If Social Security Payments Pay Only 77% in 2034 – What Will You Do?

Category: Financial and taxes in retirement

September 14, 2018 — Thanks to one of our regular idea contributors, Jeff H, we have a not so hypothetical problem for you. If, as the Social Security Trustees warn, the retirement portion of Social Security exhausts its reserves in 2034 and is only able to fund 77% of promised benefits starting in that year, what will you do? A similar question could apply to Medicare, which is expected to run out of money even earlier, in just 8 years (2026). Medicare’s case is harder to prepare for: if nothing is done, presumably benefits will be cut or reimbursements to doctors and hospitals reduced, driving even more health care providers out of Medicare.(Note: in our recent newsletter the headline said ‘cut 77%), which was an inadvertent error. The accurate statement is that benefits would be paid at 77%.)

In spite of a steady stream of warnings from Trustees and other experts, legislators have done nothing to address the coming problem. With soaring deficit projections expected (more…)

Posted by Admin on September 14th, 2018

Transition to Retirement: Will Your Income Match or Exceed Expenses?

Category: Retirement Planning

By Bob Stacy
National Institute of Transition Planning

September 15, 2018 — I am consistently amazed when conducting my NITP “Transition to Retirement” sessions when I ask participants a very simple question: “Do you know how much you spend each year?” The answer is almost universally “no”!

Retirement income should be easier to calculate
In preparing for retirement you should know approximately what your income will be. If you are a federal or state worker or you are employed by a larger company, you can visit your HR department and have them provide an estimate of your annuity or pension, which will probably be your main source of retirement income. Then you can add other possible sources of projected income such as 401Ks, Social Security, investment income, TSPs, part-time work and maybe even inheritance. If you don’t have a pension, it will probably be slightly easier to estimate your income.

No matter how much income you may have forthcoming, no one should retire if you don’t know what you actually spend each month. Running out of money in retirement is one of the worst things that can happen to you. So I suggest that you not consider retirement until you know your (more…)

Posted by Admin on September 13th, 2018

20 Most Popular Places to Retire in the Southeast: 2018

Category: Best Retirement Towns and States

September 10, 2018 – Based on multiple surveys we have conducted, the best places to retire in America are in its Southeast, a region made up of 12 states. In that research 48% of respondents said they would like to retire there, twice as many as in the Southwest, the next highest choice. This is our 2018 list of the 20 most popular places to retire in the Southeast, the third in this year’s “Best Places” series. Here is a link to the first, “The Top 20 Places to Retire in the Southwest“. The second installment has the 20 Most Popular Places to Retire in the West (California to Colorado and points north).

What States are in the Southeast?
The states included in this big region are: West Virginia, Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Florida. In general the region has a humid subtropical climate with hot summers. Areas in the west and north tend to be cooler as they generally have more elevation or are further north. Hurricanes can reach landfall in the summer and fall months along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts. The region’s major geographical features include: Appalachian Mountains, Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Mexico, Mississippi River.

Surprises ahead
The 20 most popular towns in the Southeast contain mostly familiar names, although they include a few towns that earned surprisingly high ranks. Asheville (NC), which has been top dog on our Top 100 list for the entire U.S. many times, was no surprise to take the #1 spot here. Its review was read by over 9,100 visitors in the first 7 months of 2018, more than four times as many as called up the #20 selection, Naples, FL. As an example of a bit of an upset, the #2 most popular place to retire on our list, Pensacola (FL), edged out many more famous retirement towns and cities. (more…)

Posted by Admin on September 9th, 2018

Red Tide Scourges Florida’s Southwest Coast

Category: Best Retirement Towns and States

September 7, 2018 — Down in Southwest Florida residents have been seeing red this summer – as in red tide. This disturbing scourge is the worst it has been in more than a decade. It has killed huge amounts of marine life as well as cost millions in lost tourism dollars in communities like Marco Island. One charter boat captain there says his business is down 80%; to stay busy he has been volunteering to assist researchers out on the water.

In a 120 mile stretch of coast work crews have been spending their mornings cleaning up fish kills on the beach. The organism in red tide releases a deadly toxin that kills marine life like fish and shellfish, along with dolphins, sea turtles, pelicans, and loggerhead turtles. Local animal clinics are experiencing abnormal numbers of injured creatures being brought into their facilities for treatment. Tourists are staying away from the bad smells and air irritants.

Currently the red tide exists in a long stretch from Pinellas County (Tarpon Springs above St. Petersburg) south to Naples and into Collier County. Its appearance is not uniform, but varies in intensity from area to area. Observations of greater than 1,000,000 K. brevis cells per liter ( very “high” concentrations) occurred in samples collected in or offshore of Hillsborough, Charlotte, (more…)

Posted by Admin on September 7th, 2018

Beware of Scams: Medicare Cards and Car Registrations

Category: Health Issues

September 3, 2018 — Scammers are always looking for the latest way to separate you from your money. The newest is centered on the new Medicare cards that are in the process of being sent out. The scam usually comes in the form of a phone call with an offer to get your card on an expedited basis – all they need is some personal information. Their object is to steal your identity, and maybe more. We will also discuss two other common scams to look out for.

Everyone enrolled in Medicare will be getting a new card soon, if not already. You don’t have to do anything, yours will come if you are in Medicare. They are being sent out in waves. Once you get your new card, which will have a new number, not your Social Security number, you can destroy your old card. There is no need to panic (more…)

Posted by Admin on September 2nd, 2018

Don’t Die Without a Will – Please!

Category: Financial and taxes in retirement

August 30, 2018 – Is your estate planning goal to maximize the amount of money you give to the IRS, give probate attorneys a huge cut of your assets, leave nothing to your favorite charities, and pit your relatives against each other in family destroying battles over money and possessions? If those are your goals, achieving it is easy, just die without a will.

We will all miss Aretha Franklin. Her music lives on, but one thing her heirs will miss, besides the Queen of Soul, is a will. Reportedly, like Prince, she did not leave a last will and testament. Some people never get around to a will because they don’t want to take the time, or possibly admit their mortality. Others dither because they can’t make (more…)

Posted by Admin on August 29th, 2018

An Imaginary Trip to Key West Mixes Local Culture and Cuban Intrigue

Category: Travel

August 29, 2018 — Key West is a great place to go on vacation, or better yet, retire. Certainly your Topretirements editor enjoys the latter. One of its attractions is its multiple heritages coming from being an island far from the mainland. It was only accessible by boat until 1912, when the Overseas Railroad from Miami was completed (the Overseas Highway opened all the way in 1938). Closer to Cuba than Miami, the island has also had close ties with and many residents from that island nation.

That brings us to a new book that provides an interesting armchair tour of the Key West vibe, along with a good yarn that ties in to the Cuban heritage. Lucy’s Burdette’s newest novel, Death on the Menu, the 8th in her Key West Food Critic mystery series, has just been published by Crooked Lane Books. In it Hayley Snow is thrilled to be working at a three-day international conference at the Harry S. Truman Little White House (one of Key West’s (more…)

Posted by Admin on August 29th, 2018

Surprises Galore: Best Places to Retire in the West for 2018

Category: Best Retirement Towns and States

August 28, 2018 – When it comes to the best places to retire the American West, a huge area comprising 9 states, has a lot to offer. From coastal California to the Pacific Northwest to the gorgeous mountain states, there is something for everybody. This installment of our “Best Places to Retire 2018” provides the top 20 most popular retirement towns in the U.S. West. Here is a link to the first, “The Top 20 Places to Retire in the Southwest“.

What States are in the West?
The National Geographic Society includes nine states in the American West, a huge territory. Those are 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. It includes contains portions of the Rockies and other big mountain ranges like the Tetons. 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

Surprises ahead
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, St. George, Utah edged out many more well known towns and cities. Obviously the word is out that the retirement there in the southwestern corner of Utah has many advantages. Viewed over 3,500 visitors viewed our review (more…)

Posted by Admin on August 27th, 2018

Is the 4% Spending Rule Still Relevant Today?

Category: Financial and taxes in retirement

Aug. 21 2018 — Fortunate retirees, those with a good amount of retirement savings, agonize over a perplexing problem: how much can you safely take out of your retirement funds? Spend those hard earned savings too fast and, if you live too long, live in poverty. Hold on too tightly, and you will go on to your greater reward with a big pile of unspent money in the bank. Your heirs will be able to fly first class, even if you didn’t!

The traditional rule of thumb for spending is the 4% rule. Originally popularized by Bill Bengen in 1994, the idea was pretty simple – you have pretty good odds of spending of not running out of money if you take out 4% of your savings every year of retirement. The theory (more…)

Posted by Admin on August 20th, 2018

LGBT Discrimination Charged in St. Louis CCRC

Category: Active adult communities

August 20, 2018 — It wasn’t like Mary Walsh and Beverly Nance hadn’t done their homework. They had visited Friendship Village Sunset Hills, a Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) in St. Louis, MO many times. They had dinner with friends who lived there. They especially liked the continuum of care offered by a CCRC, and the ability to age in place no matter what the future might bring. The people they met seemed friendly and they both felt comfortable; this was the ideal place for their retirement. Soon they had negotiated a deal on a $235,000 two bedroom apartment, and put down a small deposit.

Then the trouble started. Management of this faith-based, non-denominational (more…)

Posted by Admin on August 19th, 2018