Showing posts with label when to retire. Show all posts
Showing posts with label when to retire. Show all posts

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Social Security Decisions are Complicated!

Many people assume that when they reach their early to mid-60's, they will simply quit their jobs, start collecting Social Security and the whole process will be fairly predictable.  In fact, this is actually what the vast majority of people do.  Sometimes it works out; sometimes people have regrets, especially when they learn that their friends are receiving a lot more money than they are.  Making the right choices about Social Security actually involves some of the most complex decisions you will make in your lifetime.

No one likes to make a costly and embarrassing mistake.  It is easy to do, however, when you consider that there are actually 2700 rules that will affect your benefits.  What are some of the decisions you need to make?  Should the breadwinner in your family collect as soon as they turn 62, wait until their full retirement age of 66 - 67, or postpone receiving their benefits until the maximum age of 70? At what age should the spouse, and ex-spouses, apply for their benefits?  Should you take the "file and suspend" option?  Do you even know what that is?

After reading several books on the subject, I realized that I would have to write dozens of articles on Social Security, and keep them updated, in order to even come close to providing the helpful information that is available in this book:  "Social Security Income Planning: The Baby Boomer's Guide to Maximize Your Retirement Benefits."  (Use this link to see the book on

This book takes you through virtually all of the different options you have and the advantages and disadvantages of each.  It also explains how to invest your investment savings in such a way that you will minimize the income taxes you will pay on your retirement income.

Make sure you read the most recent edition of this or any other retirement book that you order.  Several significant laws changed at the beginning of 2016.  For example, the File and Suspend option is no longer available to couples ... a program that substantially increased the retirement income of many couples in the past.

After looking over the different books that have been written about Social Security, I felt that this was the most comprehensive and up-to-date book I could find.  Whether you are getting ready to retire in a few years or you are decades away, this book will help you make the decisions that are right for you.

Whether you read this book, a different one, or order all the available government brochures that explain Social Security, you owe it to yourself to thoroughly research what you want to do BEFORE you stop working and start collecting.  After that, it is really too late.

Since Social Security benefits make up the largest part of the retirement plans for the majority of people, this is not an area you want to neglect.  There are many legal tricks you can use to maximize your benefits ... and the employees of the Social Security Administration are not allowed to tell you about them.  All they will do is implement your benefits when you ask them to.

You may also want to use the tabs at the top of this blog for links to hundreds of articles about where to retire in the United States or abroad, medical issues that may come up as you age, family issues and more financial planning ideas.

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Sunday, March 9, 2014

Do You Think You Are Ready to Retire?

Retirement is your key to easy street. Right? It's not unusual for people to believe that all they need to do when they start thinking about retirement in their 60's is to decide when they want to quit their job and then do it.  It sounds simple enough.  However, if you want to save yourself time, frustration and money, there are a few things you really need to figure out BEFORE you turn in that letter of resignation.

In fact in some cases, such as deciding when to collect your Social Security or where you are going to live, making a decision too hastily can cost you thousands of dollars.  While you can change your mind regarding some issues such as where you want to live, there are other decisions, such as those you make regarding Social Security, that are permanent.  Once you have begun collecting checks, you can't go back and say "I didn't know I could have chosen another option that would have paid me more."  You are stuck with the first decision you made.

Consequently, I recently wrote an article on Squidoo called, "What You Really Need to Know Before You Retire!"

This article gives you information about the decisions you need to make before you quit your job, and it also gives you links to the best books to help you get the detailed information that you will need in order make the smartest decisions for you and your family.

Even if you are already retired, you may still want to read this article because some of the information in it can help people even after they have retired, especially if they are thinking about moving to a new location or they are trying to determine how to invest their savings in order to maximize their income.

As the official "Retired and Loving It" Contributor for the online magazine Squidoo, I frequently write articles for them on topics that I believe will also interest my readers here at  As an added benefit for my blog followers, I post links here on this blog to interesting Squidoo articles that I or my fellow contributors have written regarding topics such as retirement, aging and health issues.

Here's another link to my Squidoo article:

You can also find additional retirement information by checking out the tabs at the top of this blog. They contain links to hundreds of articles about where to retire in the United States and overseas, medical issues for seniors, financial planning, family relationships and more.

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Sunday, October 7, 2012

Is it Time to Retire?

One of the reasons that the unemployment rate has fallen over the past few years, after hovering over 8% between 2007 and 20011, is because thousands of Baby Boomers are beginning to retire.  Over the past few years, Baby Boomers have been turning 65 at the rate of 10,000 per day, but many of them were reluctant to let go of their jobs in the middle of the 2007 recession. 

In many cases, Boomers needed to recoup what they had lost in the real estate and stock market crashes of a few years ago before they could retire.  In other instances, they were afraid to let go of their jobs too soon for fear of another financial set-back.  Over the past few years, however, Baby Boomers began to believe that it was possible for them to retire. 

If you are uncertain whether you are prepared to give up your job in the next few years, listed below are some things to consider.

How to Decide if You are Ready to Retire

Make a Realistic Post-Retirement Budget

The first thing you need to do is make a list of the expenses you have now.  Remove the items that you do not expect to have after you retire, such as commuting costs.  Add in money for the extra expenses you expect after retirement including travel, replacing your car, Medicare insurance premiums, prescription drugs and medical co-payments.  Next, add up the retirement income that you expect to receive from your Social Security, your spouses's Social Security, pensions, annuities and any other sources.  Will you have enough income to cover your expenses, or do you need to make some adjustments?

Consider Ways to Supplement Your Retirement Income

In the retirement community where my husband and I live, hundreds of retirees work part-time for the homeowner's association.  They serve as Gate Ambassadors, bus drivers, receptionists, and office workers.  They are paid several dollars an hour above the minimum wage and are also allowed the free use of some of the pay-for-use facilities in our community. 

Other people in our neighborhood earn extra money selling real estate in the community, working in antique stores and gift shops in the area, and in similar part-time occupations.  A few of our friends have remained in their former occupations, but now only work part-time.  These jobs help retirees stretch their retirement income without the necessity of continuing to work full-time in a demanding career.

Pay Off Debts

If your income will not be enough to cover your post-retirement living expenses, one step you should take is to make a plan to pay off your debts.  If you have credit card payments, car payments, and college loan payments for your children, you may need to pay off these bills before you can realistically retire.  If you have a small mortgage with a low payment, this is one debt you may be able to continue to carry, if you are free of other large expenses.  However, if you are overwhelmed by debt and feel as if you can never retire, you may consider selling assets to free up enough money to clear out your obligations.  If your debts are excessively large, you may even consider selling your current home and buying a smaller, less expensive one.  Your goal is to rearrange your expenses so that it is possible to have a planned, manageable  retirement, before a healthcare crisis or job loss forces you to retire unexpectedly.

Have a Plan for Long Term Care

Many of us will need to spend some time during our lives receiving long term care, either at home or in a nursing facility.  In fact, experts estimate that two out of three senior citizens will spend some time in a long-term care facility.  Approximately one out of five people over the age of 65 will need to stay in long-term care for more than five years.  Everyone needs to make a plan for handling this future expense. 

You may want to purchase Long Term Care Insurance or make sure you have set aside enough assets to cover several years of care.  As part of your long-term care planning, you may also want to write a living will that explains the healthcare decisions you want made if you are too ill to speak to the doctors on your own behalf. 

Plan for How You Want to Spend Leisure Time

What do you want to do with the free time you will have when you retire?  Do you want to travel in an RV, take an annual cruise, spend time on the golf course, or take art classes?  Before you stop working, you need to make a plan that will allow for you to enjoy your retirement.  Perhaps you may want to move to another part of the world, sell your home and buy an RV, or move to a retirement community that has free or low cost amenities such as golf courses and art classes.  Whatever type of retirement appeals to you, you need to include the cost in your retirement planning.  In some cases, the cost of living in a retirement community, another country, or in an RV may be less than you are currently spending on living expenses.  However, it would be wise to discuss the change with others who have tried it and get their advice.  You want to be realistic about what your new lifestyle will cost.

Your Personal Retirement Plan

If you are a Baby Boomer who hopes to retire in the next few years, it is not too early to begin making plans and changes to your lifestyle so that you can make it happen.  There is no reason why anyone should assume that they will have to work until they drop dead at their desk, as I have sometimes heard some people say.  With a little planning, nearly anyone who has spent years working hard on a job will be able to make a plan and find a cozy, comfortable way to have the retirement they always wanted.

If you are interested in more retirement planning tips, use the tabs or pull down menu at the top of the page to find links to hundreds of additional articles on where to retire in the United States or abroad, financial planning, common medical issues, changing family relationships, travel and more.

For more help in making your retirement plans, you may also want to read:

Do You Need a Million Dollars to Retire?
Cheap Places to Retire
Finding Niche Retirement Communities
The Villages Active Adult Community in Florida
Popular Retirement Communities in the United States
Laguna Woods Village Active Adult Community
Garden Spot Village Community for Seniors in PA
Best Places to Retire Outside the US

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