March 30, 2020 — The coronavirus pandemic continues to wreak havoc in just about every corner of our lives. Now it is presenting snowbirds with another dilemma – when and how to return from their warm winter escapes. Those with a lease ending on March 31 or April 30 have an even more difficult situation.
But the problem of when to return is just one decision to make. There is also the issue of how – drive, fly, or train. They might have existing reservations for both themselves and their vehicles – if those haven’t been cancelled yet. Let’s explore the issues via a few examples.
March 27, 2020 — The good news for people who get Social Security retirement or disability (SSI) benefits is that most of them are about to get a nice check as part of the stimulus package signed today. Social Security recipients are included in the bill to get $1200 (payable in the next month or so), provided they did not earn more than $75,000 on their latest tax return (a married couple gets $2400 with an income below $150,000). If a single person’s income is over $75,000 that benefit starts to be reduced, eventually going to $0 with an income of $99,000 or more (the limit is $198,000 for couples). This one time benefit is not taxable.
The payments will be made through the Treasury Department, not the SSA. Early indications are that if you receive your SS through direct deposit, that is how you will get the supplement. If you haven’t file any tax returns lately, you might have to apply for the benefit.
How to spend it?
This is certainly good news for retirees who don’t have a big income source, as most people won’t have any trouble spending a little windfall. We would be curious to see how you intend to spend yours – help out adult children who have lost their job or income, donate some of it to a charity, or spend it on something you have needed for a long time? Please let us know in the Comments section below.
We retirees in some ways are in better shape than those younger than us who are still working – at least most of don’t have to worry about losing our jobs! The point of the stimulus package is to get money back in circulation and rebuild the economy. So, if you will forgive a little editorialization, we hope you spend yours quickly in some way. Your local store owners and businesses are probably hurting. But most will probably deliver whatever you want, or have it waiting at their door. If we all spend the money quickly, it should help get things back to normal.
March 24, 2020 — Thanks to the just under 100 community-minded Members and visitors who have contributed to our call to tell us where they are thinking about retiring. We really appreciate you selflessly taking a minute to share your hopes, dreams, and experiences for the benefit of this community. We wish more people had responded, but there is still time (which a lot of us seem to have right now!) You can see the original request and all of the Comments in their entirety here. Reading them is most interesting!
In all, 23 states and 2 countries were mentioned as potential retirement destinations. Many people mentioned regions rather than states. Multiple states and towns, some very different from one another, were often in the mix. Not all of the choices were predictable. We hope you find these real-world suggestions as useful as we did.
March 24, 2020 — Daryl, a longtime Member, suggested what he termed a “potentially explosive topic” for the Blog: Are our Members willing to sacrifice their lives for the economy under COVID-19? It arises because of the controversial comments by Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick, who recently said: “‘As a senior citizen, are you willing to take a chance on your survival in exchange for keeping the America that all America loves for your children and grandchildren?”
The Lt. Governor seemed to be picking up on comments from the President and other conservatives that we should open up businesses to keep the economy from tanking further. Those are in contradiction to the action most health care officials recommend – closing things down to slow the infection curve.
So here is our question. To slow down the infection curve, do you think everyone except essential personnel should continue to stay at home and maintain social distancing? Or, is preserving the economy more important, so we should let people go back to work and resume their normal activities, even if means that you, as a member of the most vulnerable age group, might die as a result?
Please let us know where you stand. Note that if you start a political rant we will not publish your remarks, and if this gets out of hand we will terminate discussion. But, we hope we can have a thoughtful exchange of ideas without the usual partisan divide.
March 21, 2020 — This is an extraordinary time – a significant number of Americans have been ordered to stay in their homes. While painful and anxiety producing, at least with the Internet and TV we actually have it better than when we were kids and claimed to be “sick”. Our mother, if she felt we weren’t that ill, would make us lick green stamps and put them in the redemption book. If we were lucky, we got to watch Jack Bailey on “Queen for a Day”. As for “Secret Storm” or “Search for Tomorrow”, we had no idea why anyone would want to watch those soaps. Now at least, there are things worth watching. Today we have more high quality shows than we will ever have the time to view on Netflix, cable TV, HBO, Showtime, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, Sling – and more.
So in the spirit of trying to have some fun and chase away the gloom, here are some TV show recommendations. Hopefully you will get some new ideas, watch the shows and movies you have always wanted to see (maybe again), and share in a discussion here. We would really like to hear from you: what shows do you love? This is also a great time to read a book. We would love to hear your favorite reads as well. One suggestion we enjoyed recently: “Educated” by Tara Westover.
New shows your editor has seen:
HBO just launched the third season of Westworld, a sci-fi western which some critics like a lot better than the first two seasons.
March 16, 2020 — Wow, life has turned upside down in the last few weeks. A localized epidemic in one Chinese province of a new virus, COVID-19, has spread around the globe and landed as a pandemic in the USA and the rest of the world. The toilet paper aisle is barren (we’re not sure why!), and hand sanitizers and disinfectants aren’t available at any price. Just about everything is closing. Note: we have a separate Blog post with great Member input on “The Corona Virus and Your Retirement Portfolio: Buy, Hold, or Panic!”
The world is in crisis. Compared to other groups, the pandemic will not affect most of us retirees as drastically as it will the working age population. Our travel and social plans will be disrupted and our retirement portfolios are shrinking. We certainly won’t be checking out any new places to retire, at least in person (although we will have plenty of time to do it online!). But there will be isolation, depression, and anxiety. It is also shocking to realize that as baby boomers, we are in the high risk category!
March 8, 2020 — Back in 2012 we ran an article that asked people to share their plans, thoughts, and dreams on where they might retire. It was phenomenally successful, generating over 700 comments (see link to that article and comments at bottom). We then summarized those comments by State and Region, and that was very interesting too, generating 200 comments.
Now it is time to see how things might have changed, as well as get input from our newer members. The assignment is to tell your fellow members “Where are you thinking about retiring, and why others should consider it”. The project depends on getting as many people as possible to contribute, which will give us valuable survey data that everyone will appreciate. For our part, we promise to analyze and categorize the responses in a future article. Think of the assignment as a small way to pay us back for providing you with this free site. As promised, here is a summary of the 90 suggestions you made.
Your Instructions – It’s Easy! We need your response to the question in 2-3 lines of text. It’s easy, because if everyone is brief it will be a cinch to read comments from a whole lot of people. You can respond directly in the Comments section below, or you can send an email with your comments and we will add them in. Either way, it won’t take long, and it will be a real help to yourself and everyone else in this community. Just say where you plan to retire, or did retire to, or think you might – and why others should consider it – that’s it!
Just yesterday a friend who hadn’t been getting our weekly newsletter reconnected. His response was the spark that made this article possible. Here is what Bill had to say about his retirement plans, which reflect the diversity of ideas that exist out there.
We are think of exploring New Hampshire Lakes. That is what my wife wants but I am not sold yet. She wants to retire on a lake near a ski area. Other places on her list are Whitefish, Montana, a few places in Idaho as well. I am looking forward to just checking out different places — not sold on anything yet other than when I slow down on skiing I want to be in southern Florida. We have a few more years to plan and lots of places on our list to visit.
Your website has been great and full of good information I am looking forward to learning more from your website in the future years to come.
Please send us your thoughts! We are counting on everyone taking just a minute or two to get things rolling. A very big Thanks!
March 8, 2020 — We are in the process of upgrading all of the photos for the almost 1200 towns we have reviewed on this site. There is nothing better than a good photo that shows what a place really looks like. Each city review has space for 3 photos, and it would be great if we always get that amount. If you live in a town we have reviewed (or would like us to review it), or if you have visited a place that we cover, please send us some of your photographs. If you like, we will give you credit as the photographer on that page. Unfortunately, we can’t promise we can use them all, but if we don’t have any good ones for that town already, we probably will.
Because they will be on the web they don’t have to be giant sized photos – 100 or 200 kb is fine, although we can reduce your 1-2 megabyte photos down to fit. You can upload them yourself for approval by going to the city review (e.g.; Albuquerque NM) and looking for the “Add Your City Here” link. You have to be logged in to do that. Or, you can send them in an email. Thanks!
Terms: By sending us your photo(s) you are granting Topretirements.com to use the photo(s) at Topretirements.com. You agree that they are your own photographs and you did not copy them from any other source.
March 4, 2020 — California has sunny skies, a Mediterranean climate… and super-high housing prices and unending traffic. The Zillow Home Value Index was $561,000 in early 2020. A pleasant victim of its own success, it is a bit like Yogi Berra was alleged to have said, “It’s so crowded, no one goes there anymore”.
For those looking for the California experience, but don’t want to either have to pay for it or fight its crowds, this article will explore some places to retire that might be good alternatives. The good news is, there are plenty of great places that are much more affordable. Most are not near a coast, but many have lakes and/or mountains to enjoy.
Tucson, Arizona. Warm in winter, blessed with sunshine almost 300 days per year, Tucson is surrounded by beautiful desert mountains. At 233 performing arts dates per year, it also has one of the nation’s highest number of arts performances. It retains a distinctive relaxed, western flavor (Tombstone is nearby). The Zillow Home Value Index was $212,648 in 2020.
March 2, 2020 — Last week featured one of the biggest stock market sell-offs since the Great Depression. Panic set in as market professionals and plain old investors tried to sort out just how serious the impact of the Corona Virus – COVID 19 – will be on world trade and the economy. Could widespread shortages, school and factory closings, and forced quarantines throw the world into economic chaos? No one really knows, and that uncertainty was felt in the U.S. and world stock markets last week.
Some investors told their brokers to sell everything. Many advisors urged stay the course, particularly those who have the long view. Still others suggested maybe it was time to buy. Since this website is about retirement, our outlook is different from investors with a shorter time from. Last week we solicited Comments from several members on a related blog, and are reprinting them here. Please let us what you are thinking and doing about it.
I am sure on edge about my investments after the losses of this week. I wS told to stay the course, but at this point, I am not sure what to do. I have a gut feeling this is going to get worse before it gets better. I am very worried now. —- Maimi