Posted by Admin on December 9th, 2014

Housing Markets Making Forward Progress

Category: Retirement Real Estate

This article contains information from the NAHB on 2 topics: progress toward recovery in the housing market and the list of finalists in their 50+ housing category awards competition.

WASHINGTON – Markets in 59 of the approximately 350 metro areas nationwide returned to or exceeded their last normal levels of economic and housing activity in the third quarter of 2014, according to the National Association of Home Builders/First American Leading Markets Index (LMI) report from November. This represents a year-over-year net gain of seven markets. Based on current permit, price and employment data, the nationwide average is running at 90 percent of normal economic and housing activity. Meanwhile, 66 percent of markets have shown an improvement year-over-year.

“The markets are recovering at a slow, gradual pace,” said NAHB Chairman Kevin Kelly, a home builder and developer from Wilmington, Del. “Continued job creation, economic growth and increasing consumer confidence should (more…)

Posted by Admin on December 8th, 2014

Disconnect: Most Affordable Places to Retire Are Not Where Retirees Are Moving

Category: Best Retirement Towns and States

December 2, 2014 — It is a hard reality that many baby boomers are very concerned about not having enough money for an enjoyable retirement. Yet a comparison of two studies, one that ranks Metros by affordability and another that tracks the Metros that are attracting the most new 55+ residents, finds very little correlation between the top of both lists. Apparently, housing costs are not always the only drivers when it comes to deciding where to retire!

The first study, the NAHB/Wells Fargo Affordability Index (See the “Complete Listing by Affordability Rank” report) compares home prices to median incomes in in U.S. Metros. The result is an Affordability Index ranking, which, surprisingly, produces a list completely different than that from the second study, the William H. Frey Analysis of American Community Survey data. That study lists the highest population U.S. areas with the most net migration of people 55+. In this article we will provide the highest ranking Metros on both lists and speculate reasons for the disconnect.

First of all – the most affordable Metros
The NAHB/Wells Fargo Affordability Index compares the median income (more…)

Posted by Admin on December 2nd, 2014