Walkable Communities for Retirees

As more and more baby boomers continue to retire, experts believe the demand for walkable neighborhoods will continue to grow.  After years of commuting and driving from point A to point B, many retirees just want to be able to walk or bike to basic services or be able to take public transport to just about anywhere they want to go.  According to a recent study by the George Washington University School of Business, the end of sprawl is in sight as some of the nation’s largest metropolitan areas are focusing on building walkable urban developments.

This trend doesn’t necessarily help retirees looking for affordable, walkable, urban communities as these areas are now demanding higher rental premiums, according to the study, making it unaffordable for many retirees.  This is evident in Walkscore’s latest 2016 list in which New York, with a walkscore of 89, comes in at the top as America’s most walkable city followed by San Francisco which boasts a Walkscore of 86.

Walkscore.com ranks cities on a scale of 0 to 100 with 90–100 being a walker’s paradise, 70–89 as being very walkable,  50–69 as being somewhat walkable, 25–49 as car-dependent where most errands require a car to 0–24 as car-dependent where almost all errands require a car.  In their latest 2016 City & Neighborhood Ranking, Walkscore rates 141 cities in the US, Canada and Australia with a population of 200,000 or greater that have an average Walk Score of 48. In addition to the Walkscore, they also show the transit score and bikescore for each city.

So how can you find a walkable and affordable community to retire in? You could start by viewing Walkscore’s latest city rankings and detailed information on each neighborhood here or if you have a particular city or town in mind, visit walkscore.com to start your search .  Walk Score is available for any address in the United States, Canada, and Australia. They’ve ranked the largest 3,000 cities and over 10,000 neighborhoods so you can easily find the walkscore, bikescore or transit scores for your city.  Once you locate the city, you can drill down and see the detailed information for each city and search for apartments to rent or houses for sale.

8 Places to Retire & Get the Most Bang for Your Buck

It’s so important to save for our retirement. Many people start paying into pensions in their early 20s to ensure they have enough money for when they retire. However, even with that, many people will not have enough money to cover all their expenses by the time they retire and many people are now moving to countries where they can get more out of their savings.

Check out the storymap below from Easy Life Cover for a complete overview of the best countries to retire in to ensure you get the most out of your savings. There are age, income and residency requirements in most countries, but if you meet the criteria, you may be surprised to learn that in some of the countries, $200k has the potential to last up to 30 years! Even in the some of the most expensive cities like Bangkok, Thailand, the cost of living can still be 50% to 60% less than in larger US cities such as New York and Chicago.  Keep in mind that some countries do require a visa.

If your retirement savings aren’t as much as you’d hoped for, there is always the option to start your life over and have a great standard of living in many beautiful countries around the world.   Also, many of these countries offer special programs designed specifically for retired people such as discounts on utilities, hospital services and flights.

Storymap compliments of Easy Life Cover

The World’s Most Healthiest and Affordable Places to Retire

Internationalliving.com recently announced the results of the International Living’s Annual Global Retirement Index.  The index, which ranks best places to retire in the world on 10 different categories, is the result of  months of research by their ever-growing team of correspondents, editors, and contributors  from all over the world and is a resource for helping you find your ideal retirement haven.

Refined every year, the research spans across 10 categories including buying and renting, benefits & discounts, visas and residents, cost of living, fitting in, entertainment and amenities, healthcare, healthy lifestyle, infrastructure and climate.

Of particular interest to ModernRetiree.com was the rankings for affordability and healthy living.  “This year we’ve added two entirely new categories. Time and again, we hear back from readers looking for a healthier lifestyle overseas. So we’ve added a Healthy Lifestyle category.” notes International Living (IL).  “It includes everything from groceries to utilities, from rent to transport—every expense involved in living a comfortable retirement was factored in here.”

While Panama was ranked this year as the overall best place to retire in the world, Cambodia ranked highest (100) for having the lowest cost of living with everything factored in for a comfortable retirement including groceries, utilities, rent, transportation and eating out. According to local expats, you can eat out for less than $5.00 and rent an apartment  in a nice area for as little as $250 a month.

Nicaragua came in second as among the most affordable countries with a Global Retirement Index of 98. “Here you can live a great retirement for $1,200 a month. This includes renting within a short walk of stunning Pacific beaches for only $400 a month, and great food (fish, pizza, lasagna, Mediterranean salads…you name it) for less than $10 per dish” the study notes. Nicaragua also scored high for healthy living, achieving a Global Retirement Index of 97.

Peru also scored high for affordability, achieving a Global Retirement Index of 95. “Peru has by far the most affordable cost of living,” says IL’s David Hammond,  who, according to the study, was hugely impressed by what he saw there. “A couple can live in a city that has it all for $1,000, including rent.

That small budget will cover you for renting a two- or three-bedroom apartment with a terrace ($335 a month), water ($10), electricity (around $27) and cable and internet ($50 combined) as well as everything else you might need” he said.

So where are the more healthier retirement havens?   Costa Rica earned top marks with a Global Retirement Index of 98, the study notes.   According to expats interviewed in the study, Costa Rica offers huge scope for living a healthy, outdoors lifestyle.   The great climate allows for plenty of growing opportunities so fresh produce is readily available for retirees who say you can fill your fridge for under $40 a week.  “The great weather also means you can get out and about at any time of year. And many expats report eating more healthily since they arrived” IL reports.

Retirees who are seeking world-class healthcare facilities  might want to consider Columbia cities like Medellin, which scored 95 on IL’s Global Retirement Index in the category of healthy living.  Many of International Living’s readers say they are looking to escape from the polluted North American cities and processed North American food.  “They want to find fresh air, farm-fresh produce, and clean living overseas” , IL notes.   Clean air and fresh food can be found at many of the countries rated high in the IL index for healthy living including Nicaragua (97), Panama (95), Colombia (95), and Ecuador (95).

Many of the retirees interviewed say they eat more fresh fruit and vegetables with a lot less preservatives and the water doesn’t have fluoride in it.  They also tend to walk a lot more and get more fresh air.  “It’s been great for our health,” says expat Rob Evans. Rob has lost 50 pounds since moving to Costa Rica’s Central Valley with his wife Jeni in 2014.  Another expat Greg Seymour, who lives near the town of Grecia says that since settling in Costa Rica, he has taken to “exploring the mountains and forests around his home, and feels all the healthier for it.”

For more information and to  see the top 10 places to retire in the world in 2016 and how other countries rated in some of the other retirement index categories,  view the article on Panama, the World’s Best Retirement Destination 2016 here. Panama not only scored high in most every category of International Living’s Retirement Index including healthy living, but also got a perfect score in the “benefits and discounts” and “visas and residence” categories.  The reason is because Panama makes it easier for you to become a legal resident than virtually any country we’ve ever written about, IL reports.

Also view the article and infographic on Where are America’s Most Healthiest and Affordable Places to Retire?

Where are Americas Most Healthiest and Affordable Places to Retire? (infographic)

A recent study by the Center for a Secure Retirement researched America’s best cities for a healthy and more affordable retirement.  The study, highlighted in the infographic below and published in detail here, ranked 60 of the largest U.S. metropolitan areas in terms of health and affordability for middle income retirees (those with household incomes between $25,000 and $100,000 and investible assets of less than $1 million) .

 

To determine how healthy a city was and for the city to qualify as one of the most healthy cities,  the study examined eight different categories including healthcare, the economy, social wellness, activities, the environment, transportation and crime.  To determine a cities affordability and for the city to qualify as one of the most affordable places to retire, the study paid special attention to the cost of living index, median housing prices and the median rental prices.

Some of the best places to live in the us in retirement were surprising as it appears that being the most affordable place to retire wasn’t always the most important factor as Seattle, a somewhat more expensive city, got the number spot due to it’s wealth of outdoor activities.  Hartford was ranked as having the highest concentrations of Boomers in the U.S. and one of the top ten healthiest cities in america,  probably due to it having one of the most affordable home healthcare industries in the study. While the most physically healthy residents live in Salt Lake City, also one of the healthiest cities in america, many retirees love Denver and Portland for their abundance of outdoor activities and many cultural activities,  according to the study.

So here is the lineup of the top 10 healthiest cities to live in retirement and most affordable places to retire in the US.

  1. Seattle, Washington – Despite being one of the more expensive cities on the list, Seattle got the number one spot due to it’s natural beauty, moderate climate and wealth of outdoor activities.
  2. Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota – Even though it’s known for it’s cold weather, the number two spot went to Minneapolis-St. Paul where retirees report high levels of satisfaction and social and emotional supprt.
  3. Denver, Colorado – Seniors and young people alike love Denver for it’s abundance of outdoor activities.  The City also ranked well for it’s wealth of cultural activities which include the Denver Performing Arts Complex which is one of the largest centers for the arts in the U.S.
  4. Portland, Oregon – Popular with both the young and retirees alike, Portland’s natural beauty, attractions and educational opportunities continue to entice new residents.  Also noted in the study was the Oregon Health and Science University Hospital which is nationally ranked in five adult specialties, including oncology and geriatrics.
  5. Hartford, Connecticut –  According to the study, Hartford has one of the highest concentrations of Boomers in the U.S. probably due to it having one of the most affordable home healthcare industries in the  study. It appears that the residents also get involved in the community as the city has some of the highest levels of civic involvement and volunteering, the study notes.
  6. Omaha, Nebraska – A good economy, low cost of living, housing prices, unemployment, and low crime rate make Omaha attractive as a healthy and affordable place to live.  Not to mention high levels of satisfaction and support being reported by local resident Boomers.
  7. Baltimore, Maryland –  Mostly noted for it’s healthcare facilities which include the Johns Hopkins Hospital, Mercy Medical Center and UM Medical Center which rank among the best in the country.
  8. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania –  It appears Boomers love Pittsburgh,  not only for its affordability but also for its low crime and top cultural institutions that include the Andy Warhol Museum and the Pittsburgh Public Theater.
  9. Cleveland, Ohio –   Cleveland’s low housing prices and top hospitals for cardiology, urology, geriatrics, oncology and a dozen other specialties gained it the number nine spot.   Playhouse Square, one of the nation’s top theater districts adds to the cultural way of life that resident retirees enjoy.
  10. Salt Lake City, Utah – This city was noted as having some of the most physically healthy residents in the study boasting low levels of smoking, cancer, heart disease and Alzheimer’s disease. Good pubic transportation also helped this city gain its number ten spot.

If you’re looking for an affordable place to retire or want to learn more about the most healthy cities to retire in,  you can read about this study and which other cities were ranked in the study on America’s Best Cities for a Healthy (and More Affordable) Retirement by clicking here.

Where to Find the Best Senior Discount Lists

What is the Senior Discount Age?

There’s no shortage of senior discounts which can begin as early as age 50 for some stores and restaurants. However, the older and closer to retirement age we get,  many more discounts start to become available to us. According to bradsdeals.com which publishes an online senior discount list, hundreds of retailers are featuring new and improved discounts exclusively for the 60 and older crowd.

Seniorlist.com, another online publisher of senior discount lists, warns that discount policies do change though, both at the national level and at the local level and these changes are not always published.   They advise discount shoppers to ask ahead of time so there are no surprises.

Senior Discount Lists

Seniorlist.com offers one of the most extensive senior discount lists available online and they organize their list of senior citizen discounts into several categories including discounts at grocery stores, prescriptions, senior discounts at restaurants, retail & apparel discounts and travel discounts .  The travel category also includes airlines, car rentals and hotel discounts.  The list is updated through-out the year so they keep abreast of changes and any new discounts that become available. You can print out their list of the 2015 Biggest List of Senior Discounts here or browse their website at Seniorlist.com.

BradsDeals.com  is another great resource for finding senior discounts and they provide an extensive list of restaurants that give senior discounts, retail and clothing discounts, grocery discounts and travel discounts.   They also include a list of entertainment discounts for theaters, fitness centers, cinemas and other fun attractions.  You can print out the complete list of 100+ Stores with Senior Discounts here or simply browse their website at BradDeals.com.

AARP gives Members access to savings and discounts that come with an AARP Membership which costs $16.00 a year.  From their main discount page, you can get access to a variety of discounts for retail stores, car repair and maintenance, flowers and gifts, items for around the house, groceries and also discounts at local businesses that are close to your home.

Premium Outlets – One fun way to claim your senior discounts all at one location is to shop at your local outlet center. The Premium Outlets offers 10% savings on Tuesdays for participating stores.  They are located in most major cities in the United States and are also located internationally.

Of course, keep in mind that Senior Discounts may not always be the best deal as Charles Passy points out in his article on The Myth of the Senior Discount.   Charles makes a point that you can also get AAA discounts,  pay-in-advance discounts, corporate discounts, or another promotional rates or packages. And that’s on top of the options to book through a third-party discounter (like Expedia or Hotels.com) or to use miles or hotel reward points.  Like many of us, Charles was disappointed because he couldn’t find many worthwhile senior discounts for those of us in the 50-62 age range (and especially for those of us in the 50-55 age range).  Nevertheless, depending on where you shop or the restaurants you frequent, 10% to 15% discounts can add up into significant savings over time!