Best 5 Ideal Locations to Reside When You Retire

If you’re contemplating relocating to a different area of residence after retirement, you’re not alone. As per a survey done on an aging demographic by research group Merrill Lynch and Wave, over 60% of retirees intend to move or already have.

Regardless of what state you live in, you can choose a completely different area to settle down as long as it accommodates your budget and lifestyle. Financial security in retirement doesn’t just occur once you’ve hit the ideal retirement age. It takes years of planning and commitment.

To make the decision of where you should move less daunting, we’ve curated a list of the 5 best locations where you can begin a new chapter of your life.

1. Palm Springs, California

Palm Springs is a great location in Southern California dotted with popular towns such as Indio, Palm Desert, and La Quinta. The area was made famous thanks to personalities like Frank Sinatra who would frequent Palm Springs for a quick and fun getaway.

Palm Springs Real Estate Market and Cost of Living

The Palm Springs real estate market is highly affordable as compared to other areas in California such as San Francisco and Los Angeles. It has over 50 communities in the area with reasonably priced houses that are suited to cater to the active and social lifestyle that retirees usually look for.

2. Phoenix, Arizona

To say that Arizona does not rank among the top retirement locations would be a facade. The Grand Canyon State is known for its amazing natural scenery and retiree-friendly climate.

Phoenix being the capital of Arizona State, offers plenty of attractions that will keep you occupied. It has an array of cultural festivals, museums, cinemas, and world-class restaurants. There is also plenty of biking and hiking trails within the outskirts of the city.

3. Orlando, Florida

Orlando, Florida, is a great city with a warm climate and plenty to offer. Perhaps more conveniently, the area is home to several retirement communities.

Orlando has an affordable cost of living and has plenty of attractions, the most significant of them all being Disney World. For any senior with grandchildren, this should be a deal maker.

4. Portland, Oregon

Portland has a population of just over 2 million people with a fifth of that demographic aged 60 and above. This makes it a highly attractive location for retirees. It boasts an extensive city park system, with over 200 parks open to the public. This is not including the nature trails and mountain ranges available for exploration.

  1. Santa Maria, California

Santa Maria is a small town located in California’s Central Coast area. It’s particularly known for its vibrant wine industry largely favored by its great weather.

The region’s warm climate also means that shoveling snow is something you might never have to do. It also allows for outdoor activities such as touring wine fields, hiking or camping at almost any time of the year.

Retirement Is the Beginning of a New Adventure

When it comes down to picking your retirement location, there’s a lot you should bear in mind such as the cost of living, the overall weather and climate of the area, the available culinary options, and if there are retirement communities present in the area.

Ultimately, you will have to choose somewhere that accommodates your hobbies and lifestyle. The places listed above should help you find a location where you can spend your golden years in comfort, style, and a tad touch of luxury.

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Gold Investments for Retirement: What Options Do You Have?

Joanna Stovic

Do you watch the gold space? If so, you know this metal has climbed more than 20% since January of 2019 thanks to increasing global debt, fears of an economic collapse, and geopolitical unrest.

With such a significant increase, many investors are turning their attention to gold investments as an option for retirement. Just like anything else, there are pros and cons to using gold as your retirement savings. However, many people have been successful with this, which is why it is a good idea to learn what options you have.

If you are interested in working with gold IRA companies or want to know more about how you can start investing in gold, keep reading. You will find out how to find the best gold IRA company and how to begin adding gold to your investment portfolio.

Purchase Physical Gold

The most obvious way to invest in gold is by purchasing physical gold. Usually, you would buy this in the form of gold bars or bullion coins and go through a dealer. Even though this sounds simple, just like any investment you make, it is essential that you do plenty of research and ensure you are only buying from reputable dealers.

If you decide that buying physical gold is the best option, you must also consider where you will keep it. Some investors pay to keep their gold in a bank depository; however, you can also store it in a safe at your home. Consider what option is right for you.

Invest in a Gold IRA

If you plan to use your gold investment for retirement, investing in a gold-backed IRA – individual retirement account – may be a smart option. A self-directed IRA often contains other, non-traditional investments, including precious metals and real estate, but you must follow specific rules.

For example, according to rules from the IRSyou can only include 24 karat gold coins and bullion bars in a gold-backed IRA. The only exception to this is the 22 karat American Eagle coins. Also, the gold used for a gold-backed IRA has to be provided by an IRA custodian and kept at a location that has been approved by the IRS. This means you cannot keep the gold that you purchase at your house.

Along with some of the other regulations in place, these rules may make the idea of setting up a gold-backed IRA a bit intimidating. Remember, these are considered “alternative investments” for a reason. As a result, they require some expertise and persistence for proper management. However, if you are really interested in investing in gold for your retirement years, this is a smart option to consider.

Invest in Gold Stocks

You may think investments in gold stocks are only for the investors who are already deep into the stock market. However, the truth is, anyone can make this type of investment.

There is a lot of purchasing power that goes along with this particular decision. However, this is only true if you put time into monitoring your financial investments. This means spending time to select the right gold stocks to invest in and reviewing your options regularly to figure out if the investments are still beneficial for your savings and overall wealth strategy.

Is Investing in Gold Right for Your Retirement Plans?

As you can see, there are plenty of options to consider if you are interested in investing in gold. There is also no question it can be beneficial for retirement savings. Keep the options here in mind and work with the professionals to learn how to move forward. 

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Running Out Of Money In Early Retirement: What You Can Do To Avoid It

Two of the largest concerns during retirement- regardless of age- are healthcare and debt. Debt has increased 543 percent among retirees in 20 years, as have the costs of healthcare. For retirees in their 60s, mortgages remain the number one debt commitment. The New York Federal Reserve Data puts auto loans and credit card debt at a close second and third. Meanwhile, healthcare costs will now cost a retired couple $285,000 throughout retirement. Both of these debts are large financial obligations in your monthly budget and if neglected, can cost you thousands in medical bills or late payment fees. That is why making it a priority to pay them off as soon as possible is a wise financial move.

Look at practical ways you can increase your debt repayments during retirement. It may mean refinancing to get a better interest rate or in the case of larger debts like home mortgages, downsizing your home to match your built-up equity. When it comes to healthcare costs, being proactive by getting health, long term care, and life insurance policies are the best protection you can have.

According to a Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies survey, approximately 11 percent of retirees are still repaying consumer debts including medical debt. Addressing the gaps in your healthcare coverage like the need for long term care means you are not left out of pocket should you require 24-hour outpatient or end of life care. If you have a bad medical history and are worried about the premiums, setting a guaranteed life insurance policy could be the answer: they negate prepossessed medical conditions and are often whole life policies, meaning no expiration dates. Alternatively, you could get a hybrid policy that includes long term care and death benefit element if you don’t need care.

Work On Reducing Your Living Expenses Now

Lastly, if you want to make your money last during retirement it is time to cut your expenses. While this financial move is recommended for all retirees, cutting expenses becomes even more important if your retirement funds are being depleted faster than you would like. Once you have eliminated larger expenses like existing debt and medical costs, it is time to turn your attention to other ways you can cut expenses as a retiree.

One popular way is by downsizing your lifestyle. Do you still need a family car or can you downsize to a small, more fuel-efficient vehicle? Similarly, would you be willing to downsize your family home during retirement? Other small but impact moves include tracking your spending habits, meal planning, and cutting out unnecessary utilities. If you are willing to spend an afternoon doing some research and comparison on utility prices, you find that you can easily save money on your utility bills every month.

Finally, consider getting some guaranteed income. If you retire early, you have the option of getting your Social Security benefits starting at age 62. However, choosing to get it earlier means your monthly amount decreases. So, establishing other guaranteed income streams like annuities and launching a side business helps to ensure you don’t outlive your savings even if you spend longer in retirement.

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Financially Preparing for Early Retirement

Sam Bowman

The average retirement age in the U.S. is 62. But that doesn’t mean you can’t manage to retire sooner if you have the right financial plan in place. Unfortunately, so many people are having to work further into their golden years because of poor financial planning, or even due to the strain on the economy over the years.

No matter what your current financial situation may be, there are things you can do to financially prepare for early retirement now. Start by developing a better understanding of  what you consider to be wealth. Does it mean total financial freedom? The ability to do whatever you want in your retirement years?

Once you have a better idea of what you need to retire comfortably, you can start to put things in motion to save money, get out of debt, and create healthy financial habits that will make it easier to retire early.

How Much Money Will You Need to Retire?

Several components need to come together in order to retire early. One of them is an aggressive savings plan. It seems as though every financial expert has a different idea on how much you should save or how much money you actually need to have in savings to retire comfortably.

There are plenty of percentages to throw around. However, most experts believe that your retirement income needs to be at least 80% of what you would typically make in a year, pre-retirement.

You can learn more about what you might need to have in savings by using a retirement calculator. But keep in mind what you want your retirement to look like. Other factors can contribute to how much you’ll need in savings, including:

  • Where you plan to live
  • Whether you want to travel
  • If you are taking care of other family members
  • Any major items you want to purchase

It’s also important to consider any outstanding debts you currently have. Stepping into retirement can be nerve-wracking on its own, but if you have underlying debts, it can feel nearly impossible.

Getting Rid of Debts

So eliminating debts before retiring should be a top priority. One of the most common types of debt, especially for seniors, is medical debt. Some hospitals do offer medical bill forgiveness through an application process if you can prove your financial situation. This typically requires providing evidence like tax returns and pay stubs.

Being debt-free before your retirement is also possible by managing any existing credit card debt you might have. Make a list of all of your debts, and put them in order from greatest to least (or from the highest interest rate to the lowest). Focus on the highest amounts first and make extra payments if you can, until they are completely paid off.

Then, work your way down to the lower amounts. As your debts start to get eliminated, you can make larger payments on the other ones, and they will eventually be cleared. You can also use the “snowball method,” in which you pay off your smallest debts first, and use the extra money you’re saving to work on the larger debts.

In addition to eliminating your existing debt, change your financial habits if necessary to avoid getting into more. That might mean reducing the number of credit cards you carry or looking into different types of medical insurance that can help with bills in the future. Smart financial choices can quickly develop into healthy saving habits, which brings us to our next point.

Starting Healthy Financial Habits Now

The best way to financially prepare for early retirement is to develop smart saving habits now. Living frugally is a start, and making simple changes to everyday things like “date night” with your spouse or partner can make a big difference. Try some of the following switches to save money:

  • Dine in instead of going out
  • Try camping instead of vacationing in hotels
  • Host small get-togethers at your home instead of renting large spaces
  • Think of “free” activities to do around your neighborhood

You should also take a look at your budget and decide where you can cut back. Far too often, people are paying for things that they don’t use regularly. Are you signed up for any subscription services, including television packages or food delivery? How often do you use them? Are they absolutely necessary?

It might not seem like much, but cutting back on things you don’t use each month can end up saving you hundreds, or even thousands of dollars each year. You can put that money directly into savings, and see how quickly it will add up.

Early retirement is possible. No matter your current financial situation, making the right choices with your spending and knowing how to save properly can set you up to retire earlier than you may have thought you ever could, so you can enjoy your later years in life comfortably and securely.

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Helpful Tips for Keeping Retirement Costs Low

Joanna Stovic

The key to planning for retirement is to get your finances in order, and determine what brings you value. The earlier you can start to figure out the various pieces of the retirement puzzle, the sooner you can take off and enjoy the fruits of your labor.

Keeping costs low is an integral part of retirement planning. Here are some helpful tips for cutting costs without sacrificing value.

Use Projections and Budgeting

Retirement planning should start well before you’re reaching the golden years— the sooner, the better. To keep costs low during retirement, you need to have a big picture budget outlining everything you currently spend money on. From there, you need to use projections to determine how your spending and income will change in the future.

Creating a budget and projection plan will help you identify the magic number for your retirement. In other words, it will tell you how much money you need in the bank before you can hang up your hat and call it a day. 

Create a Debt Payment Plan

One of the essential parts of retirement planning is to get out of debt. If you’re in debt when you reach retirement age, things will be extremely challenging for you. 

Look ahead at what debts you currently have in place and make a payment plan to get rid of them. Some common debt payment solutions:

  • The debt snowball – paying off small debts and using the extra money to pay larger debts.
  • The debt avalanche – paying larger debts first to mitigate interest.
  • The debt landslide – paying down your newest debts first to boost your credit score.
  • The debt cascade – setting a recurring amount slightly over your minimum payment to slowly pick away at debt. 

If you have a mortgage, it’s also worth considering how you’ll eliminate it before you retire. Depending on your mortgage term and house size, this could include anything from selling and downsizing to running out the clock.

Prepare for Healthcare Costs

Planning for healthcare costs is a challenging part of retirement. As we get older, it’s natural that we have increased healthcare needs. Furthermore, retiring often means giving up company-led insurance. 

Set aside time to look at the best Medicare supplement plans for your needs and how you can use an HSA to fund future health treatments. 

Practice Mindful Spending

Building a healthy relationship with money and limiting impulse purchases is essential for keeping costs low before and during retirement. You’ll need to create a mindset shift that forces you to pause and measure each purchase’s value. Practicing mindful spending helps you understand the difference between being frugal and being cheap.

Consider what things or experiences are important to you in retirement. If you want to travel the world, then having a fancy car at home might not be worth the expense. When you feel compelled to purchase something, put it off for a few days or weeks. If you still feel as though you need it after time has passed, consider buying it. Otherwise, leave it on the shelf.

Remember to Plan for Taxes

Unfortunately, taxes don’t cease to exist when your work life comes to an end. You will need to pay taxes on withdrawals from your retirement fund, which will vary depending on the type of fund and size of the withdrawals. Even without a mortgage, your house will still be subject to property taxes.

Working with a financial advisor can help you better understand taxation and prepare so that you don’t end up in a precarious situation. 

With these tips, you can keep costs low during retirement and have a fun, stress-free experience. 

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Top 6 Reasons to Visit Colorado for Your Ski Adventure

Carlos Ford 

As a successful blogger with more than ten years in the industry, Carlos Ford has successfully gained thousands of loyal readers online. Carlos loves to share his interest in sports, home improvement, and business through his articles. 

Do you want to spend a good time with your family after your retirement? If yes, there are many things you can do with them. For example, skiing is one of the amazing things you can undertake after retirement. And if you love skiing, but you’re not sure where to go for your upcoming adventure, consider going to Colorado.

The amazing slopes of Colorado’s Rocky Mountains are surrounded by different ski resorts. Each of these resorts guarantees to offer you an amazing skiing experience. In fact, you can enjoy military ski discounts in some of them.

In this article, we’ll explore the top reasons you have to visit Colorado for your ski adventure.

  1. Colorado Ski Resorts Are Higher Than Anywhere Else

One reason Colorado is a must-visit location for your next ski adventure is because all its resorts are higher than anywhere else in the world. Colorado has the highest lift-served terrain, and most of their resorts are 14,000 feet high. With that elevation, you get knee-buckling views, incredible snow, longer trails, and more vertical feet.

  1. Family-Friendly Resorts

Some of the best and most family-friendly ski resorts are in Colorado. It means you won’t only enjoy the ski resorts, but also a great time to bond with your family on the slopes.

Colorado is best for skiing with kids. Most resorts make it easy to bring them along with you whenever you want to make the most of your ski adventure. As a matter of fact, ski resorts around Colorado have perfect deals for families. Such passes will let your whole family enjoy the slopes without spending a tremendous amount of money, making your skiing trip more convenient.

  1. Perfect Skiing Conditions

Another reason Colorado is perfect for your ski adventure is that it has the perfect conditions for it. The low humidity, high altitude, and sunny days in Colorado make for the best ski conditions. For example, if snow comes in from the northwest, some resorts will get endowed with fresh and fluffy snow.

The Colorado mountains also feature Champagne Powder, which is considered the best snow. The term came from the Colorado’s Rocky Mountains because of the light and fluffy nature of the snow once it piles up. It also produces a good skiing experience, providing skiers a floating sensation as they carve a graceful turn to the low part of the mountain.

The snow in Colorado is also renowned for being dry, smooth, and light, which enables effortless and comfortable glides down the slopes.

With such conditions, there’s no doubt why Colorado gained an excellent reputation as a world-class skiing destination.

  1. The Ski Season Is Longer In Colorado

In Colorado, most ski resorts stay open later and are open earlier in the season. Loveland Ski Area and Arapahoe typically compete to be the North American resorts to open early with every ski season. This is because of the high altitude in Colorado. Base elevation for the said resorts is approximately 11,000 feet above sea level. Moreover, the passion to make the ski season last as long as possible is what motivates ski resort operators.

  1. Multiple Options for Ski Resorts

With a lot of slopes and resorts in Colorado, you have countless options when it comes to skiing. If you want an all-inclusive, feature-packed resort, you need not look anywhere else. Even if you prefer a laid-back and small resort, Colorado has some options for you. So, whether you want big or small ski resorts, Colorado offers it all.

  1. Colorado Has the Best Off-Slope Activities and Events

You don’t always need to buckle yourself into your snowboard or strap on the ski to have fun at Colorado ski resorts. With places to shop, skate, snowshoe, and sled, there are lots of activities and events that you and your family or friends can enjoy.

Some ski resorts offer horse-drawn sleigh rides, while others allow you to ice skate on frozen lakes with views of the beautiful slows. You can also enjoy visiting the ski towns in Colorado. Depending on your preferences, you can indulge fireside lounging, shopping, and dining at slope-side villages. You can also enjoy a high-end retail therapy while you ski at Telluride, Beaver Creek, Aspen, and Vail.

Bottom Line

While there are lots of ski destinations across the globe, few can beat the excitement Colorado offers to all ski enthusiasts. From having the perfect conditions for skiing to multiple ski resorts, you can be assured that you’ll experience an exceptional ski adventure in Colorado.

So, if you want to take up skiing when you retire, or take your skiing experience to another level, make sure to plan your trip to Colorado as soon as possible.

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Why demo accounts are the perfect place to trial your trading strategy

If you’ve ever competed on the pitch, you’ll know that sporting successes all come down to practice. You spend 75 per cent of your time preparing, and 25 per cent actually on the field trying to score.

In that sense, sport and foreign exchange (forex) trading are a lot alike. Both need epic skills, held together by an intelligent strategy. You need both to react quickly when markets put you on the back foot and to know when you can transition back to offence and attack. Plus – forex operates 24/7. Every day is match day.

Happily, forex traders have the luxury of honing their skills with real-time data and analysis, but without putting real money at stake. Using a forex trading account, they can take their trading strategies and test, refine, and test again before battling their wits against real price movements.

Most online forex brokers provide free demo accounts so prospective new clients will give their platforms a go. Whether part of a sales pitch or not, demo accounts offer an invaluable opportunity to try trading in accurately simulated real-world conditions.

Getting the mechanics of managing positions and understanding the behaviours of markets takes more than just kicking the tyres. You’ll need to become familiar with all the standard instruments and risk management protections while experiencing a wide range of trading conditions.

Some demo accounts expire after a time while others can be used indefinitely. The best brokers let you download and install your own version of a popular trade execution platform like MT4 after registration, either on mobile or desktop, and very often both.

When you’ve crammed up on trading techniques and your strategy starts to take form,  having a demo account gives you a place to test it. You can see how your approach stacks up against real market data.

Demo accounts are the launch pad for forex trading success. Here’s how to test out your trading strategy and see if it’s battle-ready.

Forget it’s a simulation

Demo account trades are fake, but you should approach each trade as though your real money is on the line. Remember – the virtual environment of the demo account uses real – and real-time market data. If your demo trades succeed, they would likely have succeeded in real life too.

Once you’re up to speed with a broker’s online platform, use your demo account to experiment with different strategies.

Along with getting better at reading the market, you’ll also gain a more unobstructed view of your emotional state under the stresses and excitements of trading. This is important because emotions often drive trading decisions, for better or for worse.

Some people can brush off a big loss and put it down to experience. Others might find the experience crushing and rush to make other compensating trades without adequately thinking them through.

Demo-proof your ideas

Demo accounts also let you make deliberate mistakes to work out the bugs and expose any weak assumptions in your trading strategy. Test the strategy along three vectors:

  • Currency Pairs: Choose 2-3 majors to start with, perhaps like USDJPY or EURUSD.
  • Time of day: It’s best to be active in the same daily time slot each day to understand the rhythms and moves that dominate the session
  • Risk management: Try the different mechanisms to minimise the risk of trading losses see which ones suit your strategy best.

Complete a minimum number of demo trades

As a rule of thumb, new traders should aim to complete fifty demo trades before moving to real money trading. That will provide sufficient time and experience to hone trading skills and see how a strategy performs.

Before putting cash money at risk, a trader should know how to set up a stop order, the broker’s spreads for each instrument, and the options for funding.

Log your gains and losses

Knowing when you’re ready to go live is a judgement call, and it’s down to each individual to decide when to make the leap. If you feel confident about your abilities, however, the decision gets easier.

That’s why tracking your virtual trading results each is vital to progressing from newbie to novice and beyond. Writing your wins and losses down and reviewing them later will show you if you’re improving or if you’ve stalled.  It can also help you spot any areas where you need to get better.

No trade will ever be identical – currency markets are too changeable. But logging trades and outcomes can show you what you’ve done well, or bring to light a significant trend you might have missed.

Pretend the taxman cometh

Forex trades happen between counterparties around the planet, and the requirements of tax reporting are different in every national jurisdiction. In some countries, brokers need to provide granular detail of all your trades. In others, brokers aren’t required to report your activities at all, so it’s entirely down to you.

When tax reporting is your responsibility, you’ll need a broker that offers useful reporting functions with enough detail to include in tax filings.

Some traders execute thousands of trades annually.  Your time on the demo account will tell you if your broker can output activity reports in an appropriate format.

Taking your demo-hardened strategy live

With enough trades notched-up and a strategy to apply, it’s probably time to leave simulated trading behind and sign up for a real money forex trading account.

Demo or live it’s still essential to set goals. You might target an initial objective of hitting eight to ten per cent of the account balance or get through 2-3 months of profitable trading.

Rather than leaping into the deep end, you can also go forward by taking baby steps. Make your initial trades in small cash increments. For many people, that’s a natural next step when leaving demo for the real world.

Sharpening your FX trading strategy by working out the glitches in a demo account will make the shift seem effortless.

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Is It Possible to Retire if You Are in Debt?

Why do People Have Debt in Retirement?

Retirement is supposed to be a golden phase in life. It’s when years of hard work are rewarded and things are supposed to get a little easier. That is entirely possible, even if you owe money. The Federal Reserve Bank routinely conducts what is known as a Survey of Consumer Finances. Part of this report measures the number of people with outstanding debt, while in retirement.

For many people, the notion of retirement is a pleasant one. You’ve worked hard your whole life, and now you are going to reap the fruits of your labors. Debt is an ever-present reality that people have to contend with. Mortgage debt, healthcare-related debts, automobile debt, credit card debt, and personal loans comprise the bulk of debts that people owe, even in retirement.

Clearly the ideal situation is to enter retirement with as little debt as possible. This utopian setting would allow retirees to reap the full rewards of their 401(k)s, personal savings, social security payments, and other sources of income. Debt eats into personal disposable income, and if managed improperly can place a tremendous burden on your lifestyle in retirement. For this reason, most financial advisers recommend aggressively paying down debt in the pre-retirement phase, so that your retirement is as comfortable as possible.

Potential Solutions for Managing Debt in Retirement

A 2018 study sheds interesting insights into the levels of debt that are being carried by the average retiree. Figures ranging between $65,000 – $100,000 tend to be the norm, even with lowly Social Security payouts of $1,300 per month. This presents financial challenges to retirees. Without a stable source of income to rely on, retirees are compelled to think outside the box for solutions to debt management. Financial advisers recommend the following solutions for managing debt in retirement:

  • Mortgage debt – if you currently owe a substantial sum of money on your mortgage, in an era of unprecedented low interest rates, consider refinancing to a lower mortgage rate to reduce your overall monthly burden. Known as a Refi, these refinancing options will be particularly beneficial to anyone who purchased fixed or moveable assets on credit before 2018, when interest rates were much higher. Today, in 2020, it is possible to lock in a fixed interest rate at less than 3% with the right mortgage lender. By adopting this approach, more personal disposable income is available for other necessities such as living expenses.
  • Credit card debt – if you find yourself in the unfortunate position of owing a substantial sum of money on your credit cards, with higher interest repayments, help is at hand. There are many ways to roll over credit card debt to 0% APR credit cards for set periods of time. True, there is a commission for the amount of debt that needs to be rolled over onto a new card, but the fact that there is zero-interest repayment will save heaps of money in your retirement. This is highly recommended with the right credit card provider.
  • Debt consolidation – one of the main problems with debt is that it accumulates from many different sources. When all of this debt is combined, it’s usually a sizeable amount that we would rather not be dealing with. One way to reduce the burden of debt is through debt consolidation loans. You simply sum up all the debt that needs to be repaid every month, and the interest that is repayable on that debt.

Next, search for debt consolidation loans that will cover all the outstanding personal loans, credit card debts et cetera, at a lower rate of interest than you’re currently paying. The cost savings, convenience of single monthly payments to a single loan provider, and easier-to-manage nature of debt consolidation loans are worth the effort. Have a look for more information about how to pay off debt in retirement.

  • Reduce expenses – during your productive years, it’s much easier to maintain a large property than it is in retirement. As you reach retirement, your ability to generate income typically diminishes and is fixed at a certain level. Before you hit this point in your life, consider downsizing from a big home to a condo, apartment, or retirement community. The less expense you have to incur the better. The savings can be re-routed into repaying your debt, reducing your financial burden, and your stress levels.

By the Numbers: How Are Older American Doing with Debt?

CNBC author Greg Iacurci penned an article titled, ‘Debt among oldest Americans skyrockets 543% in two decades.’  Among the key points listed are an increase of 543% in date for American 70+ years of age from 1999-2019. The declining social safety net has adversely affected seniors, and the absence of cash flow can be devastating in retirement. By 2019, the total debt burden for American 70+ years of age increased to $1.1 trillion, while debt for people in their 60s increased by 471% to $2.14 trillion. These numbers are particularly troublesome, but there are pervasive for all age groups. Any time debt exceeds 40% of income, it is deemed troubling, and the number of people in this predicament is steadily rising.

By adopting the strategies listed above, it is possible to reduce the ballooning debt problems faced by retirees in modern times. People are living longer, which means that their money needs to last longer. This is pushing the retirement age later into the 60s, with a growing number of people choosing not to retire if they don’t have to. Fortunately, it is not necessary to retire with no debt whatsoever. That’s an ideal situation which rarely comes to pass. Provided the cash flow is sufficient to cover expenses, debt is really just a part of life that we all have to deal with.

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I’ve Become a Snowbird, Now What?

Gary Wilkinson

Becoming a Snowbird is the day that most people wait for virtually their entire lives. Leaving the cold winters behind and trading the snow for days in the sun. Chances are if you’ve been dreaming about being a snowbird for years, you also have your accommodations lined up and are ready to hit the road.

But before you cruise out of the blustery air, there are some housekeeping items you shouldn’t overlook. Things you may never have thought about in your old lifestyle of one primary residence now may be something you need to look into or make changes on.

Keeping Your Home Insured

Why would anything at your primary residence need to change under insurance? It’s still your home, right, so why would the insurance company care that you aren’t there for an extended time? The truth is, some policies actually have a clause that states that if you are not in your home for so many days during the winter months, they can actually let your policy lapse.

It is very important to make sure your insurance is right for your new lifestyle.

Of course, not all policy requirements are bad. This is a great time to discuss your policy and any upgrades you may have made to your home that can qualify you for discounts. One common thing that many snowbirds have invested in is a security system. Not only does it give them peace of mind while they are relaxing away, but for some insurance companies, it means big savings.

Pro-actively Preparing to be Away

You’re excited to get out of the cold weather, but unfortunately your home still remains up north. Because of this, you will need to take some actions to make sure it stays safe while you are gone. Not only security, but also with some general housekeeping.

One of the biggest problems of snowbirds are burst pipes. When temperatures drop and you are home, you know to open cabinets and let the water drip to keep your pipes open. When you are away, this is not possible. It is an important practice to turn the water off at your home, if you are able, while you are away. This prevents water from sitting in the pipes and ruining your home if they do end up bursting. Being gone for months at a time with a burst pipe could mean irreparable damage to your home and your belongings.

Other housekeeping items to consider are things like stopping the mail or paper delivery, paying someone to shovel your driveway so your home doesn’t look empty through the winter, and traveling with all important documents and valuables so that if something were to happen, you have the important items with you. If you don’t feel safe traveling with them, consider a lock box at the bank or a mounted, fireproof safe.

Check in on your Health Insurance

Most insurance companies cover you for urgent and emergent visits while you are on vacation, because unfortunately sometimes things happen. But when you are gone for months at a time, it is very likely that you will need to see a doctor or have routine health needs taken care of.

Being a Snowbird is not a new concept, so insurance companies already have plans in place and rules and regulations set up, so you have what you need. Now is the time to review provincial health insurance rules so you don’t miss out.

Knowing your specific area’s timeframe on how long you must be in your home each year is essential. Some insurance companies require a minimum of six months at home, while some requirements aren’t as strict. This is certainly one of those things you don’t want to take a guess on. Make sure your coverage remains in effect and covers you the whole time you are gone.

Supplemental travel insurance is another safeguard to traveling. Travel insurance is a non-negotiable if you are traveling outside of the country. This is the easiest way to make sure you are covered for anything you may need, saving you potentially thousands of dollars in medical bills should the need for a doctor arise.

Car Insurance

Another checkmark on your to-do list is to check in with your auto insurance company and make sure you are covered out of state. In most cases, you will be fine, but you may need to adjust your coverage depending on the place you are traveling to. Just like home insurance, auto insurance has a limitation on how long you can be gone from your primary residence and still remain covered as a resident of that state. It is best to have all of the answers before actually needing to file a claim.

Once all of those questions have been answered, insurance companies have been contacted, and all policies are up to date, you are ready to pack up the car and head south on a new adventure as a Snowbird.

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Lost and Found Pissarro Paintings History

Camille Pissarro was a painter that lived from 1830 to 1903 and made a significant impact on art history. A Pissarro painting can range from the Impressionist style to Neo-Impressionism but he’s most well-known as the Father of Impressionism as a founder of the movement. He remains the only artist to have ever shown his work at all of the Paris Impressionist exhibitions.

What many people forget, though, is that some of Pissarro’s art was nearly lost to time. His lost and found paintings are among his most beautiful. This the story of the art that was nearly buried in the annals of history.

Why Was Pissarro’s Art Lost?

The temporary loss of Pissarro’s art came at the hands of the Nazis during World War II. In the early 1930s, anti-Semitic laws forced Jewish art owners to give up their art at minimal prices, no matter what the actual worth of their art was.

As Jewish people were forced to flee Germany for other parts of Europe, they were unable to bring all of their possessions along with them. In other cases, Jewish people were taken from their homes by Nazis, forcing them to leave with only what they had on them at the time. In both cases, possessions of worth were stolen from the homes for the monetary gain of either the individuals or the Nazi party. This included many of Pissarro’s works.

Many of the stolen artworks were originally housed in key locations such as Munich and Paris, where the Nazis had control of the region. As the Allies began liberating Europe, many of these looted valuables were housed in secret salt mines and other locations where the Allies would be less likely to find them.

Some stolen artworks were even acquired by high ranking members of the Nazi party, where they kept them as parts of their private collections. Other works deemed “degenerate” were even sold to international collectors to build the German war-fund.

Recovery of the Artworks

As World War II drew to an end, the process of recovering stolen valuables begun. In the decades following the war, several Pissarro works were found in galleries and museums across the globe. In some cases, legal action was brought to return the artworks to their rightful owners.

After being discovered as stolen artworks, many paintings were returned to the descendants of those from whom the works had originally been stolen. Once returned, some of the artworks were then gifted to museums and galleries where they remain to this day. This has allowed the artworks to be viewed widely, ensuring the legacy of Pissarro lives on.

Examples of Found Pissarro Paintings

Pissarro’s 1897 painting, Rue St. Honoré, Apres Midi, Effet de Pluie, was found in the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza in Madrid. A legal battle ensued in 2011 when the Spanish government refused to return the painting at the request of an American ambassador.  A trial in the United States found that the museum was indeed the rightful owner of the painting.

A similar legal battle occurred when Pissarro’s Le Quai Malaquais, Printemps resurfaced after being missing for many years. It was discovered that the painting had been donated to a trust by a Nazi art collector after the seizure by the Gestapo during the war. After being rediscovered in 2007, the process to track down the rightful heir was started.

There were several other Pissarro paintings lost during the lootings of World War II. The 1897 work, Le Boulevard de Montmartre, Matinée de Printemps, was restituted in 2000 when it was found to have been forcefully sold to the Nazis. Similarly, Le Marché aux Poissons was returned after being missing for more than three decades. It was returned to the French ambassador, a symbolic act of returning the work to Pissarro’s home country.

Pissarro’s Legacy

The legacy of Pissarro’s artistic career is not limited to his artworks alone. While his artworks continue to be regarded as some of the most influential impressionist paintings of the era, they are also remembered for their cultural significance. The loss of Pissarro’s artworks stood as a recognition of the crimes of the Nazi regime.

Even decades after the war, Pissarro’s artworks continue to be recognized as a symbol of the survival of democracy. Each missing Pissarro painting that has been recovered comes with a story that has reminded critics and collectors of its importance. Despite years of being missing, these works were given justice by being returned to their rightful owners.

Conclusion

The devastation of World War II was not lost on the art world. Many works were lost through destruction and theft during the war, with some never being recovered. The Pissarro paintings lost during the war have been recovered in recent decades, putting them back in the rightful hands of private collectors and museums.

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