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Everything you need to live life to its fullest is now in Peachtree City. With Kolter Homes’ award-winning active adult community, Cressw...

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Retirement Planning 101 – An Online Course: List of Modules

Category: Retirement 101 Course

February 28, 2019 — We thought it would be a good idea to have a central page where all of the various Modules in our Retirement Planning 101 Course would be listed. So here is that list. As new modules are produced we will include them here. When we produced Module 1 (Introduction) you generated a raft of suggestions for the course. Here is a “Summary of Course Suggestions“.

The course is free and can be taken in almost any order (after Module 1). There are many interactive features and homework assignments. Module 4, for example, is an online quiz that will give you a score on your retirement preparation.

The Modules

Comments, anyone: We would love to hear your comments and suggestions on the course, including what should (and perhaps should not) be included in the course. See also the “Many comments Made So Far” in this article .

Posted by Admin on February 27th, 2019

What Homebuyers Want in 2019

Category: Green Retirement Communities

LAS VEGAS, Feb. 20 – Laundry rooms and energy-saving features such as Energy Star appliances, windows and whole house certification are among the most wanted home features, according to survey results from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). NAHB surveyed nearly 4,000 home buyers–those who have either recently purchased a home or plan to purchase a home within the next three years–ranking 175 features based on how essential they are to a home purchasing decision. The survey was done among home buyers of all ages, so the results might differ somewhat from retiring baby boomers. You might want to keep these in mind whether you are looking for a new home or planning on improving your existing one.

The top 10 features also included home-storage needs, such as garage storage and walk-in pantries, as well as hardwood flooring, a patio and exterior lighting. 

Housing trends across the board include a continued decline in the average home size and decreased demand for upscale features such as three-plus-car garages. In 2018, according to information from the U.S. Census Bureau, the average home started declined to 2,576 square feet–down from its peak at 2,689 square feet in 2015–driven in part by increased production in townhouses, which comprised 14 percent of new home starts. Over in the UK, we’ve been following housing prices fluctuate by using this free tool from TheAdvisory called PropCast.

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Posted by Admin on February 22nd, 2019

2012 Northeast and Midwest Come up Losers: Worst States for Retirement

Category: Best Retirement Towns and States

Notes: This is a reprint of an article from 2012, which appears to have disappeared from our site. Over the years we have produced many of these “Worst States for Retirement Lists”. Connecticut has been the “winner”, so has Illinois. Hope your state is not next! In Feb. 2018 we updated this article – see”Worst States for Retirement – 2018“.

January 10, 2012 — There are plenty of best places to retire lists.  But how about the places where it’s not such a good idea to retire? Last year our “Worst 10 States for Retirement” article caused quite a sensation, so we are back at it again for 2012. The purpose is to try to help baby boomers understand where, all other things being equal, they can enjoy their hard-earned retirement without taking on more problems.  To make sure you don’t miss updates to this and other lists like it, sign up for our Free weekly “Best Places to Retire” newsletter.

Your retirement is unique

Every individual has to consider his or her own criteria for identifying the worst or best states to retire. One of the most important factors for anyone is proximity to family and friends. So, if you want to be near your grandchildren the worst state on our list could be the best state on your list. Likewise, you might not share the same considerations we used to develop this list. Tax issues might be most important for you, or you might not care about spending winters in a warm state.  Our 2012 list is based on 5 considerations that we think will be <!–more–>important to most people, but freely admit that these factors could be totally irrelevant to many other folks.

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Posted by Admin on February 20th, 2019

Our Worst States to Retire List – The 2010 List

Category: Best Retirement Towns and States

Note: This is a reprint of the 2010 version of our “Worst States for Retirement”, which disappeared from our site. Over the years the “winners” for Worst State have gone back and forth. Illinois won the dubious distinction in 2010, then Connecticut and Illinois took top honors. Our methodology has changed over the years in an effort to be fairer and more objective. Don’t miss the 2018 version of this list, “Worse States for Retirement: New Tax Law Takes it Toll“. Note: Some tax and other info from the 2010 article may have changed.

December 7, 2010 — The 50 U.S. states are in a beauty contest. Whether they know it or not, they are being judged by a tough jury of 76 million or so baby boomers looking for the best place to retire. These baby boomers are hard to please, they are used to moving to new places, and are not going to settle for second or third best when it comes to enjoying their retirement years. This article provides our list of the 10 (or so) worst states for retirement, 2010 edition. Note: We are honored to report that this report was quoted extensively in Robert Powell’s “10 Worst States for Retirement” at WSJ-Marketwatch, the Huffington Post, and AARP. To get regular updates on articles like this sign up for our free weekly “Best Places to Retire” newsletter.

Everybody’s situation is different
Every individual has to consider his or her own criteria for selecting a list of the worst or best states to retire. Lists from USAA.com and Military.com is a perfect example of a list that makes sense for a specific set of retiree needs. Their lists were carefully tailored to U.S. military retirees who typically have a nice pension that they don’t want taxed at the state level, and who need to be close to a base for shopping and healthcare. 

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Posted by Admin on February 20th, 2019

Retirement Preparation Quiz Results

Category: Retirement 101 Course

February 20, 2019 — By now you have hopefully taken our online “Retirement Preparation Quiz” and seen your score. If you haven’t, you can take it here. Please realize that the original passing score (70%) was chosen subjectively – your opinion of the state of your retirement preparation is undoubtedly better than ours. We hope that by presenting the questions and reasons for the correct answers you can increase your understanding of retirement preparation. Note that for most of the questions we have provided a link to an article on that topic so you can explore it in greater detail.

Notes about the results

Almost 1100 people had taken the quiz as of Feb. 26. The average score for everyone taking the test was about 69%. That prompted us to lower the “passing” grade to 60% (from 70%), since many of the factual questions were difficult. In addition, for some of the questions that had more than 2 choices (e.g.; yes, no, somewhat) more than one answer might be considered acceptable. We have posted the percentage (%) of people who got each question right next the correct answers.

The questions that were most often missed were #3 and #8. Number 3 asked which of three investments had the best guarantee of income. Only 39% selected the “correct” answer, annuity, probably because people didn’t realize the key word was “income”, and assumed we meant “return”. Number 8, age of breakeven for delaying SS until age 70, was answered correctly by only 34%. We can see why, because not all experts agree on the consensus answer of 81-82. All of the questions we asked about progress on preparation and/or discussion with spouse/family members had strong results, usually 80% or better. That is good news, indicating that there is a lot of planning and discussing going on. Somewhat distressing were the responses to questions 9 and 10 on wills and health care directives. Almost one third of quiz takers do not have one or the other of those, so it is time for them to get busy on those important tasks. Only about half (53%) have spent time thinking about “late” retirement. The questions with the highest % of correct answers were those that had to do with planning on what type of community or home they want to live in – 90% or more said they had.

Question 01 
What is the average life expectancy of a woman and a man aged 65 years?

90 and 86

87 (woman) and 84 (man) – Correct (64%)

80 and 77

Comment: If you manage to live to the age of 65 you still have a long way to go – on average! This is a good thing to know when you consider when to take Social Security and budget your retirement – outliving your money is not pleasant. (Note: We added the age of a woman to this question following a Member suggestion).

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Posted by Admin on February 19th, 2019

Retirement Quiz: Module 4

Category: Retirement 101 Course

Note: The 4th module in our Retirement 101 Online Retirement Preparation Course is a 20 Question Quiz

February 20, 2019 — One of the wisest pieces of advice we have ever heard is to “know what you don’t know”. The adage applies perfectly to the world of retirement, where good planning can lead to a solid understanding of the hazards and potential joys that lie behind the next door.  Plunging into retirement without a plan means you take the risk of making some very big mistakes, or missing opportunities that could have made you very happy.

This Module of our online Retirement Preparation course is a short quiz. Use the “Take the Quiz Now” link to answer the questions as honestly as you can. Note that they represent just a sample of the areas you need to plan for.  When you finish taking the quiz you will be given a score that reflects a rough estimate of the state of your retirement preparation.  You can use that to assess the areas you need to work on. 

Take the Quiz Now!

The answers explained. When you finish taking the quiz you will get a link to an article that explains what we think are the preferred answers. See Retirement Preparation Answers. No cheating!

Comments

Did we ask the right questions, and were there others we should have probed on? We would love to hear your suggestions and opinions, including a discussion of the answers. 

Further reading:

Link to Module 1 (and all the other Modules)

Are You Ready to Retire

How Ready for Retirement Are You (Part 1)

Retirement Readiness Quiz – Part 2 (Financial)

Posted by Admin on February 19th, 2019

Self Driving Cars Hit the Road in The Villages: Revolutionary Change for Retirees?

Category: Travel

February 17, 2019 — A potential solution to one of the biggest problems facing older retirees is on the road in The Villages, the world’s largest retirement community.  Voyage, an automated taxi service, is testing driverless cars within parts of that community’s road system. If successful, the project will help older residents enjoy the freedom and mobility that comes with a car – even if they are not behind the wheel of that vehicle.

To begin with a certain number of “pioneers’ are able to use these taxis at no charge.  The pioneers can call up a driverless car to go shopping, doctor’s appointments, recreation, visit friends – whatever they can reach within the neighborhoods involved in the test.  The cars have a backup “driver” and a top speed of 25 m.p.h.

Giving up driving

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Posted by Admin on February 17th, 2019

Dueling Carolinas: What Our Members Have to Say

Category: Best Retirement Towns and States

February 11, 2019 — Our “Dueling States” comparison articles remain all-time favorites at Topretirements.com (see complete list at end of article). Yet none is more popular than the one on “Dueling Carolinas“. At last count there were 631 Member comments going back several years, and right up to several made yesterday. In fact, although the main article laid out the facts about each state when it comes to real estate prices, taxes, climate, geography, and where to retire, the best information about what it is like to retire in either of the Carolinas is contained within all of those comments. This article will reprint two recent comments which were exceptionally interesting. We’ll also give you a tool on how to use these Comments to do customized Carolina research on topics that interest you. We look forward to even more comments too!

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Posted by Admin on February 10th, 2019

Finally: Somebody in Congress Wants to Fix Social Security

Category: Financial and taxes in retirement

February 10, 2019 — If you have been reading this Blog for awhile you know that fixing Social Security is one of our pet issues. In 2034, if nothing is done, the system will start to fail the millions of Americans who are counting on Social Security for their retirement. Yet prior to last week, no politician we know of had done anything to get the reform process going.

“The Social Security 2100 Act” was introduced into the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate in late January. Representative John B. Larson, a Democrat from Connecticut, is the sponsor, and he has 200 lawmakers supporting it. As written, the bill has several interesting features, most of which we approve. It would be the most significant reform of Social Security since 1983.

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Posted by Admin on February 9th, 2019

What Kind of Retirement Community Is Right for You? Module 3

Category: Active adult communities

Note: This is the third module in our Retirement Planning 101 online training course. See bottom for links to Module 1 and 2.

February 7, 2019 — If you are visiting this website the chances are you are thinking about living in some kind of retirement community. Even if you think you might end up staying where you live now, or just moving to a more age-appropriate home somewhere else, it is a worthwhile exercise to kick the tires in the retirement housing market. There are all kinds of communities suitable for retirement, so this Module, the 3rd in our Retirement Planning 101 Series, will help you understand the differences so that you can focus your search on the types that interest you.

Most communities serving the retirement market have some type of designation indicating they are for retirement age people. Sometimes the designation is senior living or retirement community, both of which we think are unfortunate labels, since they make us feel old. Many communities you might consider for retirement living do not have an age restriction, even though most of the people who live there might be at least 50 years of age.

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Posted by Admin on February 5th, 2019