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Bon Ayre is a 55+ active adult, manufactured home land lease community located in Smyrna, Delaware, a town which was recently ranked 31st...

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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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Few towns in the Southeast offer more gracious charm than Aiken, South Carolina.  Take a relaxing stroll through Aiken's tree-lined ...

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How Would Your Rate YOUR Retirement Happiness?

Category: Health and Wellness Issues

December 29, 2019 — What makes for a happy retirement… and what are the factors that drive the not so good ones? We would love to find out more about that dynamic. Plus, get a base level reading on just how happy the Topretirements Membership is. So please help us all out by taking a few minutes to complete this quick survey on Retirement Happiness. We promise a full report in the next few weeks, it should be very interesting.

Take the Happiness Survey

Posted by Admin on December 29th, 2019

3 Social Security Rules to Know and Live By

Category: Financial and taxes in retirement

BULLETIN: SOFTWARE GLITCH MIGHT HAVE UNSUBSCRIBED ALL SUBSCRIBERS!

We are sorry to burden you with this, but it appears the company that sends out our newsletter might have accidentally UNSUBSCRIBED ALL of our Best Places Newsletter subscribers! If you would like to continue getting our free newsletter, please go to this signup form and resubscribe. Thanks so much!

December 28 , 2019 — Social Security is the single most important source of retirement income for most people. So it is crucial that you understand how the rules apply to your situation.  Here are three important things you need to understand about how Social Security works.

1. Know when to claim

The earliest you can claim is age 62.  Your Full Retirement Age (FRA) is somewhere between 66 and 67, depending on your birth year (if born before 1954 it is 66 and increases one month per year after that up to 67). Your benefit maxes out at age 70; there is no advantage in waiting past that.  if you file at age 62 you will only get 75% of what you would get if you wait to your FRA. If you claim between your FRA and 70 your benefit will increase by 8% a year.  You can file for your benefits online or in person.

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Posted by Admin on December 28th, 2019

Most Popular Retirement Articles of 2019

Category: Retirement Planning

December 25, 2019 — It is always interesting to see what articles at Topretirements generate the most readership and comments. Out of 94 Blog articles written in 2019, these are the 10 most popular. Subjects range everywhere from 401(k) changes to the 7 Deadly Sins of Retirement. Let us know your favorites, along with any ideas for future topics you might us to tackle. To drill down on your areas of interest, you can always explore the Blog Categories on the right hand side of the page.

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Posted by Admin on December 25th, 2019

SECURE Act for 401(k)s and IRAs Signed into Law: Good (mostly) and Bad News (for heirs):

Category: Financial and taxes in retirement

December 22, 2019 – The SECURE Act has been passed by the Senate and House and signed by the President.  The bipartisan bill, Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement, has several key provisions that impact many of those who are currently retired as well as people planning for retirement. 

Good news. The bill allows for people over 70 and one half who are still working to continue to contribute to regular IRAs – there is no longer an age restriction for making such contributions.   Perhaps the most important provision is the one affecting people who will not have reached age 70 and 1/2 by December 31, 2019.  The new law raises the age for taking Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs) from 70 and 1/2 to 72. These two provisions allow people who have not yet reached the age of 70 and 1/2 to achieve higher IRA and 401(k) balances for retirement if they are currently working and/or have enough non-IRA investment assets to defer taking IRA minimum distributions for an additional two years.  This can provide for a higher likelihood of not outliving retirement savings. Unfortunately, if you were already 70 and 1/2 before 2020, you still have to take the RMDs required under the previous law.

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Posted by Admin on December 21st, 2019

What States Are the Most Welcoming for Retirement?

Category: Best Retirement Towns and States

December 17, 2019 — If you are shopping around for the best state to retire in, the good news is that there are a number of states that would really like you to choose them. These states know that the homes retirees buy and the money they spend locally represents an important and clean industry. So they have taken steps to make themselves attractive to retiring boomers.

States like North Carolina, Nevada, Florida, and Texas don’t have a problem attracting retirees. They have a good reputation and many attractive places to retire. Others, such as West Virginia and Mississippi, have a harder time bringing in retirees without incentives. In this list we will concentrate on states that have taken specific steps to increase the number of people retiring in those states. .

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Posted by Admin on December 16th, 2019

Hot Real Estate Markets: A Move Away from the Coasts

Category: Retirement Real Estate

December 12, 2019 – Two different companies, The National Association of Realtors®  (NAR), and Realtor.com, have each identified markets expected to outperform in the coming years. The lists are quite different, with Realtor.com’s concentrating more on smaller markets.

Both sources believe that affordability and strong local economies are key to markets with strong prospects for the future. Note that very few of these cities are on the coasts, although the overwhelming majority are in warm weather climes.

In alphabetical order, here are the top 10 the NAR expects to outperform over the next three to five years.:

However, don’t stop with just the NAR report. Realtor.com jumped into the topic with its own list. Here are the “hottest” real estate markets they predict for 2020, along with median home prices. Note: many of these are smaller markets. The only overlap we see in the top 10 are Charleston and Colorado Springs.

1Boise, Idaho$295,000
2McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, Texas$152,000
3Tucson, Ariz.$230,000
4Chattanooga, Tenn.$189,000
5Columbia, S.C.$178,000
6Rochester, N.Y.$149,000
7Colorado Springs, Colo.$312,000
8Winston-Salem, N.C.$169,000
9Charleston-North Charleston, S.C.$270,000
10Memphis, Tenn.$188,000

The NAR offered additional explanation on its choices for hottest markets:

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Posted by Admin on December 12th, 2019

Is the Reward for Postponing Social Security Too Great?

Category: Social Security

December 11, 2019 — You can always expect a lively debate on this subject: should you wait to claim Social Security, or take it as early as age 62? No matter your opinion, it is indisputable that claiming later than your Full Retirement Age (66 or later) provides an attractive 8% increase per year yield (plus COLA). Now a new study suggests that the 8% per year reward for waiting is too high, and the penalty for claiming early is too severe. Note: Shoutout to Maimi for bringing this study to our attention!

The study, “Are Social Security’s Actuarial Adjustments Still Correct“, comes from the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College. When Social Security started to allow beneficiaries to claim early or delay to age 70 it used actuarial adjustments designed to keep lifetime benefits constant for an individual with average life expectancy. In other words, no matter when you take your Social Security benefits, the odds are that you will receive the same amount of money.

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Posted by Admin on December 10th, 2019

Is Retirement Turning You Into a Cheapskate?

Category: Financial and taxes in retirement

December 7, 2019 — We don’t know about your experience, but in ours we are starting to see signs that many of our retired friends and relatives are getting more and more frugal. Some have to cut back from necessity, but even many of our very well off friends seem to be pinching pennies, at least in some corners of their life. Folks that might fly business class to Australia on a luxury vacation, but hoard plastic bags from the supermarket to line their kitchen trash bin. Many like to save money for the sport of it. After all, who likes spending money on unimportant stuff. Snagging an inexpensive vacation, landing a great deal on a rental car, or getting a better internet deal is a lot more fun and exciting than paying top dollar!

If you search on the Internet for “live like a cheapskate” you will strike a frugality bonanza. There are authors like Jeff Yeager who have written best sellers on the subject (“The Cheapskate Next Door“). There’s even a show on TLC, “Extreme Cheapskates“. Not to mention all of the articles Topretirements has written on the subject over the years (see Further Reading at bottom). This article will roll up advice from all over into some of our top tips on how to live like a cheapskate, and have fun while doing it!

First of all, a little etymology – if you are going to be a cheapskate you might as well understand where the term came from. Although there is some uncertainty about the origin of the word, the main dictionary sites think that “skate” was a late 19th century slangy term for a worn-out horse, to which cheap was added to imply mean or miserly. One Wiki source claims it refers to inexpensive strap-on roller skates; while we acknowledge those were horrible to skate on back in the day, we doubt that is the term’s origin.

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Posted by Admin on December 6th, 2019

Golf Course Retirements Landing in the Rough

Category: Active adult communities

December 3, 2019 — For baby boomers who love to play golf, living on a golf course seems like a dream. Drive over in your golf cart and play any time you want, no waiting. Later on in the afternoons, sit back and enjoy the beauty of a golf hole in the setting sun from your lanai. Unfortunately, golf is not as popular as it once was. That decline is interrupting the dream of golf course living.

Our friends over at www.retirehoppy.com just wrote about unpleasant experiences at their community, Trilogy at Vistancia in Peoria, Arizona. Seems like the developer has changed its mind, and now would like to sell the golf course to the Home Owners Association. Nobody there knows what is the best decision. Buy it (HOA has first right of refusal), or let the developer try to sell or develop it? Either way is fraught with problems.

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Posted by Admin on December 3rd, 2019