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.
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.
July 20, 2019 — Here is one thing in this increasingly divided nation that we can agree upon — we all hate Robocalls! These annoying and persistent calls often come right around dinner time from numbers and names that look familiar. If you answer, it is about a scam trying to part you and your hard-earned money and security. Even when enrolled in DO NOT CALL registries, the problem is so bad that many people have stopped answering their phone unless they are sure who is calling. The problem is also spreading to text messages.
For this article we have done some research to find out the best ideas for how to minimize the problem. Here we go:
July 17, 2019 — Those of you who have been members for a few years might remember our two-part retirement exploration of Michigan’s eastern coast in 2017. Today we are happy to follow up with a report on our recent visit to the Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.
The Upper Peninsula lies between Lake Michigan on the south and Lake Superior on the north. People have described it as looking like a fist with the thumb sticking out in the northwest portion. The area is sparsely populated and has a rugged climate. We visited two towns east of Marquette. Both would be interesting places to retire, although for most people only as a summertime residence.
July 15, 2019 — Hiring a good financial advisor is a difficult job for most people. Although there is no shortage of solicitations that appear in the newspaper, come in the mail, or through a phone call – how do you know if the person who tells you they are so gifted is really that great? Someone who will look out for your interests, not cheat you, protect your hard earned savings, and actually make your savings grow. After all, your money represents your financial security, which makes making this decision so important and so difficult.
A while back we profiled a number of tips for hiring a good financial advisor (see Further Reading at end). This feature will build on that and provide some tips for how to evaluate the person you hired, or the one(s) you might be considering for the job.
Seven things to look for
Trust your instincts. Your intuitions and first impressions are always important. If you feel like you are being swept along into a decision and little voices tell you something might not be right – stop and listen. Further exploration might clear them up, but never dismiss your reservations.
July 8, 2019 — If you are looking for a place to retire where it is tranquil and beautiful with a cool temperature, you might want to consider Scotland. Topretirements just got back from an enchanting exploration of the country, which definitely lives up to the beauty you have seen if you are a fan of Outlander, Monty Python, the Davinci Code, or Game of Thrones , all of which had important scenes filmed here. A country that is part of Great Britain, Scotland is bigger than you might think, about the size of South Carolina, with 130 inhabited islands. It has a tremendous range of regions where you might want to retire. And even that holds no interest for you, Scotland still makes a wonderful retirement trip!
There are livable cities like historic Edinburgh or Glasgow. Charming market towns like Peebles or Moffat. University towns like St. Andrews. Or you could choose to live in a town like Portree on the stunning Isle of Skye. The areas around the many lochs (lakes) provide idyllic living choices. One of our friends would like to retire in Scotland because he likes its relaxed atmosphere and cool climate. It is also rainy much of the year, which is one reason why everything seems so green and there are flowers – both wild and cultivated – everywhere. But as beautiful and charming a place as Scotland is, there is one great problem – it is very difficult, but not impossible for an American to retire here. But more about that later.
July 5, 2019 — What you drive says a lot about you. And if you live in a big retirement community where the preferred way of getting around is by golf cart, why not drive something that reflects your personality?
That is what is happening in places like The Villages,where many of its 120,000 residents are getting around in golf cars that look like Corvettes, Hummers, and even 18 wheelers. It has spawned a cottage industry that customizes them into all kinds of fantasies. While an ordinary golf cart might sell for $11,000, a specially tricked out version can go for $20,000 or more, some retired couples have two of them in their carports.
June 24, 2019 — Women tend to do more of the worrying than men, at least in the circles we travel in. And for us men, that is usually a good thing for our preservation. When it comes to women’s big fears about retirement, the research primarily focuses on money concerns, but there is no shortage of other worries. We’ll cover the common concerns that we are aware of, but we are eager to hear what yours are in the Comments section at the end.
Top Worries – Money
A study published by the nonprofit Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies reported that 46% of women were concerned they wouldn’t have a comfortable retirement lifestyle. By comparison, only 31% of men had similar concerns.