Retirement Living News
- AARP Picks Five Best Cities for Inexpensive Retirement
- Hidden Cameras Finding Their Way Into Long-Term Care Facilities
- Three Issues for Couples to Discuss Before Retiring
- BBC Reports Some Retirees Seek More Affordable Retirement Outside the U.S.
The October/November issue of AARP Magazine carried a story about five livable, low cost, cities where you can retire on $30,000 a year. It identifies them as places where you can retire in comfort no matter how big (or small) your savings account.
Daytona/Deltona/Ormond Beach, Florida:
Population: 514,450; Median home price – $108,900; Median mortgage payment – $416; Median property tax – $1,161; State tax on Social Security – No; State tax on pensions – No.
Population: 88,500; Median home price – $127,500; Median mortgage payment – $487; Median property tax – $1,179; State tax on Social Security – No; State tax on pensions – Yes, with some exceptions.
Population: 149,630; Median home price – $110,400; Medium mortgage payment – $421; Median property tax – $1,303; State tax on Social Security – No; State tax on pensions – Yes with some exceptions.
Greenville, South Carolina
Population: 628,600; Median home price – $127,600; Medium mortgage payment – $487; Median property tax – $753; State tax on Social Security – Yes; State tax on pensions – No.
Grand Rapids, Michigan
Population: 782,100; Median home price – $114,200; Medium mortgage payment – $436; Median property tax – $1,830; State tax on Social Security – No; State tax on pensions – Yes with some exceptions.
On Nov. 1, propelled by the outcry over a case involving a 96 year old dementia patient at a nursing home in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma became the third state — along with New Mexico and Texas — to explicitly permit residents in long-term care facilities to maintain surveillance cameras in their rooms. In the last two years, at least five states have considered similar legislation.
Although some states have administrative guidelines for electronic monitoring, most legislative efforts have stalled because of questions about liability and, in particular, privacy rights, raised by facility owners, unions, elder care lawyers and families.
Despite such concerns, not only have family members turned to these “granny cams” — a popular nickname that some consider patronizing — but even the government has used them. A year ago, the New York state attorney general’s office, which has relied on hidden cameras in patient abuse and neglect cases for years, demonstrated its methods at a national training program for state investigators.
In June, Mike DeWine, the Ohio state attorney general, announced that his office, with permission from families, had placed cameras in residents’ rooms in an unspecified number of state facilities. Mr. DeWine has moved to shut down at least one facility, in Zanesville, where, he said, cameras caught actions like an aide’s repeatedly leaving a stroke patient’s food by his incapacitated side.
The recordings can have an impact. Based on one patient’s videos, one aide pleaded guilty to abuse and neglect. The other appears to have fled the country. Similar scenes of abuse have been captured in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Texas and other states by relatives who placed cameras in potted plants and radios, webcams and iPhones.
The monitoring is often a last-ditch step by relatives who suspect abuse but feel that the authorities dismiss their complaints.
“Families are witnessing injuries and neglect of loved ones, and the only way to detect what’s happening is to use hidden cameras,” said Wes Bledsoe, the founder of A Perfect Cause, a group based in Oklahoma that tracks such cases around the country. It is a victim’s advocacy organization committed to ending needless suffering and preventable deaths due to greed and neglect, as well as poor government oversight.
Another question about monitoring patients is whether signs should be posted alerting staff members and visitors that monitoring is taking place. Certainly, abuse has been exposed precisely because staff members did not know about hidden cameras.
If workers think they may be monitored but don’t know for certain, that uncertainty may deter abusive behavior. Many privacy experts believe that notification benefits everyone. Facilities that permit in-room monitoring usually require families to post a notice on the resident’s door. In recent years, facilities themselves have placed signs that cameras are in public areas like lobbies and dining halls.
The psychological, social and financial shift from a life of work to a life of leisure is perhaps one of the most complex transitions that couples will ever encounter, yet one for which few couples sufficiently plan. Many wrongly assume that if they have a financial plan, everything else will naturally fall into place. Not true says Ken Dychtwald, a gerontologist, author and CEO of think tank /consultancy Age Wave. Roles and purpose, which were largely shaped by work status and careers, are immediately redefined. Active income may diminish as one or both spouses stop earning a paycheck. And, freed from the fixed schedules and demands of work, couples can find themselves with the greatest amount of free time that they’ve ever had!
Dychtwald says successfully navigating through these changes with your spouse holds the potential of strengthening and enriching your relationship and causing your life to blossom in wonderful ways. However, it can also create surprising new tests and challenges.
Here are three topics couples should discuss before they retire (and then again and again while retired).
- Your retirement lifestyle vision. What do you most want to experience and achieve during your retirement years? Who’s going to do what and when? How will family and friends be related to? How much traveling, learning, volunteering and even working would you enjoy? Where would you ideally like to live? Discussing — and compromising — on your joint retirement lifestyle vision is an important and sometimes forgotten step in retirement preparation.
- Time together, time apart. A recently retired gentleman related how he had expected to spend all his new found free time with his wife. However, his wife had other ideas as she had no intention of slowing down with her work and volunteering. Balancing time together with independent pursuits can be a tricky negotiation that will take some trial and error (and patience), but can ultimately lead to a richer and more fulfilling relationship in this new chapter of your life.
- Smart financial teamwork. Transitioning from regular income to managing savings and assets to go the distance requires a sound investment strategy, ongoing budgetary decisions – and some good luck. The days when the husband made the major investment decisions and the wife complied are long gone.
In a study of 6,000 pre- and post-retirees that Dychtwald’s firm, Age Wave, recently completed with Merrill Lynch, three-quarters of spouses said they want equal decision-making on all retirement financial matters To read the report, (click here).
In today’s retirement, couples must learn to become an effective team to both remove what could otherwise be a source of ongoing friction while managing their money wisely throughout the ups and downs of their retirement years. However, with thorough preparation and open communication this next stage in your life can be an opportunity to rejuvenate, grow, and deepen your relationship.
An increasing number of retirees are moving out of their home country in search of more affordable retirement options, according to a report published by the BBC.
Following four retirement scenarios that have taken retirees to far flung destinations including Panama, Argentina, Thailand and Ecuador, the BBC finds they are achieving solutions that allow them to retire, in some cases, for less than $40 per day.
“With the low cost of medicine, English-speaking retirement communities and affordable housing, many are heading to tropical destinations, including South America and Southeast Asia where it’s possible to live on less than $40 per day,” the BBC writes. In some cases, retirees can cut costs in half, an Ecuador-based editor for International Living magazine told the BBC.
The numbers are growing. Citing data from retirement websites across the globe, the report states that there are 3 million Americans and Canadians who have retired abroad and more than 1 million from Great Britain who have done the same, with the number of Britons retiring to other countries having doubled over the last seven years.
In the Ecuador example, a Northern California couple sold their U.S. home for $240,000 during the market downturn, and now pays $300 in rent monthly, with food costs about a third of their cost in the U.S. Their total monthly budget is $1,300. To read the BBC story, click here.
For those considering retirement overseas, take a look at the International Living web site.
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