Top 10 Affordable Places To Retire in 2018-2019

Top 10 Affordable Places To Retire in 2018-2019

The road to retirement is an exciting and highly anticipated journey. You’ve worked hard your entire life for this moment and it’s only suitable that you find the perfect oasis to spend your senior years. Of course, you’ll want to get the most bang for your buck. Here are ten of the most affordable retirement locations on the market:

Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Fort Lauderdale offers a scenic view of the Atlantic ocean along with a senior friendly community. Florida is also a state with no income tax making your retirement dollars stretch further than other locations.

Portland, Maine

This quaint east coast town offers an eclectic mix of urban life while sitting only a short drive from all things scenic. Additionally, Maine has a lower than average sales tax and does not issue state tax on social security.

Wenatchee, Washington

This central Washington town is often overlooked by Pacific Northwestern folks. Nesteled in between the Columbia river and the Cascade mountain range retirees will enjoy lots of outdoor activity. Additionally, Washington State has no state income tax and does not tax pensions or social security.

Chattanooga, Tennessee

This mountain town offers plenty of hiking, fishing, and other outdoor activities. Nestled in the Smoky Mountain Range the town offers stunning views you can enjoy on the daily. Chattanooga also boasts a cost of living average almost 13 percent below the national average.

Cusco, Peru

With a fabulous climate suitable for anyone this South American community lands a spot on one of the most affordable retirement locations. Couples report extremely low cost of living and good private healthcare. Additionally, the stunning views and travel options can’t be beat.

Corpus Christi, Texas

This Gulf Coast town offers the best of both worlds: a thriving urban life and a seaside escape. Texas is another state with no income tax and relatively low cost of living. It is also the state with the seventh lowest expenditure on healthcare. A healthy, family-oriented community it’s a great spot to retire.

Chiang Rai, Thailand

This intimate town has a population of under 100,000 people and is extremely welcoming when it comes to foreign settlements. The town offers gorgeous views of some of the country’s most spectacular scenery and couples report living off a budget of under $750 a month.

Cheyanne, Wyoming

This state capital sits right in the heart of the mountains and offers plenty of outdoor activity year-round. Senior discounts to some of nature’s most beloved sites are commonplace and there is no state tax on pensions or social security.

Grand Rapids, Michigan

Grand Rapids is well known for its art scene with several major museums in the vicinity. Cost of living is well below the national average and the area boasts several large healthcare communities focused on senior care.

Greenville, South Carolina

This quaint southern town is growing rapidly. The community has made a number of improvements increasing quality of life for residents. Additionally, retired residents can enjoy monthly expenditures of under $1000 per month thanks to the low cost of living.

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10 Creative Ways to Save Money

10 Creative Ways to Save Money

If you need to cut costs, you’ve probably already heard the usual advice about sewing, light bulbs and store-brand products.

Let’s take a look at some of the less conventional ways to save money:

Entertainment

1. Try listening to free radio dramas instead of watching movies. These productions have gained popularity in recent years. You can tune in a public radio show called “L.A. Theatre Works” or search the web for audio drama podcasts.

2. Every month, fill a small container with money for entertainment, recreation, and restaurant meals. This will make it easier to track these expenses and stop spending when you reach your limit.

Shopping

3. Friends and relatives can help you purchase things in bulk or make the most of “buy two, get one free” sales. You could share the products as well as the cost.

4. Use smartphone software to find local shops and eateries that offer senior, military or student discounts. You can download useful apps for free. A few examples include Military Cost Cutters, Senior Discounts Free, and The University Network.

Laundry

5. If your home doesn’t have a laundry room or the right plumbing, you can still save some quarters by purchasing a portable washing machine. It will connect to a faucet and drain into your sink or bathtub.

6. You might not need to buy and maintain a costly dryer. Think about using a drying rack in combination with a wood stove, electric fireplace, space heater or fan.

Appliances

7. Put thermometers in your freezer and refrigerator. If the refrigerator is colder than 37 F or freezer temperatures consistently stay below zero, adjust the controls to achieve a slightly warmer temperature.

8. Prepare for power outages to prevent food from spoiling. Always keep a bag of ice in the freezer. If the weather turns windy, temporarily set this appliance to a lower temperature.

Miscellaneous

9. Put plastic covers on unused electrical outlets. They’re not only useful for childproofing. Safety covers cut heating, cooling and pest control expenses by sealing rooms more thoroughly.

10. Don’t spend hundreds of dollars on a big, heavy vacuum cleaner. Use a basic corded stick vacuum in combination with a simple carpet sweeper. You can thoroughly clean rugs while saving money on bags and electricity.

We hope that these ideas will help you pay bills on time and feed the piggy bank. To learn more about saving cash, please explore our website and bookmark it.

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How to Get the Best Return on your Cash Holdings

How to Get the Best Return on your Cash Holdings

Experienced investors know the importance cash plays in a diversified portfolio.

In times of economic stability or growth when interest rates are high, the allure of cash is obvious. Put your money in a high-yielding savings or money market account and watch it grow at rates of 5%, 6%, or 7%.

But in low-interest markets, like the one we are currently experiencing, you may be wondering why you should keep cash on hand when it could be making you more money in other securities.

First, let’s look at why having cash savings as part of your investment strategy is important; then we’ll cover the best places to put your cash in a low-interest market.

Cash does several things for your portfolio:

• Reduces volatility – While securities like stocks, bonds, etc. fluctuate wildly based on market conditions, cash stays relatively stable. Of course, rising inflation and depreciation of dollar value occur, but these are slow processes and have less effect on your cash holdings than the volatile market.
• Provides liquidity – Having cash on hand available for quick investment in a sudden opportunity is a huge boon. If you have to wait to liquidate one asset before you can invest in another, you could miss out on a valuable opportunity.
• Protects against emergencies – Emergency funds just make good sense. Life happens. You need to have liquid assets, i.e. cash, available for immediate use when unforeseen events take place. Whether it’s the loss of a job, an injury or illness, or an accident – the only way to prepare for the unexpected is to have cash ready for whatever needs arise when things go badly. If not, you’ll end up pulling cash out of investments to cover your needs, and you risk losing way more than you would have gained by having that cash tied up in other types of investments.

Hopefully, you can see the importance of keeping cash as part of your portfolio. But where should you put it to get the best possible return?

In high-interest markets, you don’t have to look far to find a high-yielding savings or money market account. But that isn’t today’s market.

According to mybanktracker.com, the average APY (annual percentage yield) or interest rate as of today is 0.32%. With many well-known traditional banks coming it at around 0.01%.

It’s hard to fault investors who prefer to put their money in higher risk securities than accept these minimal returns. But if you’re willing to do a little work, it is possible to find higher returns.

You need to keep the cash available for the reasons listed above, but there is no reason you shouldn’t get the best possible interest rate, so the money is doing something for you as it sits there.

Online savings accounts or accounts offered through brokerage firms are currently yielding much higher interest rates than accounts in traditional brick-and-mortar banks.

Below is a list of the best rates available as of today and where you can find them:

• Goldman Sachs – 1.60%
• American Express – 1.55%
• Synchrony Bank – 1.55%
• Capital One 360 – 1.50%

I know these rates look shabby compared to the rates of the past, but compared to today’s average of 0.32% these are pretty high returns. The rates will go up eventually. The idea is to get the best you can now.

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Best Investments You Can Make for Your Grandchildren

Best Investments You Can Make for Your Grandchildren

If you’re like many grandparents out there, you’re looking for ways to help your grandchildren with their future financial needs.

Gifting investments rather than toys or money is an excellent way to help secure your family’s future.

But one key point to remember is to make sure your own retirement needs are met first.

You don’t want to become a financial burden later because you chose to invest in your children’s or grandchildren’s future rather than your own.

If your finances are secure, and you have the ability to invest on behalf of your grandchildren, you may be wondering what the best options are for long-term stability and growth.

This list breaks down the most popular options so you can decide what is right for you:

597 College Savings Plans – These plans grow tax-free, and qualified withdrawals (tuition, books, room, etc.) are not subject to state or federal taxation. And in some states deposits are tax-deductible. They can affect the student’s financial aid in the future, however, so be aware of that as you research.

Stocks – Stocks are a great option as by the time your grandchild is old enough to sell them, they could be worth tons. The downside is they will have to pay capital gains tax when they do sell. And while holding stock long-term reduces the risks, there are never guarantees that a stock you buy today will be worth anything in the future.

Bonds – Long-term bonds, like federal bonds which take 30 years to mature, can be a great option as well. 30 years of interest amounts to a nice chunk of change. But, like stocks, they are subject to gift tax.

Index Funds – Broad-based index funds can provide steady growth over changing markets. This way you can be relatively sure of long-term growth with minimal risk.

Ultimately, the best thing you can do for your grandchild is the same thing you should do for yourself. Build a diversified portfolio to minimize risk and maximize returns.

Then, teach them how to manage it.

 

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Value Stocks to Add to Your Retirement Account

Value Stocks to Add to Your Retirement Account

Market pundits regularly tout the importance of stock ownership in a long-term investment portfolio. But, like ice cream, stocks come in several flavors. Some stocks are inherently very risky, others provide little to no dividends. These risky types of stocks might not be the best choice for retirement portfolios. Value stocks, a stock category known for relative safety, can be particularly useful in a retirement portfolio. As a general rule, they can be bought at relatively low prices and often pay substantial dividends. Hence they are believed to represent superb pricing in the current marketplace, providing the opportunity for future growth coupled with current income.

Value Investing

Stock investing can be sliced and diced several ways. One of the most common and useful ways is to contrast growth stock investing with value investing.

Growth Investing:

Growth stocks are those that represent ownership in fast-growing companies. Investors in growth are looking to capitalize on the rapid expansion of these firms. In many cases, growth stocks are bought at a high price with the view that “they are going higher”. In some, but not all cases, they do. Additionally, since growing companies like to put their profits back into further growth, they tend to pay small or no dividends.

Value Stock Investing:

Investors in value equities take a different perspective. They do not want to overpay for their stock. They look at the fundamental value of companies and decide whether the current price reflects that value or not. If the current price appears too low relative to the intrinsic value of the firm, they consider buying. Commonly these kind of stocks are well-known, currently out-of-favor, and still maintain a good cash-flow.

The Role of Dividends

Ample cash-flow coupled with low price often gives these perceived bargains stocks a generous dividend. Retirement stocks with high dividends are particularly desired by conservative investors because the dividend stream can be added back into the initial investment. Over time this can provide superior long-term returns. Value issues with dividend-yields of 2-5 percent are not uncommon.

Value Stocks to Add to Your Portfolio Now
Motley Fool periodically provides short articles outlining current stock considerations for a retirement portfolio. Recently they cited eBay, Cirrus Logic, and Duke Energy as names for potential additions to a value retirement portfolio. These are but three of many others for your consideration.

Click here to learn more about diversifying your portfolio!

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Frugal Rules for Paying Off Debt

Frugal Rules for Paying Off Debt

The best way to keep your monthly finances under control is to find effective ways for paying off debt. The biggest problem with debt is that it has a way of growing without any additional spending. Eventually, you will reach the point where you cannot afford your monthly debt, and the financial obligations will continue to grow.

Paying off debt means:

  • No more interest payments pulling money out of your bank account
  • Owning items free and clear without making monthly payments
  • Being able to put more money into your savings account each month

If you want to pay off debt, you need to adopt responsible and frugal spending habits. Once these habits are part of your every day life, you will find it easier to get away from credit and live without debt.

Stop Using Credit Cards

Growing interest debt will cause your credit card balances to increase each month even if you do not use your cards. But when you stop using your cards, you slow the pace at which interest increases. You need to live within your means and avoid using credit cards. If you want to buy something you cannot initially afford, then save up for it and buy it in cash.

Cut Back On Expenses

Frugal living means buying only what you need and not what you want. As you go through your month, take a notebook with you and make a note of every purchase you make. At the end of the month, review your purchases and determine where you can cut back on expenses. For example, if you spend $20 per day on coffee in the morning and lunch at work, then you can cut down on nearly $600 per month in unnecessary spending by drinking coffee at home and bringing a lunch.

Start A Budget

A monthly budget will show you exactly where your money goes and help you to live within your means. You can create a simple spreadsheet program that lists all of your monthly bills and expenses, and compares them to your monthly income. Not only will you start paying your bills on time because your budget will help you keep track, but you can continue to find ways to reduce expenses.

Once you start using frugal rules to live, you will see your bank account grow and enjoy having extra cash each month. You can apply that extra cash towards paying down your credit cards and eliminating your debt. All it takes is a monthly budget and the determination to continually lower your expenses to get your debt under control.

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