August 27, 2019 — Seven seems to be the magic number when it comes to sacraments, dwarfs, and deadly sins. In this article we will pose our seven retirement sins – the worst mistakes you can make in retirement – the kind of error that can ruin even the most carefully thought out retirement. We hope you will add your own ideas for sins – based on your own experience.
Retire too early. Sure, many people have it in their head to retire as soon as they can. For many it is a good move, for others it is a disaster. By working longer you can save more money, have to finance fewer years with your savings, and increase your Social Security benefits. Even if you do have enough money to retire you might still not be happy. Which leads us to the next point. SEE MORE BLOG POSTS
August 6, 2019 — Perhaps the most fundamental question you face in retirement is to move or not. You might be considering retiring from the midwest, for example, to the Sunbelt. Or from the suburbs to a city or active adult community. You decision might not mean moving far; perhaps just relocating to a more age-appropriate home in the area where you live now. Whatever you decide, we think that if you are going to do a good job of retiring, you need to answer the question.
As for where to retire, that is mostly what this site is about. We’ve written all kinds of articles about the possibilities, with reviews of thousands of towns and communities to explore. So in this one we are going to try to answer some of the questions that might come up as you think about whether you should move or not. (Thanks to Jeanette Pavini of TheStreet.com for posing these questions we answered in an article at TheStreet.com)
Q: How should someone determine if they should stay in their current home/location to retire, or if they should consider moving?/
A: As we said up top, this is a hugely important question for retirees. The type of home you live in and where it is located can have a profound impact on your retirement lifestyle. Most people are comfortable living where they have always lived, so it is a big deal to consider moving. There is hassle, expense, and the fear and uncertainty of moving to the unknown. Your social life will be majorly affected.
April 22, 2019 — Have you been wondering how your retirement investments and strategies stack up to other people in your situation? Do you make the same types of investments as others… use a financial advisor… think you saved enough? Well, thanks to the almost 500 members who took the time to contribute their valuable data and insights to last week’s “The State of Your Retirement Portfolio” survey, you will know the answers to a lot of these questions. Special thanks to all contributors to the survey – we appreciate you giving back to this community!
As promised, here is a detailed report on the survey. It includes a link to 100 interesting Member comments to the survey. And you will find a list of all our previous survey reports at the end of the article.
Background This is the second time we have asked for data about your retirement investments and expectations. Here are the highlights from the most recent 14 question poll, with comparisons to the 2015 survey results when available. Detailed findings for each question are listed below that.
February 28, 2019 — We thought it would be a good idea to have a central page where all of the various Modules in our Retirement Planning 101 Course would be listed. So here is that list. As new modules are produced we will include them here. When we produced Module 1 (Introduction) you generated a raft of suggestions for the course. Here is a “Summary of Course Suggestions“.
The course is free and can be taken in almost any order (after Module 1). There are many interactive features and homework assignments. Module 4, for example, is an online quiz that will give you a score on your retirement preparation.
Comments, anyone: We would love to hear your comments and suggestions on the course, including what should (and perhaps should not) be included in the course. See also the “Many comments Made So Far” in this article .
February 20, 2019 — By now you have hopefully taken our online “Retirement Preparation Quiz” and seen your score. If you haven’t, you can take it here. Please realize that the original passing score (70%) was chosen subjectively – your opinion of the state of your retirement preparation is undoubtedly better than ours. We hope that by presenting the questions and reasons for the correct answers you can increase your understanding of retirement preparation. Note that for most of the questions we have provided a link to an article on that topic so you can explore it in greater detail.
Notes about the results
Almost 1100 people had taken the quiz as of Feb. 26. The average score for everyone taking the test was about 69%. That prompted us to lower the “passing” grade to 60% (from 70%), since many of the factual questions were difficult. In addition, for some of the questions that had more than 2 choices (e.g.; yes, no, somewhat) more than one answer might be considered acceptable. We have posted the percentage (%) of people who got each question right next the correct answers.
The questions that were most often missed were #3 and #8. Number 3 asked which of three investments had the best guarantee of income. Only 39% selected the “correct” answer, annuity, probably because people didn’t realize the key word was “income”, and assumed we meant “return”. Number 8, age of breakeven for delaying SS until age 70, was answered correctly by only 34%. We can see why, because not all experts agree on the consensus answer of 81-82. All of the questions we asked about progress on preparation and/or discussion with spouse/family members had strong results, usually 80% or better. That is good news, indicating that there is a lot of planning and discussing going on. Somewhat distressing were the responses to questions 9 and 10 on wills and health care directives. Almost one third of quiz takers do not have one or the other of those, so it is time for them to get busy on those important tasks. Only about half (53%) have spent time thinking about “late” retirement. The questions with the highest % of correct answers were those that had to do with planning on what type of community or home they want to live in – 90% or more said they had.
Question 01 What is the average life expectancy of a woman and a man aged 65 years?
90 and 86
87 (woman) and 84 (man) – Correct (64%)
80 and 77
Comment: If you manage to live to the age of 65 you still have a long way to go – on average! This is a good thing to know when you consider when to take Social Security and budget your retirement – outliving your money is not pleasant. (Note: We added the age of a woman to this question following a Member suggestion).
We had proposed 17 different potential modules for the course. The idea was that people could take as many as they felt they needed for their retirement planning preparation. The comments contained solid endorsement and/or additional ideas on six of our seventeen. But even better, you suggested seven topics we hadn’t thought of, and all of them were interesting. Another way to look at these suggestions is that they are a great reflection of people’s concerns about retirement – the topics that keep people up at night!
The new topics that got the most interest were “retiring without a lot of money”, “being single in retirement”, “loneliness and social relationships in retirement”, and “the family bind/sandwich/family relationships”. Interesting that so many have to do with the social aspect of retirement, a topic that gets overlooked in retirement planning. We have selected some of the representative suggestions below (and as you will see, they were great!). Of course, we welcome more ideas for the series too!
January 1, 2019 — We’ve heard it said before that new parents shouldn’t have their new babies released to them until they have passed a child rearing class. Something similar might be said for retirees – retirement is far too important a project to undertake without some education and training. With that said we are undertaking a multipart online training class on retirement preparation. As we imagine it, this online course will be good for people to take years before they actually pull the retirement trigger. We also hope is that it might provide refresher training for those who are already enjoying their retirements. Please let us know what you think of the idea!
At this point we are not sure how many modules the course will contain – that will determined by your reactions. The course will have several elements that we hope you find fun and helpful. For example, the Comments sections will include some discussion questions. There might be some simple assignments like filling in checklists, or drafting a note to your partner outlining some part of your retirement dream. And there will be at least a couple of quizzes you can fill out online and check how well you are doing. If you complete the course you can send us a note and we will send you a “Certificate of Completion” for your edification.
December 19, 2018 — Retirement is not always perfect, even for the people who are the most prepared for it. Our Member surveys indicate that most of the people who visit this website are very satisfied with their retirement, but there is almost always room for improvement. So when saw a recent survey from Global Atlantic that listed the top three retirement regrets, we were curious. Particularly, we wanted to compare the regrets in that survey with the results from our own surveys, asking about retirement satisfaction. After you read our comparison we hope you will all provide us comments about your retirement regrets and concerns (as well as what is great about it)!
The survey from Global Atlantic was concerned mostly with financial regrets. Our surveys were broader than that, exploring all types of concerns and worries, not just financial. Note that there is a semantic differences between regrets and concerns, although both have negative connotations. Regrets seem to be about the past, and concerns/worries are more present and future.
December 5, 2018 — This is Part 2 of our report on our recent Snowbird Survey. Part 1, “Florida is Favorite Snowbird Destination“, contained the detailed results on the survey’s first 9 questions. This installment is mostly made up of verbatim comments detailing where people snowbird to, and how they get there. Because these are actual comments from real people on this issue, we think you will find it a great source of ideas and comparisons to your own thoughts and experiences.
This article has three sections: Section 1 will start will overall observations, Section 2 is a sampling of 351 overall comments made to Question 10, “Anything More to Say”, and Section 3 has a link to all 166 comments made to Question 8, “How Hard Was It to Find a Place to Snowbird”.
Section 1: Observations Driving vs. Flying. More people drive to their snowbird destination than fly; the ratio is about 3 to 1 in favor of driving. Top reasons for driving include: having a car at the destination, more room for stuff, taking pets, and visiting/exploring on the way are . Avoiding a multi-day, long drive is a top reason for flying. Many people who fly either keep a car at the destination, or have the car driven down.
East vs. West snowbirds. As is usually the case with Topretirements surveys, the majority of our audience is east coast based, mostly from the Northeast or Midwest. Although there were some folks who cross the Mississippi to either (more…)
November 26, 2018 — Thanks to the almost 700 members who generously contributed their insights to last week’s “Snowbird” poll. We appreciate you sharing! As promised, here in Part 1 is our first detailed report on the summary for each question. Part 2 features a compilation of the most popular snowbird pairings (where our Members say they want to snowbird to, and from where), along with how they get there and other details of their migrations.
Highlights Your input confirms many of our pre-conceived opinions, along with some surprises. For example, it is not news that the top snowbird destination states are Florida, Arizona, and South Carolina – in that order. But we were surprised by how many people have a reverse migration pattern; they pack up and go somewhere cooler in the summer. One Member called himself a “sweatbird”, “shadebird” might be another handle!