December 15, 2020 — We are pleased to announce the winners for the “Best Retirement Planning Articles” of 2020. The criteria for this first ever award are that the writing is thoughtful, timely, interesting, and helpful to retirees and prospective retirees. We tried to concentrate on more practical topics and avoided Top 10 lists, as they are ubiquitous and sometimes a little silly. Our hope is that you will enjoy and learn from these great examples of writing about retirement planning.
To come up with the winners we reviewed retirement-related articles on the main websites that we use for collecting retirement ideas. Those include: The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, MarketWatch, NextAvenue, Squared Away Blog, AARP, Robert Powell at TheStreet.com, The Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, etc. We also looked through Topretirements.com for 2020 articles that were inspired by reporting at other media outlets. We tried to choose from a variety of these sources to spread the glory around. As few of these sites are behind a pay wall, so we have tried to provide permalinks. In some cases, however, you might not be able to read the article unless you subscribe. Real, honest journalism is under siege from sources that will make up anything outrageous to get readers, so please support organizations like these that rely on the facts and honest data.
Wall Street Journal – Will Coronavirus Inspire Multigenerational Living. This article by Katy McLaughlin explores how a growing phenomenon – multiple generations living under the same roof or on the same property – is exploding because of the pandemic. It has a lot of good ideas and food for thought.
Wall St. Journal – Do You Have to Be Active in Retirement. Glenn Ruffenach is a columnist at the Journal who regularly writes about retirement and is always thought provoking. This column is a good example, and in it he makes the point that there is no “right” or “typical” retirement, there is really only “your” retirement. The same column also discusses survivor benefits.
Trulia – Attack of the Killer HOA Fees. Mark Uh did a splendid job tracking down information and data on one of the most elusive topics in retirement – HOA fees. He has included useful facts like how fees compare by the size and age of the development, along with regional and state differences.
NY Times – How to Be an Expat in 2020. A lot of people dream of an inexpensive, luxurious retirement in another country. If only it were that simple. Lana Bortolot has written a wonderful article for anyone thinking about joining the approximately 8 million Americans living abroad. She shares figures on where different categories of expats are most likely to move (e.g.; retirees are more likely to go to Ecuador and Costa Rica than millennials), resources that can help, and descriptions of how individual retirees are doing in places like Barcelona.
MarketWatch – Will Recession Douse the FIRE Movement. Tanja Hester takes on the ever-popular FIRE Movement and how it might be affected in a prolonged downturn. For those caught up in the dream of hitting their “number” and saying goodbye to the working world, this article is essential food for thought as we enter difficult times.
NY Times -Will Pandemic Lead Many Into Early Retirement. Mark Miller takes retirees through the complicated issues that anyone nearing retirement should be studying. Through his research and interviews from experts and real people, Miller does an excellent job of presenting people with what they need to be prepared for before they pull the retirement trigger.
NerdWallet.com – Planning for a Long Life. We have read several of Liz Weston’s articles and they are always well-written, carefully researched, and thoughtful. In this one, which was syndicated in many media outlets, she goes through many of the complex and inter-related factors that affect longevity, and whether your savings might keep you comfortable until the end. Everyone should read it to understand that there is a lot going into the “how long will you money last” equation; you cannot afford to miscalculate.
NY TImes – Social Security Looked Like a Future Problem. The topic of Social Security’s future is one that we think more people need to focus on. In this article Tara Siegel Bernard goes through the problems that pandemic-related job and income loss might mean for the future of Social Security. Although a booming economy had helped delay the day when benefits might have to be cut, a recession is not going to help. Now that the election is over, it remains to be seen if anyone plans on tackling the problem.
NextAvenue – Long Term Realities of Being Childless. Gary M. Stern points out that every couple that does not have children is unique. They face different issues, their health might differ, their resources are unique, as well as their dreams. In his profiles of real couples the issues childless couples face become clear, and the importance of planning for this often neglected segment is highlighted. NextAvenue also had a great article on learning in retirement – 60 Year Curriculum for Learning by Richard Eisenberg.
SquaredAway Blog – Unexpected Costs of Retirement Can Be Big. SquaredAway generates many helpful articles every month; this one reports on an article by James Poterba and Steven Venti: “Financial Well-being in Late Life: Understanding the Impact of Adverse Health Shocks and Spousal Deaths.” Death of a spouse, a bad health diagnosis, adult children with problems – those are just some of the issues that most retirees don’t consider when they are planning for their retirement – at their peril.
What great retirement articles have you seen? Once again, we certainly missed some great reporting and apologize for the omissions. If you read an article about some aspect of retirement planning that deserved attention here, please let us know in the Comments section below. We are also taking ideas for next year too!