January 26, 2022 — A while back one of our Members asked if we could come up with a list of more unusual places to retire. As he reminded us, not everyone is looking to retire in a place that is famous, or where there are warm winters and gentle beaches. Many folks, like the couple we met this summer in Maine, relish the prospect of a morning snowshoe hike, chopping wood, or taking off in the ATV. Here is a list of unusual, and interesting places that might make them happy. Almost all are in colder climes, starting with the first one! We suspect you won’t have heard of most of these off the beaten path choices before.
Homer, Alaska. Up here on the Kenai Peninsula life is pretty great, especially if you don’t mind cold winters. There is sensational fishing and boating from one of the most beautiful spots anywhere. The Spit, a 4.5 mile glacial moraine that juts into Kachemak Bay, is Homer’s seasonal center. It is crowded with docks, restaurants, stores, and charter outfits for fishing and adventuring.
January 22, 2022 — Each year many of us make new year’s resolutions that we have every intention of keeping, at least for a couple of weeks. Many of those resolutions may involve health, fitness, learning, and keeping up with the technology that surrounds us. Fortunately, there are many communities that specialize in wellness and learning, and makes it a lot easier to stay on track with those resolutions all year long. Some of these unique communities listed below are for all ages and some are for those 55+, but they are all interesting and feature a fun and inspiring lifestyle.
Encanterra is an Arizona community that offers traditional amenities like golf, fine dining, and social spaces. But what makes the community unique is the hundreds of special interest clubs, travel, and exploration opportunities it provides. A good example is the technology program through which residents can take culinary classes, listen to guest speakers, educators and authors. Encanterra is made up of several neighborhoods including one for those 55+.
If you are looking for a rental community that also offers all the amenities you can want, along with a host entertainment and educational choices, then Balfour Senior Living in Louisville, Colorado, may be for you. The month-to-month rental community offers apartment homes, concierge services, chef-prepared meals, and over 200 life-enriching opportunities each month, including a University Professor Series on various topics. As a continuing care community, assisted living, memory care and skilled nursing are also offered here, if ever needed.
If learning something new is on your to do list this year, Lasell Village may interest you. Here, learning is not just an option, but it is a requirement. Located in Newton, Massachusetts, just outside of Boston, this college-affiliated community (Lasell University) is a continuing care retirement community (CCRC) , where residents establish an annual 450-hour learning plan as a condition of residency. You can easily obtain your goal of learning something new or continue to develop your passions through classes, fitness activities, volunteering, and attending lectures and cultural events. Topretirements has a number of other university affiliated communities that also feature learning and culture as a centerpiece of the community.
Pilgrim Place. At Pilgrim Place, opportunities for personal enrichment and fulfillment are readily available through a myriad of activities aimed at keeping the mind, body, and soul engaged and strong. Residents’ active role in planning and participating in activities on campus and volunteer involvement in organizations, churches and causes in the greater community is a hallmark of Pilgrim Place. Active, spiritual fulfilling community reflective community, and who have dedicated their lives (locally and globally) as advocates for social change.
Capstone Village. Capstone Village, located on the campus of the University of Alabama, is a retirement community that promotes independence and lifelong learning and offers both apartments and garden homes. The special relationship between the University and Capstone Village allows for a lifestyle filled with advantages that include auditing classes, use of the campus libraries, and complimentary tickets to various events.
The Village of Bedford Walk This 55+ community for independent living is located in Columbia, Missouri, and offers a full time concierge, fitness classes, book clubs, a theater, volunteer opportunities, weekly events and classes. The community has a close relationship with the University of Missouri, and residents are encouraged to take part in the University’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute where they can take classes on a variety of engaging topics.
Mirabella at ASU The learning never has to stop at this brand new 55+ high-rise community located right on the campus of Arizona State University. Residents are welcome to attend a variety of lectures and workshops, or join classrooms as either guest learners or visiting instructors. They are also welcome to utilize the library and can showcase their art and creative designs alongside student artist exhibits. As a Life Plan Community, Mirabella at ASU offers on-site healthcare services along with assisted living and specialized nursing care.
NOHO Senior Artists Community Located in the vibrant NOHO Arts District, this community for active adults 62+, runs on energy, creativity and passion. The pet-friendly community features a visual arts studio and performing arts theater, along with an artist lounge and literary studio, a heated swimming pool and a fitness studio. The community offers 1 and 2-bedroom rental apartments where residents also enjoy wellness and social programs.
ElderSpirit A co-housing community that consists of 29 homes, a common house and a Spirit Center. The 55+ community located in Abingdon, Virginia, is the first mixed-income, mixed ownership Elder Co-Housing Community in the United States. It offers mutual support and spirituality with members sharing and developing their gifts and talents through music, dance, theater, gardening, and crafts.
Academy Village Located in Tucson, Arizona, this 55+ planned community helps residents to pursue an active lifestyle, engage in lifelong learning, and age in place. The community center offers activities and events along with fitness rooms, art classes and social opportunities. The Arizona Senior Academy, which is affiliated with the University of Arizona, provides intellectual and cultural enrichment with concerts, lectures and activities. Every Academy Village resident 60+ is a member of the Senior Academy with easy access to life-long learning.
The Palace at Coral Gables Situated in the heart of Coral Gables, Florida, The Palace at Coral Gables is an award-winning, 9-story high-rise featuring luxury apartments for senior living. Along with many amenities included in the Residential Package, The Palace also hosts daily exercise classes, nightly entertainment, lectures, book reviews, special interest clubs, computer and foreign language classes, and many on-site education courses available through the University of Miami’s Osher Learning Institute.
Bottom Line: These are just a few of the many interesting communities that offer something special and sets them apart from the others. If you know of a community that focuses on learning or is unique in a different way, please add to our list in the Comments section below.
January 19, 2022 — Bob Wells’ story seems like the perfect companion piece to our recent article on non-career jobs filling the vacuum for people in their early 60s. This baby boomer used to work at a Safeway, then fell on hard times. Living in his van, he discovered that he loved the nomad life – its freedom and simplicity appealed to him. So then he started a blog and website to write about his lifestyle. While satisfying, it was not renumerative. That’s when he decided to switch to videos, starting the CheapRVliving channel on YouTube, where he promotes the “nomadic tribalism” way of life.
January 16, 2022 — A significant number of workers underestimate their financial needs in retirement, and that includes calculating how much they will receive from Social Security. As a result they often retire too early and start taking their Social Security before they maximize their benefit. The end result is that they face an income shortfall in their retirement years. A new study from the Boston College Center for Retirement Research has concluded that taking a non-traditional job late in one’s career can help retirees avoid a serious shortfall in replacement income, and thus have a more comfortable retirement. Replacement income is defined as the ratio of a worker’s retirement income to pre-retirement income.
January 12, 2022 — Every year we have fun coming up with a list of the very “Best Places to Retire“. This list is meant to highlight retirement towns that represent exceptionally great places to retire, as measured by Member and visitor interest at Topretirements. As wonderful as these towns might be, the one where you can be happy in retirement is your best place!
To develop our 2022 list we consulted our visitor logs to find out the 20 retirement towns in the U.S. whose reviews were visited the most at Topretirements. Many of the winners were predictable, they get named to the top 10 or 20 every year, but there were several other big surprises. The hope is the list will spark some ideas for you to consider in the quest for your best place to retire. Home prices in many of these towns are above the national median, reflecting their desirability, but a surprising number offer relative bargains. Although 11 states had towns in the top 20, Arizona, Florida, and Tennessee tied for the most cities on the list with 3 each. Congratulations to all these cities and towns!
20 Best of the Best Places to Retire
Popularity on this site, as measured by online visits by our Members, was the most important criteria. On that basis, here are the most captivating places to retire in all of the U.S.
January 5, 2022 — With inflation going up and just about everything getting more expensive, retirement is getting even more difficult than ever. So the beginning of the year seems like a great time to come up with some ideas to help everyone spread their income a little further, possibly even increasing it, and not forgetting to have fun and enjoy life.
Some of the best ideas we have ever seen have come from Topretirements Members. Two previous articles (see Further Reading at end) generated over 200 Comments with many great suggestions. So in this article we provide some broad based tips, then encourage you to go over the Comments already made and mine them for things that could help improve your budget outlook.
Nextavenue.org recently profiled a couple, Joan and Steve Reid, who retired and moved from the affluent New York City suburb of Pearl River, N.Y., to Vero Beach on Florida’s East Coast. They had a very limited budget, $30,000, most of which was from Social Security and some small pensions. By attending to the basics the couple was able live surprisingly well in a great Florida town. We love their attitude, shown best by a quote from Joan: “We are not rich except in friendships, our art, our families and our souls” .
January 4, 2020 — When people hear about Home Owners Associations (HOA) there is generally one of two reactions. Either they loathe them, citing high costs and restrictive rules, or they tolerate them as a necessary evil. They have no super fans. Also called Community Associations, HOAs govern critical aspects of life in condominiums and active adult communities. It is essential that retirees know something about their HOA before they move in. As Joe West, CEO of the Community Associations Network, told Topretirements many years ago, the most important thing to consider when buying into a community is: “Don’t fall in love with the house before you check out the association”.
In any 55+, active adult, or condominium development that has shared facilities the Community Association is the top dog. It establishes the rules, enforces compliance, manages the assets, and insures the financial and legal well-being of their communities. Even in the most successful community plenty can go wrong. When serious problems happen, as did in last year’s condo collapse in Surfside, Florida, the consequences can even become tragic.
December 29, 2021 — This year has been mighty interesting. As 2021 winds down and we look with hope for a happier, less chaotic 2022, it is always enlightening to peer backwards. Which topics and articles resonated the most with our Members, and which ones were duds – knowing that can help us serve you better next year.
In this article, we will identify out the most popular of the 100 blogs we published last year, measured by which ones were read the most times. Some were predictable (retirement on a lake), and others we didn’t see coming, like our mini-retirement guide to Scotland, which had more page views that any other country or state guide! Our review includes other categories of viewer interest at Topretirements – the most popular cities, states, and active communities. There were several big surprises there too. Here goes:
Most Popular Blogs in 2021- no matter when written
The most popular blogs on Topretirements during 2021 were actually written in previous years. Readers keep coming back to check them out, usually because they discovered them on a Google search (retiring on a lake must be a very common dream). All have been updated to keep them current. Here are the 3 blogs that were read the most times during 2021:
December 24, 2021 — The clock is running out for people who must take their yearly Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs) from their 401(k) or IRA plans. An RMD is the minimum amount you must withdraw from your account each year after you reach a certain age. December 31 is the deadline.
You generally have to start taking withdrawals from your IRA, SEP IRA, SIMPLE IRA, or retirement plan account when you reach age 72 (70 ½ if you reach 70 ½ before January 1, 2020). The deadline is April 1 of the year following the calendar year in which you reach age 72, if you were born after Jun 30, 1949. Thereafter the deadline is Dec. 31.
Calculating your RMD
There are various IRS tables that tell you how much your RMD has to be (you can take out more if you want). The amount you take out is taxable in full. As an example, if you are 72 years of age the factor is 25.6. You divide your IRA/401(k) balance by the distribution period in the IRS Uniform Lifetime table to determine the RMD. So if your balance was $1 million, dividing by 25.6 would yield an RMD of $39,062.50. Each year as you age the factor increases, until at age 115 or older it is 1.9. The Uniform Lifetime table distribution periods are being revised to reflect current life expectancies, with new figures expected in 2022. Roth IRAs do not require withdrawals until after the death of the owner.
There is a far easier way to know your RMD, however. Your mutual fund company or broker will normally tell you how much you need to take out each year, as well as send out reminders to do so. If your IRAs are with more than one company it is up to you to make sure your total RMD reflects balances in all of your accounts. As a reminder, if you send money directly to a qualified charity that amount does not count as income (but you cannot deduct it).
If you haven’t taken yours yet – hurry!
The penalties for not taking RMDs are serious – 50% of the required distribution. It can take time to set up a withdrawal, so get on it today!
December 23, 2021 — More people retired in 2021 than in previous years, probably because Covid pushed them into early retirement. Some 50% of people over age 55 were retired this year, up by 2 percentage points. All things being equal, that should have meant a spike in the number of people who moved for retirement, but that didn’t happen. Quite to the contrary, the number of retirees who moved in 2021 dropped to 226,000—roughly 43% fewer than in the year previous. It’s also the lowest number of American retirees in the last five years!
These and many other interesting stats are courtesy of a “2021 Study: Where Americans Moved to Retire in 2021” commissioned by Hire a Helper using US Census Data.