November 13, 2022 — Hurricanes Ian and Nicole were bad enough, destroying thousands of homes, changing the coastline, and scaring residents and real estate buyers alike. But a new Florida law, SB 4-D: Building Safety, is about to provide a potential killer wave to the Florida condo market.
The Building Safety Law is a reaction to the tragic Surfside building collapse in Miami in 2021. It has several key requirements for condominium associations that most are not yet aware of, especially how fundamentally those will affect their finances. This article will attempt to give a quick snapshot of what is now required, and how things will change. We recommend that if you are on a condo board you get familiar with the law now, because it has several new requirements. As it spells out clearly, failure to meet them is a breach of an officer’s and director’s fiduciary relationship to the unit owners. Sadly, jailhouse humor going round is that it could cause mass resignations of board members across the state. Even if you are not a board member, you should make sure that your board is working on this issue.
Nov. 10, 2022- A disturbing statistic emerged in 2021. In that year 10.7% of America’s over 65 population lived in poverty, up from 9.5% in 2020. While that is a lot better than the third of elderly Americans who were in poverty before Medicare came along, it is an alarming trend. Although poverty among the elderly in the U.S. is low by historical standards, we have one of the highest rates in the developed world, per the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Unfortunately, there is a long list of reasons why so many older people face economic hardships.
The pandemic was a big reason for the poverty rate uptick in 2021. People lost their jobs and businesses. One person in the marriage might have died from Covid, or they faced big and unexpected medical expenses. But there are many other reasons beyond the pandemic too. People retiring today are much less likely to have a pension than in the past. Some might not even had had a chance to participate in an IRA or 404(k), or make enough to amass significant savings. Think of someone who made the minimum wage or just above it, how were they going to even get by, much less save for retirement? Many other workers were doing OK, only to find their jobs ending well before they wanted to retire. Debt, medical problems, having to take care of elderly parents or adult children, etc. can mean a retirement in poverty for others.
Sept. 22, 2022 — Thanks to the pandemic, the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and other factors, inflation is raging here in the U.S. and everywhere in the world. While early estimates are the 2023 Social Security COLA will be one of highest in history at 8.7%, that will not be enough for the millions of retirees who are living on a shoestring. To help with that, we have assembled a collection of tips our Members have provided in the past. We hope you will add more of your own in the Comments section below (and thanks to Grace for suggesting this topic!) Note that these are just a fraction of the fabulous ideas our Members have posted over the years. Check out the articles listed at bottom for hundreds more!
Sell stuff. Darla suggests: Downsizing by selling stuff didn’t appeal to me, but a friend has an Ebay store. He takes care of anything I ask him to sell, and I give him 30% (the stuff would have gone to the trash or thrift store anyway).
August 17, 2022 – After reaching record highs, the stock market is down almost 12% this year. Perhaps just as bad, inflation is raging at over 8%. Both of these developments make for a terrible situation for retirees, especially for those just beginning their retirement and worried about outliving their money.
It is far easier to predict how long your savings will last in a stable environment with low inflation and friendly stock and bond markets. Unfortunately, that is definitely not the case now. Our hope is that the tips and suggestions in this article might help people better negotiate these tricky times.
Tried and true – the 4% rule
Although there are many theories on how to take distributions from your retirement portfolio, the most enduring is the 4% rule. Most experts agree you probably won’t outlive those savings if you take that much out each year (and some say 5% is also a safe number). But these are only general rules, and unusual circumstances like we are having now can upend them.
July 13, 2020 — Not everyone wants to have a roommate in their retirement, but for many they are a great solution. A PBS Newshour feature this week, “High Costs Spur More Baby Boomers to Find Roommates“, highlighted how many homeowners are finding homesharing to be a great solution to high rents and inflation.
The primary motivation for getting a roommate is financial. Several of the women in the feature narrated by Paul Solman found themselves owning too much house with not enough money to maintain it, and unable to keep up with their other expenses. Bringing in someone to share those expenses proved to be a godsend for many of them. But several of those interviewed also reported being surprised by how much they enjoyed having a companion around the house. Friendships developed between very different people, and everyone seemed to benefit.
July 6, 2020 — A new study focussed on the financial issues that retirees should really be concerned about, and then it measured what they actually worried about. The results are interesting – it seems like many people are downplaying the risks that should concern them, like how long they will live, and instead concentrating on issues that are less worrisome, such as market risk.
June 29, 2022 — More than a few retirees on Social Security turn down work that they would like to do. The concern is that their benefits will be reduced, thus making the effort not worthwhile. To help people understand how work might affect your Social Security benefits, here are the facts to help you decide the best course of action. But the good news first – over the long term, working has no negative impact on your benefits, and might even help.
Reached Full Retirement Age – no problem!
If you have reached your Full Retirement Age (FRA) – 66 if you were born in 1954 or before, gradually reaching 67 for those born in 1960 or later – there is no impact. You can work and earn as much as you want and it will not affect your Social Security benefit in any way.
June 18, 2022 — The last two and half years have provided an amazing ride for homeowners In almost every part of the U.S. Most sellers probably had to fight off buyers willing to pay far more than the asking price, and ended up with a buyer the same day they put it on the market. For renters, it wasn’t such a great period, with rents high and hard to find. In 2019 the NAR median sales price of a home in the U.S. was $274,600. Two years later, that price has risen to $368,200, a 34% increase, certainly one of the most meteoric rises in history. The Census Bureau reported a similar increase in the average price of a home, now at $570,300. Those double digit increases put a smile on many people’s faces, but is it time to think change is a coming?
May 31, 2022 — Many of America’s most hated companies are the cable, internet and telephone giants – Comcast/Xfinity, Century Link, Sprint, etc. People dread calling these behemoths for customer service, because they know they will get into a never-ending telephone tree that make it very difficult to speak to a human being. They also don’t like the bills that come along with telephone, cable and internet service. The bill starts out looking reasonable, but after you add in the modem and cable box rental fees, broadcast and sports fees, and 6 different kinds of taxes, the total tab can easily approach $300/monthly. Adding more sports packages and HBO can send it north of that. And of course, every year the bill goes up. For retirees on a budget, these bills can become just too much.
After talking with friends your editor decided to cut the cord – or at least 2 of the cords – home phone and cable. Here is how he did it.
April 27, 2022 — Of all the current demographic generations, Gen X is the one most worried about its retirement, according to a research study from the SOA Research Institute. They are the folks born between 1965 and 1980, and are the next demographic group to start retiring. Gen X came immediately after baby boomers (1946-1964), but before Gen Y/Millennials (1981-1996), and then Gen Z. Gen Xers are currently between the ages of 42 and 57.
The SOA study researched a number of questions about their retirement preparation and feelings about financial security.