House Move And Finances: How Do You Manage Them?

Leah Powell

House moves can easily be one of the best things that can happen in your life. After all, this is a way for you and your family to start fresh and open a new chapter in your lives. Regardless of the reason for your move – be it to buy your dream home, get a new environment, switching jobs and schools – it’s still awesome being in a new neighborhood and establishing a new start for your family. Unfortunately, house moves aren’t just “getting your new keys and transporting all your belongings.” If you’re worried how a house move can affect your finances, you might panic as to how you can efficiently manage your finances when conducting a move.

Deciding whether or not to hire long distance movers can add to the expenses, but for many people it is worth it as they greatly reduce the amount of time invested and the stress of the process.

Thankfully, we have some fresh tips you can use to make sure you don’t sacrifice your finances when conducting a move for your and the family.

Here are some tips:

Plan your moving expenses and adjust from there.

Instead of worrying about your savings immediately, try to plan for your move as though you don’t have anything to worry about. It’s best to list the ideal circumstances of your move first and then adjust from there. If you had the money, just what would you want to do with your move? From there, you’ll likely end up with the list that you can “tone down” and adjust according to your needs. For instance, instead of hiring all sorts of professionals, you can instead hire cross country movers and focus on making sure your things are moved to your new location while you handle the rest of the interior design and unpacking yourself.

Allot a budget to your move and stick to that budget.

Regardless of how tempting overspending might be for your move, try to stick to a particular budget in order to make sure you don’t burn through your savings. This might be difficult in itself, but this is also a good training on your end as to how you can adjust a particular budget to fit particular needs in terms of your moving requirements.

Consider having a garage sale.

If you have an existing inventory or if you’re planning on making an inventory, you should also consider things you plan on selling and throwing away. Before making your house move, try to sell things you no longer want, so you have some way of recuperating some losses you’ve spent on your moving budget.

Adjust your packing materials according to costs.

Ideally, we want our moving and packing materials to be new and sturdy, right? However, we might soon realize that buying a ton of boxes for a one-time thing might not be worth the while. As such, instead of buying a ton of boxes and packaging tape, we might want to instead consider buying materials we’ll be using for a long time… or reusing things we have at home. For instance, before buying packing materials, consider consolidating all existing boxes you have from your other furniture and see if you can fit other things there. Likewise, you should also consider buying plastic containers that are reusable in order to store them in your new home afterwards and use them in the future if needed.

Hire professionals to save time and add manpower.

One of the worst things that can happen during an expensive move is to waste more time during the move, especially if you’re doing things by yourself. Spending a lot of days off just packing and transporting your things can be costly for your job and your personal life, and it’s a risk you shouldn’t take. Instead, you can hire a moving company Manhattan in order to get that manpower you need and the equipment necessary to transport your things safely. This might seem counter-intuitive since you’re being asked to spend a bit for movers, but their expertise will at least be a worthwhile investment, compared to risking damaging your things just to save money during the move.

Moving And Finances: Management Works!

With the above tips in mind, it’s important to remember that managing your finances is still possible with your move. And you might be surprised to learn that things you do everyday can be tweaked to accommodate your move and not blow up your budget to the extreme. Hopefully, you’ll be able to manage your move properly without bursting your wallet and without denting too much of a hole in your savings plan. Good luck and happy moving!

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Interesting ways to increase your social security payments during retirement

Author Bio: Michael is a seasoned writer who loves to write about issues relating to retirement, Medicare, and Social Security. Holly currently works as a writer for “Social Security Office Near Me”, where she writes about Social Security benefits and issues affecting the senior citizen population.

Retirement living can be a worrisome part of life, especially for those dependent on salaried jobs as their income source is not valid anymore. Most people resort to their pension, but that might not be enough more often than not. Thus, the Social Security benefit act was signed in 1935, where the citizens who work for more than 35 years are given financial benefits. This is known as Social Security payments, and it has been discussed in detail here.

Social security

It is a type of financial security for the elderly people who opt for the service and have a minimum of 35 years of service behind them with a stable income. A certain amount is taken during their earning years, and based on it, credit scores are calculated. A person is eligible for 4 credit scores a month and should have 40 credits to qualify for the payments. The amount is based on calculations of the past 35 years of work.

Types of social security

Social Security can be of the following types-

Retirement benefits

It is the type of security that you become eligible for after retiring from work. It is generally around 65 years of age. The earning at the time of retirement is important here.

Disability benefits

It is applicable to anyone who comes disabled and cannot work or provide service anymore. The earning at the time of disability again becomes vital here.

Survivor’s benefit

If any worker passes away during the collection tenure, the deceased’s survivor is given the Social Security payments.

Supplemental Security Income benefits

This is for people who do not earn adequately to sustain themselves during their earning years.

What is social security retirement called?

It is also called Supplemental Security Income as the payment generated from it may not be enough to sustain an individual completely but can help to pay off any debts or take care of all the basic needs.

Ways to increase your Social security payments during retirement

You must receive the maximum benefits while withdrawing your Social Security payments. Here are some ways to ensure the same-

You should be working for more than 35 years for the best financial policy. In case you fall short of 35 years, the zeros are taken into the calculation, and the amount you will receive at the end will be less. It is better to have a year with a low income than a zero-income year.

Your salary should be higher in your earning years as the amount calculated to be your Social Security payment will be related to the salary that you had at the time of retirement or just prior to it.

Do not start claiming your Social Security payment at an early age of 62 years, even though you can do so. According to calculations, you could lose up to 25% of what you could have got back as a return on doing so.

A delayed pickup and claim of Social Security payments up to the age of 70 years can actually increase your returns by as much as 8%. Therefore, you have the option to postpone it more for more amount later.

In case you have already started claiming the payment at an early stage, and you see that you are losing money because of it, you have the option to suspend your payment till you reach 70 years. You can avail yourself of a replacing social security card to halt or start your payments according to convenience.

You can withdraw from the benefits of Social security payments as and when you want and become a part of the scheme later.

In case you have a spouse who is eligible for Social Security payments as well, you can get up to 50% of that payment in case your own payment amount is lesser than that.

In case, for some reason a person who is eligible for Social Security payments dies, the spouse can become eligible for the money as a survivor. The condition is that either the spouse should not be eligible for her own payment or have a lesser amount than the deceased. The widow or the widower also has the option of getting a one-time benefit from the deceased.

The children of a person eligible for Social Security can also get the benefits if they are deceased prematurely.

You should be able to estimate your health concerns and the number of years you will live, factoring in your family history. This will give you a proper idea of when you should start claiming the Social Security benefits. If you’re not sure, you can always go to the Social Security Administration near you and confirm.

Calculating the retirement benefits

The main criteria for calculating the retirement benefits for Social Security payments are taking an average of your income for the past 35 years. A particular agency keeps tracking your earnings for 35 years and then divide the whole by 35 to get your average yearly income. This is followed by dividing this calculated money by 12 to get the monthly estimate. The ultimate amount is dependent on the total earnings then and not for the last 4-5 years as such.

You should try to be in an earning state all 35 years to have a larger average. On failing to do so, the amount is taken as zero for the time lost. The payment that you receive monthly on retirement is also dependent on the age that you start collecting the claims. Doing it as early as 62 years can reduce the amount and stalling it until 70 years can increase it by 8%.

The bottom line

Social Security payment is a very good initiative to take care of your financial problems after you have started enjoying senior living. You should opt for the plan while in service and fulfill your part of the deal to get maximum benefits.

Now that you know about Social Security payments in detail, you should become aware of executing the scheme and leading a carefree retired life later.

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Top 5 Financial Benefits of Retiring Abroad

Marc from ProTax Consulting Services

Planning your golden years is an exciting task and you’re probably looking forward to traveling or moving to a country with your ideal weather. Or possibly, the opportunity to live close to family and friends. Whatever your reasons, know that there are also financial benefits to retiring abroad. When working out your destination, do factor in how to manage your assets. You’ll also want to figure out your 401k and IRA withdrawals, and Social Security receipts. Work with your expat tax consultant to figure out your dues since you’ll continue to pay taxes in the US.

  1. You’ll Have a Lower Cost of Living

The more affordable cost of living is one of the fundamental reasons to consider retiring abroad. Depending on the country you’ve chosen and your expected standard of living, you can expect to spend anywhere from $1,200 to $2,200 per month on a comfortable lifestyle. Other factors that can influence your expenses include settling in an urban or rural locale, local taxes, travel, and insurance. With a little smart thinking, you can invest the money that you have left after deducting expenses and build wealth.

  1. You Can Expect Affordable Healthcare

Healthcare costs in the US are not only extremely high, but they seem to be skyrocketing as the years pass. Statistics show that a 65-year old couple choosing to retire in the US can expect to pay around $606,337 to get proper healthcare. Many countries have a public health system available associated with very reasonable costs. Do keep in mind that any US Medicare coverage that you have before moving abroad may not cover your medical expenses in a foreign country. However, you can get Medicare to cover any emergency expenses incurred while visiting your hometown.

  1. You Can Take Advantage of Monetary Incentives

Several countries offer benefits to retiring US expats. A good example is Panama’s Pensionado program. It offers incentives to retirees who wish to live in the country as long as they meet a reasonable income criteria. Accordingly, you can expect discounts on expenses like healthcare, utilities, mortgage payments, and various others. If you choose to live in Ecuador, you can expect to get 50% discounts on public transportation and on tickets for movies and sporting events. These savings can translate into valuable financial benefits.

  1. You Can Get Deductions on Income Tax

US expats can take advantage of various income exclusions. The most important among them is the Foreign Income Earned Exclusion (FEIE) that allows you to pay income tax over and above a specific income level. The IRS sets up a limit each year. For instance, this income slab is $107,600 for 2020. Additionally, you can claim deductions for the living costs that you incur while living in foreign countries by way of the Foreign Housing Exclusion. Your tax consultant can advise you best on the tax and financial benefits of living abroad.

  1. You Can Continue to Get Social Security

If you qualify for Social Security at the time that you move out of the US, you can continue to receive the benefits as long as your chosen destination is on the approved list. The IRS requires notification of your move and that you maintain a US bank account for receiving the SS checks. As long as you’re aware of the applicable fees for making purchases and ATM transactions, you should be good to go.

Settling overseas after retirement has a bunch of benefits. Make sure to do your homework when planning your move and take advantage of substantial savings.

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3 Reasons You Should Talk to a Lawyer after Retirement

Timothy Rivera is a full-time writer who writes a wide variety of topics relatable to seniors.  Most of Timothy’s articles talk about retirement, estate planning and investments. Timothy aims to help his readers transition easily toward their senior lives.

For some people, retirement is an exciting life event wherein they can undertake a lot of amazing things. But, for others, it’s a stage in their life that they dread about. Primarily, retirement is the time of life when a person, reaching the age of 66 years old and above, has to leave their active working life permanently. And, as you retire, you tend to be more susceptible to financial, mental, and physical health issues.

Maybe, you’re planning to transfer your estate to your family, or you’re thinking about designating a person to administer your properties in case of incapacity or death. Perhaps, you’re so in debt, but you want to make sure your wealth is protected against lawsuits and creditors. Whatever you think of doing, having a lawyer to handle the legal matters that may arise after retirement is extremely important.

Below are the reasons why you should talk to a lawyer after you retire.

  1. Helps You Prepare An Incapacity Plan

As you enjoy your retirement years and become older in the process, you may potentially become incapacitated to make your own decisions about your finances and, more importantly, your own well-being. Before this happens, you should have your incapacity plan in place to ensure everything will go smoothly.

However, in doing this, you should work with an an elder law attorney to know your legal options. These can include the writing of a power of attorney. In simple terms, a power of attorney is a legal document appointing a family member to act in your capacity and make decisions for your welfare. Since it’s a legal document, it’s best to speak with a lawyer to help you decide the nature and scope of this arrangement, considering a family member will have control over the decisions about you.

  1. Knows How You Can Protect Your Assets After Retirement

Being a retiree means you’re getting old and becoming vulnerable to health issues. And, when you get seriously ill after your retirement, you may not be able to safeguard your assets against any threat that may come your way. Because of this, you need the assistance of a lawyer to explain the different legal options available to your situation.

For example, asset protection strategies are the best ways to keep your wealth away from creditors and judgment holders. Specifically, your lawyer can recommend the establishment of trust so you can transfer your assets to a trustee for the benefit of your beneficiaries. By doing this, any person who has a monetary interest in you can no longer go after those properties placed under the trust. As a result, you can rest, knowing that you can leave everything you’ve worked for many years to your family’s next generation.

Moreover, your assets can also be taken away from you because of your nursing home expenses. This is where Medicaid comes into play. It’s a federal and state program that assist people with limited income and resources. Since nursing home costs are expensive, Medicaid is there to support your expenses. However, to qualify for Medicaid, you need to exhaust your assets first, thereby leaving little to no wealth for your family. To protect your assets from this setup, talk to a lawyer to help you create a Medicaid asset protection trust. This can be an ideal solution to meet the program’s strict asset guidelines.

  1. Helps You Create a Will

Of course, retirement doesn’t mean you’ll die soon. But, as you retire and age, you need to be prepared for anything that may happen to you as you become older and weaker. This process can include the creation of your will. Essentially, a will refers to a legal document outlining and expressing a person’s wishes in terms of the distribution of their properties after their death.

When you draft a will after your retirement, you can guarantee that your family will get what they’re entitled to in the event of your death. On the other hand, just like other legal papers, making a will requires legal expertise. This is where a lawyer comes to rescue. By having a legal professional on your side, you can craft a will that’s valid and binding under your estate planning laws. They can guide you in making sure that your will follows the formalities required by your state. Not only that, but they can also assist you in making sound decisions, such as the selection of your beneficiaries and other estate planning matters.

Takeaway

Indeed, many things may happen as you start your retirement years, and one of these is a possible decline in your mental and physical functions. Therefore, if you want to be prepared for this situation, hire a lawyer as soon as you retire to discuss the possible legal options to protect yourself, your assets, and your loved ones in all circumstances.

Hopefully, you find this article useful in understanding the reasons why talking to a legal professional after your retirement can make a big difference in your and your family’s lives.

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6 Signs You’re Ready to Retire Early

Allesia Olsen

For many people, early retirement seems unattainable. Sure, it would be a relief to shelve your day job sooner than later – but is it possible? While retiring early is no mean feat, it’s possible if you’re a great planner. You can’t wait until you’re almost retiring to begin planning – you need a well-implemented long-term strategic plan. Getting ready for retirement? Here are 6 signs you’re ready to retire early.

  1. You’re Debt Free

Nothing impedes an early retirement than being burdened with debt. Student loans, credit cards, car loans, mortgages, home equity loans all hamper your ability to save and invest for retirement. If you retire with debt, it affects how you spend and your quality of life. The more your outstanding debt, the more you expect to pay in terms of interest charges. When you have no debt, you have more control over your retirement finances.

  1. You’ve Diverse Income Sources

One of the major components of successful early retirement is having multiple income streams when you’re longer working. Do you have rental property or other entrepreneurial activities? Do you have a fund that you can rely on after retirement? Do you have a diversified investment portfolio that can provide you with income necessary to pursue your goals? Varying your incomes, investments as well as utilizing income sources that outpace inflationary pressures is critical as you’re getting ready for retirement.

  1. Your Savings Exceed Your Retirement Goals

Many sources quote the 25 times rule of early retirement that attempts to define how much money you need to save before you retire, which is 25 times your annual expenses.

Accounts such as the 401(k) or IRA are a great way to save for retirement since they are tax-advantaged, and your earnings grow tax-deferred.

Diversifying savings is critical for early retirement. Stashing your money in an interest-bearing checking account, high-yield savings accounts, money market account, taxable brokerage account, or a CD ladder ensures you have access to your money while avoiding an inflated tax bill.

  1. You’ve Got Health Insurance

Health insurance is the main retirement expense for most retirees. While Medicare covers some costs, it doesn’t cater for everything, and you’re not eligible for it until your 65th birthday.

Do you have adequate health insurance coverage until you’re qualified for Medicare? Apart from health insurance, you may also need to look into long-term care insurance, disability, and life.

  1. You’ve Sorted Out Your Investments

Many people confuse savings with investments, which are two different things. Investments are assets that are expected to generate returns in the long-term. They can range from stocks to bonds to real estate or even gold. Different investments have different amounts of risk attached to them. It’s prudent to protect yourself from loss of capital by diversifying your stocks and assets and assume less risk as you approach retirement.

  1. You’re Only Financially Responsible for Yourself

Getting ready for early retirement is an uphill task when you have people depending on you financially. Do you have children or elderly parents you’re supporting? Early retirement is challenging, and having additional financial obligations may necessitate a postponement. However, having financially independent family members can fast-track your early retirement.

Pulling off an early retirement is no mean task. However, getting ready for retirement requires a good financial foundation coupled with great planning to help you pursue your retirement goals.

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How to Become Comfortable with Traveling Even When You Have Disabilities

Roger Foster worked as a caregiver for five years and is now sharing his professional experience to the world by writing medical-related articles. Roger aims to help more and more people understand their health and how they can combat common diseases through his articles.

Traveling gives people different kinds of emotions. Experiences can also vary; you may encounter challenges that affect your overall journey, but traveling will help make you a better person. Don’t let any challenges stop you from seeing various places. Here are the reasons to travel if you’re wondering if you should travel or not:

  • Traveling Makes You Healthy: One of the benefits of traveling is doing some physical activities. Regardless if you are going to your destination via plane or on a car, you will likely find something to do.
  • Traveling is Good for The Brain: Everyone needs to get out of their comfort zone once in a while. Going on a trip can make you smarter, especially when you carefully plan decisions and you’ll learn new things along the way.
  • Traveling Makes You More Interesting: Nothing beats the first-hand experience; every time you visit a new place, there’s always something new to learn. The best stories are often from the activities you’ve done – even if things don’t always go as planned!
  • Traveling Makes You More Open-Minded: Going on a trip not only makes you an interesting and convincing storyteller, but it can also widen your perspective about people and their cultures. Experiencing foreign customs lets you see the whole world in a different light.
  • Traveling Gives You Reasons to Smile: No matter how well you pack, you won’t be able to bring anything that you need, and there are chances that your flight can be cancelled or delayed. You also may realize that you forgot to carry the appropriate clothing for where you’re headed to. Traveling will teach you to lighten up and not be so serious about everything.

Some people face more challenges when they are traveling and have disabilities. However, these setbacks should not stop you from enjoying new places and destinations. All it takes is figuring out what can make you more comfortable traveling with your disabilities when you are on the road.

Traveling Comfortably Even with Disabilities

Going to a new place is not always easy, and people with disabilities may find it more challenging to enjoy traveling. If you are disabled, a vacation to a distant location can be discouraging, especially if it’s your first time to visit there. Will you be able to rent equipment like top power chairs at your destination? Lack of infrastructure and facilities for disabled travelers, language barriers, and mobility problems can ruin a well-planned trip. Here are some tips that travelers with disabilities can do to have an enjoyable and comfortable journey.

  1. Plan Ahead of Time

You have to prepare well before traveling abroad, especially if you are physically disabled. Whether you are permanently disabled because of an illness or injury or find moving challenging because of old age, you should set some expectations based on your research. Are you going to a PWD-friendly country or city? Will your hotel or travel agent be able to arrange a wheelchair for you during your stay? Preparation is key to enjoying your trip, especially when you have physical or mobility limitations.

  1. Bring What You Really Need

When you are traveling with a disability, it’s best to pack the things that will make your journey more comfortable. There are many types of wheelchairs, but some stand above the rest. Rolstoel wheelchairs are ideal when traveling because they are lightweight, fold easily, and can carry weights up to almost 400 pounds. Bringing along a heavy piece of equipment isn’t practical. Aside from packing your medications and other medical information that you may need during your trip; a lightweight motorized vehicle will provide ease and convenience when you move around.

  1. Reach Out for Help

Avoid feeling discouraged when you want to travel, however, when you’re affected with a physical disability – you might need to reach out to the right people for help. First, you should speak to your doctor about your plans to travel. Apart from your medications, your physician is also licensed to recommend coping measures suited for your trip. Second, relay your disabled travel concerns to your travel agent. Travel professionals will know where to book a PWD-friendly hotel for you. Lastly, contact the airport and airlines in advance to arrange for assistance for your flight.

Takeaway

Whether permanent or temporary, you shouldn’t let your disabilities hinder you from traveling. There are plenty of modern wheelchairs and lightweight motorized vehicles that will not cramp your style. Life didn’t stop when you obtained a disability; thus, you can still strive to live your life to the fullest. Traveling with a disability is never easy, but with careful planning and getting hold of the right equipment, you can focus on enjoying your trip with people that matter to you most.

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Choosing the Best Place to Live in Retirement: What You Need to Know

Isabella Goode

If you have entered your senior years and it’s now the time to plan for your retirement, you may be wondering what step to take next. It’s only natural that you will want to live in an environment where you feel comfortable and content in your golden years.

We all have different likes and dislikes, so while one location may be the perfect spot for a retiree, it may not suit your needs. There are several factors to take into account when picking a place to retire, so here is everything you need to know to help you find the best retirement spot.

Consider Retiring Locally

Before coming to any decision, your first step should be whether a move is actually needed. If you live in an area that is affordable, near to your family and friends and has the amenities and services you want, there is no reason to move and step out of your comfort zone. For pre-retirees who are wanting to cut costs and move elsewhere locally, there are lots of tips that can help boost your home’s value. If you are in good financial shape but want to explore, you may get pleasure from taking frequent vacations throughout the year instead, or by purchasing a weekend getaway property.

Assess Living Costs

With pre-retirees expecting to spend up to 80% of their current income during retirement, it’s critical that you look into low cost of living costs to help stretch your money further. If you would like to move, even if you have found your dream location, the last thing you want is to blow all your income and be left with nothing.

States like Arkansas, Mississippi and Oklahoma are regarded as the best for low cost of living, whereas states like California and Hawaii are the most expensive. With regards to housing, the lowest average property prices can be found in states like West Virginia and Indiana, while you can expect to pay out more in states such as New York and Massachusetts.

Know Your Taxes

When deciding on where to live during your retirement, it’s vital that you take taxation into account. The three key areas of taxation are state taxes, taxes on retirement income, and taxes on dividend income. Bear in mind that even if a state has a lower tax rate, it doesn’t mean it will be cheaper to live in. There are other taxes that apply, which will make up the overall cost.

Even if you live in an affordable area, if you aren’t happy with how you are spending your days, it’s advisable to move somewhere where you will feel happier and more comfortable.

Evaluate Amenities

The place where you spend your retirement should have all the amenities and services you require. Whether it’s grocery stores, fitness centers, or golf courses, having ample wellness opportunities close by will keep your mind active and ensure you have things to do. Many retirees like to try out new things and take up a hobby, so having places where you can engage with others is crucial. You should also pick an area that has arts and retail venues, recreational land, and public libraries.

Schedule a Visit

If there are lots of different locations in the country that spark your interest, it’s best to go out and visit them. If you have a couple of years before your retirement begins, use it as the perfect opportunity to explore. Spending a couple of weeks in each location and seeing and doing as much as you can will give you a more educated idea of whether it’s the right place for your golden years.

Instead of spending all your time near the hotel, try and get out and visit local communities. You should always go with your gut instinct, so if you don’t feel comfortable in one area, it’s best not to settle. There are other factors to consider when visiting retirement locations, such as the economy, weather forecast, and crime rate. If you are worried about your safety, you can visit the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program to give you a better overview.

Research Communities

There are lots of retirement communities across the country that you should research before making your final decision. If you’re a person of faith, finding a retirement facility that caters to your needs is important. There are catholic retirement communities like St. Anne’s who honor all faiths. St. Anne’s Retirement Community offers a range of residential apartments, cottage-style homes, and villas that can be the perfect environment and space for your retirement years. Do your research and you will be sure to find the perfect community that suits your needs.

Living out your golden years in a safe and welcoming community should be top of your list. Before making your final decision, make sure that you take all the factors above into account.

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What Baby Boomers Want For Their Retirement Homes

Alessia Olsen

Baby boomers are a huge generation when you consider the fact that they easily span two decades – 1946 to 1964. The youngest have crossed the 50-year threshold while the oldest are close to 75. Over a third of the population is single women. Boomers are expected to purchase homes worth $1.9 trillion, including ranch homes in the next five years.

It is expected that a little less than half the population will move. However, only about 20% will venture far from their current addresses. While baby boomers may not want to go too far from their current place of residence, diversity is an important purchasing factor.

Diversity is Important

Many baby boomers are seeking a lifestyle change. Gone are the days when traditional retirement communities held appeal to the older age group. Instead, younger boomers are looking for master-planned communities and ranch homes where they know they will lead socially comfortable lives in a diverse neighborhood. In fact, there are several “stroller-to-walker” neighborhoods that offer amenities to older residents and young families alike.

Developers are focusing more on creating community amenities and clubhouses that gives people a chance to step out of their homes and interact with other residents. The baby booming generation is all about interacting and becoming friends with people of all ages. They want their retirement homes to offer that kind of diversity.

Warm Weather is a Major Attraction

There was a 57.4% increase in sales in the resort market in the past year as told by the National Association of Realtors Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. Baby boomers are coming quite close to purchasing their second home for retirement and converting it into their primary residence. Fun in the sun is appealing to most boomers.

Florida has once again become the hub of retirement construction with many people looking for their retirement homes. In fact, places like the once-sleepy Venice are observing a spike in construction. The market is looking strong and prices are again up.

Luxury as a Way of Life

Baby boomers are usually savvy buyers with a good handle on their wants and ways to make those needs come true. For many, their next house will be the home of their dreams. Many are expected to downsize on the square footage while upsizing everything else.

People are looking for efficient floor plans because they want to bring in their furniture and still have the same kind of space they are used to. They are looking for homes with superior construction and the best finishes even if they are a bit on the expensive end.

Personable Properties

The ability to personalize a home has become immensely popular with this generation. Baby boomers are looking for homes that speak volumes about them as a person. They want their next purchase to be exactly ‘their way’.

Low Maintenance is Key

For many couples, not having to make costly repairs to vintage homes is a major deciding factor. Baby boomers are more attracted to new construction because of their defect-free aspect, especially when purchasing newly constructed ranch homes.

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Retiree United States Expat Tax Guide

By Ines Zemelman, EA. , Founder of taxesforexpats.com

Thanks to easy transportation and new technologies, the world continues to get smaller. This means many Americans are picking foreign locations for retirement rather than simply moving to the historically typical Florida or Arizona. Lower costs, nice weather, and even acceptable medical care make more exotic places appealing.

As one might expect, though, simply moving abroad after retirement does not exempt United States citizens from tax reporting obligations. Be sure to include tax considerations in your decision making process alongside learning the local language!

United States citizens are required to report all of their income – including pensions, other retirement plans, real estate, and other foreign or domestic investments – regardless of where it was earned or where they are living.

Using This Guide

This guide is intended for those who are already retired, or who are planning their retirement. It is important to include these considerations in decision making so that retirement distributions can be optimally timed and retirement location chosen in a way to minimize taxes.

Retirement Income Taxation

United States retirement income, except distributions from a Roth IRA, is required to be included in gross income for US tax purposes. Note that retirement income is classified as passive income, so the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion  does not apply.

Depending on the foreign country you are living in and the visa type, your retirement income might also be taxed by the country you are living in. The good news is that in most cases you will not be double taxed – the Foreign Tax Credit  will offset this additional tax.

Social Security Considerations

With only a few exceptions, Social Security benefits are taxed the same when residing in foreign countries as they are in the United States. Social Security payments are not subject to US tax if you are living in the United Kingdom, Romania, Canada, Egypt, Germany, Ireland, Italy (if you are an Italian citizen), Israel, or Romania.

Note that Social Security benefits are taxed for individual filers with combined income over USD 25,000, and combined income over USD 32,000 for those filing jointly. Married couples filing separate returns usually will be subject to tax as well.

It is also important to realize that the United States has placed sanctions on several countries that forbid sending of Social Security benefits to these countries. After moving to a sanction-free country Social Security benefits can be collected, including those denied during your time in a sanctioned country. The sanctioned countries are Cuba, North Korea, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, and Vietnam.

State Tax Requirements

Each state has different requirements, so be sure to research the specific requirements for your current state of residence. Some states, such as Florida, Texas, and Nevada do not impose state taxes. Some states, such as Virginia, Maryland, and Colorado require those retiring abroad to file state tax returns even if they have no tax obligation.

Social Security benefits and retirement income are not subject to state tax while living abroad. Most rental property income, however, is taxed by those states that impose income tax.

Retirement Account Distributions

Although retirement account distribution requirements are really not any different when residing abroad, they are a key part of retirement financial planning, with some serious penalties if a mistake is made.

During the year that you reach age 70 ½, you must take an RMD, or Required Minimum Distribution from your 401(k) or IRA. You can always withdraw more, but you must take the minimum, which is based on the account value and your age. If you do not withdraw at least the RMD, you will be penalized 50% of the difference between the RMD and what you withdrew.

Financial Reporting

It is vitally important that you understand your reporting obligations while living abroad. If your total aggregate accounts outside the United States exceed USD 10,000, you must file form FinCEN 114 . This form is only informational – that is, there is not a tax obligation associated with it – but the form is mandatory for compliance purposes. For higher account thresholds, Form 8938  is required. Again, this is only informational to help the US Treasury track the global flow of money.

These are the thresholds that trigger Form 8938 for US residents living abroad:

Survivor Benefits

One reason many people choose to retire abroad is that they are married to a non-US citizen. Because of this, survivor benefits are a concern. Although there are exceptions, in general a surviving non-US citizen spouse will stop receiving Social Security benefits if they are outside the United States for 6 consecutive months.

Survivor Benefits

A surviving spouse may receive Social Security survivor benefits if they are of retirement age, the United States worker was receiving benefits, they did not remarry, and they meet one of the following requirements:

  1. Citizen of Austria, Belgium, Canada, Chile, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom
  2. Resident of Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Chile, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea (South), Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom
  3. Foreign spouse and US spouse were living together in the United States for a minimum of five years during marriage. The five year minimum does not have to be continuous.

If these requirements are not met, the surviving spouse can move to the United States after they are widowed and complete the residency requirement to then qualify to receive Social Security payments.

Medicare Benefits

Concern for health care coverage goes hand-in-hand with retirement, especially when retiring abroad. Unfortunately, Medicare benefits are virtually non-existent for citizens living abroad. Although you are exempt from the Obamacare requirements while living abroad, you will most likely want to find some health care option available in your new country of residence.

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Why Sleep is the Most Important Variable to Control During the COVID-19 Outbreak

Steve Kline

As we shelter in place during this pandemic, it’s normal to feel some anxieties. You may be fearful of your health and an uncertain future. However, you can’t be too anxious that you’re losing sleep. If anything, you should still be striving to get adequate sleep. This is not just good for your well-being but your immune system as well.

When you have a strong immune system, you’re able to reduce your chances of getting infected. And in case you do get the virus, your body is well-equipped to fight it. People who don’t get enough sleep have weakened immune systems making them more vulnerable to illnesses.

So it’s really important to get enough sleep every night. But before we tackle how you can do that, let’s first take a look at the ways that you can reduce your stress and anxieties. When you’re able to handle this, it’ll be easier to get that much-needed shut-eye every night:

  • Stop looking at the news. It can be tempting to check the news for updates on the virus. But this is not good for your well-being because it only makes you worry more. And, you may come across more depressing news that’ll add to your stress. Try to limit your news consumption to only a few minutes each day.
  • Exercise. You may not be able to go to the gym or go out for a run but you can still perform physical activities at home. Get your body moving so you’re able to get those much needed feel-good hormones. Exercise also gets you tired enough to be able to fall asleep easily at night.
  • Fill time with hobbies. Pick up the hobbies you’ve left off when you were busy. This time, actually dedicate yourself to it. You might just be able to come up with a finished product that you can be proud of.
  • Bond with family. It’s normal to feel cabin fever during this time. However, there’s never been a perfect opportunity to spend time with your loved ones. Have a routine of spending time together even if it’s just sharing a meal every dinner time, playing board games every weekend, or running errands.
  • Talk to a friend. We may be away from our friends at the moment but thankfully, we have technology to help us stay connected. Find a close friend you can confide to and talk to them about your fears and worries. You’ll quickly learn that you are not alone in feeling that way.

After you’re able to ease yourself from anxiety, it’s time to tackle sleep. Here are some tips for getting to help you get enough sleep every night.

  1. Invest in good bedding

A good mattress can have a huge impact on your sleep quality. Check to see make sure you have a good one that is just the right amount of soft and firm.

  1. Use sleep accessories

You want to find products that can help ease anxiety. There’s plenty of options in the market from sound machines to weighted eye masks. Pick a few that will solve some of your sleep problems.

  1. Have a night routine

A night routine consists of activities that you associate with bedtime. By practicing this consistently, it’s easier for your brain to prime itself for sleep. Asleep routine can include drinking chamomile tea, taking a warm bath, reading a book, or writing in your journal.

  1. Stop scrolling

Your bedroom should be a no-phone zone during night time. You don’t want this space to be associated with highly stimulating things that you see in the news or social media. Also, you want to avoid blue light from your phone which can stimulate wakefulness.

How has your sleep been throughout this pandemic? What strategies have you employed to improve it? 

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