Social Security 2017 Update: Part 2

Category: Financial and taxes in retirement

June 26, 2017 — This is Part 2 of our “Social Security 2017 Update”. Here we will cover the changes to two popular SS claiming strategies that went into effect last year, and what you might do in response.

In Part 1 we explained how the Full Retirement Age (FRA) is gradually increasing for those born in 1955, eventually reaching age 67 for those born in 1960 or later. We also provided some strategies on how to make up for this delay and the slightly smaller benefits that come with it. Here is the link to Part 1, “What You Need to Know About Social Security in 2017“.

2 big changes to SS in 2016
Two Social Security claiming strategies went into effect on April 30, 2016 that changed (more…)

Posted by Admin on June 26th, 2017

How to Travel Alone and Love It

Category: Singles and Retirement

June 22, 2017 — You are retired now and all set to do that traveling you dreamed about. Europe, Patagonia, Japan, the Caribbean – there are some any exciting places in the US and the world to visit. But there is one problem, you don’t have a traveling companion, and you are worried about doing it by yourself. Sometimes you might be in a relationship, but your partner either doesn’t like to travel or cannot handle it physically. We would love to hear from our Members who have figured out answers to this challenge. But rather than not traveling because you don’t have a companion, here are three suggestions for how to do it:

In Antarctica

1. Travel with a group such as Roads Scholars (formerly Elderhostel). They have trips everywhere, and many of their customers are traveling solo. You might pay extra if you are not willing to have a roommate, but you will certainly meet people on your (more…)

Posted by Admin on June 21st, 2017

Midwestern Retirements Part 2: Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio

Category: Best Retirement Towns and States

June 21, 2017 – Welcome to Part 2 of our magical midwestern retirement tour. Here is the link to Part 1, which covered the Michigan part of our tour from its Upper Peninsula to Empire (near Traverse City).

From beautiful Empire we followed Route 22 south along the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. This is a pretty drive with frequent views of Lake Michigan and other lakes.

Scenic overlook

Muskegon has a big and busy commercial waterfront. According to our friends this small city of 38,000 is having a resurgence. Muskegon is the commercial center of this area, and this is where area residents come to shop and be entertained.

Muskegon near the waterfront

Grand Haven, just south of Muskegon, shares Lake Michigan and the banks of the Grand River with (more…)

Posted by Admin on June 20th, 2017

The Scammers Are Standing By…to Cheat You. 5 Tips to Stay Safe

Category: Financial and taxes in retirement

Update June 29 — Since we wrote this article another major malware/ransomware attack, Petya, started in the Ukraine and spread across the world. Here is a helpful article from Norton (they make a good anti-virus software) – 7 Tips to Prevent Ransomware Attacks.
June 14, 2018 – Don’t think for a second that you are safe from the criminals who are trying to separate you from your money. There are tens of thousands of these folks who spend all day, every day, coming up with clever ways to trick you. Here are just a few tips to help keep them at bay.

1. Never, ever give out private information like credit card, SSAN, or bank account numbers to someone calling you. No reputable outfit will ask you for it. The IRS doesn’t call people, they send letters. If you “won” something, someone tells you your grandson needs bail money, or that you missed jury duty, hang up. They are trying to trick you. No credit card company or bank will ask for your credit card or account number.

2. Be very cautious about giving out too much information over the phone, even if you are the one calling out. Here is how your editor got tricked last (more…)

Posted by Admin on June 14th, 2017

Michigan Is a Great Place to Retire

Category: Best Retirement Towns and States

June 13, 2017 — Your editor went on a road trip last week touring potential retirement spots, and wow, was that a great experience. We learned so much from visiting so many places, as well as from the many interesting folks we met along our 1300 mile journey. Starting out from Illinois on the western side of Lake Michigan we ventured north into Wisconsin, then crossed Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. After crossing the Mackinac Bridge we enjoyed several days in northern Michigan before going on to explore a few towns in Indiana and Ohio. The Great Lakes State (MI) was the main focus of the trip, and the first half of that State’s tour is what what we will report on here. Part 2 covers the rest of the Michigan tour, Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio portions. We have included more photos than usual to give you a better flavor.

Michigan – A Great Place to Retire
We’ll give you the bottom line first – from so many standpoints Michigan, particularly the area along Lake Michigan, is a tremendous place to retire. It is exceedingly beautiful, uncrowded, and not super expensive (which also makes it a great vacation spot even if you are not going to retire there). The Lake is pretty to look at and offers exceptional boating and beach experiences. Yet its huge Great Lake is not the only body of water – there are rivers and a multitude of lakes, many of which are connected to Lake Michigan. Most towns are very pretty and lively. Its system of bike trails is one of the most (more…)

Posted by Admin on June 13th, 2017

10 Things You Need to Know Before You Go on a Retirement Scouting Tour

Category: Travel

June 8, 2015 — Your Topretirements Editor is on a retirement scouting tour that will take him through 5 states. The trip has been an wonderful source of fun (we visited a number of friends who live in great places) and a learning experience. The focus of this article is what we learned about how to go about taking a retirement scouting tour.

For the record, we started last week in Batavia (IL). From there we went up the west coast of Lake Michigan through Wisconsin, drove across the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, crossed the Macinack Bridge, toured a number of great retirement towns along the east side of Lake Michigan, made a couple of stops in Indiana, and will end up in Columbus, Ohio. The concentration was on the extremely popular retirement towns in the Michigan part of the trip. We’ll report on the towns we visited in next week’s issue, and a future installment will (more…)

Posted by Admin on June 7th, 2017

Walking Improves Brainpower, Chocolate Good for Your Heart. Yes!

Category: Health Issues

May 31, 2017 — We all know that walking is good for us. But that doesn’t mean we all do enough of it, instead relying on our cars, or even golf carts, to get us to all of our daily business. We just came across two great articles that give us even better reasons to start walking more, so we can enjoy our retirements in better health and happiness. Plus another piece of news came in too, which found that eating chocolate regularly is good for your heart. Good news there!

The first came from NextAvenue.org, and it extolled the virtues of “mindful walking” as a way to improve brain health and reduce stress. The article quotes two experts, Dr.Lynn Koerbel from the Oasis Institute for Mindfulness-Based Professional Education and Training, and Deepak Chopra, founder of (more…)

Posted by Admin on May 30th, 2017

It’s 2017: What You Thought You Knew About Social Security…

Category: Financial and taxes in retirement

May 27, 2017 — If you thought you knew everything you needed to know about when and how to claim your Social Security benefit – think again. For those who have not yet claimed their benefit as of 2017, two major developments probably affect you. This 2 Part article will help educate you on how to best navigate this new world. Part 1 explains how benefits are different (lower and later) for people born in 1955 or later, and how those folks might cope with that. Part 2 explains the 2016 changes affecting the popular claiming strategies called “file and suspend” and “restricted benefit”.

Where you born in 1955 or later?
The first item affects those who will celebrate their 62nd birthday in 2017 (or in a later year). If that describes you, the age in which you are eligible for full Social Security benefits is on its way from age 66 to 67. The Full (more…)

Posted by Admin on May 28th, 2017

Baby Boomers: Forget “Plastics”, Become a Senior Concierge

Category: Work and Volunteering

May 23, 2017 — There is a great new industry getting off the ground now, one that is likely to get even bigger as more and more of us baby boomers age. The popular term is “senior concierge”, and you can join the movement in multiple ways: as a volunteer, employee, or entrepreneur. Who knows, maybe even Benjamin, Dustin Hoffman’s character in “The Graduate“, would be getting advice to go into this field, were that he was a real person and entering retirement!

The idea is simple. More and more people need help as they age or experience some type of impairment. In fact the U.S. will have 72 million folks over age 65 by 2030. Enter senior concierges, who can provide assistance for all kinds of everyday needs. For example many people can’t drive anymore, but want to live at home. You can do their shopping for them, take them to appointments, or do anything they have (more…)

Posted by Admin on May 22nd, 2017

Mejask’s Inside Report: A Hawaii Retirement

Category: Best Retirement Towns and States

Editor’s note: Our frequent commentator, Mejask, recently provided a detailed Comment about what it is like to retire in our 50th State. There was so much good information that we decided to republish it as its own Blog article. That way a lot more people will have a chance to read it. Thanks Mejask!

By Mejask

May 18, 2018 — Here is further information some of you wanted on Hawaii. A little about me so you have some gauge as to my views. I grew up in Illinois, lived some time in Washington state and the Southeast and then most of my career in Connecticut. I moved to the Big Island in July 2015. I have been to the Honolulu area on Oahu but not to Kaui or Maui which are the other islands people may choose to locate. My input on the islands that I haven’t visited will be brief and is mostly from what folks here have told me.

The Islands
Maui, Kaui and Oahu are much smaller in size than the Big Island and their land mass could easily fit inside the Big Island with room to spare. All of these islands are more expensive than the Big Island. The biggest expense difference is real estate. Each island is a county of Hawaii. You will not find typical (more…)

Posted by Admin on May 19th, 2017