Best Places to Retire Depending On Who You Are

best places to retire

I’ve been looking at some recent lists of the best places to retire. They aren’t bad options. However, I think retirement locations really depend on the individual. No matter how cost-friendly it is, a place isn’t the right place if you don’t love it. After all, you’ve worked your whole life to reach retirement; you should definitely love where you live in those later years! Luckily, the lists do tend to reflect a variety of options for people with different lifestyles.

Retiring on the West Coast Requires Money

Forbes recently came out with their 2019 annual list of the 25 best places to retire. They specifically note that you’re not going to find many options in the Northeast or anywhere on the West Coast. That’s because affordability is one of the main factors that they take into consideration when ranking this list. Yes, the West Coast can be very expensive. If you want to retire in a place like the San Francisco Bay Area then you need to have a decent amount of money in the bank.

That said, I love San Francisco. I love living here. In fact, I really don’t want to live anywhere else. Will I be able to retire in San Francisco? I don’t know. I’m working towards it. But even if I can’t, chances are that I’ll want to stay somewhere on the West Coast. It’s the way of life that I prefer, even if I have to sacrifice financially in other ways to make it happens. Therefore, these lists of the best places to retire often exclude the very places I want to live.

Variety in Options of Best Places to Retire

Although the list excludes much of the West Coast, it does offer a lot of variety in other ways. The 25 cities they claim are the best places to retire range in population from 8000 (Brevard, North Carolina) to 1.5 million (San Antonio, Texas). While that excludes the largest cities in the US, it does offer a decent range for people to choose from. There’s also a range in median home price from $135,000 (Savannah, Georgia) to $297,000 (Wenatchee, Washington). That’s not a huge range but it reflects the opportunity to choose from different living styles. Whereas most cities listed are in warm locations, there are a few cities for those who think the best places to retire have many months of snow.

US News offers even more variety in their report. They include 100 best places to retire. These are generally larger cities than those on the Forbes list. Population ranges from 500,000 in Santa Rosa, CA (a West Coast option!) to the many millions of New York City (which actually ranks #16 on this list of best places to retire.) The difference between these two lists really highlights that people seek many different things when it comes to retirement and therefore it’s not easy to rank cities this way at all.

You Don’t Have to Retire in the US

Of course, these lists all offer options in the United States. However, you don’t have to retire in the US at all. If you’re adventurous, have family elsewhere, or just want to spend your later years somewhere new, then you might consider retiring abroad. US News has listed the ten best places to retire in Latin America, and many of the cities on that list hold broad appeal. So, if you’re looking towards retirement, don’t just rely on lists or what others have to say. Really think about who you are, what you want, and what’s realistic for you in your later years.

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8 Things to Do Today Save Money This Summer

Save Money This Summer

If you want to save money this summer then you should start planning ahead. If you aren’t prepared in advance then summer can be an expensive season. People frequently travel in summer, which is a big expense. When you have children, they often attend summer camps and other costly activities. If you aren’t careful, finances easily just slip away. However, there are things that you can start doing right now to prevent that.

1. Review Your Regular Expenses

It’s time to take a look at your money. If you don’t know what you’re working with then you can’t make smart financial choices. Review all of you ongoing expenses, looking for ways to cut back. Even small changes can make a big difference in the summer. For example, how many different streaming television services do you have? Can you cut it down to one or even none for a few months to save money this summer?

2. Set a Budget and Make a Plan

Once you have cut your regular expenses as much as possible, it’s time to make a plan. Look at the money that you have. Update your budget. Don’t forget to include all of the unusual expenses that summer brings. Some expenses to consider:

  • Babysitters, daycares, or day camps for kids who aren’t in school in the summer
  • Special events including those for Father’s Day, Fourth of July, and summer weddings
  • Summer clothes if you or the kids’ need a wardrobe update
  • Travel plans and their associated costs including pet care while you’re away
  • Water activities including pool memberships or day trips to the water park

3. Change Vacation to Save Money This Summer

If it doesn’t look like you’re going to have enough money in your budget to cover your vacation, then it’s not too late to reconsider. Think about why you’re traveling. Is it to see relatives? Is it because you want your kids to experience something new? Or is it just because it’s something you’ve always done? You can reduce the cost of travel by:

  • Changing your destination so it’s cheaper
  • Using a more affordable mode of transportation
  • Camping instead of staying in hotels
  • Taking a shorter vacation than originally planned
  • Having a staycation instead

4. Brainstorm a List of Free Activities

Find ways to save money this summer by brainstorming a list of free activities now. Then fill your calendar with those. Look for free classes, events, workshops, and camps for your entire family. Check out what your city offers in terms of free days at museums, galleries, and other spaces. Visit parks, beaches, and hiking trails in your area. Make a list of things that you can do at home for free. Whenever you hear the dreaded, “I’m bored” this summer, you’ll have a list of options to point to.

5. Prep Your Home Now for Summer

If you run the air conditioner in your home all summer long then your bills will be much higher than they need to be. If you haven’t properly cleaned out air filters or looked for drafts then the price will be even higher. Update your home energy system now in order to save money this summer.

  • Install a smart home system so that you don’t cool the house while you’re not in it.
  • Get used to keeping the home a tad warmer than last year to save big costs.
  • Sign up for a tool like OhmConnect that gives you money back for saving energy.
  • Purchase some portable fans to avoid using the air conditioner so much.
  • Update your curtains or blinds to keep the sunlight out during the hottest part of the day.

6. Start Planning Summer Meals

One smart way to save money this summer is to look at what you’ll be eating. There are so many great ways to cut costs on food in the summer. Switch the whole family away from other drinks and just to water. It’s better to stay hydrated during those hot months and it doesn’t cost much. Find a good local source for fresh fruit, especially water-dense fruit like cucumber and watermelon. Keep meals simple. Use the stove as little as possible so you don’t add heat to the house. If you plan out your meals now then summer cooking should be easy and affordable.

7. Declutter and Sell Things

Take advantage of the downtime in summer to get your house in order – literally. go room by room decluttering everything that you don’t need. Sell what you can. The activity can keep your whole family busy without spending a dime. You might even make a little cash.

8. Earn a Summer Income

One of the best ways to offset the costs of summer is to earn extra income. You have plenty of daylight hours to pick up some extra work. Start looking now to see what option are available to you for a summer side job. Housesitting, ride share driving, caring for other people’s children, and lawn service are just a few of the options to consider.

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How to Plan Your Staycation

staycation

I love a good staycation. The truth is that I don’t like traveling all that much. It’s important to me to travel now and then – either to see my family or to experience new things. Nevertheless, I find travel stressful. I don’t find it relaxing. I’m one of those people who come home from a vacation feeling like I need a vacation. That’s why I always try to wrap up any trip with a few staycation days before I return to my regular life.

What is a Staycation?

A staycation is exactly what it sounds like – a completely relaxing, rejuvenating, energizing vacation that you take in your own home. You might take a staycation because you need a break but don’t really enjoy traveling. Or perhaps your travel options are limited due to cost or other limitation. Whatever the reason, a staycation gives you the benefits of a vacation without having to leave your own home or hometown.

Figure Out Where You Will Stay

I love my home. I’m always happy to take my staycation right in my own home. I save money. I enjoy the peace of my own place. All of my craft supplies and books are right there with me. I don’t have to pack a thing.

That said, it’s also possible to take a staycation in someone else’s home. This gives you the chance to enjoy your own city in a new way. Some options for that type of staycation include:

  • Petsitting or housesitting for someone in your city who is going on vacation
  • Swapping houses with a friend who lives in a different neighborhood
  • Renting an AirBnB, possibly even in a shared house to get to know someone new
  • Staying in a local hotel or even hostel to get that vacation experience
  • Camping in your own backyard

Plan Your Staycation Itinerary

When you go on vacation, you probably have a plan for what you would like to do each day. You should plan similarly for your staycation. If you’re the type of traveler who likes to book just one or two things and leave the rest of the day open, then do the same with your staycation. On the other hand, if you love taking tours and seeing all of the sights, then use your staycation as a chance to stay busy learning new things about the place where you live.

When I plan my staycation, it typically involves a combination of structured time and free time. I might make a list of things I want to visit (museums, theaters, walking tours, and art galleries are my favorites). I also brainstorm a list of things I want to enjoy at home (books, art projects, lounging with the dog). Personally I find it helpful to make these lists to remind myself of what I want to do so I don’t get stuck in the habit of doing chores and errands. This is a vacation after all.

Make A List of Rules

In keeping with that vacation mode, I also make myself a list of rules to remind myself of the things that I don’t want to do on my staycation. My list usually includes:

  • Don’t overbook myself.
  • It’s okay to watch TV but not all day.
  • Set an email vacation responder and don’t ever check email.
  • Likewise, stay off of social media.
  • Do all chores before the staycation and none while I’m on my break.
  • Try at least one new thing each day.

Everyone’s needs are different therefore everyone’s staycation will be unique. As long as you think it through, it can be one of the best vacations you’ll ever take.

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