May 14, 2019 — The government isn’t quite ready to slap warning signs on retirement contracts like it did on cigarette packages, but maybe it should. The Wall St. Journal recently reported on several studies showing that delaying retirement can improve your longevity. While most people look forward to pursuing their hobbies, traveling, and spending more time with the grandchildren, there are some downsides. Many folks watch too much TV, don’t exercise, and lack the mental stimulation to keep them sharp. The studies seem to find that policies that encourage people to keep working result in fewer health problems and longer lives.
According to a WSJ article, “The Case Against Early Retirement”, researchers for the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, using an idea from a Dutch study, “concluded that delaying retirement reduced the five-year mortality risk for men in their early 60s by 32%”. Women experienced less of a mortality risk. The study in Holland used a series of increasing incentives to get workers to stay on the job longer.
May 11, 2019 — The National Association of Home Buyers (NAHB) reports that the market continues to be strong for 55+ homebuyers and renters. While many baby boomers will not be moving soon, there is a significant segment that is seeking a change in their living arrangements. “Overall, demand for homes in 55+ communities remain strong as more buyers and renters in that market search for simpler living arrangements,” said Karen Schroeder, chair of NAHB’s 55+ Housing Industry Council and vice president of Mayberry Homes in East Lansing, Mich. “However, there are still headwinds that are impacting the market, such as rising construction costs and a lack of skilled labor.”
Elsewhere, the Urbanland.uli.org site has an interesting article (referred to us by our own “Nomadic pilot”) that outlines the complexity of the 55+ homebuying landscape. There are many threads to the market. Many experts predicted there would be a mass selloff of suburban homes as aging boomers moved out, either to 55+ communities or urban apartments. While that has happened to some extent, there are still millions of boomers who continue to live where they always have.
Comments? What do you think is going to happen in the retirement housing market? Are you planning on changing where you live and the type of home, or are you staying where you live now? Please add your Comments below.
May 8, 2019 — Chances are you aren’t looking for the most expensive place to retire. Most people are looking for the opposite, a 55+ or active community where they can retire and stretch their savings and social security into a comfortable retirement. But just for fun, here’s a look at where we might retire if we were to suddenly join the ranks of the 1%. Which one would you pick?
We looked around in researching this article and were amazed at how little good information there is on the ritziest places to retire. 55places.com had an article on the topic, but the communities on its list barely approached the mid-range of pricing. The same can be said for a very similar list put out by ThinkAdvisor.com. Our list is by no means complete, but we think it is a lot better. If you know of a super-expensive retirement community, please suggest it in the Comments section below.
May 4, 2019 — Were you born before Jan. 2, 1954? Are you married? Not already claiming a Social Security retirement benefit?
If you answered yes to all of these questions, time is running out on a very valuable Social Security claiming strategy, the Restricted Benefit option. In brief, this option allows you (or your spouse) to collect a spousal Social Security benefit while preserving the right to collect on your own benefit later. If you turn 66 this year, now is the time to think about taking it.
The key point for eligibility to take the Restricted Benefit is being born before Jan. 2, 1954. If you were born after that date, the term “deemed filing” applies to you when you apply for Social Security retirement benefits, and you are not eligible for the Restricted Benefit option.
In addition to your birth date, the two additional questions we asked at the beginning also apply. Are you married? If you are not, it doesn’t work because you have no spouse to claim a spousal benefit on. If you are already receiving Social Security benefits, it is too late to reverse that decision. So you answered yes to all three questions – great – the Restricted Benefit might be for you.
“The only reason that I would take up jogging is so that I could hear heavy breathing again.”
Editor’s note: Thanks to Dan J for making this suggestion about a fitness article: “Fitness…particularly since other apps or websites are geared towards younger folks. How about featuring a few tips here and there from fitness folks who may hold classes at some of these retirement places?” Leigh Pujado has been kind enough to help us carry out this suggestion, sharing the valuable insight she has gained as a long time personal trainer at WeBeFit.com.
By Leigh Pujado
April 29, 2019 — You know you are supposed to exercise. Practically everyone in your life, from your doctor, to your spouse, your kids, to your annoyingly fit at 70, tennis playing neighbor has consistently reminded you of the importance of getting in shape. So why is it that only 35% of you Baby Boomers are working out regularly?*
April 26, 2019 — The Social Security Trustees annual report is out, which shows some small changes in the status of Social Security. This year, 2019, will be the last time that the amount paid out in retirement benefits is less than the money coming in – taxes paid into the system by workers combined with interest earned on reserves. But in 2034 the real crisis begins. That is when the reserves in the retirement portion of Social Security (OASI) are exhausted and the fund must rely exclusively on taxes paid in from working people to cover promised benefits. Starting that year, unless something is done soon, Social Security will be able to only pay about 77% of promised retirement benefits.
There are a variety of different ideas on how to fix the problem. Only one proposed solution has been proposed in Congress so far, and it has achieved solid partisan support. Introduced by Democratic congressman John Larson of Conn., his solution would increase both benefits and taxes. A few of the many Democratic presidential candidates are tossing out ideas that would eliminate or expand the maximum income subject to FICA taxes, increase payroll taxes, and/or add an investment tax. The Republican approach is to hold the line on increasing taxes while curbing benefit growth. Whatever the approach, the Trustees are urging Congress to do something, as the longer they procrastinate, the more serious the problem. The crush of baby boomers collecting Social Security retirement benefits finally starts to abate in 2030, when the last baby boomers should be starting to take their benefits.
One significant change in this year’s report is what is happening in the disability component of Social Security (DI). For whatever reason, new disability claims are declining, with the result that the fund is predicted to remain solvent much longer than thought earlier (2052 vs. 2032 last year).
The Trustees recommend that lawmakers address the projected trust fund shortfalls in a timely way in order to phase in necessary changes gradually and give workers and beneficiaries time to adjust to them. Implementing changes sooner rather than later would allow more generations to share in the needed revenue increases or reductions in scheduled benefits. Social Security will play a critical role in the lives of 64 million beneficiaries and 178 million covered workers and their families during 2019. With informed discussion, creative thinking, and timely legislative action, Social Security can continue to protect future generations
This is the conclusion of the 2019 Trustees Annual Report on Social Security – We agree!
Comments? What is your favorite solution to solving the Social Security problem? Do you think Congress will act in time to head off the 2034 crisis? Please use the Comments section below to voice your opinion.
April 22, 2019 — Have you been wondering how your retirement investments and strategies stack up to other people in your situation? Do you make the same types of investments as others… use a financial advisor… think you saved enough? Well, thanks to the almost 500 members who took the time to contribute their valuable data and insights to last week’s “The State of Your Retirement Portfolio” survey, you will know the answers to a lot of these questions. Special thanks to all contributors to the survey – we appreciate you giving back to this community!
As promised, here is a detailed report on the survey. It includes a link to 100 interesting Member comments to the survey. And you will find a list of all our previous survey reports at the end of the article.
Background This is the second time we have asked for data about your retirement investments and expectations. Here are the highlights from the most recent 14 question poll, with comparisons to the 2015 survey results when available. Detailed findings for each question are listed below that.
April 20, 2019 — In many active adult and 55+ communities much of the social life centers around couples. For people who happen to be single, that environment makes it difficult to have a full social life and results in feeling left out. We hope this article can help single people find places to retire where they are happy and feel included.
It would be a mistake to cast all retired single people in the same mold, assuming that all of their retirement needs and goals are identical. Many singles are very happy to go through retirement without a partner. Others are content to be single, but would like to find a place to retire where they feel included and a part of the community. Another group would prefer not to be single, or at least to have more friendships and social interactions than they have now. Regardless of what type of single person you might be, we hope you find this article interesting.
First we’ll talk about specific kinds of places that singles might find attractive as places to retire, and then we’ll include a few Member comments that seem especially useful to this discussion.
April 17, 2019 — Our Online Retirement 101 Course continues today on a topic relevant to any retiree interested in an active adult community: what are the best ways to visit and appraise the developments you are interested in. The topic is far bigger than it initially appears because it includes how to find and select the communities you want to visit, how to get the most out of your on-site visit, and finally, how to compare the properties on your list of possibilities. In this article we will start with a general outline of how to get started. Then we will go on to some representative comments from the hundreds and hundreds of Member Comments we have received over the years on evaluating 55+ communities. See list on “Further Reading” at end for a list of articles on this topic.
The Process: How to Get the Most Out of Your Active Community Visit Following a disciplined path to visiting and evaluating 55+ communities will get you the information and feedback to help you make the best decisions. Finding the right community for you is a process – one site visit normally won’t give you an instant answer, but it will help build your knowledge base. After visiting several communities you will be in a position to knowledgeably evaluate all the properties you are interested in. Here is a basic approach to follow:
April 15, 2019 – The controversial bills advocated by online short term rental companies have apparently faded away in the Florida legislature. If passed, HB 987 and SB 824 would have taken away local control of transient rentals from local governments in the Sunshine State and given it to the State instead. While most people seem to be in favor of short term rentals (1 week or less) when they go on vacation, homeowners in tourist areas tend to resent the onslaught of one and two night renters coming through their neighborhoods (see “Short Term Rentals in Florida Legislature” with survey results). Affordable housing is another issue impacted when short term rentals tend to take over local markets. State Rep. Holly Raschein and State Senator Anitere Flores were two south Florida officials who were opposed to the legislation.