Introducing: Money’s Best Places to Live 2021-2022

Why stocks are swooning
September 21, 2021
Retire with Money
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An easier way to buy, sell or refi your home
Plenty of intangibles go into picking a place to live. For example, proximity to an airport might look great on paper to frequent travelers, but it could turn into a negative if your home is under a noisy flight path. While data can’t tell the whole story about any location, it can act as a helpful filter. Last week, Money introduced our Best Places to Live 2021-2022, a project where editors and reporters analyzed nearly 100 metrics to arrive at a list of 50 small and mid-sized towns that meet various criteria of affordability, convenience and pleasantness (the winner has a connection to the late rockstar Prince)! It might come in handy for our Reader of the Week, who’s been researching places to retire in the U.S. after a career overseas! 

Best wishes,
Elizabeth
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Retire With Money Community News

Please welcome our Reader of the Week! Eric Thompson, 66, lives with Shirley, his wife of nearly 36 years, in Okinawa, Japan. He works in facility management for the Navy hospital on the island, and she works as a teacher’s aide for special needs children.
What are you up to these days?
We live on a subtropical island where we walk, bike ride, and I like snorkeling. There are many different food cultures here, as this is a tourist location, leading to spending a lot of time in the gym to work it all off.

This pandemic situation has really thrown a wrench into our planning for retirement. We are probably delaying another year, targeting 2023, in hopes that housing prices will stabilize, not to mention even finding a car!
 
Prices are crazy these days! What’s your advice for preparing for retirement?
If you’ll be moving, as we will at retirement, research the locations. We have been looking on the internet for two years and find there are so many things to consider: climate, taxes, community and general affordability. We’re creating a list of possible places and plan to visit several to experience the ambiance and help choose. We’ve lived in so many places, moving on average every four years, that we have a fairly good idea of what we want. That doesn’t seem to make it any easier.
 
It’s a lot to consider! What's your saving and investing philosophy?
The standard advice of “live below your means” and save. That was drilled into me by my mother, a child of the Depression. We don’t chase returns. We contribute to our Thrift Savings Plan accounts (TSP: 401(k)-like federal plans) generously. We don’t do individual stocks. I don’t have the time to fully research companies and I probably am not smart enough to do it well. We may have too much in cash, but want to buy a house when we return to the states as we don’t own one now.
 
I blew a lot of money on partying in my 20s. Wine, women and song. I would be wealthy now if I had saved even half of it. Don’t buy something if you don’t need it. As we have gotten more comfortable, we indulge in lattes and good restaurants. That in comparison to our first anniversary celebration, when we went to an all-you-can-eat baked potato bar and my gift to Shirley was a plastic rose.

Retirement News From Around The Web

The Financial Impact of COVID-19 on Older Americans
A new study sheds light on the devastating financial toll the pandemic has taken. NEXT AVENUE

Food Prices to Surge With Fertilizer at Its Highest Point in Years
A perfect storm of problems could result in higher prices for beef and chicken. BLOOMBERG

Long-term Care Needs Among Retirees Vary Widely, New Research Shows
One strong indicator of whether long-term care will be needed is whether a person is healthy in their late 60s, the study says. CNBC

Rick Steves Says Hold On to Your Travel Dreams
The European travel guru offers some predictions about what post-COVID travel will be like. THE NEW YORKER

Elizabeth O'Brien is deputy editor at Money. She has covered retirement and health care for nearly a decade. A Brooklyn resident and mom of two boys, she navigates the alphabet soup of Medicare and the New York City subway system with equal ease. You can email her at elizabeth.obrien@money.com and follow her on Twitter at @elizobrien.
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