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Author: Sylvia Flores

As you are planning your retirement, it is fun to think about moving somewhere new, maybe even a beach destination.

However, it is essential to consider a variety of factors that will help you identify the best fit for you and your new phase of life. The factors workers most frequently say are important to their decision-making are affordable cost of living (71%), proximity to family and friends (54%), good weather (49%), low crime rates (49%), access to health care (43%), and recreational activities (41%).

If you think you have found the location for you, you may want to vacation there during different times of the year or spend a month or more there at a time, just to make sure you get the full perspective of a resident versus a vacationer.

Some experts also recommend that you open a bank account, have a medical appointment, or conduct other kinds of personal business in your selected location to make sure you experience the aspects of the culture and understand what will be available to you once you move there.

Several organizations routinely analyze data to identify the best places to live in retirement. Their research can help you evaluate the things that are most important to you when deciding whether you want to relocate retirement.

Best places to retire in the U.S.A.

Forbes’ annual Best Places to Retire list takes into consideration things like access to medical care, crime rates, air quality, unemployment, cost of living, and factors that can make for a fulfilling retirement, such as opportunities for volunteering and exercise. According to Forbes’ analysis, and its admitted preference for college towns, here are the 25 best places to retire in 2017 (listed alphabetically).

  • Athens, Georgia
  • Bella Vista, Arkansas
  • Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
  • Boise, Idaho
  • Brevard, North Carolina
  • Clemson, South Carolina
  • Colorado Springs, Colorado
  • Fargo North Dakota
  • Grand Prairie, Texas
  • Green Valley, Arizona
  • Harrisonburg, Virginia
  • Iowa City, Iowa
  • Jefferson City, Missouri
  • Lawrence, Kansas
  • Lewiston, Maine
  • Lincoln, Nebraska
  • Maryville, Tennessee
  • Ocean Pines, Maryland
  • Peoria, Arizona
  • Port Charlotte, Florida
  • San Marcos, Texas
  • Savannah, Georgia
  • Summerville, South Carolina
  • The Villages, Florida
  • Wenatchee, Washington

Best cities to retire

If big cities are more your style, you might want to look at the Milken Institute’s Best Cities For Successful Aging report.

This study considers nine factors that make the “best” city for retirees: general livability, healthcare, wellness, financial security, education, transportation and convenience, employment opportunities, living arrangements and community engagement.

It has also found that cities with colleges rank higher on quality-of-life factors that affect older adults, including economic strength and recreation. Here are Milken’s top 10 big cities for aging successfully.3

  1. Provo-Orem, Utah
  2. Madison, Wisconsin
  3. Durham-Chapel Hill, North Carolina
  4. Salt Lake City, Utah
  5. Des Moines-West Des Moines, Iowa
  6. Austin-Round Rock, Texas
  7. Omaha-Council Bluffs, Nebraska-Iowa
  8. Jackson, Mississippi
  9. Boston-Cambridge-Newton, Massachusetts-New Hampshire
  10. San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, California

If you are more comfortable in a smaller setting, those have been ranked too. The top 10 best small cities tend to have moderate living costs, quality healthcare, educational facilities, and a community feel.3

  1. Iowa City, Iowa
  2. Manhattan, Kansas
  3. Ames, Iowa
  4. Columbia, Missouri
  5. Sioux Falls, South Dakota
  6. Ann Arbor, Michigan
  7. Ithaca, New York
  8. Lawrence, Kansas
  9. Logan, Utah-Idaho
  10. Fairbanks, Alaska

How livable is your hometown?

Ever wondered about how your hometown ranks on the list of great places to live? AARP’s Livability Index will tell you. Follow this link and type in your address or town name to find out how livable your community is.

Best warm places to retire

Even with all the conveniences that cities have to offer, many people dream of living by the beach or in a warmer climate. AARP researchers found ten great places to retire – all of which boast at least 250 days of sunshine each year. Other factors considered include cost of living, the range of activities for retirees, and a low crime rate.4

  1. Asheville, North Carolina
  2. Grand Junction, Colorado
  3. Sarasota, Florida
  4. San Diego, California
  5. Las Cruces, New Mexico
  6. San Luis Obispo, California
  7. St. George, Utah
  8. Santa Fe, New Mexico
  9. Bend, Oregon
  10. Fort Worth, Texas

Best places in the world to retire

If you are thinking more globally, International Living’s Annual Global Retirement Index measures factors that are important to those who are considering a move to another country, including ease of buying property, ease of attaining a visa, cost of living, entertainment, healthcare, climate, and governance. Here are the top 10 international locations for retirees in 2018.

  1. Costa Rica
  2. Mexico
  3. Panama
  4. Ecuador
  5. Malaysia
  6. Columbia
  7. Portugal
  8. Nicaragua
  9. Spain
  10. Peru

Learn more

Despite some locations showing up on multiple lists (Lawrence, Kansas, and Iowa City, Iowa), researchers have identified places all over the U.S. and the world as great places for fulfilling the needs and desires of retirees. Wherever you decide to live, you will need retirement income to support your lifestyle.

If you’re a small business owner and need a 401k plan for yourself and your company, only Ubiquity offers flat-fee plans plus free expert advice. We’ll fully customize your 401k to meet the specific needs of your small business.

Check out our cost-effective, plan solutions

Resources for best places to retire

  1. Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies: Wishful Thinking or Within Reach? Three Generations Prepare for “Retirement,” December 2017
  2. Forbes: 25 Best Places to Retire in 2017
  3. Milken Institute Center for the Future of Aging: Best Cities for Successful Aging
  4. AARP: 10 Great Sunny Places to Retire
  5. International Living: The World’s Best Places to Retire in 2018

Small Business 401k Misconceptions

Sylvia Flores / 11 Jan 2018 / 401k Resources

The Small Business Owner

There are many small business 401k misconceptions which are largely due to small business owners having a lack of time, budget, and information on the subject.

In the past, small businesses have had few retirement plan options such as 401k plans that were built for their needs and those of their employees. The industry has had no problem marginalizing small businesses in favor of large ones with huge plan assets available in their 401k.

The good news is that that is rapidly changing. Still, many small business owners buy into 401k misconceptions.

Let’s put those to rest:

401k plans are time-consuming and designed for big businesses

Unfortunately, many small business owners are under the impression that 401k plans are a one-size-fits-all benefit that can’t be customized to meet their needs without the commitment of significant time and high fees.

There are plans available to small businesses that were designed with their needs and employees in mind. No longer do small businesses have to accept plans that are built for the needs of large corporations with hundreds, if not thousands of people. Nowadays, small business 401k plans exist that are customized for businesses with 50 or fewer employees. There are even 401ks built specifically for sole proprietors, known as a Solo 401k.

As far as the perceived time commitment, those same plans can be up and running in minutes if not a couple of days and require only a half hour each month to maintain.

Employer matching is a must

Even though matching employee contributions is a great way to recruit and retain talent, it’s not a requirement.

If a small business owner doesn’t want to or can’t afford to match, that’s perfectly fine. As an employer, you are already offering a wonderful service to employees by implementing a plan – matching, while there are tax benefits that come along with it, is simply icing on the cake.

For your hard-working employees, at the end of the day, some savings is better than no savings.

401ks are too expensive to implement and maintain

We know the thought of extra administrative fees weighs heavy in the minds of small business owners. Though there is some relief–through a tax credit—up to 50 percent of the cost to set up and administer the plan.

Ultimately, a plan’s cost depends on the bells and whistles that come with it—some basic plans can cost as little as $115 a month – that’s less than what your business likely pays to fill the water cooler!

High fees and poor advice are just part of the deal

Small business owners face many challenges and work way more than the average person to keep their business running efficiently. Why then do some retirement industry companies still expect you to settle for an inferior plan that charges exorbitant amounts and doesn’t offer solid advice on how to invest? Just because you may have fewer employees does not mean your retirement plan should suffer.

When the right plan is selected, small businesses are able to access low cost, effective funds for their 401k plan. No longer will small businesses and their employees settle for poor performing, high-cost funds that just absorb returns.

Likewise, employees should not feel like they’re alone and in the dark when selecting the retirement plan that will hopefully lead to their dreams coming true.

Small business owners shouldn’t be misled and buy into common myths that will discourage them from offering a 401k plan. Giving your employees a way to save for their retirement is a cheap and easy way to attract and retain talent and maintain an edge over the competition. For employees, participation in a 401k plan is a simple, effective way to save for retirement.

Get the Definitive Small Business Guide to 401k 

How Compound Interest Works

Sylvia Flores / 27 Sep 2017 / Personal Finance

What is Compound Interest? 

Merriam-Webster defines compound interest as:

Interest computed on the sum of an original principal and accrued interest.

Let’s put that in friendlier terms. Compound interest gives you interest on top of your original investment and additional interest.

Imagine you have $100,000.00.

If you were gaining a 10% annual return, then you would end up with $10,000 added to your original investment. In this case, your end balance would be $110,000 in year one.

In year two, the markets are great, and you are getting a 10% rate of return on $110,000, leaving you with an ending balance of $121,000. You earned $10,000 in year one. You earned $11,000 in year two. In year three, using this same math, you’d earn $12,100.

If you carry that out for 30 years or more, you could be sitting on a very comfortable nest egg.

Learn more about how much you should be saving for retirement

Retirement on a Shoestring

Sylvia Flores / 8 Aug 2017 / Personal Finance

Retirement? No. Work till your dead? Yes.

My father is older than my mother, although he is very much like the glamorous southern bell that admits his age to NO ONE. He had the tiniest pension in the world from his jet-setting career that may or may not have been used to purchase a house, and so, retirement is Social Security.

My traditional family halted dramatically when he chose to chase dreams rather than a paycheck. I mean, not that dad isn’t a show-stopping artist, because he is. And in his hay day, he was making some pretty large bills on paintings, because people used to have money to blow on art. Do you remember those days? You know, before the downfall of our economy, when we all had tons of (pretend) money?

Here’s a timeline of events:

  • Dad quits the job, becomes an artist, we move to Maui because Oregon’s economy went through a major bottoming out.
  • We live in a house the size of a shoebox (700 sq. ft.) and there are amazing amounts of tourist dollars from all over the world flowing through the island. Unrealistic sums of money. The kind you wipe your tears of joy with – if any of it was yours…
  • Hawaiian market bottoms out, my mother would like to be closer to her aging parents and sisters, and we move back to the family farm, which, if you are a Harry Potter fan, looks like the Weasley House.
  • Dad retires with a savings account in the teens (as in five-figures) and takes Social Security, which is well below the national average check of around $1,200 – in fact, it’s less than half of that.
  • Mom gets a job that she still works at today, and has a 401k plan through her work.
  • Health premiums are through the roof! Dad gets on Medicare, mom stops paying over $1,000 per month for his insurance.
  • Even with Medicare, dad and mom pay more in healthcare premiums than all other bills combined.

Okay, that brings us to a pretty current status. Mom works like a mad woman and supports my dad. She cooks, cleans, sews… all the stuff that moms used to do traditionally. She also has a firm grip on what it’s going to take to retire – for both of them.

Her 401k is the ONLY thing that ensures they have a future at all. Despite the fact that the market tanked and she lost over half of her savings – she spoke with her Advisor, and he said the following:

“Stay the course.”

Good advice. She did, and now her 401k has bounced back to where it was and on her current trajectory, she’ll be able to retire at around 66 (though she is going to try to wait to 70). Her house is paid off, but unfortunately, it is in the middle of nowhere, about 30 miles away from the nearest hospital, riddled with scary stairs, and lots of farm work…

I’ll tell you what’s going to happen. Our family is going to combine. Aunts, uncles, sisters, cousins, friends, whomever – we’ll live under one gigantic roof and combine resources. We’ll create the family compound and take care of one another. And it won’t be taboo anymore. Kids moving back home or parents moving in with kids will be the new show of success. If other countries can make it a successful go, so can we.

Mom. Dad. Pack Your Bags.

Sylvia Flores / 21 Jan 2017 / Personal Finance

I was talking with my Mom the other day. The conversation went something like this:

“I talked with my financial planner, and I am going to be able to retire by 66,” she said. “And when I asked him, how long I could live, taking the amount I need to survive, he said ‘forever.’

That may seem pretty wonderful, but like a whole lot of people, she is one dramatic health event away from ZERO retirement dollars. ONE! Well, she’d have social security, but that wouldn’t be enough to live on.

My sweet 79-year old Dad’s an artist and is collecting Social Security now. His income is super fixed—obviously, people don’t typically become artists for the money, even though he has work in museums. Death makes artists rich, not life. Typically.

The good news is that their house is paid off. The bad news is that they have a three-story house on a whole lot of acres that require a whole lot of maintenance and it’s out in the middle of Nowheresville. All I can think about is one of them falling down the steps with no one to hear their screams except wildlife that has no opposable thumbs or 911 dialing capabilities.

America? You could learn a thing or two.

I think a lot of people are in a similar boat. You know, the boat that is one petite iceberg away from busting in half and sinking to the bottom of the ocean? Americans could learn a lot from other cultures. For instance, how they live in multigenerational households and support one another.

Welcome to my Retirement Community! Now accepting Mom(s) and Dad(s).

So, when it comes down to it, I am not putting my parents in a retirement home. I am making them come live with me. Why? They did it for me! Plus, elderly people live longer when they are surrounded by things or people or pets that engage them and LOVE them.

I can be that loving thing/people/pet! And of course they are going to tick me off (and vice-versa), and likely on a frequent basis, but that’s what family is about, right? And the America we live in now is not one of huge wealth, pension plans, and lavish, resort-style assisted-living (unless you have one gazillion dollars.) And if you do, I doubt you are reading this blog.

How do you feel about the multigenerational household? What are you going to do differently, given the current (and sad) economic outlook?

It’s time to wake up! There’s a looming retirement crisis in America, and it’s going to take more than our government to fix these broken eggs. Let’s put it this way. We’re going to get scary, then we’re going to discuss what the heck we’re going to do about the mess.

Did you know?

  • 46% of Americans have less than $10,000 saved for their retirement
  • 29% have less than $1,000 saved
  • $6.6 TRILLION SHORT, American workers are falling drastically short of what they need to retire
  • 20% of all bankruptcies happen to those age 55 and older
  • 74% of us believe that we are going to need to work until we’re dead

Now if those statistics aren’t startling, you obviously don’t fall into any of those categories. However, if that startled the stuffing out of you, it’s time to really start considering how we’re going to get out of this mess.

Broken Eggs: The Looming Retirement Crisis in America is a hard-hitting and feature-length documentary film covering everything from the Pension crisis to Social Security insolvency, and more. It’s a multi-generation film, covering the stories of real people who are struggling with saving, are retired and aren’t making it, along with the policy makers and shakers in Washington D.C.

The thing is, we need to promote this conversation and get people really thinking about the issues. We all owe it to ourselves, our future selves, and everyone we share this country with to get involved.

That means you, your friends and family, me, everyone.

 

Welcome to the farm otherwise known as the stock market.

So what the heck does Bull vs. Bear market mean? It’s actually quite simple:

  • Bull: Everything is fabulous, the economy is booming, stocks are rising, and unemployment? What unemployment?
  • Bear: Market is hibernating! It’s bad, the recession is looming.

So, you think that playing the market all the time with your retirement is a good plan?

Actually, over time, it all equals out. There are stocks in the bear market that do well, and conversely, there are those in the bull market that tank. Depending on how you invest—conservative, moderate, or aggressive—and where you are in your life—whether you are just starting to invest, are are a late bloomer like me, or are sitting at the gates of freedom—these things could alter or modify your course of action.

Talking with a financial advisor is your best bet. They’ll help determine where you are and what your financial goals should be. The fact is, the majority of people under-save! Things to consider:

  • When do you want to retire? Have you thought about the fact that people are living longer? If you retire at 65 and live to be 100 (I plan to live to 102), that’s a significant nest egg you’re going to need.
  • What does retirement look like for you? Are you going to live at the same level as you are today? Are you downsizing? Do you have adequate health insurances in order to not exhaust your savings in the event of an unforeseen crisis?
  • How much time do you have and how much do you have saved? I’ve just turned 43 and have enough to get me through about… a year of life? I have been paying into Social Security if I am fortunate to have it exist when I retire, but that is essentially a future flying autonomous car payment and solar charging station refill fee. I need to be incredibly aggressive at saving and my financial adviser had no problem saying so.

You don’t have to be a financial genius in order to start. There are people who do this for a living—your goals and your success are theirs as well.

There is only one mistake you can make right now. ONE! That is NOT getting started, NOT saving enough, and robbing yourself of comfort and happiness when you stop punching a clock. Ok, maybe that’s three, but they are all connected!l

PS. Want to know more about the looming retirement crisis that is affecting every single one of us? Get involved and join the conversation with this must-see documentary, Broken Eggs: The Looming Retirement Crisis in America. Bonus! It’s free. You just need to bring the popcorn.

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© 2018 Ubiquity Retirement + Savings / Privacy Policy
1160 Battery Street, Suite 350, San Francisco, CA 94111 / Support: 855.401.4357