“Home Sweet Anywhere”

unnamedIn 2011, Lynne and Tim Martin sold their central California home, divested themselves of most of their possessions and embarked on their dream retirement. They began selecting areas according to the seasons and living there as the locals do for a few months at a time.

At first family and friends were shocked but now their grandchildren find (us) infinitely more interesting than when (we) lived down the street.” And this summer, friends from several countries and family are coming to stay in Paris while the couple is there.

Admitting that though the details involved in this transformation were copious, Lynne and Tim are so happy with their decision that she wrote an article about it for The Wall Street Journal. The piece generated such a response from readers and publishers alike that a book was born, Home Sweet Anywhere: How We Sold Our House, Created a New Life, and Saw The World

Asked about the innovative path which they chose, Lynne responded that many retirees today are active, fit, and hungry for new experiences. We have retired from making a living every day, but certainly not from LIVING every day.”  One of my late husband’s dreams was to sell our home, store our most treasured belongings, board the horses and cats, buy a big boat and take the dogs with us on a yearlong sailing adventure. Walking my little dog now by the houseboats near me, I often think of Marc and his dream. This couple has achieved theirs and perhaps will inspire many more young retirees to go out and enjoy the world … together.


Retire In Warm Weather Cities

o-SAVANNAH-570As gargantuan amounts of snow, sleet and ice pile up, many people in the Northeastern United States are starting to seriously ponder warm weather retirement spots. So, Moira McGarvey and the retirement planning site GangsAway! have shared warm weather cities on their list. We all have many different criteria upon which we judge our future homes, including proximity to family and friends, work, school, arts and outdoor sports. As well, pesky little things like taxes, transportation, cost of living and healthcare warrant consideration.

First up on her list is Sarasota, FL on the Gulf Coast, which is known as Florida’s “Cultural Coast.” Next comes Delray Beach, FL on its East Coast. “Reminiscent of old time Florida with a hip, funky vibe. The town attracts all ages with a broad range of real estate price points from high-end waterfront homes to smaller and less expensive homes and condos away from the water.

Other cities included are Kaneohe, HI, San Juan, P.R., San Diego, CA and Savannah , GA. See them all here:



Boomers Seek Early, Active Retirement

Couple Enjoying A Game Of Golf

A recent survey by Del Webb indicates that the trend toward earlier retirement is increasing among Baby Boomers, those born between 1946 and 64. Greater than half of Boomers plan to retire by age 65 versus the median of 67 in 2010. And their intention is to emphasize balance in their lives by focusing on “activities and hobbies that enhance physical/mental well-being (62 percent), spending time/focusing on family (51 percent), and traveling (34 percent).” 

After years of job and family responsibilities, many are starting to focus more on personal goals. “For the first time in what may seem like a lifetime, boomers are transitioning to a new stage in their lives that is filled with zest and personal discovery,” said Fred Ehle, vice president of brand marketing for Del Webb.” A big component of this is finding new social circles and, for many, dating. The study reflects that 56 percent of single Boomers are receptive to dating and 45 percent are actively dating, not definitely looking for love and marriage.



5 Reasons To Retire To A Small Town

1052_1Many of us fantasize about retiring to a small town. Peaceful, quiet, walkability are all adjectives which appear on my inner screen. Pictured above is my birthplace, Signal Mountain, TN, an absolutely beautiful place, replete with history. Maybe I’ll check it out after the holidays. Meanwhile, here are the five rationales TopRetirements.com offers up for moving to a small community, each with an example.

First is a walkable community, illustrated by picturesque Old Saybrook, CT, founded in 1635. You will find many homes and condos within walking distance of its shops and restaurants and, often, a short walk to where the Connecticut River meets the Long Island Sound, as well.

Second is the ease of social networking which you’ll find in Port Townsend, Washington, boasting many Victorian homes and the proud artists living there. Much of the town is preserved as a national historic district.

Third is “so pretty it hurts,” which small towns often are. Beaufort, SC with is moss-covered trees and horse-drawn carriage rides is lovely. I recently toured the historic district and photographed many of the stunning antebellum houses. The Big Chill house is a must-see. Unknown






Evergreen, CO, an affluent suburb of Denver boasts easy access to recreation with Evergreen Lake and its acres of surrounding parks. And Mount Dora, FL has abundant cultural locations, including two theaters, the Mount Dora Center for the Arts and many other events and festivals on the Town Square.

Five more towns, exemplifying a combination of these reasons to select a small town for retirement are included. For example, On Top of Old Smoky – Signal Mountain, Tennesee. As the name implies this town on top of a hill was a signal outpost during the Civil War. Then people came here for their health. Today this small town atop the Tennessee River is home to 7,400 mostly affluent residents who come for the views and outstanding community resources. The Signal Mountain Playhouse presents 2 plays per year including an outdoor musical every summer in the natural amphitheatre. The Mountain Arts Community Center offers classes in music, dance, and visual arts from its historic building.”


Don’t Make These Retirement Mistakes

ranger_img_slide1TopRetirements.com recently posted a followup commentary on their well-received 2011 article on the “Top 10 Retirement Mistakes.” As retirement creates an opportunity for “a partial do-over on life,” thinking it through carefully is critical.

In my opinion, if you follow their 10 guidelines you will hit it out of the park. My favorite is Rent Before You Buy. See them all here:


Couple relaxing on the beach

Selecting the Most Tax-Friendly Retirement State

MW-AZ297_retire_20130214114840_MESome of the largest expenses retirees encounter are taxes, so deciding where to live becomes problematic. Although there are lists of states with the lowest taxes, this is an oversimplification.

Kathleen Thies, a state tax analyst with CCH, a Wolters Kluwer business, cautions that states “that have high personal income-tax rates might have low property tax rates and states with low personal income-tax rates might have high property tax rates.”

“And so the end game for those looking to find the most tax-friendly state is to review all their sources of income in retirement including earned income, Social Security, pensions, and unearned income; all the different types of taxes they might face in retirement including personal income, sales, property and the like; and their overall tax burden,” Thies said in an interview.

One important red flag to be aware of is under-funded state and city pension funds which might lead to higher future taxes and/or fewer public services.

The Pew Charitable Trusts has two reports on the health of pensions for states and cities. “Connecticut, Illinois, Kentucky, and Rhode Island were the worst among the states, with pensions funded under 55% in 2010, according to one report. And in four cities—Charleston; Omaha; Portland, Oregon; and Providence, Rhode Island—pension systems were more poorly funded than those in Illinois, which at 51% was the lowest-funded state, according to another Pew report.”

Certain states are announcing changes in income tax to retirement plans, including Georgia, Kentucky, Maine and Michigan. For instance, Thies notes that “decreasing personal income-tax rates and increasing sales tax rates is a way to relieve the burden on the income tax side and put more money in the pockets of consumer in hopes of stimulating the economy. It’s a way of collecting taxes tax on the back end.” She sees this as an emerging trend.

TopRetirments.com just published Part 1 of “Finding Your Most Tax-Friendly State for Retirement.” It concisely lays out categories such as “Major Taxes in Retirement,” ” Property Tax” and “Distribution of  401k and IRAs” with states highlighted under each.

Thies notes that people rarely base their retirement choice solely on taxes. Proximity to family and friends, climate, culture, employment opportunities, transportation and outdoor activities are major determinants. Choosing one’s retirement area is a labyrinthine process.





Multigenerational Homes … Might One Work For You?


Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose

Or, as the French say, the more things change, the more they stay the same. We are seeing recent college graduates moving in with their parents due to a tight job market and grandparents moving into houses refitted for multi generations. Many of us remember maiden aunts who lived together or in-law apartments for widowed grandparents. Family picnics, built-in holiday gatherings, more to cheer on youngsters’ successes and more support in times of ill health or job loss. Two of my friends reminisce fondly about their grandmothers having taught them to be gourmet cooks.

“According to a Pew Research Center analysis of the latest U.S. Census Bureau data, approximately 51 million Americans, or 16.7 percent of the population, live in a house with at least two adult generations, or a grandparent and at least one other generation, under one roof. The Pew analysis also reported a 10.5 percent increase in multigeneration households from 2007 to 2009. And a 2012 survey by national home builder PulteGroup found that 32 percent of adult children expect to eventually share their house with a parent.”

There is a lot to be said for this old fashioned arrangement. It is often found in other cultures, such as Asian, Hispanic and African American.

“Another Pew report did find that more than three-quarters of “boomerangs” — the young adults ages 25 to 34 who move back in with their parents — were satisfied with their living situation. Almost half paid rent and nearly 90 percent helped with household expenses. And in a 2011 report of multigen dwellers by Generations United, a Washington, D.C.-based advocacy group, 82 percent said the setup brought them closer, 72 percent mentioned improved finances, and 75 percent saw care benefits.

Consider long-term care costs alone. A 2012 MetLife Mature Market Institute survey put the average annual cost of a private nursing home room at $90,520, a semiprivate at $81,030 and assisted living at $42,600. Add to those costs the value of peace of mind knowing a loved one is being cared for by family, and multigenerational housing may be the new assisted living plan.”

The construction industry is jumping in to support the new trend with homes designed for multigenerational use and creative remodeling solutions. Lennar, a national builder introduced its first Next Gen house in Phoenix in 2011; its floor plans are now in 120 communities across the country.

Source: http://www.aarp.org/home-family/friends-family/info-04-2013/three-generations-household-american-family.html