Tag Archives: travel

Refocus on Retirement

It always seems to be the best advice to focus on what you can control; right now that means Refocus on Retirement. As satisfying as a snarky Facebook post or march to Trump Tower may be, it will not improve your life. Getting your retirement strategy straight and working on your retirement account and assets, that will matter. Indeed, with only so many hours in the day, you are far better served by getting your retirement in order. You might find value in spending time with your loved ones after that. To this end, we return to our core value proposition here, delivering insightful reading on retirement topics.

Refocus on Retirement: Navigate a challenging environment
With equity markets on an extended tear, one must wonder when it ends. Market timers never prosper, but vigilance is very much in order.
As ETFs have prospered many have shifted from active strategies to passive. Is that still a good idea? When markets correct what happens to indices? What drove the performance in the first place? What if Everybody Became an Indexer? Financial Advisor Daily Digest US ETF Industry Growth Shows Signs of Maturity
Be prepared for a downturn by repositioning assets as needed. No magic, just an open mind: How to survive a ‘worst-case’
The uncertainty driven by the Trump Administration has generally worked favorably for US markets. Will that continue, or should you seek shelter now? Emerging-Market ETF Strength is More than Meets the Eye
In the same vein, volatility may be a decent play as the Administration finds its footing. Market Volatility Bulletin: VIX Back in Bed?

Refocus on Retirement: As always, find ways to optimize your retirement income
One obvious way to optimize your retirement income is though income generating investments. This REIT Yields 7.4% and Could Return Over 50%
Stay current in your awareness of dividend stocks. Dividend Champions for February 2017
Another great way to improve your retirement is leveraging the tax code. Retirement: Use extra cash to cover retiree health costs

Refocus on Retirement: As promised, your getaway section for this post
A getaway may simply be in your mind. Try these on for size, it won’t take long. 25 Shortest Jokes Ever
Here is a classic case of careful what you wish for … look at the budget numbers! Still, worth a side trip, at least. The world’s first “acoustically perfect” concert hall opens in Germany
Since we advocate saving money and traveling (well). These sites might help. The Checking Accounts That Let You Avoid Foreign ATM Fees The 12 Best Travel Sites and Apps You Need Right Now 

Washington Mayhem

Our political environment continues to be contentious and the Washington Mayhem shows no signs of abating. One might hope our elected officials would seek common ground, but there seems to be little appetite for this. Like it, or not, President Trump has been following through on campaign promises. Still the execution seems sloppy and Executive Orders always feel somehow illegitimate. The brevity, speed and seeming lack of vetting and buy-in on some of these have only exacerbated this inherent issue. The fact that the Senate has not moved on all the Cabinet positions leaves us unable still to judge the leadership style from the White House. Hope remains that a full Cabinet of independent thinkers, combined with an open minded President can yield effective policymaking. What can or should you be doing about this? Let us outline some options below.

Washington Mayhem: Become more involved.
Our government is meant to be of the people, for the people and by the people, right? In large part that means if you don’t like it, do something about it. Strangely enough the Tea Party is a manifestation on the right of this very concept. The talk is that the left may develop a Tea Party of their own as a counter weight. It is worth remembering that no small measure of success for the Tea Party has been heightened voter engagement. Marching and calling representatives is one thing, but getting involved in local politics – committees, town councils and the like – is the most pro-active approach.
Washington Mayhem: Find your quiet place.
One thing we likely all have too much of these days is connectivity. Perhaps a very good idea is to disconnect more. Put down your phone, stop checking the news sites, and find some solace in the forgotten quiet time of pre-internet days.
Washington Mayhem: Literally get away.
In our last installment we highlighted some good getaway spots and encouraged our Hollywood friends who promised to leave to please do so. Now, as we settle into the Trump Administration, here are some additional getaways worth considering. Note that these may not all be practical, but then are you really going to do it? The best hotel suites in the Middle East, Africa and Indian Ocean 26 places you should visit before they disappear forever The 7 most incredible train trips to take in Europe 

Getaway Special

We are into the New Year, with the inauguration just around the corner, and maybe it is time for a getaway special. With so much angst surrounding the inauguration, and so many celebrities committed to leaving the country, let’s look at travel. Perhaps you will be inspired regardless your political leanings. If nothing else, you may find some great ideas for 2017 and beyond.

Getaway Special: Finding the best deals…
Using the right tools can make a world of difference. These are worth a look. The 12 Best Travel Sites and Apps You Need Right Now
Maybe you just want to keep moving … seems there are plenty of ‘hot spots’ around the world these days. Staying mobile may improve your odds. How to Fly for Free on Every Business Trip

Getaway Special: If this is it for you, find a good landing spot…
Retiring offshore? Find a safe, cost effective destination with this list. Top 10 Best Retirement Countries for 2017
Then again, you may want to avoid the high profile city destinations. This list will help strike the right balance. Budget European City Breaks: Cut-price alternatives to Paris, London, Amsterdam and more
Wherever you choose, I bet you will want to stay connected. These tips will help keep you in the loop. 8 tech tips I learned while traveling abroad
If you really want off the grid, think private island. Your own coral atoll in the South Pacific

Getaway Special: Perhaps you are not ready to give up on the US just yet…
This is for you if you still love your country, but happen to share Meryl Streep’s take on the immediate future. These doomsday shelters for the 1% make up the largest private bunker community on Earth Luxury bunkers will protect 5,000 from the apocalypse – in style

Year-end Review

Most everyone is taking this week off from work, the perfect chance for a year-end review.

Year-end Review: Tune up your fiscal habits as we enter the New Year.
It is always good to start with the basics. Here you can check your progress and fine tune your approach. 2 Financial Resolutions You Really Need to Make Before the New Year
In a similar vein, but a longer to-do list, this has you checking fees and automatic savings. 9 Smart Money Moves to Make in January
While this may not be a year-end specific thing, you are not getting any younger. So, in the spirit of checklists, here is one for the must do pile. 5 Financial Steps You Should Take Before You Retire

Year-end Review: Do you think you are AOK on retirement savings?
If you have been reading along with each post you likely realize there is still work to be done. If that has not gotten through, or you have not been reading along, try this. My friend Ron Pressman gives a compelling, fact-based analysis of the US retirement situation. Please do have a look. The Retirement Savings Deficit in America

Year-end Review: Inasmuch as it is a week away for most, enjoy some diversionary things.
Who would not want to stay in the most beautiful places in the world? You may as well put some of these in your budget, while you are at it. The Most Beautiful Places to Stay in the World
Of course it did not end well for the old Czar, but boy did they live the high life. This one is really a flip through some unbelievable pictures. Life Aboard the Luxury Super Yacht of Russia’s Last Emperor
Google is full of surprises, and Google Earth and Google Maps are no exception. If you use them, you may be interested in these articles. Google Maps: 14 Hidden Features You Probably Didn’t Know Google Earth now has global Landsat and Sentinal 2 data from 1985 to 2016 and Google Earth Update Shows How Climate Change Has Morphed Our Planet

Thanksgiving Respite

The election is behind us, the rancor is dying down, and we are coming off the turkey high … time for a Thanksgiving Respite. That means nothing too heavy this week, mostly light reading.

Thanksgiving Respite: One heavy one – do yourself a favor, read it.
There was plenty to dislike about the election which just past. One thing that particularly irks me, though, is the lack of focus on the Federal Debt.  This Looming Crisis Could Ruin Many

Thanksgiving Respite: Miscellany to lighten up your long weekend.
Most of you likely listen to classical, if not, you should. Why Our Brains Respond Differently to Classical Music
If you are like me, you run your iPhone storage to the limit. Here’s a trick worth knowing. Instantly Free Up Storage on an iPhone by Downloading (then deleting) a Huge App
If you enjoy traveling and our National Parks, you will love this site. Browse & Download 1,198 Free High Resolution Maps of US National Parks
Speaking of traveling, I always advocate saving money on tickets. 4 Apps Airlines Don’t Want You to Know About
If you like completely useless information (perhaps even depressing), or fast food, this site is for you. These maps show how 15 fast food chains dominate in America
If you are a closet geek, or just like to prove things now and again, you will love this one. Microsoft co-founder’s academic search engine adds neuroscience

Thanksgiving Respite: One truly valuable tip for your weekend.
It is not all dumb stuff, here’s something you might need. iPhone update adds a hidden way to call police in an emergency

Retirement Status

With the election just behind us and year-end just ahead it is time to seriously consider your retirement status. Why not start with a behavioral check-up: are you doing the right things and enough of them? Follow that with a quick look at what a Trump administration might mean for your savings. If that scares you away – or the election did – by all means save money on your international flights!

Retirement Status: No time like the present to have a close look
First and foremost, don’t be overconfident. Americans have a dismal track record on saving for retirement. Do yourself a favor and stay on it.  Think you’re prepared for retirement? Answer these six questions.
We often focus on longevity here, a corollary to that is aggressiveness. Since you will be retired for a long time, you need to invest appropriately. The old rules may not apply. 60% of Americans Invest Too Conservatively for Retirement, Study Shows
Always be looking for good tips. 3 Fantastic Retirement Tips and Tricks
Then, of course, we really do not know what a Trump Presidency will bring. So, be cautious and look for opportunities. How Trump Could Change the Retirement Landscape An Unexpected $12 Trillion Hole Emerges in Donald Trump’s Plan to “Make America Great Again”

Retirement Status: Tips if you plan to leave the US now (Kanye, Miley, Whoopi, etc.)
You may as well leave on the cheap, and I have come across a whole lot of good ideas on how. Revealed, the Secret Travel Tips that Airlines Don’t Want You to Know
Here is Why Using Google Flight Track Can Save You Serious Money
Never book flights on Fridays – and eight other tips for getting cheap airfares
I’ve Accidentally Discovered a Way to Save up to 75% on American Tickets

Folksy Investing

I am always looking for the finest analysis to share, this week I turn to Folksy Investing. This article Getting Asset Allocation Right for Retirement struck me with how simple and folksy it was. No doubt Henry is a retired aeronautical engineer … or line worker … from Boeing, still his advice is simple. Sometimes I think it pays to go with what feels right.
Folksy Investing: Henry uses 105 as a baseline, how long will your retirement go?
It is a common refrain here, longevity is a giant variable in your retirement planning. Annuities can often help moderate that longevity risk.  Are You Missing Out on Guaranteed Income Because of These 5 Misconceptions?

We often talk about healthcare costs in retirement and inflation is a concern, too. In this low return world even low inflation can make a difference. Inflation is Coming Back – What Does That Mean for You?
Speaking of healthcare cost in retirement, here’s another good primer on that. Retirement health care estimates vs. reality
Finally, here is a nice summation of the risks you face, including the three we are focusing in on today. Navigating 5 critical retirement risks
 

Folksy Investing: Some more good tools and tips for your retirement.
We often highlight dividend stocks as a means of generating income. How will they fare in any downturn, though? You certainly don’t want to lose a whole lot of principal. 3 Reliable Dividend Stocks Yielding 7% or More
So how do you handle the ups and downs of markets? Your nest egg will vary in value over time, is there a way to account for that? Here is one idea. Ratcheting Up Retirement Spending
So what are the odds markets will correct? Who knows? Some say the election will do it, if Trump wins. Others say it is all ‘baked in’ already. Perhaps ask yourself are things as good as markets would indicate? Unemployment rate is 4.9%, but a more realistic rate is higher than that and The Story of Durable Goods is the Story of the (Global) Economy
This may be too little, too late, given the proximity of the election, but … The philosophy of Marcus Aurelius is supposed to make you be more resilient and at peace – here’s how to master it in 7 days
Speaking of the election, you may want these tips, too. A new travel app is offering the lowest flight prices we’ve ever seen and Surprise! This Cruise is Actually on a Luxury Yacht, and It’s Everything Anti-Cruisers Could Hope For

Retirement and Travel

In the wake of the first 2016 Presidential debate, it seems fitting to focus on your retirement and travel. We have the two most disliked candidates and a bevy of possible downside scenarios. So locking down your best possible retirement and using travel to escape seem like reasonable areas of focus.

Retirement and Travel – first ensure you lock down the best possible retirement.
The easiest way to ensure your best retirement is by not making mistakes. Here is a list of easy ones – probably focus on the last two, being too conservative or too aggressive. 5 Simple Mistakes That Could Ruin Your Retirement
In a similar vein, albeit a more positive spin, Blackrock shares some tips to kill it. It’s Time to Ace Retirement
Then there’s always optimizing your approach. We often talk  dividend investing, lowering fees and leveraging tax incentives that exist.  This great article gives you a pointer that combines all three. Enjoy. Dividend Investing in a Roth IRA
Now this one does not tell you a lot. It does say most likely you should work longer than you think. Of course if you did all the right things, not so much. This is why you should delay your retirement
Then, of course, there’s this option: retiring overseas. I suspect many will think hard about this given the now 50% shot of …. On a Jet to the Best Foreign Retirement Possible

Retirement and Travel – now, escape the mayhem and turn off your devices.
In this toxic political environment, and the inevitable aftermath, your travel thoughts likely turn overseas. So, bookmark this one to avoid any unwanted ‘ugly American’ moments. These are the worst faux pas you can make in 17 different countries
Use every trick in the book to save money and enjoy a great trip. 4 Apps Airlines Don’t Want You to Know About 5 Travel Hacks You Didn’t Know About, Right from the Mouth of Flight Attendants and How to Get the Lowest Airfares
I feel pretty savvy when it comes to online bookings, but this was news to me. How online travel agencies are ‘dimming’ results on hotel searches
Then, of course, there’s the option to travel and not retire … try this on for size … it’s a fun read, anyway. 11 Insane Perks of Being an Emirates Flight Attendant

Memorial Day

This weekend we celebrate Memorial Day. Perhaps celebrate is too strong a word, or maybe we tend to lose sight of the reason for the holiday. Indeed, it is far too easy to get caught up in the ‘start of Summer’ mayhem typical for the cherished long weekend. So, I give you some perspective: since the Revolutionary War, US forces have suffered 1,354,000+ deaths and 1,498,000+ casualties (source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_military_casualties_of_war). Of course, these days we hear a lot about PTSD and the epidemic of suicides in our veterans. When you are enjoying your weekend, I implore you to reflect a moment on the sacrifice made by these brave men and women to make that possible.

Busy week in the Presidential race.
Defying all odds, Donald Trump surpassed the 1,237 delegates necessary to secure the Republican nomination. Just what are we in for this Fall?
Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton continued to have a rocky path to the Democrat nomination, with Bernie Sanders staying wholeheartedly engaged in the race and the State Department Inspector General releasing a scathing rebuke on the email server scandal. The Washington Post is the last place you expect to see critic of Mrs. Clinton, but Washington Post scorches Hillary Clinton in scathing editorial slamming her email setup. Even the AP is calling her to task: AP Fact Check: Clinton misstates key facts in email episode and Clinton email use broke federal rules
Even found a couple of good analysis pieces for your reading pleasure. How Hillary Loses and Trump, Clinton and Sanders: What’s the difference, fiscally speaking? Hint, it’s not a pretty picture.

As we enter peak travel season, some tips.
Do what you can to improve your travel experience. Travel like a CEO: Five experts on how to master the business trip  and 13 Hacks for traveling like the 1% at no cost
Don’t get greedy, though, there are plenty of traps out there, too. Fraudulent hotel booking sites are more common than you might think – here’s how you can spot them
When you get to your destination, have fun. Amazing bars around the world to drink at before you die

Life Hacks

Time to have a break from the focus on retirement and improve your life today with some Life Hacks. Most importantly, the 273 million hacked email passwords, you need to deal with this.
If you use Gmail, Hotmail or Yahoo Mail, You Should Change Your Password Now
Do you have a good grip on history? Environmentalism? Think again.
Here is a quick level set on your knowledge of history.  26 Comparisons That Will Destroy How You See History
This one goes way beyond its title, paper vs. ceramic plates, recycling plastic, glass … read and learn.  Styrofoam cups get a bad rap, and other surprising environmental revelations
Plus, just when you got your head around microbeads being bad, not it’s microfiber. G-Star Raw, Plastic Soup Team Up Against Microfiber Pollution in Oceans
To be fair, this one may cross the line into trivia, but history trivia to be sure. 25 Facts That Will Actually Make You Smarter
It is never a bad idea to get some travel tips. Here are a few in the life hacks category.
If you happen to be in New York, here are a couple of fun adventures to try. How to See New York’s Secret City Hall Subway Stop and The 5 Best Hidden Bars in New York City and How to Find Them
If you happen to be in Paris, oh my, check out this marvel. Paris’s 770-Year-Old Sainte-Chapelle Restored to Its Gothic Glory by Laser Technology
Sometimes you just want to splurge, or maybe your schedule jams you so you have no choice. Either way, these sites may help you save a few bucks. 8 Best Websites to Get a Single, First Class Seat
Seems like there are thousands of travel hacks out there: admittedly there are some pretty cheesy ones here, but there are some good ones, too. 10 Ingenious DIY Air Travel Hacks to Make You a Pro at Travelling

Not everything you may not know is bad, though. Try these on for size.
The Amazon has some hidden surprises. Massive coral reef discovered in the Amazon River
Researchers continue to push the boundaries on vexing diseases, often with promising results. Drug Cocktail Can Wipe Out Skin Cancer – Study and Johnson & Johnson, ViaCyte testing possible diabetes cure