September 8, 2019 — As promised, our series on Medicare continues with an analysis of the competing forms of Medicare: Original Medicare + Medigap insurance vs. Medicare Advantage (Part C). This seems like a particularly good time for it, since the Medicare Open Enrollment Period begins on Oct. 15. We are grateful to Tom Cretella, CLU, an insurance broker with almost 50 years of experience and know-how in this field, for answering these frequently-asked questions. You can find the other articles in this series listed at the end. As always, we welcome your comments and questions on this complex and important topic.
Q. What is the significance of the Open Enrollment Period (AEP) which begins Oct. 15 and runs through Dec. 7?
A. The Annual Open Enrollment Period happens each year from Oct 15- Dec 7. During this time people can change coverages without fear of pre-existing conditions not being covered. If they have a Medigap plan and original Medicare they can change plans or elect a Medicare Advantage plan. This enables a Medicare beneficiary to buy a plan that suits their utilization habits and pocketbook. All changes become effective on January 1. On Sept 30 each plan is required to send a Notice of Change to Medicare Beneficiaries outlining any changes for the following year. More Blog articles like this…
September 4, 2019 — A constant question that comes up about retirement, and one that produces hundreds of comments, is “Is it a good idea to retire near my family”? Whether family means parents, children, grandchildren, or siblings – the question has many complex and potentially conflicting elements. In this article we will go over some of the pros and cons, as well as a short checklist to help you determine if retiring near family should be in your future. We also look forward to your comments on this topic about your preferences and experiences.
Pros of Retiring Near Family – Ability to help new parents as they juggle careers and child-rearing – The chance to see your family members often – Be part of the lives of your grandchildren as they grow up – Support for your parents or siblings as they age or need help – Support for adult children who need it – Support and companionship for you as you age – Built in social network MORE Blog articles like this
September 3, 2019 — Lately we have had a mini-avalanche of comments and questions about Medicare. They are mostly to do with which is the best plan to choose – Regular Medicare, or one of the many choices under Medicare Advantage? With plans ranging from A – N, it can all be downright confusing. So, to help you prepare for the upcoming Medicare Open Enrollment period (starts October 15 and runs through December 7), we are fortunate to have a Q and A article with a real Medicare insurance expert (now available). Tom Cretella of Cretella and Belowsky will try to answer many of the questions we have seen come up on this issue. Stay tuned, it should be very helpful! (Also, see list of related articles in our Medicare series at end)
New Medicare Comparison Plan Tool Announced by Medicare.gov.
August 27, 2019 — Seven seems to be the magic number when it comes to sacraments, dwarfs, and deadly sins. In this article we will pose our seven retirement sins – the worst mistakes you can make in retirement – the kind of error that can ruin even the most carefully thought out retirement. We hope you will add your own ideas for sins – based on your own experience.
Retire too early. Sure, many people have it in their head to retire as soon as they can. For many it is a good move, for others it is a disaster. By working longer you can save more money, have to finance fewer years with your savings, and increase your Social Security benefits. Even if you do have enough money to retire you might still not be happy. Which leads us to the next point. SEE MORE BLOG POSTS
August 21, 2019 – New research from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston suggests that the magical goal of 10,000 steps a day might not be the right number. The research, conducted among women aged 62 to 101, found that the quartile that averaged 4,400 steps a day had a 41% increase in longevity compared to the lowest quartile, which averaged only 2,700 steps. There were modest longevity gains in the third quartile (average of 7,500 steps), but no noticeable improvement in the 4th quartile (more than 7,500).
The magic number of 10,000 steps appears to have little if any scientific basis. It appears to have been started by a Japanese company that manufactured a pedometer, whose Japanese name meant 10,000 steps meter in English. One thing that 10,000 steps would do for you is to get you closer to an average of 30 minutes of exercise per day, although it is not clear that would result in an improvement over a more modest amount.
August 21, 2019 — There seems to be a never ending supply of articles touting the best and worst states to retire in. People obviously enjoy reading them. The trouble is that many of the websites publishing them have no expertise in retirement, and a result the lists they come up often have no connection to where people actually want to retire.
A good example is the recent list from Bankrate.com, which must have been overjoyed to see their picks reprinted in the New York Times and many other big media outlets. For the record, Bankrate.com is a website that promotes credit cards and loans, very similar to what wallethub.com does (but which generally produces more credible lists). Other frequent list generators are GOBankingRates.com and Smartasset.com, the latter of which is a site promoting financial advisors. Search on Google for “best places to retire” and sites like these will have prominent rankings, because it is good for their financial businesses. See the top listing in this screen capture, Homesnacks.net – anyone see their connection to retirement? (see more list companies at end)
Here is the list of Best States to retire from Bankrate.com:
August 14, 2019 — Some of the questions about Social Security that come up most frequently concern claiming benefits. People are confused or unsure about when they can claim, how much they will receive, spousal benefits (including those for divorced people), special filing strategies, etc. This article will go over some of those questions and, hopefully, provide helpful answers.
When can I claim Social Security retirement benefits? Most people have a pretty good idea of the answer to this question – the earliest you can claim is age 62. The longer you wait to claim, the higher your benefit, up until age 70.
What is my “Full Retirement Age” (FRA)? This is the age when you fully qualify for your Social Security benefits. For people born between 1943 and 1954 the FRA is age 66. For those born in 1955 or after, it increases two month per year until it reaches age 67 for those born in 1960 or later. Note that “Full” is not a totally logical term, since if you delay collecting your benefits past your FRA you will get higher than “full” benefits anytime up to age 70.
August 6, 2019 — Perhaps the most fundamental question you face in retirement is to move or not. You might be considering retiring from the midwest, for example, to the Sunbelt. Or from the suburbs to a city or active adult community. You decision might not mean moving far; perhaps just relocating to a more age-appropriate home in the area where you live now. Whatever you decide, we think that if you are going to do a good job of retiring, you need to answer the question.
As for where to retire, that is mostly what this site is about. We’ve written all kinds of articles about the possibilities, with reviews of thousands of towns and communities to explore. So in this one we are going to try to answer some of the questions that might come up as you think about whether you should move or not. (Thanks to Jeanette Pavini of TheStreet.com for posing these questions we answered in an article at TheStreet.com)
Q: How should someone determine if they should stay in their current home/location to retire, or if they should consider moving?/
A: As we said up top, this is a hugely important question for retirees. The type of home you live in and where it is located can have a profound impact on your retirement lifestyle. Most people are comfortable living where they have always lived, so it is a big deal to consider moving. There is hassle, expense, and the fear and uncertainty of moving to the unknown. Your social life will be majorly affected.
July 31, 2019 — Nearly one-quarter (23%) of Americans say they never plan to retire, according to a poll from the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. This suggests a disconnection between individuals’ retirement plans and the realities of aging in the workforce, since government data shows that roughly 1 in 5 (20%) Americans over 65 are either working or looking for a job.
The disconnect between saying they will continue to work and actually retiring often comes from outside forces. Illness, injury, layoffs and caregiving responsibilities often force older workers to leave their jobs sooner than they’d like. And that causes an unanticipated problem – they are out of the workforce before their retirement savings are up to the job.
The Retirement Confidence Survey makes the same point. The RCS identifies a lack of alignment between workers’ expectations about their age of retirement and prospects for working in retirement, compared with retiree experiences. Workers continue to report an expected median retirement age of 65, while retirees report they retired at a median age of 62. The survey has consistently found that 43 percent of retirees leave the workforce earlier than planned, with 35 percent citing illness or disability as the reason and 35 percent retiring due to changes at their company. In keeping with their income expectations, 80 percent of workers expect to work for pay in retirement, while only 28 percent of retirees report that they have actually done this.
July 29, 2019 — There is a small but significant number of Americans who will retire outside the U.S. If you think you might be one of those people, Topretirements suggests you put Costa Rica on your list of possible countries. Located in Central America, it has many advantages and relatively few drawbacks. In this article we will explore retirement in Costa Rica, and why we think it just might be your best place to retire. This is Part 2 in a series, the first was “Costa Rica: Bucket List for Thrills and EcoTourism“.
About 413,000 American expats currently receive Social Security benefits outside of the U.S. The most frequent countries where they live are Canada, Japan, and Mexico. One estimate is that about 50,000 Americans (of all ages) currently live in Costa Rica. Proximity to the U.S. and family ties, often related to prior military service in those countries, are two reasons why some countries have so many retired expats. Americans also retire to a different country for economic reasons, trying to stretch their Social Security benefits and savings. Some move for a better climate or a different lifestyle. A Costa Rica retirement can certainly deliver on cost of living, climate, and lifestyle.
Costa Rica. The country is bordered by Nicaragua to the north, Panama to the southeast, the Pacific Ocean to the west, and the Caribbean Sea to the east. The weather is very good year round, although there is a rainy season. The beaches are fabulous and the interior is mountainous.