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The Cheapest and Most Expensive Places to Retire in the World

Category: Financial and taxes in retirement

February 16, 2021 — Last week on this Blog we posed the question, “How Much Is Enough for Retirement“. So when we came across this new study on the cheapest and most expensive places to retire from NetCredit, it seemed like the perfect follow-up.

As most retirees in the US or UK are figuring out, retiring in their own country means they are going to need over half a million dollars in the bank to do it comfortably. If that sounds unreasonable, then retiring abroad might be the next best option. NetCredit’s new study crunched the numbers to find out what it would cost to retire comfortably in (almost) every country around the world.

Key Findings
– The most expensive country in the world to retire is Bermuda, where you would need $1,065,697.
– Pakistan is the cheapest country to retire. You would need $182,018 to maintain the example lifestyle there.
– Fourteen years of retirement in the US would cost $601,489.63 according to the NetCredit metric: $40,917.66 per year or $2,841.50 per month.
– It found 125 countries where retirement is cheaper than in the US and only 13 that are more expensive.

The most expensive countries in the world for retirement are the usual suspects – countries known for the high cost of living. Overall in the world, the most expensive country is Bermuda, followed by two Asian economic powerhouses – Singapore and Hong Kong. Switzerland is the most expensive European country to retire in (4th overall), requiring an estimated pot of $842,000.

Elsewhere, Mexico ($257,000) followed by El Salvador are the most inexpensive places to retire in the North America. In South America, Columbia is the cheapest at $215,493 and Uruguay the most expensive at $351,480. Israel is the most expensive country for retirement in the Middle East – it would cost you $632,000 there.



NetCredit’s calculations are based on the average American retirement age of 64 years and the average American life expectancy of 78.4 years. Calculations of monthly living costs were completed in USD using Numbeo based on the following assumptions:

  •  Members of your household = 1
  •  Eating lunch or dinner in restaurants = 15%, Choosing inexpensive restaurants = 70%
  •  Drinking coffee outside your home = moderate
  •  Going out = once per week
  •  Smoking = no, Alcoholic beverages = moderate
  •  At home, we are eating = Western
  •  Driving car = moderate, Taking taxi = no
  •  Public transport = 2 round trips weekly
  •  Sports memberships = all household members
  •  Vacation and travel = two per year
  •  Buying clothes and shoes = moderate
  •  Rent = Apartment (1 bedroom) in city center
  •  No children

Bottom line

For adventurous people who are facing a shortfall in their retirement savings, retiring abroad might be a good idea. A country like Mexico or somewhere in South America might provide a great lifestyle on a combination of Social Security and modest savings. But on the other hand, retiring abroad only for money is usually a terrible idea. Knowing the language, wanting to engage with the local culture, and being adventurous are much better harbingers of success for an expat retirement. Please feel free to share your Comments below.

Posted by Admin on February 15th, 2021

How Much Is Enough for Retirement?

Category: Financial and taxes in retirement

February 8, 2021 — If there was ever a perplexing question it is this one – how much is enough for a comfortable retirement? The short answer is – more than you probably think! The long answer starts with the fact that most people haven’t thought enough about their own situation to come up with a reasonable answer. Once you understand how your expenses match up with your income, then you can start to know how much you need for retirement.

People tend to underestimate several key components of the expense side – like how long they will live and what their medical costs will be, and forget about unexpected expenses like replacement roofs, worn out cars and AC systems, and assistance to family members. They also tend to have a vague idea about their income sources, and overestimate how long their savings will last. Much also depends on your lifestyle – you can live within almost any budget if you match expenses to your income, although it might be hard and require lifestyle changes.

So the first thing to do when trying to calculate how much you need for retirement is get a realistic handle on your budget – matching income to expenses. Income is fairly easy for most people to calculate, while expenses are harder. The expense side of the equation can vary widely, depending on your lifestyle, which fortunately you can modify.

Step #1: Figure Out Your budget (this applies to everyone!).

Until you have a good idea of what your retirement expenses will be and how they match up to your income, you can’t really start planning. It is a critical step to head off what could be a disaster – running out of money way before you or your significant other check out of this world. This budget worksheet in csv format contains most of the items you need to consider when developing a budget, and you can customize it to fit your needs.

Posted by Admin on February 8th, 2021

The 3 Critical Things About Social Security Most People Don’t Understand

Category: Financial and taxes in retirement

January 9, 2020 – Most of the people who took the new version of our popular Social Security IQ Quiz were able to get a passing score of 60%. But there were 3 questions that many people had a lot of difficulty answering correctly. That lack of knowledge, unfortunately, could cost them significant amounts of money over their lifetimes.

Underestimating your Social Security benefits will cost you money

These were the Social Security questions that most people missed, along with the correct answers and more detailed explanations:

  1. How many earning years are used to calculate your Social Security retirement benefit.

Only 49% of quiz takers got this answer correct. The choices were 25, 30, or 35 years – the correct answer was 35 years. While that might not seem that important a detail, it is.

Posted by Admin on January 9th, 2021

Which States Have No Income Tax – There Are Now 8

Category: Financial and taxes in retirement

November 18, 2020 — Finding a state with no income tax can be a good reasons to choose it for retirement for many well-heeled retirees. Up until 2021, only 7 states could claim they have no state income tax. But coming in 2021 an 8th will join the list, Tennessee (the State previously taxed dividends and interest, but not other income). Other states have made moves to make their tax situation more favorable in 2021 as well, mainly by increasing standard deductions and personal exemptions.

These states have no income tax

Starting in 2021 the eight states with no income tax will be: Alaska, Florida, Nevada, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, and Wyoming. New Hampshire almost makes the list because it only taxes interest and dividends (up until 2021 Tennessee was in the same category).

Posted by Admin on November 18th, 2020

Replacement Income from Social Security Falling, Might Get Worse

Category: Financial and taxes in retirement

November 4, 2020 — Data from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services predict that Social Security benefits will provide an ever smaller portion of replacement income for retirees in the years to come. This prediction takes into account the delay in the Full Retirement Age from 65 to 67, along with increases in Part B Medicare premiums and federal taxation. The Centers sees the replacement level of income after those deductions falling from 41% in 1995 to to 29% by 2035. All of which puts more pressure on retirees for other sources of retirement income.

Pandemic might accelerate this. Employees and their employers pay taxes on their wages to fund the Social Security Trust Fund. As people lose their jobs and unemployment rises in the pandemic, and if it that were to persist for a long time, the Trust Fund would be negatively impacted. Social Security currently predicts that it only be able to pay 75% of benefits in 2035, but if a bad economy persists that percentage might even be smaller.

404(k) Balances growing. For those fortunate to have one, 401(k) balances increased through 2019. The median 401(k)/IRA balance for working households nearing retirement rose from $135,000 in 2016 to $144,000 in 2019. Since the stock market has also generally been up in 2020, it stands to reason that those balances are a little higher as 2020 ends. This information comes from the Survey of Consumer Finances by the Federal Reserve and summarized by the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College (CRR).

Posted by Admin on November 2nd, 2020

Answers to the 2020 Social Security IQ Text

Category: Financial and taxes in retirement

October 28, 2020 — Thank you for taking our 2020 Social Security IQ Test. We hope you found it useful. (If you haven’t taken it yet, here is the link). Please find below a detailed summary of all the questions and answers, along with an explanation of each correct response to this Social Security text. So far 500 people have taken the latest version; over 10,000 people have taken previous versions. We hope even more take it to advance their Social Security education.

Note: most of the links provided in these explanations about Social Security questions go to excellent advice on the website. The correct answer in each case is indicated in bold either by a ? or a check mark.

Conclusions – Underestimation most frequent kind of incorrect Social Security answer

Of the 500 people taking the Social Security IQ test so far the average score is 64% (we set 60% as the passing score). There were 3 questions that 80% or more folks got right: Full Retirement Age (#1), collecting on the benefits of a divorced spouse (#10), and withdrawing your application within 12 months (#11). There were 4 questions which most people could not answer correctly. Unfortunately, these were mostly questions that are important for Social Security recipients to know.

Underestimating your Social Security benefits will cost you money

The Social Security questions that most people missed had to do with:

-How many years are used to calculate your benefit

-How much your benefit will increase if you wait to claim past your Full Retirement Age (FRA) and the difference between claiming at age 62 vs. 70

-And when a spouse can collect their full spousal benefit.

Unfortunately, underestimating how much they could get by delaying their benefits instead of taking them at the first opportunity could cost them and their spouses a lot of money down the road.

  1. Assuming you were born in 1960 or later, what is considered your Full Retirement Age for Social Security benefit purposes? (The rest of the questions in this quiz assume you were born in 1960 or later, unless otherwise specified).
  •  62
  •  65
  •  66
  •  67?

Comment: “Full Retirement Age” is when you are eligible for your full Social Security benefits without penalty. For those born between 1943 and and 1954, it was age 66. For those born in 1955 and later the FRE increased 2 months per year, until for those born in 1960 and later, it became age 67. But you can actually qualify for “more than full” and get a larger benefit at any age up to 70. (See Full Retirement Age Chart). 80% got this correct.

Posted by Admin on October 28th, 2020

The Future of Social Security: Biden vs. Trump

Category: Financial and taxes in retirement

October 28, 2020 — Perhaps you have already voted in the U.S. Presidential election. If so, congratulations on fulfilling an important responsibility of citizenship. But if you haven’t voted yet here are some facts, as best we can determine, to help you understand where the two presidential candidates stand on the future of Social Security, one of the most important issues for current and future retirees. For this article we have relied mainly on an excellent article on, “What Biden’s Plans Mean for Social Security“.

The nonpartisan Urban Institute think tank analyzed Biden’s plans for Social Security in that article. They concluded that his plan could “close about a quarter of Social Security’s long-term financial shortfall”, which as currently projected would reduce promised benefits by slightly more than 20% in 2035.

Posted by Admin on October 27th, 2020

What Is Your Social Security IQ? New 2020 Edition

Category: Financial and taxes in retirement

October 25, 2020 – Just how much do you really know about your Social Security benefit? This quick 12 question quiz, will tell you with an instant score. This year’s edition covers the basics you need to know with new, revised, and updated questions to reflect your benefit in 2020. It is a great opportunity to learn what you know, and don’t know, about this important benefit.

Take The Social Security Quiz!

Let us know what you think of the Quiz in the Comments section below. Preliminary results show it is not that easy. If you have suggestions, we would love to hear them! We will have a detailed question by question review very soon to better understand each question.

Posted by Admin on October 24th, 2020

Walmart vs. Amazon Delivery Services Compared

Category: Financial and taxes in retirement

October 18, 2020 — We have had several members who posted about rival delivery services to another unrelated Blog. So we are publishing those comments here and taken them off the other one. That should keep things cleaner.

From Mary 11 – I signed up for the yearly unlimited Walmart Delivery service. I order once or twice per week. I paid $98 but you save alot of money in the long run. I haven’t been to a grocery store since January. We don’t do restaurant delivery because of Covid so we do alot of cooking at home….

Posted by Admin on October 18th, 2020

Small COLA for Social Security Set for Next Year

Category: Financial and taxes in retirement

October 15, 2020 — Social Security recipients will see a small Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA) next year. Based on the increase in the Consumer Price Index (CPI-W) from the third quarter of 2019 through the third quarter of 2020, Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) beneficiaries will receive a 1.3 percent COLA for 2021. The monthly average retirement benefit will be $1,543 in 2021, an increase of $20.

Employee and employer will each continue to pay 7.65% for Social Security and Medicare. Individuals making more than $200,000 in unearned income also pay an additional 0.9% in Medicare taxes. Maximum income for Social Security taxes will increase from $137,700 to $142,800 in 2021. There is no maximum on the Medicare portion.

Maximum earnings exemption increases. People receiving benefits who have not yet reached full retirement age and continue to work will see a modest increase in their earnings cap exemption, from $18,240/yr. to $18,960/yr. One dollar in benefits will be withheld for every $2 in earnings above that level. The exempt limit for those who work in the year they attain full retirement age goes from $48,600/yr to $50,520/yr in 2021 (($1 is withheld for every $3 over that limit). Beginning the month they hit full retirement age nothing is withheld.

For further reading:
Take our new 2020 Social Security IQ Test

Answers to our 2018 Social Security IQ Test

Posted by Admin on October 15th, 2020