January/February 2017

NEWS STORIES

Can You Land a Good Job Later in Life?

There’s a stereotypical view of job opportunities for older workers, and it’s not pretty.

It goes something like this. If you’re past 50 and thinking of a career switch, forget it. The opportunities for older workers in the new economy are pretty much nonexistent. And you’re in even worse shape if you’re in your 50s or 60s and retired but want to get back into the workforce in a job that is both challenging and financially rewarding. The only spots available are low-skilled and low-paying—whether that’s burger flipper, Wal-Mart greeter or Uber driver.

A lot of people have been misinformed.

The numbers make it clear that the nightmare scenario simply isn’t true. The 55-and-older crowd is now the only age group with a rising labor-force participation rate, even as age discrimination remains a problem for many older job seekers. Workers age 50 or older now comprise 33.4% of the U.S. labor force, up from 25% in 2002. And more than 60% of workers age 65 or older now hold full-time positions, up from 44% in 1995.

In addition, a large part of the long-term increase in employment growth has come from skilled jobs in professional-services industries, according to a 2013 academic paper. Another study found that from 1996 to 2012, just 1.4% of job seekers in their early to mid-50s landed in “old person” occupations—typically “low-paying, low-status” jobs in which older hires outnumber younger hires by at least 2 to 1.

“These are good jobs,” says Nicole Maestas, an economist and associate professor of health-care policy at Harvard Medical School and a co-author of the 2013 study. Moreover, she adds, older workers with experience and education “are competitive for these jobs, especially with their greater work experience.”

Still, the myths persist despite all the evidence to the contrary.

Myth  — I’m not going to find a good job

Reality – Baby boomers are getting jobs with better pay, status and working conditions than prior generations of older workers.

Myth – You can’t take time off or you’ll never get back into the work force.

Reality – About 40% of people who retire take a break then return to work, typically, within two years.

Myth—I’m not going to make as big a contribution as I did in the past.

Reality – Older workers can play a more vital role than previously.

Myth—The only type of work available to older applicants is part time.

Reality—Since 1995 the number of people age 65 or older working full time has more than tripled.

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New Guide Helps Seniors Locate Assisted Living Facilities

A team of nurses and other health professionals have put together a guide designed to help seniors locate assisted living facilities by state.  It is meant to serve as a resource for anyone looking for information on placing themselves or a loved one in an assisted living or elder care facility.

For additional information click here:   www.aboutassistedliving.org/

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Ten Countries Where You Can Retire in Style With Your Social Security Check

Relying on nothing but Social Security certainly isn’t a sound retirement plan. But many retirees would like it to play a larger role in their day-to-day expenses, which makes sense. The more bills you can pay with the Social Security check, the more you can free up your retirement savings for enjoying life and exploring new passions. Cutting back and budgeting could certainly help, but for the adventurous, there’s another option: moving overseas.

In many countries the costs of living are so small that a Social Security check is more than enough to retire in style. Payments might average only $1,335 per month, but in places where an apartment only costs $300 and a night out is $5, that can be more than enough. The idea isn’t even that unusual.

“Some people nearing retirement age are looking at a fixed income,” said Dan Prescher, senior editor of the magazine International Living. “You pick the right destination, and you can effectively double the value of your nest egg. And there are beautiful countries you can move to.”

To help with that decision International Living has recently published a guide for expat retirees, but you want to be careful. Although retirement abroad can be a great money saving tactic, it’s also an enormous lifestyle decision. The world is littered with what Prescher called “economic refugees,” expats stuck in a foreign land not because they want to be there but because they can’t afford to go home. Don’t let that happen to you; if you go, do so for the adventure and the thrill of new cultures.

One issue that expat retirees have to be sensitive of is medical care. Calling it a “critical issue,” Prescher noted that it’s particularly a concern for anyone looking to “get away from it all.” “As you might imagine,” he said, “around most of the world the health care is excellent in the major metropolitan areas, but as you get farther and farther afield it can fall off pretty quickly.”

“Most,” however, is the critical qualifier. For all but a few countries on our list, including Panama and Thailand, urban access to medicine meets first world standards. While that bungalow on the beach might be remote, the hospitals in Bangkok are second to none. Yet it’s worth noting that for every country on this list transportation will move more slowly, so expats with particular health concerns should probably consider staying closer to the cities.

Out in the villages that ambulance may take a while to arrive, if it comes at all. Then there are the places that struggle to deliver quality care at all. Two countries on this list stand out for this: Cambodia, due to its ongoing development, and Indonesia, due to the nation’s archipelago geography. Colombia, too, suffers from criticisms of its health care system, although to a much lesser degree.

These are places ill-suited for older retirees or those with particular needs. In all countries on this list a patient can reach good doctors eventually, but a short flight will not meet  those who anticipate particular or chronic health care concerns.

Finally, expatriates of all ages must always consider health insurance, and this is true also of retirees. Preserving Medicare benefits as an expat is complicated and not always possible; Part D, for example, is only available for those who reside in the United States. In fact, as the Office of Health and Human Services has explained “in most situations, Medicare won’t pay for health care or supplies you get outside the U.S.” As a result, in virtually all cases a retiree should arrange for private insurance.

When enrolling in private insurance, be aware of two concerns in particular. First, make sure that the plan allows for coverage inside the United States, so that your medical care is neither exposed nor complicated when you return to visit friends and family. Second, make sure that your plan does not have a maximum period of eligibility or renewal, so that you only have to shop around once. With the caveat that you should be sure to make sure you have proper health coverage and care access especially as you get up there in age,

Here are ten countries you can retire to where that Social Security check will last for miles and let you get the most out of your nest egg:  Cambodia, Malaysia, Nicaragua, Indonesia, Colombia, Thailand, Costa Rica, Mexico, Ecuador, and Panama.

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Perils of Climate Change Could Swamp Coastal Real Estate

Homeowners are slowly growing wary of buying property in the areas most at risk, setting up a potential economic time bomb in an industry that is struggling to adapt.

Real estate agents looking to sell coastal properties usually focus on one thing: how close the home is to the water’s edge. But buyers are increasingly asking instead how far back it is from the waterline. How many feet above sea level? Is it fortified against storm surges? Does it have emergency power and sump pumps?

Rising sea levels are changing the way people think about waterfront real estate. Though demand remains strong and developers continue to build near the water in many coastal cities, homeowners across the nation are slowly growing wary of buying property in areas most vulnerable to the effects of climate change.

A warming has already forced a number of industries — coal, oil, agriculture and utilities among them — to account for potential future costs of a changed climate. The real estate industry, particularly along the vulnerable coastlines, is slowly awakening to the need to factor in the risks of catastrophic damage from climate change, including that wrought by rising seas and storm-driven flooding, But many economists say that this reckoning needs to happen much faster and that home buyers urgently need to be better informed. Some analysts say the economic impact of a collapse in the waterfront property market could surpass that of the bursting dot-com and real estate bubbles of 2000 and 2008.

The fallout would be felt by property owners, developers, real estate lenders and the financial institutions that bundle and resell mortgages.

Over the past five years, home sales in flood-prone areas grew about 25 percent less quickly than in counties that do not typically flood, according to county-by-county data from Attom Data Solutions, the parent company of RealtyTrac. Many coastal residents are rethinking their investments and heading for safer ground.

“I don’t see how this town is going to defeat the water,” said Brent Dixon, a resident of Miami Beach who plans to move north and away from the coast in anticipation of worsening king tides, the highest predicted tide of the year. “The water always wins.”

These concerns have taken on a new urgency since the presidential election of Donald J. Trump, who has long been a skeptic of global warming, claiming in 2012 that it was a concept “created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing noncompetitive.”

A real estate developer, Mr. Trump is also the owner of several South Florida properties, including Mar-a-Lago, a 20-acre site that stretches between the Atlantic Ocean and the Intracoastal Waterway in Palm Beach.

Mr. Trump’s recent selection of Myron Bell to lead his Environmental Protection Agency transition team intensified these worries in Florida and among many climate scientists. Mr. Ebell has helped lead the charge against the scientific consensus that global warming exists and is caused by people.

State lawmakers in Massachusetts and New Jersey are pushing to impose new rules on real estate agents and others, obligating them to disclose climate-related damage like previous flooding.

Banks and insurers need to protect their collateral and investors more by improving their methods for estimating climate-change risks and creating more standardized rules for reporting them publicly, economists warn.

In April, Sean Becketti, the chief economist for Freddie Mac, the government-backed mortgage giant, issued a dire prediction. It is only a matter of time, he wrote, before sea level rise and storm surges become so unbearable along the coast that people will leave, ditching their mortgages and potentially triggering another housing meltdown — except this time, it would be unlikely that these housing prices would ever recover.

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Report Ranks Best American Cities for LGBT Seniors

SeniorAdvice.com, one of the nation’s top senior housing referral services, has released a list of America’s the top cities for gay-friendly retirement. The company has created SeniorScore™, the first comprehensive un-biased scoring system specifically designed to identify and measure the livability for seniors, and most recently determined the top gay-friendly cities for seniors.

The company recognizes that the lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) older adult community is currently a very important part of the American population to consider. According to the American Psychological Association, more than 39 million people in the U.S. are age 65 years or older including 1.5 million people who identify as LGBT. Furthermore, as the baby boomer generation ages, the senior population will increase from 12.8 percent to an estimated 19 percent in 2030, meaning that the LGBT senior niche will undoubtedly grow as well.

The following U.S. cities have been named by SeniorScore™ as the most accommodating for LGBT seniors based on a data-driven algorithm:

1. Austin, TX 9. Seattle, WA
2. Ft. Lauderdale, FL 10. Columbus, OH
3. Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN 11. Salt Lake City, UT
4. Atlanta, GA 12. Dallas, TX
5. Phoenix, AZ 13. Las Vegas, NV
6. Orlando, FL 14. San Francisco, CA
7. Tampa, FL 15. Houston, TX
8. Portland, OR

To assemble the list of gay-friendly cities, SeniorAdvice.com utilized SeniorScore™, to determine the best cities in general for seniors. The ranking is calculated by compiling and factoring over 100 variables, including access to health care and number of senior residents, to help determine how well a specific location accommodates the comfort and needs of senior citizens. It takes into account four different categories: health and safety, recreation and leisure, finance, and general quality of life. The range for SeniorScore™ is 0-100, however, no city scored a perfect score due to the nature of the variables. In addition to an overall score, SeniorScore™ also identifies a specific score for each of these categories in order to cater to user preferences. The SeniorScore™ is un-biased and is not influenced by personal opinion or financial interests in any way.

After considering the top cities for seniors through SeniorScore™, SeniorAdvice.com carefully researched and identified individual variables and conveniences specifically for the LGBT community. Some of these specific considerations include: acceptance of the LGBT community; gay-friendly bars, clubs and other establishments; LGBT festivals and other recreational activities; level of legal protection for gay, lesbian, and trans residents; and presence of gay senior groups.

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