Monthly Archives:January 2016


5 Places You Didn’t Know You Could Afford To Retire

Whether you just want a relaxing beachside retirement or you’ve decided to spend your golden years abroad, sometimes the fantasy of where you’ll retire seems a lot better than what your account can handle. That doesn’t have to be the case, though. Here are five incredible places to which you can retire without breaking the bank.



Whether you’re looking for a coastal retreat, an urban oasis, or a combination of both, you can live comfortably in Panama for $1,000 a month with rentals that will set you back $400 to $500, and utilities are a nominal expense. Food will be fresh and affordable, the people will be kind and enthusiastic, the climate will be warm, and the drinks will be cool. The Panamanian balboa is the local currency, but the US dollar also circulates as legal tender there, so you don’t even have to worry about exchange rates.



Northern Thailand, in particular, is rich in food, culture, and destinations, with towns like Chiang Rai and cities like Chiang Mai combining thousands of years of traditional architecture with stunning vistas of forested mountains and more urban landscapes. For $1,000 a month, you can live comfortably shopping in open-air markets and enjoying Western and Thai style restaurants interchangeably, and for $2,000 a month you can live like royalty. Medical costs are reportedly low in Thailand, as well, and service is quick and quality.


Rockport, TX

Just outside Corpus Christi, Rockport is a community with a thriving retiree population, as well as some families, creating a vibrant mix of people and interests. With cost of living 9% below the national average and homes in the $100,000 to $150,000 range, Rockport provides an ocean escape, city amenities, and a subtropical climate all year round. You’ll also be close to the island town of Port Aransas, which has prominent fishing, beach, and resort communities and seasonal festivals that anyone would enjoy.



A house in Belize will run you about $400 a month, and while you’ll be surrounded by jungle and Mayan ruins, you won’t have any problem feeling at home. The US dollar is readily accepted in Belize, and the local government makes it easy to establish residency and even start your own business as an expat (if you’re looking for something to keep you busy on the side). English is also the first language there, so while you’ll hear Spanish, Creole, and other local dialects spoken on the street, you won’t have to know them to function on a daily basis.



Less than $2,000 a month for a couple will keep you well-stocked in Portugal. Real estate in the Mediterranean country has fallen sharply since the worldwide financial crisis hit, and despite fluctuating Euro exchange rates, quality housing has stayed relatively cheap. You can enjoy fresh fish, good wine, and a nation full of light-hearted, friendly people who know how to make the most out of life. Portugal is also a great jumping-off point for travel to all of Europe, connecting you with destinations like Spain, Italy, Greece, Germany, Sweden, France, Denmark, England, and so many others.


Things to Consider When Creating a Retirement Plan

There are so many Americans concerned about the amount of money that will remain after reaching retirement. Even with a decent income, once you get to retirement, your normal savings won’t be enough to allow for the same lifestyle that you are accustomed to. However, some saving is better than none. You also need to make other plans for your retirement so that you are not caught unaware. There are several things that you should know to determine what to put in your retirement plan.

How Much Time is Left?

You should consider how much time is left to go into retirement. You also need to know how long the savings that you currently have will last. Determine the exact date of retirement. Do so by subtracting your current age from the intended age of retirement. From the result of your subtraction, you will be able to establish the amount of savings needed for the total number of years. You will not be able to tell how long you will live, but work out the retirement savings to 100 years. This will give you the best financial cushion. You need to know all of this prior to your retirement planning.

Current Savings

You should determine how much you will be able to afford to put into your retirement fund each month. This means that you should maintain a budget, if you don’t have one yet. It doesn’t matter your age. You should begin saving now. If you are going to retirement within the next twenty years, for example and you put $50 each month into a savings account for the entire time, you would end up with $12,000 in savings at the age of retirement. Of course, $12,000 will not be sufficient to live on. Therefore, make plans to increase the savings each month, especially if you have an increase in income.

The Risks

To save for retirement, you should think about the amount of risks that you are willing to assume. Choose a retirement plans based on your level of tolerance for risks. You must realize that you might lose money in a 401K or IRA plan since these are run by the condition and activity of the stock market. Fixed annuities are not as risky and you earn interest with no financial risk. It is best to meet with a financial professional to talk about the risks and your comfort level.

Access to Your Money

If you have an emergency, which can occur, you want to know if you will be able to access your retirement fund early. This is true if you experience a long term illness or injury and medical bills pile up or you have to pay for a child’s college education. There are restrictions and even fines associated with some retirement plans. Be aware of this.


Retirement planning is one of the most essential decisions that you could make financially and yet so many individuals don’t consider the options available to them in order to establish a plan. Don’t be like others. Get this done as soon as possible.


Taking Steps Toward Retirement Planning

Everyone has to think about retirement at some point in their lives and it is better to consider it earlier in life rather than wait until you are older. Many people wait until they are older without a plan in place. Yes, creating a retirement plan will take some serious consideration and hard work, but you must do it.

Assessing Your Money

To create a retirement planning, you have to assess the amount of money needed to be saved. You also should know the amount needed each year for living expenses after you retire. With both factors, you will find it challenging, but helpful to financially plan for the future. However, you have to keep track of your investments such as your 401K and other retirement savings. If you have to adjust your standard of living, by all means do so.

Start with a 401K Savings

You could plan for retirement on your own or you could hire a professional financial advisor for help, especially if you are late in making this very important step. Do what you can on your own such as starting to put money aside for your retirement. A financial advisor can only recommend this, but not force you to do so. It is in your best interest to do so on your own. You can give your employer permission to take money from your wages toward an employer-sponsored retirement plan such as a 403b plan or 401K savings plan. This is the first start of something good.

Investment Options

You could also invest in an IRA (individual retirement account). You will probably be entitled to social security and pension, which is a given for most people who devote their working life to one or more employers. You also have the option to invest in a rental home, stocks, bonds and possibly a business. If you have selected one or more of these options, then work out the accrued amount so you can get an idea of the amount that you will have by your retirement. Is it enough to allow you to live a similar lifestyle or do you have to adjust your lifestyle?

Effect of Inflation

One thing that most people seem to forget when planning for retirement is the impact of inflation on their savings. Cost of living will never stay the same ten or twenty years from now. In most cases, cost of living will increase and not decrease as the years go by. So, you have to factor this in when creating a retirement plan.



Consider how much money will be needed at retirement. Does the money you are making now meet your standard of living? Will this amount be sufficient for retirement, if your goal is to travel and take care of your personal needs? Forecast an annual amount that allows for comfortable living at least 25 years after you retire. Multiply the annual amount by 25 and that is the income needed to maintain your retirement lifestyle. With the amount that you came up with, you now have a definitive goal as to how much you will save toward retirement.


Signs You’re Not Ready for Retirement

Retirement is, to most people, something that seems very far in the future. As such, people will often put it out of their minds until much later in life and then scramble to try and get retirement-ready.

Unfortunately, though, retiring comfortably takes planning from an early age, ideally the age when you first start working full-time at your chosen career. If you’re getting close to retirement age and haven’t done the proper planning, there’s a good chance you won’t be ready. And, fortunately, you can do some backpedaling to make up for your lack of planning…but only if you realize you’re not ready for retirement quite yet.

Below, we’ll detail some classic warning signs that you’re not ready for retirement, and if you find that they apply to you, you’ll know that you need to step up your planning and saving to get ready.

Sign #1: You Don’t Have a Plan in Place

A lot of people think they’re doing well if they just sock away a little bit of money each month toward their retirement. In truth, though, really being ready for retirement entails having a detailed financial plan. When you’re truly ready to retire, you’ll have a clear estimate of what your post-retirement expenses will be and a plan in place to ensure you have enough coming in each month to meet those expenses and then some. If you don’t have that kind of plan, it’s time to start making one! You can do your calculations yourself, or, even better yet, work with a financial planner to really get something solid and reliable set into place.

Sign #2: You Still Have Dependents

People tend to think that when a person should retire is based simply on that person’s age. In reality, just because you reach a certain age doesn’t necessarily mean you’re ready for retirement. If, for example, you’re still caring for dependents, such as young children or elderly parents or loved ones, you’re probably not ready to retire, no matter what your age. Dependents are typically a big expense and often require people to work longer than expected or, at the very least, to make additional plans and/or sacrifices to accommodate those dependents. Thus, if you have dependents in your life, you’ll need to decide now how you will take care of them after retirement.

Sign #3: You’re Still Struggling

When you retire, you should be at a good place, financially speaking. If you’re still not able to meet the demands of your monthly bills each month, then, you’re definitely not ready to retire. Most people live on less in retirement than they did when they were working, and if you can’t live on your income now, living on your retirement income is going to be a real stretch, if not an impossibility.

As you can see, retirement isn’t just something that happens. It’s something that you have to plan for. Thus, don’t do it until you’re truly ready, and if you’re nearing the standard retirement age, start planning appropriately now. Even if you’re not, planning early will only help you in the long run.