July 30, 2012 — We are pleased to announce a helpful new feature at Topretirements – active and 55+ community listings will now have a photo in addition to the description, basic facts, type of community, website/phone number, and list of amenities. We added the photo to try to make these mini-reviews more helpful and interesting. Obviously not many communities have the photos yet, but we will add them over time and as new communities are added. If you have any photos to share, please forward them to us. You can see some of the communities with photos on our Florida Directory of Active Communities (look for the smaller photos below our Showcase and Top Listings).
Recently a member lamented that we do not have (more…)
July 24, 2012 — Recent studies from the Employee Benefit Research Institute and the Boston College Center for Retirement Research paint a pessimistic picture of retirement. Teresa Ghilarducci, a professor of economics at the New School for Social Research, cites much of their data in describing the American approach to retirement as ridiculous. She goes on in a recent New York Times Op-Ed piece, “Our Ridiculous Approach to Retirement“, to posit that new retirement accounts should be mandated, on top of Social Security, in order to prevent (more…)
July 24, 2012 — Who wouldn’t be interested in finding a terrific place to retire where there is plenty to do, the climate is better than average, and most importantly – the cost of living is well below average. The list below highlights 20 interesting places to retire with a range of lifestyles – from living in the city… to small towns… to resort type locations on large lakes. The most interesting feature is that for all 20, the median price of a home was $125,000 or less in early 2012, significantly below the U.S. median. Note that prices have gone up since this article was written, sometimes a lot, but these towns still remain relative bargains.
How we developed the list
Affordability was the most important criterion on this list. So we picked places where home prices were at least 20% below the U.S. median of $158,100 (1st Quarter of 2012, National Association of Realtors). Secondarily, we limited (more…)
July 17, 2012 — To the many for whom Florida is one big stereotype, the prettiest town in Florida might seem like an oxymoron. Perhaps more than any other state, Florida has its fair share of people with a low opinion of it. To its detractors, it is a place full of big bugs, dangerous snakes, high humidity, old people, flat terrain, and suburban sprawl. Not to say that all of those can’t be found in great abundance in the Sunshine State. But as this article about Mount Dora hopes to point out, it isn’t all the same.
Rolling into town
It didn’t hurt that we rolled into Mount Dora, Florida last winter very early on a Sunday morning. The sun was shining as we hit the central square and charming shopping district. Bicyclists in their multi-colored outfits were streaming by in small packs. Pet owners were taking their pooches (more…)
July 14, 2012 — The results are in from this week’s survey of Topretirements visitors and members, and they are surprising in many respects. As you will see from some of the comments made to this post, it appears that Topretirements members and readers are not your typical person when it comes to retirement. The consensus seems to be that you are better prepared, more of a planner, and more willing to pick up stakes and move. In an interesting coincidence, Pulte, a major developer of active adult communities (as well as Topretirements advertiser) released the latest of its ongoing survey of 55+ baby boomers who are still working last week. We will provide their results for contrast where applicable.
Q 1. What age will you retire?
A: Early! Just over 2/3 or our 467 respondents said they either (more…)
July 9, 2012 — We are dying of curiosity to find out more about what you, our members, are planning for your retirement. And we think you are interested in comparing notes with others too. So we’ve created a very short, 5 question survey with multiple choice answers. If we get a good response, we’ll report on the results next week. And if it looks promising, followup with other questions on topics such as what’s on your bucket list (and do you have one), top 3 things you are looking for in a retirement community, your worst retirement planning mistake, etc.
Here is the link to to the poll. Responses are capped at 200 – so vote early to get your opinion heard!
July 9, 2012 — Your editor started work on Topretirements,com 6 years ago this month. Since the site went live in late 2006 we have written hundreds of articles and created over 2500 reviews of potential cities and communities. You would think we would have learned a few things about retirement during that time, and in fact we think we have. This article, which seems to focus mostly on retirement mistakes, will provide a brief rundown of some of the major lessons we have learned during the incredibly fun and rewarding time it has been our pleasure to serve as your unpaid and, hopefully, helpful retirement advisor. Each surprising lesson also comes with a corresponding piece of advice to deal with it.
What I’ve learned: 1. Most people are seriously unprepared for retirement
Folks like you who visit and contribute to Topretirements are the exception – most people (more…)