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Best Retirement Stories of 2012

Category: General Retirement Issues

January 1, 2013 — This website covered a lot of editorial ground last year, thanks to feedback and suggestions from our members. It’s hard to pick the “best of 2012”, mainly because we can think of so many different ways to select them. Our traditional way to pick is to look for the most read Blog articles. That is certainly a good measure, but the results are fairly predictable. To broaden that approach we are introducing 3 other “best article” categories here: Most Commented Upon, Best Member Contribution, and Best Series. Hope you like our selections!

Most Read Articles of 2012
Our “Best” and “Worst” articles are always the most read of the year, and that certainly makes sense. The top 4 most read articles in 2012 were:
10 Worst States to Retire

100 Best Places to Retire

100 Most Popular Active Communities

10 Best States to Retire

Best Articles by Comments Generated
A better way to skin the popularity cat is to look at the articles that generated the most reader comments – after all, if the subject hit home hard enough to want to make our members type in a comment, it must be relevant! Here are the blog stories generating the most reader comments in 2012:

Tell Us Where You Are Going to Retire – And Where – Produced an amazing 617 comments full of anecdotes, opinion, and helpful advice

Worst States for retirement 2012 – 178 comments

Hop on the Jay Michaels Tour Bus in Pursuit of the Perfect Active Community This was a 2 part series, Part 1 generated 116 Comments

What is the Best Florida Region for Retirement – This 2 part article generated 96 Comments

Dueling Carolinas: South Carolina vs. North Carolina Comparison – We updated the original article in 2012, in all there are 95 comments

Your Editor Picks His 10 Best Places to Retire – 56 Comments

Have You Considered These Best Cities for Successful Aging – 56 Comments

Why the Villages is the Best Place for Len and Ann to Retire – 46 Comments

The Best and Worst Things About Your Retirement: Member Survey Results – 41 Comments

Member contributed stories.
Part of the fun of this website are the intriguing suggestions and contributed articles we get from our members. We also get to write about any topic we want, often using that as an excuse to self-educate on an important topic that we don’t really understand, like social security, Medicare, or Long Term Care Insurance.

We already mentioned the Jay Michaels article. Here are some of our other 2012 top picks in this category:
Retirement Reality Check by Betty Fitterman. We just loved the honest opinions and readable style in Betty’s 2 part article.

Latest Scouting Reports from Our Members – Carole contributed most of this article as Comments to the “Tell Us Where You Are Going to Retire” article – and then she added more!

Living the Cowboy Life in Retirement by Patricia Kennedy. Pat was kind enough to contribute a bunch of interesting retirement profiles last year, including her series on how to pick the right cruise. But the profile of her cowboy brother-in-law piqued a lot of interest!

Tip of the hat also to Artie, Betty and Jim, Billy and Akaisha Kaderli, Stephen Anderson, and many others who made such outstanding contributions to Topretirements during the year. Our apologies to anyone we might have overlooked. You can find their articles and more by exploring the “Categories” in our Blog.

Best Article Series
Reporting on the informative social security seminar led by Kurt Czarnowski made us realize how little we really understood about Social Security. That was enough to make What You Don’t Know About Social Security Might Hurt You our favorite series article of the year. In all the 3 part series generated over 60 Comments

Comments? So what were your favorite articles about retirement in 2012 – on this site or any other? What do you wish we had reported on? Please let us all know in the Comments section below.

Posted by Admin on January 1st, 2013


  1. I was wondering if you have ever done a profile of what retirement spots offer the best mass transit systems. My perception Is the Sun Belt states/locales are rather weak compared to NYC/DC/Boston etc.
    Any info will be appreciated.

    Editor: Thanks for taking the time to write with your suggestion. We haven’t really done what you are suggesting, but it might be interesting. Part of the issue is that only the biggest towns can afford to invest in mass transit.

    I tend to agree with you that NYC/DC/Boston/Chicago areas excel at mass transit. However a lot of towns elsewhere, especially in the sunbelt and west are trying. For example Miami has a great train system in south Florida if you are going north and south between towns. Phoenix, San Diego/LA, Denver, Seattle are all trying. San Francisco’s Bart is terrific. Light rail is popular as long as the money holds out to build it. When new stations open up it does wonders for local real estate. We will think about doing an article about this. Meanwhile i think i will post your question as a comment to our “Best of ” article – maybe other folks can help us fill in the blanks about public transport in their towns!

    by Gene — January 3, 2013

  2. One factor I do not see discussed in your blogs is income. I would like to
    retire somewhere that at least some of the other retirees live on arouond $25k
    a year. Perhaps that means I cannot afford to move to a retirement community.
    If that is true, I will stop doing research.

    I have learned a lot from your blogs, but am no closer to finding a retirement home. The one representative that I talked to by phone seemed
    annoyed by the subject. “We do not sit around discussing each others’ income.” But beyond home cost, income determines social activities. I
    do not want a yacht or golf course. I would like to be near a lake and go
    swimming and biking. Is there anyplace between “luxurious” and recreational
    vehicle or trailer park?

    by Stephanie — January 4, 2013

  3. That is a wonderful questions as my husband and I are in the same situation …so any help out there?

    by Angela — January 5, 2013

  4. Rather than asking income, it is probably best to estimate costs including “home costs” insurance, taxes hoa’s etc. as well as foods, transportation, recreation, etc. This site is a good source of things that we often do not think about. It takes work and I understand that it is easier to find a few areas first and then fine tune. You may wish to find how the states are taxing your income whether SSI, pensions, 401k’s etc. That is fairly easy to find (look around Topretirement’s sit and search the rest of web), but there are no guarantees that they will not change. Good luck and share with us if you find some good places or ideas on searching. We all need help!

    PS Some mobile homes (with foundations) or manufactured homes are often less expensive and can be very nice. Of course, you will still need to estimate you costs and with many mobile home there is a land lease.

    by eric — January 5, 2013

  5. GENE: Great question. We are interested in places with good mass transit too so some info. on that would be great. ERIC, ANGELA & STEPHANIE: I think its important to find out about taxes on pensions and state taxes. As well, its important to factor in the costs of home ownership. Even if you can afford the mortgage/taxes/flood insurance/hazard home insurance monthly costs, there might be monthly or annual HOA – not to mention the cost of fixing something that breaks (think air conditioning/roof) and either shoveling snow or keeping the landscaping neat. On income: even though we are lucky enough to have excellent pension income we are already looking at planning ahead for when one of us is gone and our pension income is cut in half or less than half of what it is now. We don’t want to have to do this again when that happens. So along with wanting to find someplace where there is access to great social activities and doctors who take Medicare and good hospitals, we have to consider a reduced income when there’s only one left. We are trying to be practical about this stuff now, as we know it will happen at some point. Looking at all of this will help determine what you can afford and where that is, I believe. Hope you’ll share once you think you’ve found it…

    by Sheila — January 5, 2013

  6. Stephanie and Angela…comments right on the money. Eric and Shelia…great insight. Thank you for your candor and problem solving skill.

    by Shari — January 7, 2013

  7. My husband and I have started our search this year and discovered that same developer/home in different locations can be $30-50k different. We have had to rule out locations due to price point.

    by Vicki — January 8, 2013

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