July 29, 2020 — The types of living options available to people of retirement age have expanded tremendously in the last 50 years. But one type that has not changed much is the nursing home, the site of so many coronavirus infections. Sometimes disparagingly referred to as “big box” enterprises because they can be large and impersonal, even nursing homes might be about to experience a sea change, thanks to the combined impact of the Covid 19 pandemic and an aging baby boomer population.
Boomers want to do things their way, and that doesn’t mean being forced into a nursing home if they can help it. But an even longer nail in the coffin for nursing homes might be what the coronavirus does to them. Seeing the deadly germ spread like wildfire through nursing homes and assisted living facilities has made the danger of having a large number of a vulnerable population clustered together all too clear. Stories of residents left to die alone, separated from their loved ones, have been devastating.
July 27, 2020 – From February to mid June there were fewer than 100 cases in The Villages, the giant Central Florida community. Retirees in TV went about their busy lives, playing pickleball, golf, dancing, and partying. Governor Ron DeSantis even bragged about the low infection rate in the sprawling community of 120,000 residents.
With cases spiking in Florida and on track to reach 500,000 by early August, it turns out the gates of The Villages are not Covid 19 proof. Sumter County, the largest of the 3 counties where it is located, is seeing a rising number of cases. In recent weeks the daily case count has been between 20 and 40 (in surrounding counties the figures are in the hundreds). Cases in the County are primarily among people between 65-85, a big contrast to the rest of the state where they are concentrated among those 15 to 44. Hospitalizations are on the rise as well in The Villages.
July 22, 2020 — The quest for an affordable place to retire is important to many baby boomers whose reality is living on limited retirement savings and Social Security. Finding an affordable place that offers a great lifestyle is a real plus for them. Over the years we have produced multiple lists of affordable places to retire, and this article continues that series (see end of article for links to more).
The 11 affordable places to retire listed here are unique: they are all Member suggestions from previous Blogs. In fact we’ve used their comments to describe the towns and regions, although we added home pricing where possible. Ten of them are on or near the water. These towns have home prices that are generally quite affordable compared to the US Zillow Home Value Index of $248,857. In regions like the Pacific Northwest and the coast of Florida where home prices are high, we chose towns with prices lower than the rest of those regions.
July 20, 2020 – Many people find themselves in situations like these. A relative invites you to a backyard birthday or graduation ceremony. You don’t feel comfortable about it, knowing there will be too many people there who won’t be careful about Covid. But then she says “Oh, Suzy would be so disappointed if you don’t come”. A different friend might ask a favor that you know is either going to take time you don’t have to spare, or put you in a situation you don’t want to be in. Or, you are in a group where no one else is wearing a mask, making you feel like some kind of alien. How do you best manage these situations?
July 14, 2020 – We have just updated our comparison of retirement in two really terrific Pacific Northwest states – Oregon and Washington. Both are growing fast and are expensive in most, but not all areas. One advantage they offer is that their relatively mild climate means many people are happy to live their year round. One state has no income tax, the other no sales tax. Check out the updated comparison – “Washington vs. Oregon”.
Better than that, we think you will enjoy the 125 reader comments that ask, and answer, a lot of good questions.
July 11, 2020 — Normally by this time many retired folks from the Northeast and Midwest have found a rental in Florida, the Carolinas, Arizona, or some other warm weather state. Or, if they own a place, they are making plans to fly or drive south in the fall. This year is different, to say the least. While many snowbirds left their winter places when Covid cases were light in those states and the disease was just starting to abate in the Northeast. The opposite is happening now. Arizona, Florida and the Carolinas are raging out of control, with ICU beds starting to reach capacity.
All of that said, we would love to know how your snowbird plans for next winter are coming along. Are you planning on leaving at your normal time, delay, or not go at all? Have you locked in a rental, or are you waiting to see what happens? Will you travel down there by the usual means – car, airplane, or cartrain? What would the situation have to be at your destination for you to decide to go in terms of the number of cases, hospital capacity, etc.? Would we have to have a vaccine in place? What else would go into your decision to be a snowbird next winter?
Please share your thoughts in the Comments section below. This has the makings of being a fascinating and helpful topic. Thanks!
July 8, 2020 — It is a familiar question… what is the best state for retirement? There are many ways to answer that question, and in fact over the years we have tried several. There is the the lowest taxes viewpoint. Or, a comparison of other economic factors like cost of living. Alternative approaches include best climate, absence of natural hazards like hurricanes, geographic features like beaches and mountains, political climate, financial health of the state, medical care, etc.
Ultimately, identifying the best state for retirement is a very personal question. In the end it boils down to what is the best state for YOUR retirement. It is very possible that your best state is where you live now, if it meets your desires, since 80% or more retirees do not cross state lines after they retire.
July 4, 2020 — Our friend Robert Powell at TheStreet.com just wrote a very helpful article for people who worked for governments or non profits and did not pay into Social Security for much of their work lives. They are usually concerned that they won’t get Social Security retirement payments. In “Did You Work for a Government and Not Pay Social Security“, Powell writes to straighten out some misconceptions.
The Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) reduces your Eligibility Year (ELY) benefit amount before it is reduced or increased by early retirement, delayed retirement credits, cost of living adjustments (COLA), or other factors. If applied, your Social Security retirement payments will be lowered.