Deciding where you want to live in retirement calls for equal measures of dreaming and number crunching. You want to pick somewhere that has the culture, climate and other qualities that you love. But a great retirement locale also has to be affordable. So check out MONEY’s Best Places to Retire, which spotlights a dozen cities for age-friendliness, with a special focus on retiree taxes. And for those who don’t want to relocate permanently, we offer advice for snowbirds, as well as a rundown of the most popular warmer locales that residents of six cold-weather cities flock to. Hint: if you’re looking to rent in some cities—Miami, for instance—you need to book well ahead. Of course, advance planning is second nature for veteran retirement investors.
Speaking of which, do you want some help from MONEY in setting your course toward retirement? For a feature in the magazine, we are looking for individuals or couples who have big plans for retirement and want some professional guidance to help them get there. We’ll enlist a financial adviser to provide free assistance to the featured individuals and, by extension, to readers of the article who may face some of the same challenges. Read more—and volunteer!—here.
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THIS WEEK’S RETIREMENT NEWS, INSIGHTS AND ADVICE
Here Are the Best Places to Retire
Choosing where to live in retirement can be complicated. How do you find the right combination of great services, enticing culture and low costs? MONEY did some of the work for you. Here are 12 cities that are both affordable and desirable—and they don’t ding retirees too badly on taxes. MONEY
The Biggest Money Mistakes We Make, Decade by Decade
As we move through different life stages, we face new challenges—and make different money errors. So it helps to be aware of the pitfalls common to different decades, and learn how to avoid them, writes the Wall Street Journal’s Charlie Wells. Forty-somethings, for example, don’t pay down their mortgages quickly enough. WALL STREET JOURNAL (currently no subscription required to read this) or YAHOO FINANCE
The Next 10 Years Will Be Ugly for Your 401(k)
Remember the days when you could get 8% or 10% annual returns? Sigh. These days, you’ll be lucky to get 5% on a balanced portfolio. As writer Suzanne Woolley explains, you’d best set your retirement calculator to a lower number, at least for the next decade. BLOOMBERG
The 3 Stages of Retirement Income
Many financial pros focus on setting the right number for a safe withdrawal rate. But that can be a futile exercise. Your financial goals and retirement income will change over time, points out contributor Darrow Kirkpatrick. His analysis, along with pointers to some helpful tools, offers a more realistic, and more flexible, approach. MONEY
You Think Your Retirement Plan Is Bad? Talk to a Teacher
Schoolteachers, nonprofit workers, and others in service careers may be offered a 403(b) retirement plan, which is similar to a 401(k). But there can be big differences too, and not in a good way. As Tara Siegel Bernard reports, some 403(b)s, especially those offered to K-12 teachers, are laden with fees and bad investments. Beware. NEW YORK TIMES
Check for Errors in Your Social Security Statements
You probably haven’t checked your Social Security statement lately. These days, if you’re under 60, you get one only every five years, and most people haven’t set up online accounts. But Social Security sometimes makes mistakes, which could cost you thousands of dollars. Reporter Tom Anderson tells you what errors to look for and how to fix them. CNBC
Social Security Benefit Robs Older Workers
Speaking of Social Security, the rules for assessing benefits and taxes could use some updating, says editor William Baldwin. In many cases, if you’re over 60 and want to work longer, you won’t get a significant benefit increase compared to the taxes you’ll pay. Check out his spreadsheet, which helps you figure out how much more income you’ll get by working longer. FORBES
Essential Financial Advice for Snowbirds
Perhaps you don’t want to permanently relocate when you retire, but you’d like to enjoy warmer climes in the winter. Welcome to the snowbird lifestyle. It can be great, but there are financial hurdles to consider, says writer Elizabeth O’Brien. For starters, will your health care policy give you the coverage you need out of state? MONEY
When Someone Is Forced to Retire Because They’re ‘Old’
People are living longer, and more older adults are working longer. But mandatory retirement hasn’t gone away—leaving once you hit a particular age is still a requirement in some jobs. Age discrimination also pushes many older workers out. As reporter Alessandro Malito notes, ageism hurts both older workers and the economy. MARKETWATCH
YOUR RETIREMENT QUESTIONS ANSWERED
Help! My Sister and I Can’t Agree on What to Do with Our Late Dad’s Home
Q: My sister and I both own our dad’s home. He died last year. I want to move into the house and she wants to sell it. I can’t afford to buy it. What can I do?
A: This kind of situation is quite common, and it’s the kind of issue that could have been avoided with proper planning. To answer your question, we’re going to assume you and your sister haveequal ownership of the home and that the title is in both of your names. READ MORE
WORDS OF WISDOM
“Unexpected money is a delight. The same sum is a bitterness when you expected more.”
–Writer Mark Twain