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 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!
January 13, 2020 — Many thanks to the over 400 members who took the time to contribute their valuable insights to last week’s “Retirement Happiness” survey, We appreciate your spirit of giving back to this community!
As promised, here is a detailed report on the survey. We’ve included links to hundreds of interesting Member responses to various questions – they are definitely worth reading to get a better understand happiness and retirement. At the end of the article you will find a list of reports to all our previous surveys.
Background This is the first time we have surveyed on your retirement happiness. Here are the highlights from the 18 question poll. Detailed findings the questions are listed below that.
January 7, 2020 — We are conducting a quick poll here on this Blog and in our Best Places Newsletter. The question is:
Did you make a New Year’s Resolution this year?
Please answer Yes or No in the Comments section below. And if you care to comment on how you did on last year’s, or if you love or hate the whole idea, feel free to share. We will be adding a tally in this article as the votes come in.
December 29, 2019 — What makes for a happy retirement… and what are the factors that drive the not so good ones? We would love to find out more about that dynamic. Plus, get a base level reading on just how happy the Topretirements Membership is. So please help us all out by taking a few minutes to complete this quick survey on Retirement Happiness. We promise a full report in the next few weeks, it should be very interesting.
Nov. 12, 2020 — The standard Part B monthly premium amount in 2020 will be $144.60, up $9.10 from 2019. Most people will pay the standard Part B premium amount. If you modified adjusted gross income as reported on your IRS tax return from 2 years ago is above a certain amount, you’ll pay the standard premium amount and an Income Related Monthly Adjustment Amount (IRMAA). IRMAA is an extra charge added to your premium.
If your yearly income in 2018 (for what you pay in 2020) was
November 4, 2019 — Last year about three million older people sought emergency room treatment for injuries sustained in falls. About 1 out of 3 people over 65 had a serious fall. We’ve all heard tales of older people (that is getting to be us!) whose lives were changed, irrevocably, for the worst after a big fall. A broken hip or pelvis can mean the end of an active life.
So what are you doing to stay agile, flexible, and strong so you don’t suffer a fall, or not seriously hurt if you do? If you say you are doing nothing, that is a problem, because you might be headed for a …. fall.
How well are you aging tests
Doctors and therapists have a number of tests that measure how people are aging. One of them claims to be an excellent predictor of your chances of dying within 6 years. See Today Show Video
October 8, 2019 — The results are in from the 555 people (so far!) who took the Medicare IQ test. We are thankful to all those intrepid souls: we are impressed with your solid grasp of most Medicare essentials. The test represents good timing, because this year’s Medicare Open Enrollment period begins next week (Oct 15) and runs through Dec. 7. During this time you can freely change plans without losing coverage. Didn’t take the quiz yet – here is the link to the Medicare IQ Quiz.
For learning purposes here is a question by question review of the quiz, along the scores by question. We arbitrarily set a passing grade of 60%, but the average score was just over 71%. Almost everyone understood the basic questions, such as the difference between Part A and Part B of Medicare. But three questions in particular tripped up about half of the people taking the quiz. Those questions involved the fine points of when you can sign up for Medicare (Question 10), which Medigap or Medicare Advantage Plan has the smallest deductible and copays (Q 11), and what events are covered under a Special Enrollment Period (Q 12).
Question 1: At what age are you eligible to Medicare on your own earnings record?
Some 82% answered correctly that the age to do this is 65. Wrong answers were 62 and 66.
October 8, 2019 — Stopped at the intersection, the light turned green. Your editor pushed on the bike pedals, ready to pass the tourist couple in front, who were wobbling to a start on their tandem bicycle. Except there they went, quickly gaining distance and fading away. Puzzled, I finally figured out they were on an eBike – a new category of bikes assisted by a battery powered motor. These new products are rapidly attracting a whole new group of people to biking.
Electric bikes have several big advantages:
Great for people who live in hilly country or on a big hill. They have just enough assist to make you not dread starting out your ride or finishing with a monster climb.
More fun for everyone. Our friend Brian and his wife just got back from a trip to Boulder, Colorado. With power assisted electric bikes their rental bike outings were fun for both of them – she could keep up without becoming exhausted, and he could pedal as hard as he wanted. Routes with big hills, which before they would have tried to avoid, were no problem for either of them.
Commute without getting sweaty. If you are working or going to a social event in hot weather an eBike can get you there without you needing a shower once you arrive.
Medicare can be awfully confusing. Take this quick quiz and you’ll find out just how much you know about this powerful benefit. You’ll get a score and the right answers, plus in the next few days we’ll have an article with a detailed explanation of all of the answers.