Tuesday, August 30, 2011

America's Best Places for Retirees

Where to Retire?

Yesterday Yahoo! Real Estate put up an article by Forbe's William Barrett about America's Top Burb's for retirees. In it he poses the question that has been echoing through Boomer's minds since Boomer's first started retiring, 'Where to retire?' For many it's not really much pf a question. The vast majority of America's just stay where they've always been. But a few and in fact and increasing number of retirees do venture out to uncover the best places to retire abroad, motivated by either a desire for change or the need to save money. Most would say they are concerned about living on a fixed income and finding the cheapest places to retire and for many that means just staying put.  However, more and more American's are realizing that moving to another state or even another country could offer a substantially better retirement lifestyle on the same fixed income.

Barrett suggests a new alternative - jumping burbs. Where boomers who may have spent the majority of their years raising families and cutting lawns in one suburb consider trading it in for another somewhere else in America. To help retirees pick their new spot Forbe's has come out with a list of the Top 25 Places to Retire in America - places as in Top Suburbs.

Best Places for Taxes

Barrett also suggests that tax savings can be an important part of the decision to move and where to relocate as a retiree. For example, Texas and Florida have no state income taxes while others like Florida and Pennsylvania have special tax incentives specifically aimed at retirees.

Best Places to retire in America

The Forbes list of the Top Suburbs looks at places that are no further than 25 miles from the center (downtown) of a major metropolis and where average homes prices were less than $400,000. Interestingly enough half of the Top Places ended up with home prices under $200,000. They also looked at other data to determine places which represented the most liveable cities for retirement aged folk. Things like healthcare services, cost of living, tax environment, crime rates and more.

The Top Ten Places to Live for Retirees were:

Broomfield, CO
Davis, CA
Brentwood, MS
Ft. Thomas, KY
Meridian, ID
Lauderdale, MN
Allen, TX
Fayetteville, GA
Gilbert, AZ
Tamarac, FL

Source: Yahoo! Real Estate - Top Burbs for Retirees :

Tax-Free Retirement Made Easy 

You don't want to organize your new life overseas around tax code...but sometimes the two agendas can converge. 

We've identified three countries that roll out the welcome mat, not only offering significant benefits for foreign residents, including seriously appealing tax advantages, but also making it easy for you to become a foreign resident in the first place. 

That is, it can be possible to relocate to the Shangri-la of your fondest daydreams...while, at the same time, reducing your tax burden, maybe to zero. 

It depends largely on how and from where your income is derived... 

And the key is arranging legal foreign residency. 

Here's the good news: While not every country welcomes foreign retirees or expats, we've identified three countries that roll out the welcome mat, not only offering significant benefits for foreign residents, including seriously appealing tax advantages, but also making it easy for you to become a foreign resident in the first place. 

Revealed: The world's top 20 destinations where you can enjoy a better quality of life—
on a budget of US$1,200 or less Plus, everything you need to know
to make one of these 20 special places your home in as little as 12 months

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Cheapest Places to Visit this Summer

Here's an interesting little article I stumbled across this morning - it gives a nice summary of 7 of the Best Places to Visit, right now while summer is still here. And the kicker is these places are cheap! Exactly what everyone wants to hear as the stick market continues its wild ride. For me! I think it's time to say good bye to Mr. Toad for a little while and step off that crazy ride for a cheap mini vacation.

So, what does Yahoo travel say is Hot and cheap right now?

How about -

Chicago Illinois


Atlanta Georgia

Now, out of those Top 7 Places what does one have that none of the other six do? Can you guess? It's pleasant weather! Yes, isn't it interesting that six of the seven cheap places to visit right now are smokin' hot and I'm not taking a great deal or smokin' hot popular no they're plain old smokin' hot! That leaves but one option on the list for escaping the heat of the south and that's Victoria in beautiful British Columbia Canada!

Here's a bit about what Yahoo! says is the reason Victoria is a good place to visit with good deals right now -
The Canadian Dollar - not sure if you are aware of this, many Americans are clueless, but as the green back plumets the the Canadian Dollar has been soaring high since the spring. That means a lot of Canadians are heading south across the U.S. border to enjoy deep recession discounts that are even sweeter because their dollar is worth more than the U.S. dollar. With less British Columbian's and other Canadians visting their own home town of Victoria hoteliers have been offering deals and keeping prices down. Hotwire reports room rates in Victoria are actually 10 percent lower than they were last year.

Of course bargain room prices are one of the last things to consider when thinking of a visit to Victoria. This city has so much to see and do. Many say, if you want to visit England but can't afford the fare, just pop up to Victoria and you'll get all the British fanfare you can handle. The city also has some of the finest restaurants and dining options on the west coast of North America, beautiful beaches, theatre, music, wildlife... oh, and did I mention the flowers?  The list goes on and on.

So, if you're looking for a cheap place to escape to before summer ends - check out Victoria, British Colombia Canada!

You can read more about the 7 Cheapest Places to Visit here -

Yahoo Travel - Places that are Cheap Now!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Best Places to Invest Now!

Reasons to Invest in the Stock Market

Yes, Gold is sky rocketing and markets around the world seem to be in a free-fall following the S&P downgrading of US Treasury Bonds to AA. But is this a sound reason to bail? Of course not! We've all heard the adage over and over, 'Buy low - Sell high.' This is not a time to let emotions and fear ruin your wise investment choices over the years. I know I probably sound like your stick broker but really. Pause, breath and think about it. I'm not suggesting you do nothing but now is a great time to really get to understand your portfolio and the market. There are many companies that will not just survive this they will thrive in the future. But due to the panic mindset they are likely under valued - that means its a great time to buy!

I know a lot of this blog is dedicated to uncovering cheap places to live and the best places to live for an optimal lifestyle. But, we're not talking about living like a hermit. Living a frugal lifestyle is what the US government needs to learn and teach - we've heard the debate. Why is it even a debate? It's simply common sense - spend less - make more - save more.

Real Estate Investment Consultant

We asked around and one Real Estate Investment Consultant we spoke with said Vancouver Real Estate is still a good option for investors. It kind of flies in the face of buy low, sell high but this consultant made a pretty convincing argument. He said,

"If you're looking to uncover a sound, stable investment for the foreseeable future you may want to consider keeping Real Estate in your portfolio. One market I'm still quite bullish on is, Vancouver British Columbia. Over the past 10 years Vancouver Real Estate has been a favourable option for real estate investors. In fact the past year proved that the gains from the Vancouver market outpaced gold and silver.

Despite the turbulence in the real estate marketplace world wide Vancouver has enjoyed very impressive numbers. The average Vancouver property increased in value year after year for the past decade providing a consistent 7.5% annual return for investors. Just a few years ago the average Vancouver home was priced at $250,000 but in 2010 the purchase price was at $660,000 - source: 2010 ReMax Housing Report.

This performance far exceeded most commodities, even gold in the later part of 2010. Until the sub-prime crisis in the U.S. Real estate has always been known as a strong and stable investment for the long term. Rising prices for Canadian homes have proved the trend real and one anomaly is keeping the Vancouver Market especially buoyant - in Vancouver Real Estate circles they call it the next "China Wave". Chinese buyers from mainland China this time are arriving flush with cash and ready to buy with no negotiation, no conditions and fast closings.

Many keep saying the coming years may prove to be more difficult for investors to recover their initial investments quickly but so far there is no sign a a slow down. However, it's always wise and our intrepid Real Estate Investment Consultant agrees, Investors need to be patient, and might see their initial investments taking greater than five years to recover. Although Vancouver appears to be the major boom town other real estate markets in Canada tare also returning compound annual rates as high as 8%. So, even if you are looking at Retirement Planning the window for a positive return is still short enough to consider real estate.

Editors Note:

How To Get Rich Slowly!

In the current investment climate, real, productive assets are more appealing than ever.

This is where the smart money is moving...

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Retirement Planning - Why Now?

Secure Retirement Solutions

An issue that is quite often encountered when researching secure retirement solutions is when to begin the process of planning and preparing for retirement. Even with the constant barrage of news about the impending bankruptcy of governments and the right wing desire to cut all entitlement programs, like social security, many Americans still believe they are entitled to have social security to support them through their retirement years. Just one reason this may not be realistic is that Americans are living much longer than they did in the past when the entire social security system was created.

It's true Americans are living longer and they are also leading more active lives. The media harps on about rising obesity and it is a problem but its our youth and working adults who are at risk here. Today's retirees not so much. They are travellers, they take all kinds of courses and lessons like learning to dance and they tend to try out new things that they may not have had the opportunity to experience when they were working raising families. Now they're taking time to do many wonderful things and participate in  wonderful activities. Watch our parents live this life is setting us up for the same but it won't be a reality with out savings and a good secure retirement plan to get us there.

This is the number one reason to start retirement planning as soon as possible. The reality is you are never too young to begin. Now it's not just about putting aside cash for the retirement but about planning and implementing productive retirement strategies - ways that allow you to securely grow your retirement savings so you can increase your retirement possibilities. Whether you are just starting work, in your  middle earning years or you're getting close to retirement  - NOW! is the time to take your ideas and objectives and show them to a retirement planning adviser. Learn about the guidance they are able to offer. Get their input on establishing objectives so you are better able to determine your retirement plan. With that kind of information you are able to make the most of your investment decisions while developing accurate and repeatable investment techniques you can use each and every month.

Independent Financial Advisor

Its common to disregard the natural part bias a financial advisor can have in preparing a sensible financial future for us. When someone is being paid commission to promote a certain company it's only natural they will appear confident that their products are the best for you. This is especially true and make for a certain vulnerability when it comes to our financial retirement plan. A good independent  financial consultant will know the proper funds and techniques that many people haven't even heard about. It only makes sense to visit a specialist that makes your family's future their priority rather than one company who writes their pay check. Why is it essential to include this as part of your strategy? Well its like shopping for a house wit a relator who only shows you his exclusive listing vs one who will show you MLS listings. You can easily see the bias works against you when a realtor only shows you what he wants to sell and will make the highest commission from. The same holds true for your financial advisor.

The earlier you begin planning a broad and diverse retirement plan the more confident you can be that you are finding the best and most secure retirement solutions. The easiest way to move forward is to  establish retirement targets, create a financial plan which takes your lifestyle objectives and strategies into account and find an independent financial expert who will give you his unbiased insights. Investing now  even if you think it is too soon is a lot wiser than investing to late and hoping it will workout.

Have you been thinking about your best retirement options for your golden years? Good! Now take action and consider secure retirment solutions by looking at: your target retirement income, the local - state and federal taxes which will impact your retirement fund and property prices that will determine if and when you can retire to the lifestyle you really want.

Best Retirement Options - Luxury Retirement Villages - Demand More Luxury for Less Money

Have you ever fantasized about living in one of those posh retirement communities? Are they really as  good to live in as they claim? Does living in a luxury retirement village actually make you appear like you're better than others? Will you feel spoiled? When you hear about how 2 hour concierge services; award winning cuisine; anti-aging health spas; tennis courts; pools and more do wonder how you can trust in these extreme claims? Are these luxury retirement villages really all they claim to be?

It seems these retirement havens go all out in their marketing to make you believe you really can have it all and at a fraction of the price. The best retirement places? One example is one of the most successful housing construction firms in the US opening 4 luxury retirement villages somewhere in the country every year! One such community in Florida is the Sarasota Bay Club. There they boast a community theater where they have live broadcasts of the Philadelphia Orchestra - not a few but every concert they play! In another Arizona retirement village all of the houses are built around a big  pro designed golf course and a facility for continuing care.

So how can they do all fo this and offer all of that at prices which seem to be too good to be true? The answer is not a conspiracy and its a lot simpler than you might think - the bottom line is supply and demand and with the price sensitive home market we are in at this moment even those catering to the wealthy retiree can't afford to raise prices. It's true - in more than three dozen markets across the nation there have been no price raises in managed living facilities for the past three years.

What to do when you Retire

Over the years the quality of life retirees have come to expect has been rising consistently. The new retiree now looks for things like: organic dining options; full service well equipped gyms and fitness centers; onsite entertainment options; luxurious surroundings and on top of that they expect this and more  as standard offerings. They don't expect to pay a premium but they demand these premium conveniences. The reality is that the cost of entry into one of these luxury retirement villages is only one part of the final cost. Someone has to pay so residents need to be prepared to pay each month for additional maintenance and security in addition to the extras they desire. These communities commonly have residents sign a detailed contract which deals with healthcare costs as well. But, living in one of thee villages may still be well worthwhile just for the quality of life and living they represent in your later years. Think about it: top-rated chefs and massage therapists available anytime of the day or night. Sounds like a nice way to spend your final years.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Rio De Janeiro; Won't Be Very Cheap Place To Live

Rio De Janeiro will soon be transformed from party capital to international games host starting in 2014 for the World Cup and then again in 2016 for the Olympics. With this sort of international attention real estate in Rio de Janeiro has become a hotbed of activity overnight and is likely to skyrocket in value.

Rio Luxury Apartments

Speculators have begun to weave their magic in this Brazilian city and more specifically in outlying areas where there are many of the Rio Luxury Apartments are located in anticipation of the international traffic around these two gigantic events back to back. Travelers well be more likely to spend whatever they have to in order to have a place to stay while at these two mega events. Between now and 2016 no doubt many things will change in Rio de Janeiro for the better as it attempts to put on its best game face for the world. As a result real estate prices have nowhere to go but up.

There is no doubt the attention from the international community will bring long term as well as short term benefits to this country and specifically the city of Rio de Janeiro and the outlying areas. With Brazil's liberal property regulations for foreigners, it should make for a prime combination of opportunity the infrastructure for foreign ownership is already in place.

Rio De Janeiro Listings For Sale

It may be harder and harder to find listings for sale in Rio De Janeiro since rental rates will no doubt go through the roof so to speak just as they do every time the Brazilian carnival comes around. This is going to make those that already have property less anxious to sell and more likely to want a higher price as the time gets closer to the two events in 2014 and 2016. Even Brazilian carnival causes rental prices to skyrocket for the period of time just before and after the event. Anyone's speculation can only predict what may happen when the world descends on Rio de Janeiro for the Olympics and the World Cup. There is no doubt the rental rates will multiply with more and more restrictions on length of stay as well. It is tough to find locate a cheap place to live during carnivel. Most likely the rates will start to be competitive with even the highest resort rates for three and four-star rooms in the United States.

Information On Rio De Janeiro Property Ownership

Brazil has made investing in property there extremely easy but not necessarily cheap for foreigners with the only requirement being the acquisition of a Brazilian ID. This Brazilian ID that is easy to obtain with foreign passport opens up all the doors to own property in Brazil.