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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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Cresswind Charleston is Charleston-area's BEST active adult lifestyle community. Cresswind inspires active adults to live life to the ful...

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Welcome to Cresswind Charlotte!  This nature-rich refuge of inviting streetscapes, manicured landscaping and miles of walking trails...

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Life at Heritage Shores is full of amenities, activities and social opportunities. When you live here, each day can be as active or laid ...

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Fairfield Glade, a stunning master-planned community, is perched high atop the Cumberland Plateau, and offers serene mountain beauty as i...

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Birchwood at Brambleton is an exciting new community for active adults 55+ located in the heart of Loudoun County, and is intentionally d...


10 Best Small and Mid-Sized Cities for Retirement

Category: Best Retirement Towns and States

May 27, 2021 — Not everyone dreams of retiring in an active community, a small town, or the suburbs. There is a sizable group of baby boomers who yearn for something bigger than that. For these folks, retiring in a small or medium sized city might be just the ticket. This lifestyle has the attraction of living in the center of things, walking to everything, choosing from a raft of interesting restaurants, or seeing a good play production or concert. To these folks that is a lot more appealing than endless rounds of golf, pickleball, or mowing the lawn. Here are picks for some great places to retire that offer an urban lifestyle.

For cities to be considered we had several wish list items, although not every city will have all of them. We tried to find cities that are walkable; where pedestrians enjoy wide sidewalks, safe crossing zones, and some separation from cars. Pedestrian-only zones are a big plus. Bike lanes and paths that keep you and your bicycle out of harm’s way from cars are nice to have. There has to be a number of good restaurants and cultural venues to choose from. The presence of a college or university definitely adds value. And finally, there should be some living options either in the downtown or in a quiet nearby neighborhood. Another bonus would be low cost of living (not all of our picks met that hurdle). We published a list of 9 Great Small Cities for Retirement a few years ago, and boy did that generate a lot of Comments and suggestions (199) – we think you will find them worth reading.

Posted by Admin on May 26th, 2021

Retirement Confidence Hits All-Time High – Despite Covid

Category: Financial and taxes in retirement

May 24, 2021 — The Employee Benefits Research Institute (EBRI) has released the results from its annual retirement confidence survey – and they are pretty good! Back in 2014, 55% of all workers said they were “confident they would have enough money to retire confidently”. This year, 72% of all workers say they are that confident, and 80% of retirees agree (in 2014 only 67% were that confident). The survey also had some other extremely interesting findings that we have detailed below.

Source: EBRI

Covid and confidence

One would have thought that a year of being in the Covid pandemic would have negatively affected how retirees feel about their retirements. Instead, 72% feel about the same level of confidence, and only 19% feel “slightly less confident”. How much the heady stock market has had an effect on this confidence is unknown, although we would venture it has been positive.

About one third of overall workers say the pandemic has affected their ability to save for retirement. One in five workers saw their pay or working hours negatively affected by the pandemic.

Of the 23% of retirees who feel less confident in total, most of them seem to be those with major debt problems, savings under $10,000, never saved for retirement, and those with poor health. However when it comes to debt, only 8% of retirees think they have a serious problem with it, while 26% think they have a minor problem.

Financial advice

Where would you guess most workers go for retirement planning advice? Our guess wasn’t the right answer. About 35% of people rely on family and friends, 35% do their own research online or with other sources, and 27% use a financial planner. About 22% rely on their employer. Some 36% of retirees say they have a financial planner.

Retiring earlier than planned

One of the more startling findings in the study is in when people retire. About half of them say they retired earlier than planned (46% vs. 48% who retired about when they expected). This is a result we have seen in many surveys – workers on average think they will retire much later than they actually do. Often it is an unexpected health issue or layoff that triggers the retirement. These problems tend to come out of the blue, and when they do they have a negative effect on retirement finances. EBRI found that half of workers believe they will gradually transition into retirement. However, 7 in 10 retirees report they had a full-time stop. Although almost three quarters say they will work in retirement, less than half do any kind of paid work.

Retirement lifestyle – good news for most folks

Some 71% of retirees say their retirement is either about what they expected or slightly better. That represents a slight dip from the 2020 survey results. Fewer said it was much better (10%) than much worse (19%). Again, there was a slightly more positive experience in 2021 vs. 2020.

Even more figures

The full report makes for interesting reading. There are the results for spending expectations in retirement, use of retirement savings, confidence in Medicare and Social Security. You can see the full report here.

Comments? How is your confidence in a comfortable retirement? Are you spending about what you thought? Did you retire when you thought you would? Please share your experiences in the Comments section below.

For further reading:
You Are Retiring, the Kids Are in College – And You’re Broke

Posted by Admin on May 23rd, 2021

11 Reasons Why You Should Retire Where You Live Now

Category: Retirement Planning

May 22, 2021— More than three-quarters of baby boomers won’t move more than a few miles away from where they live now when they retire. This article will explore the case for sticking close to home in the next phase of your life.

There must be plenty of strong arguments for staying put, since so many of us do just that. Here are some of the major ones, along with ideas on how to make that decision work.

– Family. Staying close to children and close relatives is often the best reason for retiring where you live now. Grandchildren, if we are fortunate enough to have any, are usually a great source of joy, but without all the work associated with raising our own children! So sticking close enough where you can see loved ones without a long drive or plane flight will be a regular source of happiness. In the past Covid year, those extended families who lived near one another had a big advantage many others did not.

Posted by Admin on May 21st, 2021

Where You Said You Will Retire – Lots More Suggestions!

Category: Best Retirement Towns and States

May 19, 2021 — Last week we asked our Members to tell us where they retired, or where they are considering. The response, although certainly not overwhelming, did come up with a lot more suggestions. To see all of them you can go to the Comments from that article, 29 of them so far. We have summarized (lightly editing) the places that were mentioned there, but you should really read the originals in their entirety to get more detail. We also encourage you to tell us where you are retiring, either at the bottom of this article or on the original one. Thank you to all who contributed, we really appreciate you making the effort!

Posted by Admin on May 18th, 2021

The 21 Most Popular Active and 55+ Communities in the Southeast

Category: Active adult communities

May 18, 2020 — The Southeast is by far the most popular region for retirement on this site. But which of the hundreds of 55 plus and active adult communities in this region attract the most attention from our Members and visitors? To find out we examined the data from the first five and one half months of 2021. Here are the most popular communities in the Southeastern states of Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina (we included Alabama but no communities made the cut). Most of the winners are in Florida (15), with Georgia and South Carolina making up the rest. This article updates one we did in 2018, and complements a similar one for the Southwest: “15 Most Popular Active Adult Communities in the Southwest for 2022“.

The results are a combination of: “of course” (The Villages and several communities we have as advertisers), “head shakers” that we never expected to make this list, and some pleasant “surprises”. What was really interesting is that only seven of the communities on our 2018 list made it again this year. The winners cover a wide range – from really big (On Top of the World and Solivita), to 55+ communities within larger master planned developments (Cresswind), to special interest (Shantinakin and Nalcrest), to inexpensive manufactured home and RV communities popular with snowbirds (Lost Lakes and Jamaica Bay). Note that most, but not all, of these communities are designated 55 plus, although the majority of their residents would probably meet that qualification.

While these are the 21 most popular active adult communities on this site for these four states, they might not necessarily be the “best” for your needs. They were, however, interesting enough to beat out hundreds of other great communities. If this list does anything for you we hope it expands your horizons, showing how important it is to spread your net wide when researching active adult and 55 plus communities. There are thousands of choices that might work for you, but you won’t even find out about them unless you look around. There are many good choices awaiting you, so make a little effort and go beyond the one you or your friends know about.

The most popular 55+ communities in the Southeast

Posted by Admin on May 17th, 2021

Dementia – or Ordinary Age-Related Change?

Category: Health and Wellness Issues

May 12, 2021 — Just about everyone struggles with a word or a name occasionally. As in, the name of person coming toward you in the supermarket is right on the tip of your tongue, but it just won’t come out. So embarrassing, and yet so common. The Alzheimer’s Association has some great information that can help differentiate between normal age-related change and the more serious signs of approaching dementia. We will recap some of those points here, but their article, Early Warning Signs and Symptoms of Alzheimer’s, has even more detailed information that everyone will find useful. It seems that the difference between Alzheimer’s and ordinary age-related change are degree (how serious the behavior is), and length of time it is displayed.

Alzheimer’s is a brain disease that causes a slow decline in memory, thinking and reasoning skills. There are many other forms of dementia as well. Here are 10 warning signs, along with examples of normal age-related changes:

Photo by Pixabay from Pexels
Posted by Admin on May 12th, 2021

Where Did You Retire?

Category: Best Retirement Towns and States

May 11, 2021 — Maybe the question should be, “Where Are You Going to Retire”, as many of our Members have either not yet retired, or haven’t quite come to a final decision. We all want to know about those greener pastures that beckon(ed) to you. Or perhaps, you have decided to retire where you live now, either in the same home or in a different neighborhood. Whatever the case, the Topretirements community is very interested in your plans, because where people are actually retiring is always a lot more interesting than what all those “best places to retire” articles come up with.

Knowing what other people are thinking about gives people ideas as well as food for thought. There will be many possibilities where baby boomers are retiring that you hadn’t thought about, as well as considerations that you hadn’t taken into account before. To get things started, we have copied a sampling of suggestions from over 140 Comments we received a few years ago on this topic (although that Blog was specifically about where singles will retire, most of the Comments were applicable to couples as well as singles).

Your thoughts please! We encourage everyone reading this Blog to give us at least a sentence or two about where you retire, or the places you are considering. If everyone will do that, which will only take a minute, we will have an amazingly rich resource that thousands of people will find fascinating. Just go to the Comments section at the end of this article and give us a sentence (or more about why if you would like). In some cases we have to approve it before it goes live, but we will try to do that quickly. Thanks!

Posted by Admin on May 11th, 2021

What Was Your First Car?

Category: Baby Boomer Retirement Issues

May 5, 2021 — For baby boomers, nothing was more exciting than getting our first driver’s license. The freedom that lay ahead. Just as exciting, maybe even more, was the prospect of getting your first car. So we would like to hear about your first wheels – whether your parents gave you a brand new car (so jealous), or if you saved your part-time job earnings and bought a used jalopy. Please use the comments section to describe your first chariot to freedom. We will try to add your pictures (one of your own, we can’t accept other photos for copyright reasons) to the gallery at the end of the article. Send the photo.

As for your editor, my first was a 1962 Renault Dauphine, bought in partnership with my 14 year old brother, funded with our house painting money ($350). Unfortunately for Mike, he never got to drive it legally because it died due to me hitting a curb and its own (serious) mechanical failings. He does like to tell the story of younger brother abuse though. My second was a 1965 Dodge Dart (Slant 6!) that was a wonderful reliable car (sold it to Mike later and he got better use of it). Then as I entered the Army, a 1 year old MGB – maybe my favorite car of all time (and the least reliable).

Posted by Admin on May 5th, 2021

St. Petersburg’s Roars Back as Best Place to Retire

Category: Best Retirement Towns and States

May 4, 2021 – Back in the day St. Petersburg was considered one of the best places to retire for people from the Midwest and Northeast. Tourists also flocked to this amazing city on Tampa Bay, about half way down Florida’s West Coast. Some retirees settled here permanently, others spent the winter months in one of the many classic downtown hotels that are still present (but in different form). After the 1970’s the city faded into a retirement backwater, supplanted by trendier destinations like Fort Myers, Naples, and affordable towns in Central Florida. Blight and poverty took over in many parts of the city, leaving some big downtown buildings as unused relics. Fast forward to today, when St. Pete is not only a very hot destination for retirement, but people of all ages are moving here. The population is 265,381, with 18.6% of the population 65 and over (about 2% points higher than the U.S. overall).

Downtown St. Pete

On a recent visit to the fair city we were very impressed with St. Petersburg’s revival. It is not hard to see reasons for the resurgence. The city’s location could not be better – a manageable city sitting on peninsula surrounded by the gigantic Tampa Bay. Broad streets host gracious buildings. Along the edges, nothing obscures the views of the Bay. Very few towns in the world can match the number of its parks and amount of open space along the Bay. Nicknamed the “Sunshine City”, it logs an average 361 days of sunshine per year. On a recent late April evening the streets and parks were filled with people of all ages and types. The human diversity on display was refreshing. There were straight and gay pairs, mixed race couples, baby boomers, and millennials. The sidewalks were full of people out for a stroll along the boulevards and parks, having dinner in an outdoor restaurant by the Bay, or enjoying an ice cream. Soon even more will be coming to enjoy St. Pete’s enviable cultural scene, which, as Covid ebbs, is on the verge of opening up. Retirees live in high rises, neighborhoods, or surrounding communities. There is a big variety of living choices.

Posted by Admin on May 4th, 2021