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Cresswind Charleston is Charleston-area's BEST active adult lifestyle community. Cresswind inspires active adults to live life to the ful...

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Some Snowbirds Not Taking Wing This Winter

Category: Uncategorized

December 2, 2020 — While up north there has already been plenty of snow and ice, that doesn’t mean that all the snowbirds have taken flight to warmer climes. The Covid pandemic seems to have clipped the wings of a significant number of people in the northeast, midwest, and Canada, as reported in the South Florida Sentinel, which recently published an article interviewing officials in communities and the tourist industry. Although precise figures are hard to come by, it is clear that not everyone is going to come south. The article’s conclusions line up with results from the Topretirements Blog article on snowbirding this winter, which generated 29 comments.

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Posted by Admin on December 1st, 2020

Hackers Have a New Target: Your Retirement Accounts

Category: Financial and taxes in retirement

January 28, 2020 — Having tried to cheat you out of your money in dozens of other ways, hackers are now targeting retirement accounts. Unfortunately it can be very easy for them, and even worse than that, you might not get your money back if they steal it.

With retirement funds being one of their biggest assets, the stakes are huge for retirees.  This article will review some of the best ideas for protecting your accounts.

Email is the way most hackers use to break into your accounts. The usual methods include tricking you into downloading something, asking you to provide personal information to “solve a problem” with your account, or leading you to a dangerous site. The email might seem real and alarming, telling you there is a problem with your account.

A big problems is that the scammer might already have some of your personal information, stolen from a compromised site and subsequently sold on the dark web.  They probably already have your username, email and password for one site. Betting that you reuse the same password or a close variant of it , they can keep plugging in various combinations and sooner or later hit pay dirt. 

4 things to protect your retirement account. 

Rule #1: If an email even looks even faintly suspicious, don’t open it up. Never reply with any personal information or click on a suspicious link.

#2: Read all your statements every month. Look for unusual activity and amounts or transactions you don’t recognize.  Call your provider immediately if you do.

#3: Have virus software on your computer. Inexpensive products such as those from Norton will alert you to suspicious web pages and block most malware and other dangers. Keep the software up to date.

#4: Use different passwords for different sites – never reuse the same one. That way if one of your accounts is compromised you can contain the damage. Use a password manager to generate and/or store your passwords – Roboform and Lastpass are two popular ones. The safest but also the clumsiest way is to write all of them down in a notebook that you hope doesn’t fall into the wrong hands. The worst plan is to try try to hide them somewhere on your computer. To simplify things you might combine nonsense words that you can remember easily, such as Catdogfish222. But you must mix things up or the hackers will figure out your system.

Comments?  Have you been hacked ?  If so, how bad was it, and what did you do to recover ?  What systems do you use to stay safe ?  Please share your experiences in the Comments section below.

For further reading: USA Today article by Paul Gores:  “Cybercrooks Targeting Retirement Accounts”

Posted by Admin on January 27th, 2020

Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period ends March 31

Category: Uncategorized

January, 2020 — One of confusing things about Medicare is that it has two different open enrollment periods. We are currently in the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period, which runs from Jan. 1 through March 31. We have previously written about the Medicare Open Enrollment period and which type of Medicare might be best for you.

The two enrollment periods cover different sets of actions, so it is important to understand the difference.

These periods are the times when you can sign up for, switch, or disenroll from various plans.

The current Medicare Advantage period allows actions, as the name would imply, pertaining to Medicare Advantage plans. If your plan didn’t turn out to be what you were looking for, or some other event in your life suggests a change, consider what you can and can’t do now.

Here is what can be done during the current period.

1. Change Medicare Advantage (MA) plan to another MA plan

2. Change MA Prescription Drug (MAPD) plan to another MAPD plan

3. Change your MA plan to make it a MAPD plan

4. Change MAPD plan so it is only a MA plan

5. Disenroll from MA or MAPD to Original Medicare and enroll in a Part D Plan

During this period you cannot:

1. Switch a Prescription Drug Plan (PDP) to a new PDP

2. Change from a Medicare Savings Account

3. Change from a Cost Plan (These plans are ending in several states).

There are Special Enrollment Periods that allow you to make changes to Medicare plans outside of the two open enrollment periods. Those include losing coverage, changing locations, and aging into Medicare.

Comments: Have you ever made changes to your Medicare coverage during one of these periods? If you are unhappy with your coverage or costs it might be worthwhile investigating at this time.

Posted by Admin on January 19th, 2020

BULLETIN: SOFTWARE GLITCH MIGHT HAVE UNSUBSCRIBED ALL Best Practices Newsletter SUBSCRIBERS!

Category: Uncategorized

BULLETIN: Software glitch unsubscribed you from our Weekly Best Places Newsletter!

We are sorry to burden you with this, but it appears that because of operator error and a badly designed interface, we accidentally UNSUBSCRIBED ALL of our weekly Best Places Newsletter subscribers! If you would like to continue getting THAT free newsletter, please send an email to jbrady@topretirements.com with the word “SUBSCRIBE” in the email. Thanks so much, we definitely don’t want to lose you!

PS – The only newsletter subscriptions affected are those for the weekly Best Practices newsletter. The Communities East, Communities West, and Daily Digest/Alert were not affected – no need to resubscribe to those.

Posted by Admin on January 9th, 2020

Most Popular Retirement Articles of 2019

Category: Retirement Planning

December 25, 2019 — It is always interesting to see what articles at Topretirements generate the most readership and comments. Out of 94 Blog articles written in 2019, these are the 10 most popular. Subjects range everywhere from 401(k) changes to the 7 Deadly Sins of Retirement. Let us know your favorites, along with any ideas for future topics you might us to tackle. To drill down on your areas of interest, you can always explore the Blog Categories on the right hand side of the page.

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Posted by Admin on December 25th, 2019

Who Can Have the Coolest Golf Cart

Category: Uncategorized

July 5, 2019 — What you drive says a lot about you. And if you live in a big retirement community where the preferred way of getting around is by golf cart, why not drive something that reflects your personality?

That is what is happening in places like The Villages,where many of its 120,000 residents are getting around in golf cars that look like Corvettes, Hummers, and even 18 wheelers. It has spawned a cottage industry that customizes them into all kinds of fantasies. While an ordinary golf cart might sell for $11,000, a specially tricked out version can go for $20,000 or more, some retired couples have two of them in their carports.

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Posted by Admin on July 5th, 2019

Older Facebook Users More Likely to Share Fake News

Category: Uncategorized

 January 18, 2019 – The good news is that the vast majority (90%) of Facebook users do not pass along articles that represent fake news. But the bad news is that people over 65 are seven times more likely than younger people to post about articles that are not factual.

The study was done by a group at Princeton University who studied the 2016 election campaign. They found that the Facebook users who shared the most fake stories were much more likely to be over the age of 65, and to be self-declared Republicans.

The authors of the study concluded that, just as older people are more likely to fall for financial scams, so they are open to manipulation by groups that publish stories on the web that are just not true.

What can you do? Regardless of party, the vast majority of people do not want to encourage or pass along false information, whether it comes from Russia, China, hate groups, or political partisans. We encourage you to have a critical eye towards everything you read online. Ask yourself, is this published by a media outlet that employs trained journalists committed to the truth, or on a website with little or no editorial oversight? Just about every news organization has some degree of bias, but bias is a lot different than publishing false information. So if you read something that seems sensational, give it the sniff test. You can use fact checking websites like snopes.com and factcheck.org to help you detect if something is true or not.

See The Best Fact Checking Websites

Older Facebook Users More Likely to Share Fake News

Posted by Admin on January 18th, 2019

What We Stand For

Category: Uncategorized

April 3, 2017 — Our recent article about the Proposed Obamacare Replacement Bill generated some consternation among some of our Members. We had a few emails and comments to the Blog that wished we had remained apolitical (and some more colorful). Many more people were probably upset but did not say anything. We appreciate getting all kinds of feedback, it is always helpful (if sometimes painful). With that in mind it seems like a good time to state what Topretirements.com stands for.

Here is what we say on our “About Us” page,.

Our goal at Topretirements.com is to help 78 million baby boomers make more informed decisions about key issues in retirement. That includes topics such as where to live and the reasons that should go into that decision. We also try to provide intelligent background information about important issues like Social Security, Medicare, how to survive retirement financially, as well as how to make the best of and enjoy your well deserved retirement. We hope this site is where real people share honest opinions about retirement in a supportive environment. Our message to retirees is: retirement gives you the freedom to start over fresh, so you might as well make informed decisions!

We do have an axe to grind in the retirement discussion; if you are a retiree or near-retiree we are rooting for you! If we see an issue that affects you, we will try to present you with objective facts from reputable sources. We will also occasionally give you a point of view – if we think a development is harmful or beneficial to you, we will say so. But if we do, it will be labelled as our opinion.

We hope this statement summarizes why we wrote the Healthcare article. We felt that the bill was going to hurt our audience of near retirees, and wanted to let you know the facts (yes, the facts, from authoritative sources with real journalists doing honest research, not political blogs with axes to grind). With the facts in hand you could make up your own minds.

Our biases might inadvertently creep in from time, and we apologize for that. But we won’t apologize for standing up for you when we think you need to know about an issue that affects you.

Thanks for being part of the Topretirements community – we appreciate your support.

Posted by Admin on April 2nd, 2017

Anchor Links Now Working in Daily Alert – Yeah!

Category: Uncategorized

March 17, 2017 — We have some good news for our many Daily Alert subscribers! When we switched from Aweber to Mailchimp to send out our e-newsletters, one of the casualties was anchor links. Here is an example that will explain anchor links. In the Daily Alert what was happening was when you clicked on a Blog Comment, the anchor link was supposed to take you directly to that Comment. Unfortunately on smart phones and iPads they weren’t working. Instead you were taken to the top of the Blog article – and that might mean you had to scroll down through hundreds of Comments to get to the bottom where that Comment was located. Thanks to our subscribers for mentioning the problem as well as to Jeff, our intrepid developer, for figuring this out and saving all our Daily Alert subscribers a lot of hassle.

Here is where you can Sign up for the Daily Alert.

Here is a screen shot (partial and reduced size) of what the Daily Alert looks like:

If you have any suggestions for the Daily Alert or any of our other newsletters, please let us know!

Posted by Admin on March 17th, 2017

Take Our Latest Quick Survey – What Kind of Community Are You Looking For?

Category: Uncategorized

October 29, 2016 — As most of our long term members realize, our periodic Member surveys are a treasure trove of interesting research and findings on wide-ranging aspects of retirement. So please invest 5 minutes to take our latest on “Retirement Living Preferences”. There are just 10 easy to answer multiple choice questions, and when you fill it out we will have an amazing info on how you feel about 55+ and other types of communities, types of housing, amenities, Home Owners Associations, and a lot more.

This survey is now closed. But here is where you can find our detailed analysis of the results for the more than 800 good people who completed it – “Walking Trails, Single Floor Living, and Social Interaction Dominate Our Community Survey Results“.

Thanks to everyone who contributed their time and thoughts to the survey!

Want to see our previous Survey Reports? Here is a link to All Previous Surveys.



Posted by Admin on October 28th, 2016