December 7, 2019 — We don’t know about your experience, but in ours we are starting to see signs that many of our retired friends and relatives are getting more and more frugal. Some have to cut back from necessity, but even many of our very well off friends seem to be pinching pennies, at least in some corners of their life. Folks that might fly business class to Australia on a luxury vacation, but hoard plastic bags from the supermarket to line their kitchen trash bin. Many like to save money for the sport of it. After all, who likes spending money on unimportant stuff. Snagging an inexpensive vacation, landing a great deal on a rental car, or getting a better internet deal is a lot more fun and exciting than paying top dollar!
If you search on the Internet for “live like a cheapskate” you will strike a frugality bonanza. There are authors like Jeff Yeager who have written best sellers on the subject (“The Cheapskate Next Door“). There’s even a show on TLC, “Extreme Cheapskates“. Not to mention all of the articles Topretirements has written on the subject over the years (see Further Reading at bottom). This article will roll up advice from all over into some of our top tips on how to live like a cheapskate, and have fun while doing it!
First of all, a little etymology – if you are going to be a cheapskate you might as well understand where the term came from. Although there is some uncertainty about the origin of the word, the main dictionary sites think that “skate” was a late 19th century slangy term for a worn-out horse, to which cheap was added to imply mean or miserly. One Wiki source claims it refers to inexpensive strap-on roller skates; while we acknowledge those were horrible to skate on back in the day, we doubt that is the term’s origin.
December 3, 2019 — For baby boomers who love to play golf, living on a golf course seems like a dream. Drive over in your golf cart and play any time you want, no waiting. Later on in the afternoons, sit back and enjoy the beauty of a golf hole in the setting sun from your lanai. Unfortunately, golf is not as popular as it once was. That decline is interrupting the dream of golf course living.
Our friends over at www.retirehoppy.com just wrote about unpleasant experiences at their community, Trilogy at Vistancia in Peoria, Arizona. Seems like the developer has changed its mind, and now would like to sell the golf course to the Home Owners Association. Nobody there knows what is the best decision. Buy it (HOA has first right of refusal), or let the developer try to sell or develop it? Either way is fraught with problems.
November 29, 2019 — In case you hear this comment from a millennial, Gen X, or Yer, it is NOT a compliment. It is a dismissal, as in, “OK, baby boomer, you have a lot to say, but your day is over. Kindly step aside.” Younger folks tend to use this term on social media to respond to anybody over 30 who says something condescending about young people .
Perhaps we deserve it, justice served a generation later. Certainly we baby boomers are awfully proud of how we changed things back in the day – our music, rebellions, cultural shifts. Today we seem to think we know everything and have strong opinions – millennials are lazy, the younger generation doesn’t know about hard work, etc. Sound familiar: Remember how we were convinced, back in the day, that our parents knew nothing and we knew it all.
November 26, 2019 — Are you in the camp of retirees who “hate” Florida, or are you among those that “love” it? Most folks thinking about the best place to retirein Florida seem to fall into one of those divisions; not so many have no opinion. In our view, Florida is filled with many great retirement towns, and it is diverse in more ways than you might think. This article will tell you a bit about this very large and populous state, plus give you a list of 12 Florida towns we think make for a great place to retire.
First, a few facts Florida’s 2018 estimated population was 21,300,000, the 4th most populous in the nation. Some 19% of the population is 65 and over, compared to 15% nationwide.
Geographically speaking, the State has a very unusual shape – it is both tall and wide. So tall and wide that it takes over a day to drive from Pensacola to Key West (832 miles). Florida is the 22nd largest state, has the longest coastline in the contiguous states, and the only state to have a coastline on the Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico. It is a very flat state, which is one of the things that people tend not to like about it (Mount Dora, at 185′ is one of its highest towns).
Florida’s median home value in late 2019 was $237,900 – up from $120,600 in 2012 (Zillow), just slightly lower than the U.S. median ($231,000 – Zillow, or $163,500 – NAR). According to Zillow.com the priciest metro in the state for homes is Naples ($329,100) and the most inexpensive is Pensacola ($132,100).
From a tax viewpoint Florida is very friendly to retirees. There is no state income tax. Sales tax is 6%. Florida has a homestead law, Save Our Homes, that protects full-time residents from property taxes above the rate of inflation. One of the few economic negatives about Florida is that in many areas near the coast, property insurance is very expensive. Many private insurers have pulled out of the market after several bad hurricane seasons, leaving the non-profit Citizens Insurance Co. as the insurer of last resort. You can find more facts about Florida in our FL Mini-Retirement Guide.
12 Best Places to Retire in Florida
There are multiple ways to come up with the 10 Best Places to Retire in Florida. One way would be popularity at Topretirements: on that basis the leading contenders in 2019 would be Pensacola, Sarasota, St. Petersburg, Fort Myers, Venice, and Jupiter – all of these towns made our recent “20 Most Popular Places to Retire in the Southeast“. But based on some other rating factors – location/geography, charm, walkability/traffic, cultural resources – this a sampler of our top choices, in no particular order.
Sarasota, FL. Some consider Sarasota to be the cultural capital of Florida, after Miami. It has one of Florida’s best walkable downtowns with many interesting neighborhoods. An impressive array of cultural facilities are available in Sarasota, along with high-rise, luxury hotels and apartments. The barrier islands have great beaches and developments where retirees can live.
Vero Beach. Located in the middle of Florida’s Atlantic Coast, the town is in several parts – a long ‘beach” area on the barrier island with a resort feel, and a large downtown across the bay on the mainland. There are types of interesting active adult and 55+ communities offering an array of lifestyles. The Zillow Home Value Index was $214,100. One potential drawback is Vero is relatively far from a big airport. On the other hand, it doesn’t have the congestion of some bigger places.
Delray Beach We love Delray Beach for so many reasons. At the end of the main street is an amazing stretch of public beaches and dunes. Take a boat tour on the Intracoastal…Enjoy the interesting restaurants filled with interesting people of all ages…Live downtown in a condo above the many cool shops… or take in a concert or a museum. Above all you can walk anywhere with ease. Surprisingly, the Zillow Home Value Index was only $209,800, making it a much more attractive alternative than Fort Lauderdale, Boca Raton, or Miami. Properties near the water will be much more.
Dunedin This great little town (pronounced Due need’ an) just north of Tampa and St Petersburg still celebrates its Scottish heritage. It has a concentrated and interesting downtown that is easy to walk through. In a State known for its beaches, its easily accessible public beaches are some of the best. There is a 39 mile bike/walk trail system running through town.
The heart of this walkable town near Orlando is Park Avenue. It is aptly named, as Winter Park claims it has more park space than any town in Florida. The walkable main street includes retail and public civic buildings, art galleries, a private liberal arts college (Rollins), museums, a park, a train station, a golf course country club, a historic cemetery, and a beach and boat launch. The Zillow Home Value Index in Winter Park is $402,700, higher than we expected to see.
Fernandina Beach Situated at the very top of Florida on the Atlantic Ocean (just above Amelia Island), this town has a wonderful and walkable downtown. There are great restaurants and shops. Best of all if you live in one of the cute neighborhoods you can be downtown with just a few steps.
Hollywood Beach. Hollywood is just south of Fort Lauderdale. It enjoys about 60 parks, seven golf courses, and beaches that run for miles. Hollywood Beach is famous for the great boardwalk that extends about 2.5 miles along the Atlantic Ocean.
Key West. Once the wealthiest city in Florida, Key West citizens have created fortunes over the centuries from shipwreck treasures, turtles, sponges fishing, and cigars. Most recently its economy is based on the tourist trade and folks looking for a warm and artsy place to spend the winter. You can walk or bike anywhere on this small island with nice bike lanes and drivers who look out for pedestrians. “The Conch Republic” attracts artists, musicians, and people of every type under the rainbow.
Mount Dora. This central Florida lakefront community is nestled in gentle hills and orange groves. Its elevation of 184 feet makes it one of the higher communities in Florida. It features active shopping, excellent antiquing, a rich cultural life, and recreation. Many festivals and community events attract residents and tourists. See the article we wrote on Mount Dora.
St. Petersburg has long been a synonym for retirement community, which does not tell the real story. This city on a long peninsula has a lot going for it. For one, it has a bustling, big city downtown with thriving businesses and lots to do. For another, it’s a peninsula with beaches and water just about everywhere. Then it has many funky neighborhoods and villages, like definitely funky Gulfport and its famous dancehall Casino.
Tarpon Springs is a fascinating little town on the West Coast above Tampa and St. Pete. What makes it unique is its Greek heritage – descendants of earlier immigrants who came here for sponge gathering are still here fishing and operating Greek restaurants for tourists. Another unique feature of Tarpon Springs is that is has 2 downtowns. The main one has a nice area with shops, restaurants, and the old train station. It is charming, but a bit frayed around the edges like a funky town should be. The waterfront area a mile away offers an array of Greek restaurants and views of fishing and shrimp boats.
Jacksonville. You might not think you want to retire in the 12th largest city in the country. But this huge city has many very different neighborhoods and areas to retire in – from little beach communities, to an urban setting, to sophisticated new urban style communities. An historic neighborhood that gets a lot of favorable press is the Riverside and Avondale area. Surrounding towns like Orange Park and Fleming Island offer many interesting options.
Bottom line. We hope this whets your appetite for a possible Florida retirement, because there are a lot more towns like these if you get out and explore the Sunshine State. Please let us know your favorite towns in the State in the Comments section below.
Q: My husband retired three months ago. We took a two-week trip right afterwards, and then the frustrations began. He claims he’s joking when he criticizes me if I miss a spot with the vacuum or the kitchen mop, but it’s getting annoying. He complains that I’m buying the wrong peanut butter for his lunches. He turns on the TV at 7 a.m. and sits around watching cartoons and soap operas. When I go out for the day and I ask him to do the laundry, he mixes the colors with the whites and leaves them dripping wet in the washer all day, so that they smell as if they’ve just come out of the New England Patriots locker room. I have to push him to get up and do anything. He says he’s just taking some well-earned time off after 45 years of working. How do I deal with the love of my life now that he has morphed into this freeloader?
….Frustrated in Frostproof, Florida
Dear Frustrated: Ah, the age-old problem that affects tens of millions of households eventually: A husband or a wife retires and sits around the house as if he or she owns the place! You need to take this by the horns and indoctrinate your better quarter in the new reality – the updated rules of loving togetherness!
First, though, please keep in mind that both of you should be prepared for an adjustment period – and show sympathy for each other’s psychological and emotional well-being, changing identities, and new needs for self-fulfillment and self-esteem.
November 20, 2019 — Last year, my husband Kevin was counting the days to his retirement. He had planned the financial aspects thoroughly. On January 1 he would leave behind his demanding job as an operations executive who traveled worldwide and would spend all his days at home.
As a novelist and part-time English professor at a community college, I worked at home three days a week and was on campus two days during the academic year. Although Kevin has plenty of interests and hobbies, I was concerned that the aspect of work he’d miss the most was managing events and people. Once he retired, he’d have no one to manage.
November 18, 2019 — Late last month it was announced that Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits for nearly 69 million Americans will increase 1.6 percent in 2020. This follows increases of 2.8 percent in 2019, 2% in 2018 and .3% in 2016.
The 1.6 percent cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) will begin with benefits payable to more than 63 million Social Security beneficiaries in January 2020.
The maximum amount of earnings subject to the Social Security tax (taxable maximum) will increase to $137,700, up from $132,900. Separately, Medicare.gov announced that Part B premiums in 2019 will increase by $9.10 a month to $144.60 for most recipients.
Nov. 12, 2020 — The standard Part B monthly premium amount in 2020 will be $144.60, up $9.10 from 2019. Most people will pay the standard Part B premium amount. If you modified adjusted gross income as reported on your IRS tax return from 2 years ago is above a certain amount, you’ll pay the standard premium amount and an Income Related Monthly Adjustment Amount (IRMAA). IRMAA is an extra charge added to your premium.
If your yearly income in 2018 (for what you pay in 2020) was
November 11, 2019 – As a place to retire the American West offers perhaps the biggest range of geography and the lifestyles that go with that. This huge area comprises 9 states with every kind of geography. Most impressive is its huge coastline that runs from coastal California to the state of Washington. There is the Pacific Northwest with its rain forests and deserts. Then there are towns in the real wild west from Idaho to Montana, along with deserts, mountains, and national parks in Nevada and Utah. There are college towns, some big and small cities, and many towns in tourist areas, so it’s likely there is a great place to retire for just about everybody. Here in our the third installment of our “Best Places to Retire 2019” are the top 20 most popular retirement towns in the U.S. West. Here are links to the other two: “The Top 20 Places to Retire in the Southwest” and “Best Places to Retire in the Southeast“.
What States are in the West? The National Geographic Society includes nine states in the American West, a huge territory made up of Washington, Oregon, California, Utah, Nevada, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming. With the exception of the coastal Northwest, most of this region is dry with hot summers. Most of the region has low humidity. For more information about what it is like to retire in the West see our “Dueling Retirement States” series: Dueling Retirement States: The Pacific Northwest, and Dueling Retirement States: The Western Mountain States.
A Surprising # 1 The 20 most popular towns in the West contain some surprises, including a few not familiar to many. The surprising #1 most popular place to retire on our list, Sequim (WA), edged out many more well known towns and cities. Its review was read by over 3,300 visitors in the first ten months of 2019 by Topretirements.com visitors, beating out Grand Junction (CO). Last year’s winner, St. George, UT, slipped to third place this year. This year there were four newcomers to the top 20 list: Cheyenne (WY), Eureka (CA), Brookings (OR) and Port Townsend (WA). Dropping off from the 2018 were Coeur D’Alene (ID), Medford (OR), Spokane (WA), and Las Vegas (NV).
November 9, 2019 — With so many baby boomers facing retirement with smaller than expected savings, the question of where they can afford to live is a serious question. Recently one of our long-standing Members, Peder, raised the issue of manufactured homes, and in particular, their pitfalls. Somewhat to our amazement we cannot find that we have written about this important topic before, so now seems like a great time to do it.
There can be a lot of confusion around terms like manufactured homes. Code of Federal Regulations, 24 CFR 3280, states that: “Manufactured homes are built as dwelling units of at least 320 square feet in size with a permanent chassis to assure the initial and continued transportability of the home.” They are typically built in a factory and moved as one or more sections to where the homeowner wants it. Their wheel chassis is the key differentiation from other types of homes. They are often referred to less elegantly as “mobile homes” and “trailers“. In the 1950’s ten foot wide models were introduced. Because of this greater width (previous models were 8′ wide), it became harder to transport them and this helped distinguish them from travel trailers and RVs.
They are different than modular homes, also prefabricated and built in factories. Some experts have long predicted that modular construction will eventually replace so called “stick-built” homes because of the efficiencies involved in building homes in a factory setting. It is often difficult to distinguish between a modular home and one built in-situ. Some other variations of modular homes are “pre-cut” or “panelized” homes.