May 15, 2012 — There’s been a lot of news and retirement related articles that affect you as a retiree or future retiree in the past week. Here is the rundown of what we found compelling in the past week or so – think of it as Retirement 101.
Home Price Improve
The National Association of Realtors released their single family home sales data for 2012’s first quarter this week. Compared to the last 5 years, it’s a downright cheery report! Year over year home prices increased in about half of U.S. markets, although prices overall were off from the 4th quarter ($158,100 vs. $162,600). The huge inventories of unsold homes got better too: at the end of March, 2.37 million previously owned homes were on the market, 22 percent fewer than the year before period. See Bloomberg’s analysis.
Yes You Can Negotiate!
Here’s a timely article from WSJ MarketWatch, Retirement Homes for Less, about the availability of negotiating when it comes to paying those hefty entrance fees to a lifecare or Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC). The piece highlights some seniors who used their financial planners to help them negotiate favorable terms for entrance fees, monthly rent, and moving allowances.
Your Retirement Medical Expenses Could Run $240,000
One of the biggest and baddest surprises in retirement is the cost of medical care. Although Medicare will take over much of your expense at age 65, you can still expect to pay plenty, possibly more than you might have saved. That’s the depressing news in Andrea Coombes’ MarketWatch article on “Retirement Medical Costs“. About a third will go to Medicare Part B and D premiums, 45% for co-pays and other out of pockets, and 25% for un-reimbursed prescription drugs.
Eldercare Costs by State
Donna, one of our members, provided this very helpful link to a State by State Comparison of Eldercare Expenses. Most illuminating.
Practice Retirement Before You Leap
That’s the message from Robert Powell in “Practice… Before You Leap“. The idea comes from T.Rowe Price, who suggest that at a certain age you start to retire, but keep working some. That way you can get a feel for the retired life without cutting your tether to the working world. Makes sense to us.
Are Your Retirement Goals Unrealistic?
Almost all of us have some optimistic goals and dreams for our retirement. Unfortunately this article from CBS MarketWatch, “Are Your Retirement Goals Divorced from Reality“, points out that most of us have such serious planning flaws that we are setting ourselves up for failure. The authors caution that we might not be able to work as planned, and our income probably overestimated. Best quote: “Failure to Plan is Planning for Failure.”
How to Live Well and Be Happy
If the above article on planning failure got you in the dumps, our frequent contributor David Lane sent us a link to a terrific blog, Zenhabits, that might cheer you up. So many of us get so agitated worrying about this and that, we completely overlook just trying to relax and be happy. We love this quote: “Be driven by joy, not fear”. Definitely worth a read!
New York Times “Retirement” Feature
The Times ran a wonderful set of features late last week on a variety of retirement issues, many of them from the financial standpoint. Our favorite: “It’s Not Easy Making It with a Measly Million”.
Comments: We always love reading your ideas on retirement related stories. Please share your thoughts in the Comments section below!