March 14, 2021 — One thing about Florida, it’s bigger than you think. Google Maps, which assumes no one ever has to stop for gas or a health break, figures it takes 12 hours and 20 minutes to drive from Pensacola to Key West. Looking for a great Florida place to retire on that trip takes you through many very different areas. Today we will travel to Florida’s Atlantic Coast, which is loaded with best places to retire. Our tour will start north and move south. See list of our other regional retirement tours at end.
The east coast of Florida, which runs from the Georgia border and ends in Key West, is fairly uniform. Most towns here have two components: a barrier island with a beach town, and the main town and bigger residential developments located across a causeway on the mainland. Its many bays and inlets provide great boating and waterfront living. It is very flat and very low; coastal flooding is here and it is getting worse.
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.
March 6, 2021 — Thanks to the 300 people who took our Covid Vaccine Survey. Everyone in this community is in your debt for the few moments you donated to let us know about your vaccination trials and successes. Here are the results of the survey, with several surprises mixed in with findings that were more predictable.
It is also interesting to compare the results of this survey with a similar one we conducted last September. The biggest change from then to now is the new willingness to take the vaccine: while 29% of Members said in September they would not take the vaccine, only 2% in this latest survey said they would decline it. There is continued caution around willingness to eat inside a restaurant. Mask compliance around non-family members remains high, although at slightly lower levels than in our September survey.
The overwhelming majority of our Members want to get the shots, with only 2% saying they won’t get them. Almost half have already had two doses, with a third reporting they have had one dose.
Folks are evenly split about the difficulty or ease of getting the vaccine.
Finding out how and where to get their shots has not been easy – they have had to use a variety of sources to score them. This seems to confirm what most of us experienced: America’s vaccination effort has had a very chaotic start, with no central central clearing house either on the federal or state level.
Respondent generally rate their states as poor for fairness and information about how and where to get a shot, and this includes their websites. But the sites where the shots are being administered get high marks for convenience and customer service.
People report that their lives will change once they are fully vaccinated, but not in a huge way. Most said their lives would be “somewhat” improved, with “travel” being the activity they most look forward to. Eating inside in a restaurant is still considered risky by most respondents, and mask wearing around non-family members will remain high.
Have You had your shot yet?
Yes, two doses
Yes, one dose
Had shot yet?
2. How difficult was it for you to get your shot?
3. How did find out how to get your vaccine appointment?
No one place dominated where people found out how to get their shots.
4. How would you rate your state’s handling of the vaccination rollout?
The aspect of the vaccine rollout that got the highest favorable ratings concerned the actual administration of the shot – “Got shot in convenient location” was rated highly, and “Customer Service” was off the charts. “Information on where to get a shot”, “Fairness to all”, and Statewide websites were the lowest rated aspects.
5 and 6. States doing a Great job with vaccinations; those doing a Poor job:
There were a number of write-ins for states doing great or poorly with vaccine administration. Almost every state was mentioned for one or the other, with most getting both good and bad ratings (Florida had an equal number for both). One state that did garner mostly positive reviews was Connecticut.
7. How much will your life change once you have had both doses of the vaccine?
The answers to this question were a little surprising; we thought that more people would say a “great deal”. Perhaps that means that people have become accustomed to life in a pandemic, and have found ways to maintain normal activities.
A great deal
8. What one or two activities are you looking forward to the most once you become immunized?
Again, we were a little surprised that visiting grandchildren was not rated higher on this question. It could be that travel and visiting grandchildren are correlated, or it is possible that many people either don’t have grandchildren, or they live nearby.
Eating at an indoor restaurant
Going to the gym
9. Once you have had the vaccine, will you eat inside at a restaurant this summer?
Back in September we asked this question slightly differently, but the outcome is roughly similar. Back then 47% said they would go to a restaurant, but 28% said they would only do it if they could eat outdoors there.
10. Once vaccinated, will you wear a mask around non-family members through this summer? It appears that willingness to wear a mask all of the time around non-family members will go down slightly once people are fully vaccinated. Back in September 49% said they would wear masks all of the time around non-family members.
All of the time
Most of the time
Only if indoors
Some of the time
11. If you plan on flying in the next few months, what precautions will you take?
Air travel does not appear to be in the immediate plans of our survey takers.
Don’t plan on flying
Mask and face shield
12. Once you are vaccinated, will you feel comfortable being around non-vaccinated people.
Caution and uncertainty remains about being around other people, even if everyone has been vaccinated. It seems like it might take a while for the world to return to normal and all aspects of this pandemic are better understood.
Comments: See the Blog article inviting participation in the survey (it’s not too late to fill it out!) for more comments about Covid vaccinations. If you have more thoughts about it or your coronavirus experience, please post them in the Comments section below.
March 3, 2021 — The problem with retirement is that there really isn’t a school for it. One day you are working, and the next day you could have twenty or even thirty years ahead of you with no plan as to how and where you are going to fill them. To help with that vacuum we developed an Online Retirement 101 Preparation Course two years ago. It started with an Introductory Module and since then has grown steadily, it is now up to 10 Modules and growing.
You can begin the course anytime, but preferably start before you retire, so you have time to prepare and take action. You can take the modules sequentially or in any order that fits your needs.
It contains a brief overview and discussion of most of the topics you need to be familiar with before you retire, along with an exercise you and/or your partner or spouse can fill out. It also contains links to the other nine modules in the series. One of those you might want to take right away is Module 4: Retirement Preparation Quiz. There is even an extra module that provides explanations of the questions and answers.
Here are the 10 Modules in the Retirement 101 Series:
February 25, 2021 – By now most of the Topretirements audience has probably had a chance to get at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine. Please take our quick survey of how that experience went for you. There are just a few questions on how you found out where to get your shot, how good a job your state did on that, and how your life and activities might change once you have been administered both doses and your immunity is established.
February 23, 2021 — Want to know the active adult and 55+ communities Topretirements visitors are interested in learning about? We sure do, so we went through our user logs for the last 12 months, using them to identify the retirement communities that received the most online visits on this site. You will find the top 20 below – with many surprises mixed in with some sure things. Best of all, it is an interesting list with communities of all types from all over the country. That makes us happy, because it just not the same names all over again. Instead, there are many new communities for people to consider. Two of the winners are advertisers on this site, the rest are not.
Top 20 Active Communities for 2021
The Villages – Central Florida. Just about everybody has about this giant community. It spans 3 counties, has of over 120,000 residents, virtually every kind of amenity, and hundreds of clubs. 2000
February 22, 2021 — Seventy five years ago last summer GIs from America and around the world starting returning home after fighting WWII. It didn’t take them long to resume normal life, where they quickly produced a wave of newborns the likes of which had never been seen before – the baby boom. Fast forward to 2021, where we are beginning to celebrate the seventy-fifth birthdays of that first crop of baby boomers. Happy birthday everybody.
We don’t know what it was like in your elementary school classrooms, but in ours the impact of the baby boom was immediate and obvious. Our older sisters, created on shore leave, arrived in 1944 and 1945. Their classrooms had half the number of pupils of our 1946 born brother, and every other class after that. Our classrooms were jammed with kids.
February 16, 2021 — Last week on this Blog we posed the question, “How Much Is Enough for Retirement“. So when we came across this new study on the cheapest and most expensive places to retire from NetCredit, it seemed like the perfect follow-up.
As most retirees in the US or UK are figuring out, retiring in their own country means they are going to need over half a million dollars in the bank to do it comfortably. If that sounds unreasonable, then retiring abroad might be the next best option. NetCredit’s new study crunched the numbers to find out what it would cost to retire comfortably in (almost) every country around the world.
February 15, 2021 — By far the two most popular states for retirement are Arizona and Florida. Choosing between them can be hard, there are so many factors to consider. Both have warm winters in most of the state, but beyond that the field is open. Many people in the western half of the U.S. choose the Grand Canyon State for retirement, while in the East Florida is the more convenient choice. But there thousands of exceptions to that, for multiple reasons.
We have just updated our ever-popular Dueling Retirement States article comparing Arizona to Florida. Here in one place you can analyze and compare which one might be more appealing to your retirement situation. Best of all, you can enjoy and learn from the 220 (and growing) Comments made by our Members and visitors.
February 8, 2021 — If there was ever a perplexing question it is this one – how much is enough for a comfortable retirement? The short answer is – more than you probably think! The long answer starts with the fact that most people haven’t thought enough about their own situation to come up with a reasonable answer. Once you understand how your expenses match up with your income, then you can start to know how much you need for retirement.
People tend to underestimate several key components of the expense side – like how long they will live and what their medical costs will be, and forget about unexpected expenses like replacement roofs, worn out cars and AC systems, and assistance to family members. They also tend to have a vague idea about their income sources, and overestimate how long their savings will last. Much also depends on your lifestyle – you can live within almost any budget if you match expenses to your income, although it might be hard and require lifestyle changes.
So the first thing to do when trying to calculate how much you need for retirement is get a realistic handle on your budget – matching income to expenses. Income is fairly easy for most people to calculate, while expenses are harder. The expense side of the equation can vary widely, depending on your lifestyle, which fortunately you can modify.
Step #1: Figure Out Your budget (this applies to everyone!).
Until you have a good idea of what your retirement expenses will be and how they match up to your income, you can’t really start planning. It is a critical step to head off what could be a disaster – running out of money way before you or your significant other check out of this world. This budget worksheet in csv format contains most of the items you need to consider when developing a budget, and you can customize it to fit your needs.