November 9, 2021 — A happy retirement is something people look forward to with great anticipation. But just what are the keys to a successful retirement; the things you can do to maximize your happiness and enjoy the fruits of all of those years working? In this article we will try to uncover the secrets that others have used to make their retirements live up to their expectations. We hope our readers will add more ideas from their own experience in the Comments section.
8 keys to retirement succes
Be prepared financially. In poll after poll, the number one fear retirees have is running out of money. So don’t pull that retirement trigger until you have saved the number that will ensure a secure retirement. If that means lining up a part time job, downsizing, or moving to a more affordable home or location, take those steps before you turn in your notice. To help with that, make sure you have developed a realistic budget that balances income and expenses to backup your decision.
October 6, 2021 — The results of last week’s survey on snowbirds are in. Many thanks to the community spirited folks that filled it out! While we can all speculate about snowbird behavior, it is satisfying and interesting to find out what people like you do in the real world. The results are roughly consistent with our 2018 survey on this topic, which had a much larger response rate. You can compare those results as well as find a link to Part 2 of that report, which lists ideal snowbird pairings and many comments from people who snowbird, here.
Most of the people who completed it are snowbirds, which reflects a natural interest in the topic. The results show a great variety of when people leave for the winter and how long they stay. Some of the most interesting results were comments about how people found their winter place, and how Covid has affected their plans. We have summarized the results for each question below, which we hope might be useful in your own snowbirding lives.
Will you go somewhere warm this winter (be a snowbird), and for how long.
Most of the people taking the survey were snowbirds. There were roughly equal numbers who will go away for periods from 1 to six month. One fourth plan on snowbirding for less than a month.
September 28, 2021 — Among retirees a popular conversation starter is always – where, when, if, and how you are going somewhere warm for the winter season. We are curious about your plans for this winter, including if Covid has had any impact on your plans. Please take this very short, 8 question survey. We will report on it in detail in next week’s newsletter. Thanks for your insights!
September 24, 2021 — Retirement is a modern concept. Not that long ago you worked until you dropped, or couldn’t do the job. The invention of pensions changed that for many people. Then, when Social Security started paying benefits in 1937, retirement became possible for almost everyone.
Until recently, once you retired you lived where you always did, moved in with your children, or, when you could no longer take care of yourself, transitioned to an old folks or nursing home. The landscape changed mightily in 1960 when Sun City opened with its active adult lifestyle and extensive amenities. Suddenly the idea of having fun in retirement became popular, and ever since people have been figuring out new ways to enjoy retirement.
Co-housing, Continuing Care Retirement Communities, and 55+ communities all have their devotees. But most of the innovation has come from the retirement industry, whose retirement offerings are geared to put money in their coffers when you buy into their dream.
September 15, 2021 – Members in a recent Topretirements poll gave us their number 1 considerations for choosing a place to retire. Atop the list by a large margin was climate, followed by affordability, being near friends and family, and good medical. Much further down the list were taxes and political environment.
These are all important things to think about when choosing a place to retire. But there are other, less obvious considerations that are even more critical. Here are 5 overlooked considerations that we think deserve special attention.
Do you really know the area where you about to relocate?
“Rose”, who retired to Myrtle Beach (SC), listed a perfect example of this situation in our recent poll: “Never retire where you like to visit. There are so many tourists and so much traffic it is unbearable. There is very little here that I was looking for, such as classes and like minded people.”
September 9, 2021 — Thanks to the 300+ folks who responded to last week’s instant poll, which asked what your #1 reason for choosing a place to retire would be. Although we realize most people have multiple factors affecting their choice, the poll tried to identify the single most important. By a large margin that turned out to be: “warm weather or other climate”. The results are shown below, and beneath that we have included some of the more interesting comments that were made on the topic. (Note: You can still take the instant poll and comment on it as well).
It was no big surprise that “affordable” came in second, followed by “lifestyle”, “near friends and family”, and then “near good medical”. “Low taxes” might be included in what people think of as affordable, but we were happy that that factor alone wasn’t what most people base their retirement location decisions on. We think retirement should be fun, so going for good weather and lifestyle is OK in our book.
Comments from Members: We loved the comments made to this article. Rose’s was one of our favorites, in which she lamented retiring to the loved vacationing in(Myrtle Beach). When she retired there she realized it had a lot of traffic and a shortage of like minded people. Several people were interested in looking for a nice college town with cultural opportunities, while others mentioned that good medical care was up there as an important consideration (and many college towns do have medical schools with hospitals). Sue was looking to avoid extremes – particularly political and climate ones. Weather and climate was echoed by several as the thing to look for. Ellen started her list with low taxes and affordability, then good medical. Tim thinks he is a “climate change refugee”, considering moving from the Pacific Northwest to get away from the smoke and fires.
Bottom line: There are many great reasons for choosing a place to retire, and just about everyone has a different point of view. The point is, knowing what you are looking for will greatly increase your chances of finding it! If you have more thoughts about this topic, please share them in the Comments section below. Plus, if you have other ideas for our instant poll, please share that too!
For further reading and a list of previous surveys:
August 30, 2021 — We’re curious – if you had to pick one, most important reason why you would pick a place to retire (or already did), what would that be? We realize most people probably have several overlapping criteria that go into their decision, but if you had to pick one – what would that be? You can answer the question right here and then see what everyone else is saying right away. If you select “Other”, please let us know what that is in the Comments section below. Thanks for participating – can’t wait to see the results.
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.
March 23, 2021 — Whew, you finally figured out your retirement. You know where you are going to retire, what you are going to do everyday, and how you are going to pay for it all. Congratulations!
But before you get too complacent, there is an important part of your retirement plan that you might not have considered – how that plan might change if you survive into your 80s and 90s (and we hope you do!). In this article we will first talk about the key issues that need to considered in what is called forward planning, and then provide comments from Topretirements members about their planning for long term retirement.
At 65 or 70 most of us feel pretty good and are able to do most of the things we have always done. Our health might not be perfect, but we are getting along OK. Unfortunately, this won’t always be the case, even though most people don’t ever consider that. Our health can change in an instant – cancer, heart problem, Covid long term symptoms, stroke, or an accident. Even if we escape those scourges, old age is inevitable. If we are lucky, it will happen, and diminished faculties will come along with it. Sound long range retirement planning acknowledges this and takes steps to best manage it. Most importantly, taking forward planning into account early in the process can lead to a much more sensible retirement plan, one with fewer mistakes and do-overs.
The major long term retirement issues
These are some of the big long term retirement issues to consider. There are undoubtedly more, and we look forward to your comments and suggestions.
Health. Most of the problems that come with old age are health related. So beyond taking good care of ourselves, we need to recognize we will probably need a lot of medical care as we age. Choosing a retirement location with easy access to high quality medical care is therefore important. Living on a lake might be appealing, but if it is 100 miles from a big hospital and we have a big emergency or require treatment for a chronic condition, it is not such a good choice.
March 9, 2021 — It is a perennial question that affects just about everyone – when is the best time to retire? Sometimes one has no choice in the matter, such as airline pilots or military personnel who reach a maximum age or length of service. Others are laid off from a job in one’s late 50’s or 60’s, before they wanted to stop working. Fortunately many of us get to choose when we retire. But answering that question is never easy.
Our friend Robert Powell just wrote a fabulous article on “What Is the Right Age to Retire“. He outlines the major questions that need to be answered, which we will touch on here and add a few of our own.
Are you ready to FIRE?
The FIRE movement (Financial Independence Retire Early) has many adherents. They are mainly people who want to quit working as soon as they can, and they take amazing steps to save enough money to do that. It has its pitfalls and its triumphs, but it is clearly not for everyone. Certainly amassing enough money to be able to retire is a comfortable place to be. Whether you believe in FIRE or not, if you won’t have enough money to live on comfortably, you are not at the right age to retire.