Monday bits: Retire in the Caribbean on $1,000 a month; $1,500 toasters

Happy Monday

Have you finished you Christmas shipping? I’m not one for fighting the stores. I’m much happier shopping from the friend confines of my house. As many of you know, if you don’t have an Amazon Prime account, you need to amass $50 worth of merchandise to get free shipping at Amazon. Did you know that Target offers free shipping on any order? I bought something on Saturday the 10th and it is scheduled to arrive on Monday the 19th… well ahead of Santa’s sleigh. If you need to buy anything, you might want to go to Target’s website.

Retire on just $1,000 a month in the Caribbean?!

Instead of spending money, you could be saving to retire. While most people have a tough time building a portfolio which will fund a satisfactory retirement in the States, how about looking a bit east. I’d expect many people could get by on $12,000 a year… How you can retire in the Caribbean for $1,000 a month (CNBC)

When Will You Age Out of Your Career?

NFL players have a very short career. They average NFL career is only 3.3 years. If they’re smart, the squirrel away many of their nuts for winter. Some NFL players are smart enough to plan for their future.

Age impacts other careers as well. The more physically taxing a career is, the greater the likelihood that the worker might have a hard time staying with that job for an extended period. A white-collar worker ranking higher than 75 percent of the group was 7.5 percent more likely to call it quits before age 65 than a worker in the 25th percentile. As we get older, not all our skills decline at the same rate. And in some ways, we get better. Older workers tend to be more knowledgeable than younger workers, research has found. Though it can take longer for older people to learn new skills or process new information, they are often much better at tasks they’ve practiced extensively. Physical ability varies, too. An older worker who can’t balance on a roof or deliver a dishwasher might have no trouble holding on to a broom. (Bloomberg)

Are you UNDER spending in Retirement?

While many of us have a tough time making ends meet, let alone saving enough for retirement, there are those who perhaps aren’t spending enough. (We’ll look at “Spenders” and “Savers” below.) If you are retired and only have so much money, you might fear spending what you have. I can understand being concerned that you will outlive your money and not wanting to spend, but there has to be a balance. The biggest variable is when does my warranty expire? If we all knew when we were going to die, it would be easy to budget our money. If you have $200,000 and you have ten years left to live, you could spend $20,000 each year and die with nothing, but since we don’t know when we will die, many senior become figuratively paralyzed when it comes to spending money.

A study found retirees were spending less on average than the amount available to them from Social Security, pensions, and income from retirement accounts. In the case of wealthy retirees, the researchers calculated that they were spending less than half the annual amount they could actually afford to spend. Don’t let fear of running out of money ruin your retirement.

One problem which retirees complain about is boredom. An 89-year old in the UK posted an ad seeking employment. His ad read: “Senior citizen 89 seeks employment in Paignton area. 20 hrs+ per week. Still able to clean, light gardening, DIY and anything. I have references. Old soldier, airborne forces. Save me from dying of boredom!” (Money)

The best and worst run states

For the fifth year in a row, North Dakota ranks as the best run state in the country. For the second consecutive year, New Mexico ranks worst. My state, California, ranks #16:

16. California
> Debt per capita: $4,006 (17th highest)
> 2015 Unemployment rate: 6.2% (7th highest)
> Credit rating: Aa3/AA-
> Poverty: 15.3% (19th highest)

California is one of the largest and best performing economies in the country. The state’s GDP of $56,365 per capita is roughly $7,000 greater than the national average. Largely due to innovation in the state’s technology industry, California’s economy grew more than that of any other U.S. state last year. Growing 4.1% in 2015, California’s economy surpassed France and Brazil to become the sixth largest in the world.

Despite the strong economy, California has one of the worst school systems in the nation. Just 82.2% of California adults have graduated from high school, the lowest educational attainment rate in the country. California also spends relatively little on education. The state dedicates 28.0% of its total expenditures to education spending, which amounts to roughly $1,400 less on education per student than the average across all states.

Where does your state rank? (24/7 Wall St)

Is airline travel about to get even more stressful?

Let’s face it, air travel is pretty stressful. With the delays, the TSA, the crowds, the cramped spaces, the annoying passengers, the general stress of trying to get from point A to point B, air travel can certainly weigh on your nerves. Your otherwise relatively peaceful cabin in the sky might be getting a whole lot louder. Airlines could let passengers start making in-flight phone calls using Wi-Fi under a proposal from federal regulators. You’ve seen how loud and oblivious people can be when they are making cel phone calls. Now picture all of the people sitting around you talking on their phones. Suddenly that screaming child doesn’t seem so irritating, does it? Okay, maybe the child is still annoying…

If only train travel in the USA was as useful, functional, and timely as it is in Europe. Wider seats. Actually, MUCH wider seats, with much more legroom. High speed trains that travel efficiently and quietly. A small table in between the seats folds out for work space if needed. A power port makes working or charging electronic equipment easy and convenient, and a small trash can underneath the table makes quick ease of disposing garbage. There are cell-phone free zones — there are tiny lounges to have conversations and make phone calls — so the quiet calm of traveling for hours with great scenery is refreshing. Bathrooms are readily located between coaches. Trains arrive on schedule, usually to the minute. Train travel — at least European high-speed train travel — feels so much more civilized than airline travel.

Flight attendants and others have complained that the calls on airplanes could be disruptive, but the Department of Transportation said Thursday that it envisioned allowing the calls if airlines tell all customers about the policy when they buy their tickets. Would you select a flight with “no in-flight calls allowed” even if it was more expensive? You may soon have to make that decision. (Chicago Tribune)

Are you a saver or a spender?

Some people are free spenders, they want the latest gadgets. They spend freely. Live for today… Who knows what tomorrow may bring?

Many years ago, I was surprised when a friend insisted that he needed a toaster that cost $100. I didn’t understand that. If a $20 or $30 toaster can toast bread reasonably well, why do you need to spend $100. Today, that $100 toaster suddenly doesn’t seem as expensive as it did before. I just learned that there is a $1,500 toaster. Who is going to buy a $1,500 toaster. Better yet, who is going to come home and look their spouse in the eye and say, “Honey I bought a new toaster for us. It’s awesome. It’s amazing. And the best part, it was (only) $1,500!” I don’t like spending money unnecessarily. I don’t get it… I’m a saver.

I am a saver. I am married to a saver. Neither of us has to worry about the other one being so frivolous.

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