Why We Went On An Adventure To Live In Mexico (And Maybe You Should, Too)

Baja California Beach

One of the writer’s dogs on the sand in front of sea of Cortez on a Baja California beach.

CHUCK BOLOTINSitting with my wife and dogs on the white sand beach in the shade of our private, palm-thatched enclosure open to the sea, I scanned the horizon. Clear, flat, translucent water alternating in countless shares of turquoise extended first to where several very small islands beckoned a few hundred yards offshore, then to the endless horizon. It was a gentle 80 degrees and there was a slight breeze. Only one other family, about 50 yards away, shared this paradise on the Sea of Cortez in Baja California, which we had paid the equivalent of $3 to enter. Lazily considering the events of the last month, my thoughts were interrupted by a man who rode up in a dune buggy asking if we wanted to buy some shrimp for lunch, for about $2.

How did we get to this place?

If you’re a Baby Boomer raised in the U.S. or Canada, there’s a pretty good chance you and I have a lot in common. Most likely, growing up, we shared the same general outlook on life, watched The Beverly Hillbillies, played outside and ate sugary breakfast cereals. With some variation, we progressed through common experiences at school, jobs, marriage(s) and perhaps kids, and most of us went on to live fairly normative lives to where we are now—middle aged.

About two years ago, my wife and I stopped traveling this well-trod path and instead ventured forth onto one quite different. We sold our home in Arizona, sold, gave away or put into storage all our household goods that wouldn’t fit into a large, white van, and with our two dogs, embarked on a drive through Mexico, living for about six weeks each at several of the most popular expat areas.

Here’s why we did it. Perhaps some of our reasons resonate with you.

To Have Experiences Before It Was Too Late

I have always had at least a vague idea of what I wanted to experience in life, but hadn’t yet. You probably have your own list swimming around in your head, too. Your list may include a house on the beach, working for a meaningful charity, learning to play jazz piano, painting or sailing. Everyone’s list is different.

For me, as I reached middle-age, it became increasingly clear that, if I waited too long, I may never be able to do many of the things on my list. My personal awakening came into sharper focus as my sports-related injuries kept piling up and it became impossible to deny that, physically, an increasing number of activities were being closed to me forever.

At the same time, like you, I had friends our age who had suffered some pretty bad illnesses that would keep them from ever doing some of the things on their list. A few had even died. These friends had waited too long. One day too late is one day too late. The last thing I wanted was to one day look back and regret never doing the things I wanted to but no longer could. As some of my friends’ experiences displayed in stark relief, life can be completely unforgiving in that way.

To Test If We Could Achieve A Lower Cost Of Living

Some of us have done so well financially that money is absolutely no issue. For the remaining 97.5% of us (a percentage I just picked out of the air), even those of us upper-middle class, this is not the case. If you’re in this overall 97.5%, like me, you may welcome the possibility of what I was led to believe could be achieved by living in Mexico— “twice the lifestyle at half the cost.”

Was this just a fantasy cooked up by unscrupulous marketers, or was it possible? If it were possible, achieving it would create an inflection point that would radically alter the trajectory of my wife and my lives for the better. How could we not want to know the answer?

To Get Out Of The Bubble

As we get into our 50s, 60s, and beyond, it is pretty natural to get grooved in, doing routine things, having routine thoughts and routine experiences with the same people, and as a group coming to basically the same conclusions directing our routine lives.

Has it ever occurred to you that you may be wrong, or at least that there are other valid and maybe even better ways to live and experience life? For example, many of the people we would meet in Mexico would have had very different experiences than my wife and me, live in a different culture, and come to different conclusions and values. I wanted to test my conclusions against a different reality, all in the hopes of broadening my understanding, becoming a better person, and perhaps even gaining some wisdom.

Doing so would be much easier on the road, in a different country, experiencing different things, among people of sometimes radically different socio-economic status, for example, people we would meet living in a Mexican fishing village who had one tenth the disposable income as us. How could we not emerge from this experience better than when we started?

To Have Fun, An Adventure, Gain New Competencies, Experience New And Unpredictable Things

Going on a cruise can be fine, taking the tour to a well-known tourist destination can be OK, and enjoying a break at an all-inclusive resort can be pretty awesome for the week you indulge, but what gets your senses really awakened and what you remember the most long afterwards is experiencing something different. And what was even better about our adventure was the element of unpredictability– we didn’t know what those different things we would experience would be.

We did not plan to intentionally rough it. What plan we did have was to spend up to a year staying in as many varied climates, geographies and living conditions as possible that Baby Boomers like us would potentially enjoy, spending roughly six weeks in each place.

Knowing only extremely rudimentary Spanish, we planned to cross the California border into Baja, drive to a small village between La Paz and Cabo San Lucas, take the ferry to near Puerto Vallarta, then into the highlands to the well-known expat locales of Lake Chapala (Ajijic) and San Miguel de Allende, down to the Yucatan to Merida and Quintana Roo (Cancun, Playa del Carmen, Tulum, etc.) all the way to the border with Belize. From there, we would decide what to do next.

How could we not have a great time? About 95% of our trip was to places we had never been to and we would put ourselves into situations that would require moderately difficult but not life-threatening decisions and behavior that would require us to learn new skills. While we assumed it would be a bit stressful at times, we fully expected to master what we needed to… and with that mastery, gain new competence and confidence.

Because It’s Better Than The Alternative

Comparing our plan to a typical vacation, where we would fly in (expensive), pay $250 per night, leave in six days, have only tourist experiences and then fly out (expensive again), in contrast, we would drive (cheaper and much more interesting), stay at or near the same fabulous places for around $50 per night, but have the time to relax, immerse, and really get to know the people and places where we were staying and then mosey inexpensively onto the next adventure.

Be honest. Will your next year in the place you’re in now be much different than your previous year? If we stayed in Arizona, ours wouldn’t have been, either. We didn’t need another re-do, especially given that doing so would consume yet another year of our lives.

We also figured, “What was the worst that could happen?” If it didn’t work out, we could always come back. And if we did come back, how could we not be more interesting, well-rounded, well-adjusted, happier people afterwards?

After finishing our shrimp on that Baja beach, my mind drifted back just a few weeks earlier, when, with the van fully packed and the dogs inside, my wife and I climbed into our vehicle, put it into reverse, and backed out of the driveway of what was just then our old home in Arizona. Coming to a full stop in the street, we had taken one last look at our otherwise predictable life. Then, shifting into drive, we went forward to start our semi-planned adventure.

Retrieved from: https://www.forbes.com/sites/chuckbolotin/2018/07/27/why-we-went-on-an-adventure-to-live-in-mexico-and-maybe-you-should-too/#48eee6cd2ef8

 

Having enough money to retire is important, but there are 7 other things that matter just as much

By: Angie Chatmanretired african american coupleThe author is not pictured. MoMo Productions/Getty Images

When thinking about retirement, the first concern of most people is, “Do I have enough moneyto cover my expenses if I live into my 80s? What about my 90s?”

Given our longer life expectancies, retirement can last up to 20 or 30 yearsHaving enough income and  savings is critical.

However, another important question to ask is, “What will be my quality of life during retirement, and what do I need to do to increase that quality quotient?”

As our youngest child nears adulthood, my husband and I are imagining what we want our lives to look like once child-rearing is no longer our primary concern — and we’re not focused 100% on money.

There are seven other factors we’re considering as we imagine our ideal retired life:

1. Location

We currently live in Boston and are considering moving to warmer, more affordable climes for retirement.

Snow is not pretty when you have to drive to work in it every day; it’s even worse when using public transportation. No matter how many layers of clothing you wear, -20 degree wind chill cuts through to your skin.

And while we’re still able to afford to live here, our basic needs are so expensive that we’re unable to enjoy many of the amenities Boston has to offer.

We’re not the only ones who feel this way.

Demographers have noted that there has been a reverse migration of African Americans from northern urban centers to the South for at least the last 30 years.

Atlanta, Charlotte, Tampa, and Austin have notably increased their populations, particularly of African Americans, as jobs in the steel, automotive, and textile industries have moved overseas, and white collar jobs in banking, media, and healthcare have moved and/or built a major presence in the South.

And even as these so-called stable middle- and working-class jobs have left, housing prices have skyrocketed in New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, and San Francisco.

Indeed, Business Insider recently partnered with Trulia to compare what $250,000 could buy in the 25 largest cities in the US. In Boston, it’s a two-bedroom, one-bathroom condo. In Los Angeles, it’s a trailer, but in Charlotte it’s four bedrooms, three baths, and a large front lawn.

2. Close to a major teaching hospital

As we age, our bodies will wear out no matter how often we exercise or whether we maintain a healthy diet. For regular maintenance, as well as emergencies, it’s wise to live near a teaching hospital.

Because teaching hospitals partner with universities and other research institutions, they typically have greater access to state-of-the-art equipment, more experienced doctors on staff, experimental drug therapies, and research trials.

Of the over 6,000 hospitals in the United States, only 400 are teaching hospitals.

3. Access to the arts

According to a landmark study funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, engagement with the arts — music, dance, and the visual arts — improves quality of life for older Americans.

Whether it’s music therapy to slow dementia or dance to improve mobility, poetry readings or concerts, we want to live in an area where we can take advantage of arts performances and activities.

4. A like-minded community

It may seem like moving out of state would separate us from our community, but these days, with so many residents fleeing cold weather and high living expenses, we’re likely to find a like-minded group of fellow transplants wherever we go.

According to 2020 Census projections, states such as New York, Pennsylvania, Illinois, and Ohio will likely lose seats in the House of Representatives because so many residents of those chilly states are moving to warmer climates, while Texas and Florida will increase their representatives.

We will likely need to grow and build a new network of friends by starting with people with whom we already have something in common. Lucky for us, there are now groups of transplants who gather for sporting events and other social activities.

5. Alumni associations

Colleges and universities have alumni/ae chapters across the United States and around the world. These groups offer activities, social gatherings, and international and regional travel excursions to engage alums of all ages who live in the area.

Instead of recycling the alumni magazine, we’re following the reports of events and looking to attend one or more wherever we end up.

Similarly, fraternities and sororities are also national and eager to have a pool of mentors to support the local chapters and assist with community service projects. We’ll take the presence of these groups into consideration as we consider where to live in retirement.

6. ‘Returnship’ opportunities

For most people, a sense of purpose and community are obtained in a work environment, but after you retire, how do you obtain those feelings?

When he “retires,” my husband intends to continue to serve on various boards of directors; I plan to work as a freelance writer. In both cases, “retirement” means a flexible and light work schedule that we will control; gone will be the 60-80 hour workweeks.

Similarly, according to the Harvard Business Review, there are now programs being implemented called “returnships.” Companies like Boeing, Bank of America, and Walgreens are designing specific programs with shorter workweeks and flexible hours to keep older members of their workforces on staff. It allows them keep those experienced, talented workers and lower their recruitment and training costs.

Wherever we end up, we’ll want to know there are opportunities for us to continue working in whatever capacity makes sense to us.

7. Giving back to the community

If you don’t need or want to work for monetary compensation, volunteering also provides that sense of purpose and community.

There are many organizations that depend on volunteers for everything, from ticket-taking and tour guides at museums and theaters, to tutors, to painters, and homebuilders for Habitat for Humanity.

My husband and I are looking for local chapters of national organizations so that we’ll have some familiarity with the organization’s mission, and we’ll also get to know the charities that are doing good work in our new home, wherever that may be.

Retrieved from: https://www.businessinsider.com/things-i-want-from-a-city-when-i-retire

The best places to retire abroad in 2020

TSPPhoto courtesy of metro creative connection

Thinking of retiring abroad in 2020? Have you seen these headlines in recent months? “Death Toll in Chile Protests Since October Rises to 27,” “Nicaragua Has a Simple Message for Protesters: Don’t,” “Thousands Flee to Shore as Australia Fires Turn Skies Blood Red,” “Hong Kong Protesters Return to Streets as New Year Begins,” “Strike Bites French Economy” and “Seven Days of Unrest and Counting: Thousands Stream Into Ecuador’s Capital.”

On the face of it, the news about these protests, strikes and fires might seem enough to keep you firmly planted in the United States for retirement (we never have such problems here, right?). But the truth is, no place in the world is immune from altercations or natural disasters. So, if you are considering retiring abroad, keep that in mind. Better yet, do your homework to learn about the pros and cons of potential locations.

One way to start is by poring through the Best Places to Retire Around the World lists just out from International Living (The World’s Best Places to Retire in 2020, which ranks 24 countries) and Live and Invest Overseas (World’s Top 10 Retirement Destinations for 2020), the two colossals on the subject. Both crunch numbers for key factors ranging from cost of living to health care to climate, though they often come up with different places.

For 2020, however, both lists cite Portugal as No. 1; Live and Invest Overseas lists cities or regions, so its winner is actually the Algarve area of Portugal, for the fifth year running — and it’s now tied with Mazatlán, Mexico.

Another way to prepare for retirement abroad is to read stories with advice about such relocation.

Dan Prescher, an International Living editor who lives with his wife Suzan Haskins in Merida, Mexico, notes that his publication’s reporters around the world factor in safety when producing their annual rankings. “If a correspondent feels a place is not safe or secure, they’ll tell us,” he says.

So, protests aside, International Living believes its Top 10 places to retire abroad for 2020 — five in Latin America and Mexico; three in Europe and two in Asia — are safe for American expats. Two of them weren’t in its Top 10 in 2019: France and Vietnam (they’ve replaced Peru and Thailand).

The International Living Top 10 for 2020

1. Portugal

2. Panama

3. Costa Rica

4. Mexico

5. Colombia

6. Ecuador

7. Malaysia

8. Spain

9. France

10. Vietnam

The Live and Invest Overseas Top 10 for 2020

The Live and Invest Overseas Top 10 list for 2020 (five in Latin America and Mexico, four in Europe and one in Asia):

1. Algarve, Portugal

2. Mazatlán, Mexico

3. Cuenca, Ecuador

4. Valletta, Malta

5. Città Sant’ Angelo, Italy

6. Ambergris Caye, Belize

7. San Ignacio, Belize

8. Bled, Slovenia

9. Medellin, Colombia

10. Chiang Mai, Thailand

“Many of the new destinations are not well-known and not yet on the mainstream radar,” says Kathleen Peddicord, author and publisher of Live and Invest Overseas, about her list.

Why Portugal Is No. 1

One reason Portugal rose to the top of the International Living list this year is that this ranking organization changed the way it scored countries for climate. “Countries with a range of climates were given more weight than just ones that are warm all-year-round,” says Prescher.

Portugal also “doesn’t seem to be going through the flips and twists that a lot of European economies have been going through,” Prescher adds. “It’s incredibly affordable and not a basket case.” Portugal received the best International Living score for Housing, Health Care and Climate of all 24 countries ranked.

International Living’s Portugal correspondent, Tricia Pimental, says Portugal is the second least expensive country in Europe, after Bulgaria. Pimental and her husband spend about a third of what they did in the United States, adding that you can live a comfortable lifestyle in Portugal for about $2,500 a month. By contrast, International Living’s report says a couple can live in Mexico for $1,500 to $3,000 a month, depending on location.

Retiring in Panama

Panama, No. 2 on International Living’s list for 2020, frequently ranks at or near the top of its annual list. This year, it had the top scores in the categories of Retiree Benefits & Discounts, Visas & Residence and Opportunity (how well the local authorities support small business, whether it’s easy to work remotely and whether there’s a strong economy).

“Panama made residency a lot easier to get,” says Prescher, who describes the country as “a very cosmopolitan place” and with “a government as stable as governments in the Americas get.”

He adds: “They’ve standardized the amount needed for a retirement visa and an investment visa. It used to be a lot more complicated and costlier.” U.S. expats can get the “Friends of Panama” visa by having at least $5,000 in a Panama bank account, and either buying real estate, starting a business or getting a job in the country.

Retiring in France

France’s appearance on International Living’s Top 10 for 2020 may surprise you, considering the high cost of living in places like Paris and Lyon. Truth is, the country only scored a 66 out of 100 in the Cost of Living category.

“Yes, France can be expensive, but it doesn’t have to be,” says Prescher. “You can live in the countryside very easily.” International Living’s France correspondent, Tulla Rampont, writes in her Best Places to Retire report that “outside of major cities like Paris and Lyon, rent is about a third of what I paid in California and so is my mortgage payment.” She manages an English-language school in Toulon, in the south of France.

Prescher offers a word to the wise about retiring to Mexico: “Health care is in flux there right now,” he says. “The country has plans to combine private health care and public health care so everyone has access to the same, affordable health care.” But no one knows when that will happen.

Retiring in Mexico

That said, according to the new book about boomer retirement in Mexico, The Fun Side of the Wall by Travis Scott Luther, more than a million U.S. citizens currently live in Mexico and the country is the No. 1 nation for American expats. The most popular cities for them: Tijuana; San Miguel de Allende; Mexicali, Ensenada and Chapala. And, Luther notes, Puerto Vallarta, Merida and Tulum are growing fast as expat hotspots.

Luther writes that Americans considering retiring in Mexico need to prepare themselves for a slower pace of life, which has its pros and cons.

“A leisurely life may sound great when you decide to bury your watch in the sand and just lay on the beach until you feel like going home, but it might not be so great when you are waiting for someone to come repair your broken shower,” Luther says in the book.

Also, Luther notes, “for almost all Mexico boomers [from the U.S.], working in Mexico is impossible. Even if they wanted to pursue meaningful employment, they would be locked out due to residency or tax and benefit restrictions.”

Retrieved from: https://www.theoaklandpress.com/lifestyles/vitality/the-best-places-to-retire-abroad-in/article_f2a8896a-2e4c-11ea-bd1a-e7bd8a10d6d9.html

1 Simple Thing That Can Almost Guarantee Success in Retirement

By: Katy Brockman

It’s easier than you may think to increase your chances of enjoying a comfortable retirement.

Saving for retirement is likely one of the greatest financial challenges you’ll ever face. It takes decades to successfully prepare for retirement, and you’ll likely need to save hundreds of thousands of dollars (if not more than $1 million) to enjoy your senior years comfortably.
While there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to preparing for the future, there is one thing you can do right now that significantly increases your chances of saving enough and succeeding in retirement — and it’s easier than you may think.
Older couple having fun on the beach

IMAGE SOURCE: GETTY IMAGES.

The best retirement plans start with a budget

When you think about all the factors involved in retirement planning, many of them focus on how much you’ll be spending during your senior years. To figure out how much you have to save by the time you retire, you first need to know how much you expect to spend each year in retirement. And to estimate that number, you need a retirement budget.

Creating a retirement budget will give you a good idea of what your future expenses will look like, which is the foundation of your retirement plan. You may end up spending far more or less in retirement than you do now, and if you don’t have a clear picture of all the costs you’ll face in the future, it’s next to impossible to accurately prepare for them.

A solid retirement budget can also help you avoid overspending. It can be tempting to throw caution to the wind and withdraw as much as you like from your retirement fund each year, but if you don’t stick to a budget, you risk withdrawing too much too early and running out of money down the road.

Finally, you can avoid getting stung by costs you weren’t expecting when you have a thorough retirement budget. There are so many expenses you’ll face in retirement, and not accounting for even one of them could be a costly mistake. When you plan for these costs ahead of time, though, you’ll have peace of mind knowing you’ve done everything you can to prepare for any expense life throws at you in retirement.

How to create a retirement budget

You may not be able to predict every single cost you’ll incur in retirement, but a good estimate is better than nothing. To create your retirement budget, first make a list of all the expenses you may face.

Start with basic living expenses, like housing, food, and transportation. Unless you’re planning on making a big life change in retirement — like moving to a new city or downsizing to a smaller home — these costs may not be drastically different from what you’re paying now. But be honest with yourself here, and really think about what your retirement lifestyle will look like. If you plan to eat out at restaurants more often or do more shopping in retirement, for example, be sure to include that in your budget.

Next, think about some of the more significant costs, like travel, hobbies, or home renovations. Again, you don’t need to budget for these expenses down to the penny, but at least get a basic idea of how much you’ll likely spend. Especially if you have a lot of bucket-list activities you can’t wait to accomplish in retirement, you may need to budget several thousand dollars per year toward these costs.

Then there’s the not-so-fun part of budgeting, which involves planning for costs like healthcare, taxes, and long-term care. Each of these expenses can take a huge bite out of your savings, so the more accurately you can plan for them, the better off you’ll be. For healthcare, think about any Medicare-related costs you’ll face — like premiums, deductibles, coinsurance, and copays. For taxes, be sure to budget for any income taxes and taxes on Social Security benefits. And for long-term care, consider whether long-term care insurance is a good option for you. Again, these expenses aren’t fun to think about, but planning for them now can save you a lot of headaches and frustration down the road.

Finally, one last thing to build into your budget is an emergency fund. No matter how much you plan for retirement, you won’t be able to predict everything. But having around six months’ worth of income stashed in an emergency fund can ensure you won’t end up withdrawing too much from your savings if you’re hit with an unexpected expense.

The next step of the puzzle: factoring in your income

Once you’ve got a good idea of how much you’ll be spending each year in retirement, consider your income sources — like a pension or Social Security benefits. You can get an estimate of your future benefit amount by creating a mySocialSecurity account online, which will give you a good idea of how much of your retirement income will need to come from your savings.

For example, if you’ve created your retirement budget and estimate your total expenses will come out to, say, $60,000 per year and you’ll be receiving $20,000 per year in Social Security benefits, that means the other $40,000 per year will need to come from your savings — assuming you have no other sources of income.

Now when you’re calculating how much you should have saved by retirement age, you’ll know your estimates are far more accurate. Although there’s no way to 100% guarantee you’ll have enough saved to retire comfortably, the more thought you put into your retirement budget, the better a chance you have of making your savings last the rest of your life.

The $16,728 Social Security bonus most retirees completely overlook

If you’re like most Americans, you’re a few years (or more) behind on your retirement savings. But a handful of little-known “Social Security secrets” could help ensure a boost in your retirement income. For example: one easy trick could pay you as much as $16,728 more… each year! Once you learn how to maximize your Social Security benefits, we think you could retire confidently with the peace of mind we’re all after.

Retrieved from: https://www.fool.com/retirement/2020/02/03/1-simple-thing-that-can-almost-guarantee-success-i.aspx

Having enough money to retire is important, but there are 7 other things that matter just as much

By: Angie Chatman

retired african american couple
The author is not pictured.  MoMo Productions/Getty Images

When thinking about retirement, the first concern of most people is, “Do I have enough moneyto cover my expenses if I live into my 80s? What about my 90s?”

Given our longer life expectancies, retirement can last up to 20 or 30 yearsHaving enough income and  savings is critical.

However, another important question to ask is, “What will be my quality of life during retirement, and what do I need to do to increase that quality quotient?”

As our youngest child nears adulthood, my husband and I are imagining what we want our lives to look like once child-rearing is no longer our primary concern — and we’re not focused 100% on money.

There are seven other factors we’re considering as we imagine our ideal retired life:

1. Location

We currently live in Boston and are considering moving to warmer, more affordable climes for retirement.

Snow is not pretty when you have to drive to work in it every day; it’s even worse when using public transportation. No matter how many layers of clothing you wear, -20 degree wind chill cuts through to your skin.

And while we’re still able to afford to live here, our basic needs are so expensive that we’re unable to enjoy many of the amenities Boston has to offer.

We’re not the only ones who feel this way.

Demographers have noted that there has been a reverse migration of African Americans from northern urban centers to the South for at least the last 30 years.

Atlanta, Charlotte, Tampa, and Austin have notably increased their populations, particularly of African Americans, as jobs in the steel, automotive, and textile industries have moved overseas, and white collar jobs in banking, media, and healthcare have moved and/or built a major presence in the South.

And even as these so-called stable middle- and working-class jobs have left, housing prices have skyrocketed in New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, and San Francisco.

Indeed, Business Insider recently partnered with Trulia to compare what $250,000 could buy in the 25 largest cities in the US. In Boston, it’s a two-bedroom, one-bathroom condo. In Los Angeles, it’s a trailer, but in Charlotte it’s four bedrooms, three baths, and a large front lawn.

2. Close to a major teaching hospital

As we age, our bodies will wear out no matter how often we exercise or whether we maintain a healthy diet. For regular maintenance, as well as emergencies, it’s wise to live near a teaching hospital.

Because teaching hospitals partner with universities and other research institutions, they typically have greater access to state-of-the-art equipment, more experienced doctors on staff, experimental drug therapies, and research trials.

Of the over 6,000 hospitals in the United States, only 400 are teaching hospitals.

3. Access to the arts

According to a landmark study funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, engagement with the arts — music, dance, and the visual arts — improves quality of life for older Americans.

Whether it’s music therapy to slow dementia or dance to improve mobility, poetry readings or concerts, we want to live in an area where we can take advantage of arts performances and activities.

4. A like-minded community

It may seem like moving out of state would separate us from our community, but these days, with so many residents fleeing cold weather and high living expenses, we’re likely to find a like-minded group of fellow transplants wherever we go.

According to 2020 Census projections, states such as New York, Pennsylvania, Illinois, and Ohio will likely lose seats in the House of Representatives because so many residents of those chilly states are moving to warmer climates, while Texas and Florida will increase their representatives.

We will likely need to grow and build a new network of friends by starting with people with whom we already have something in common. Lucky for us, there are now groups of transplants who gather for sporting events and other social activities.

5. Alumni associations

Colleges and universities have alumni/ae chapters across the United States and around the world. These groups offer activities, social gatherings, and international and regional travel excursions to engage alums of all ages who live in the area.

Instead of recycling the alumni magazine, we’re following the reports of events and looking to attend one or more wherever we end up.

Similarly, fraternities and sororities are also national and eager to have a pool of mentors to support the local chapters and assist with community service projects. We’ll take the presence of these groups into consideration as we consider where to live in retirement.

6. ‘Returnship’ opportunities

For most people, a sense of purpose and community are obtained in a work environment, but after you retire, how do you obtain those feelings?

When he “retires,” my husband intends to continue to serve on various boards of directors; I plan to work as a freelance writer. In both cases, “retirement” means a flexible and light work schedule that we will control; gone will be the 60-80 hour workweeks.

Similarly, according to the Harvard Business Review, there are now programs being implemented called “returnships.” Companies like Boeing, Bank of America, and Walgreens are designing specific programs with shorter workweeks and flexible hours to keep older members of their workforces on staff. It allows them keep those experienced, talented workers and lower their recruitment and training costs.

Wherever we end up, we’ll want to know there are opportunities for us to continue working in whatever capacity makes sense to us.

7. Giving back to the community

If you don’t need or want to work for monetary compensation, volunteering also provides that sense of purpose and community.

There are many organizations that depend on volunteers for everything, from ticket-taking and tour guides at museums and theaters, to tutors, to painters, and homebuilders for Habitat for Humanity.

My husband and I are looking for local chapters of national organizations so that we’ll have some familiarity with the organization’s mission, and we’ll also get to know the charities that are doing good work in our new home, wherever that may be.

Retrieved from: https://www.businessinsider.com/things-i-want-from-a-city-when-i-retire

Live your best retirement

By: Melissa Erickson

Retirement

Home is where the weather is warm, the taxes are low and the quality of life is high. At least according to the U.S. News & World Report Best Places to Retire in the U.S. 2020 list.

With its charming downtown filled with shops and restaurants, lack of state taxes and affordable everyday expenses, Fort Myers, Florida, took the top spot in the rankings.

Despite falling in the areas of happiness and housing affordability, Fort Myers saw increases in desirability, health care and job market scores.

Sarasota, Florida, and Lancaster, Pennsylvania, rounded out the top three spots. Two North Carolina metro areas, Asheville and Winston-Salem, ranked in the top 10 while Port St. Lucie, Florida, came in fifth place.

“Deciding where to retire is an important part of your life plan. When considering potential retirement spots, you should look for an affordable cost of living, proximity to health care services and a strong economy, especially if you plan to work part-time,” said Emily Brandon, senior editor for retirement at U.S. News, in a statement.

How to get there

While spending your golden years in a perfect neighborhood with a sunny climate in a low-tax state sounds ideal, it isn’t always attainable. Retirement is the No. 1 financial worry for Americans, according to a recent Gallup poll, most likely because most of us are not saving enough. According to the Federal Reserve only 36 percent of Americans say they’re saving enough for retirement.

Retirement is something that people only do once, so they don’t have opportunities to practice, said Gopi Shah Goda, deputy director and senior fellow at the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.

The way people think and behave can be at odds with their financial security.

“During their lifetimes, people often underappreciate the role of compound interest, and evidence shows that those who underestimate compound interest also accumulate less retirement savings. In addition, procrastination tendencies also seem to play into saving decisions, leading people to put off saving in the future,” Goda said.

Claiming Social Security too early is a mistake many Americans make.

“There are obviously many factors that could affect the savings you need to be prepared for retirement. One thing that could heavily influence the numbers is when you claim Social Security benefits and when you stop working. Working longer and delaying claiming can have a dramatic effect on the wealth needed to sustain a desired income in retirement,” Goda said.

The age at which a person receives full Social Security retirement benefits depends on birth year, according to Charles Schwab. There is no “correct” year for everyone, but if you can afford to wait, starting later can pay off.

Things to consider

When planning for retirement, it is generally recommended to replace somewhere between 70% and 100% of one’s preretirement earnings, but it’s also important to consider what postretirement expenses will be, Goda said. It can be a challenging equation: Taxes tend to be lower in retirement, but many people plan to travel more and health care costs rise with age, Goda said.

Considering life expectancy is crucial when planning for retirement, but so is planning for different scenarios.

“What would happen if one spouse dies prematurely or lives to 100? How would you deal with a large medical expense?” Goda said.

2020 U.S. News Best Places to Retire Top 10

1. Fort Myers, FL

2. Sarasota, FL

3. Lancaster, PA

4. Asheville, NC

5. Port St. Lucie, FL

6. Jacksonville, FL

7. Winston-Salem, NC

8. Nashville, TN

9. Grand Rapids, MI

10 Best Places To Retire Abroad In 2020

By: Casey Bond

Live your best expat life in one of these beautiful but affordable destinations.

Have you long dreamed of someday retiring to a quiet, sandy beach, or a lively city with friendly locals and deep historical roots? You can make that dream a reality ― there’s a literal world of possibilities.

Retiring abroad can be a cost-effective option for your golden years, as many foreign countries have lower costs of living than the U.S. And it’s not as risky or unconventional as you might think. The Social Security Administration sent checks to nearly 700,000 retirees living abroad as of December 2019.

Of course, not all destinations are ideal. That’s why each year, International Living compiles its Annual Global Retirement Index and spotlights the best places to retire abroad based on factors such as housing, benefits and discounts, cost of living, health care, development, climate and more.

Here are the 10 best places to retire abroad in 2020, according to the latest index.

10. Vietnam

Ban Gioc Detian waterfall in Vietnam

Ban Gioc Detian waterfall in Vietnam

The nation ravaged by war several decades ago boasts an exceptionally low cost of living and one of the strongest economies in Asia. It’s home to both rapidly developing urban areas and ancient temples and tombs. Plus, the people are exceptionally friendly and English is widely spoken.

9. France

Paris

Paris

If vineyards and meadows are more your speed, consider retiring in France. Despite what you might think, the country is an affordable place to live. Home to amazing wine, cheese, freshly baked baguettes and other culinary delights, foodies will feel right at home. And with an excellent health care system, a thriving fashion scene and abundant culture, you shouldn’t ever feel isolated or bored.

8. Spain

MadridMadrid

Thanks to Spain’s warm Mediterranean climate, the nation’s beach life and food options are above par. Transportation is also a breeze, with a vast rail and bus system, plus inexpensive ride-sharing options. There are plenty of expat beach communities where you can rely on English to get settled, though venturing out of these areas will require you to pick up a bit of Spanish.

7. Malaysia

Bohey Dulang, Malaysia

Bohey Dulang, Malaysia

Malaysia is home to hundreds of white, sandy beaches, as well as warm weather and plenty of outdoor actives. Living is very affordable, including health care costs. And because Malaysian law is based on the British system, you’ll find plenty of English speakers and signs.

6. Ecuador

Guayaquil, Ecuador

Guayaquil, Ecuador

Ecuador is home to all-around amazing weather, with varying climates depending on its region. The cost of living is highly affordable; local mercados sell high-quality produce at low prices, services like haircuts and pedicures cost only a few dollars and you can even hire household help for just $10 to $20 a day.

5. Colombia

Cartagena, Colombia

Cartagena, Colombia

As the second-most biodiverse country in the world, there’s an environment to suit just about anyone’s preference, from warm beaches to temperate mountain communities. Even big cities have a small town feel because of the friendly, welcoming locals. Cost of living varies depending on what part of the country you live in, but it’s generally quite affordable.

4. Mexico

Mexico City

Mexico City

Mexico stands out as a top retirement destination because of its low cost of living, national health care plan, vibrant culture and diverse landscapes. Whether you want to live along the coastline or in the midst of a bustling city, Mexico has something for virtually everyone.

3. Costa Rica

Arenal Volcano in Costa Rica

Arenal Volcano in Costa Rica

Costa Rica is also known as the “Switzerland of Central America” thanks to its neutrality, safety and stable banking system. The locals are warm and welcoming, living according to the Pura Vida lifestyle. There’s a rich outdoor culture with plenty of hiking, diving, fishing, yoga and other healthy activities. Plus, the country boasts a progressive government and is LGBTQ+ friendly.

2. Panama

Panama City

Panama City

The weather is warm and tropical in Panama, but it’s outside of the hurricane belt. The U.S. dollar is the local currency and many citizens speak English, so acclimating to your new surroundings is easier. The country’s Pensionado Program is known as one of the best retiree programs in the world, offering generous discounts to pension-holding retirees on expenses ranging from medical expenses to entertainment.

1. Portugal

Porto, Portugal

Porto, Portugal

Portugal took the top spot as the best place to retire abroad thanks to its year-round pleasant weather, low cost of living and rich culture. Locals are also extremely welcoming to visitors and expats. And the gorgeous landscapes don’t hurt, either.

 

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