The Life-Is-Short Mindset, Retiring to Greece, Preparing for a Miles Devaluation, and More – Links

Spring Bridge with Pink Flowers - Spring

It’s interesting to see how people are reacting to the light at the end of the pandemic tunnel — some quality articles about retirement planning, your precious miles, the life-is-short mindset, and more.


Travel

What’s it like to retire and take off on a sailboat? – (Retirement Voices)

“ My advice to others in their retirement is to follow your passion and take a chance when the time is right. Don’t wait for the “perfect” time to follow your dreams because “perfect” never happens.”

A statement that rings true in the days of COVID.

Steps to get traveling in retirement right – (Real Simple)

Planning for a retirement filled with travel is half the fun. Here’s an article on how to do it right.

Are your miles about to be devalued? – (The Points Guy)

Unfortunately, you’re going to have to prepare for a devaluation. Now is not a good time to start hoarding miles. 

Have you been able to find a travel pillow that actually allows you to sleep on a plane? 2021 recommendations – (CNN)

I have had terrible luck finding the right travel pillow for international flights. Before my next long trip, I’m giving CNN’s top recommendation a try.


Retirement

Five retirement savings mistakes you’ll want to avoid – (Business Insider)

It’s hard to recover from a major mistake, so why not get it right the first time?

Greece Becoming a Prime Location for Ex-Pats – (In the Loop Travel)

Greece? Fantastic history, beautiful weather, and tremendous food…you could do worse.

Have you developed a life-is-short mindset? You’re not alone – (Bloomberg)

How could a year like 2020 not generate a change in mindset? Especially when the stock market increased the financial well-being of many pre-retirees.


Your questions about planning for retirement and travel answered. Where to go? What to do? How to plan it? How to afford it?

You’ll not only be signed up for my newsletter, but you’ll also get a PDF that shows you exactly what a comprehensive retirement plan for people who love to travel is all about. Thanks for reading!

 

 
 
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    Financial Advisor David Tuzzolino

    David Tuzzolino, CFA, CFP®, is the Founder and CEO of PathBridge Financial, a firm that specializes in providing comprehensive financial planning and investment management services for clients that are nearing retirement and love to travel.

    20 Retirement Mistakes, Chartering a Superyacht, and Ex-Pat Living in Cyprus – Links

    Stone Bridge Over Rocky Stream

    I see a vaccine in my near future and my mind continues to wander toward travel dreams. Has your mind been drifting toward travel as well? Here are some ideas.


    Travel

    Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy – (CNN travel)

    If you love Italy as much as I do (or travel in general), you have to watch the new Stanley Tucci show – Searching for Italy. It’s the travel show we all need during COVID. The actor visits different parts of the country exploring Italian cuisine, meeting up with food producers, chefs, and restaurant owners. You’ll never look at cheese, ham, or spaghetti the same way again. You can catch it on Sundays at 9 pm ET on CNN.

    European bucket-list travel – (Conde Nast Traveler)

    It’s looking more and more likely that European travel will have to wait until next year if you want to enjoy the summer there. The good news is you’ll have a whole year to refine your itinerary. Here are some ideas.

    Expat living in Europe: Have you ever thought of Cyprus? – (International Living)

    “Surrounded by the azure waters of the Mediterranean Sea, Cyprus has been on important trade routes since ancient times. Over the last 6,000, years nearly every major empire has occupied it at one time or another. Most have left something behind…”

    Events to put on your calendar if you think weird is great – (The Insatiable Traveler)

    If America needs anything after a year of COVID, it’s a return of unusual events.

    So, you want to charter a superyacht. Here’s what it will cost you – (elite traveler)

    “Below Deck” is my reality-show, guilty pleasure. Combine travel and the inner workings of a small business and I’m sold. A highlight of each show is the “tip meeting” where the crew receives a gratuity left by the just-departed charter guest. Part of the show’s intrigue is to see if the crew was richly rewarded, or stiffed for their efforts. But how much are these guests paying for their charter? This article explains all of the costs involved with the charter of your dreams.  


    Retirement

    These 20 retirement mistakes may cost you millions – (Nasdaq)

    The most important tip in this article is that you have to monitor your progress. Too many investors develop a financial plan and then file it away in a drawer. If you’re pulling it out and blowing the dust off ten years later it might be too late to course-correct.


    Your questions about planning for retirement and travel answered. Where to go? What to do? How to plan it? How to afford it?

    You’ll not only be signed up for my newsletter, but you’ll also get a PDF that shows you exactly what a comprehensive retirement plan for people who love to travel is all about. Thanks for reading!

     

     
     
  • *Privacy policy: your email address is safe, and you will never receive SPAM.

     

    Financial Advisor David Tuzzolino

    David Tuzzolino, CFA, CFP®, is the Founder and CEO of PathBridge Financial, a firm that specializes in providing comprehensive financial planning and investment management services for clients that are nearing retirement and love to travel.

    How to Spend a Day (or Two) in Pittsburgh – 2021

    Pittsburgh PNC Park

    Fifteen years ago I did something that would change my life forever. I moved to Pittsburgh.

    I had friends and family all ask me hesitantly, “What’s Pittsburgh like? Is there anything to do there?” After fifteen years, here’s my response.  

    This is Pittsburgh…

    View of Pittsburgh from Mount Washington
    View of Pittsburgh from Mount Washington

    Were you expecting something different? Perhaps, a city covered in grime with clouds of smog blocking out the sun? A city where the darkness of noon resembles midnight? Those days are long gone, but for people who have never visited Pittsburgh, old reputations are hard to shake.

    Pittsburgh has physical beauty, created by a unique mix of hills, rivers, and bridges, unlike anywhere else in the country. So, what is there to do in the “City of Bridges”? If I was visiting for a couple of days, here’s exactly what I’d do. 

    If you can, visit in the summer. Pittsburgh is a phenomenal city year-round, but some of its finest attractions are best appreciated on a warm summer day.

    Are you driving into downtown from the southwest? This includes anyone riding in from the airport. The odds are excellent you’ll go through the Fort Pitt Tunnel. Hopefully, your driver will give you a heads up, but if not, make sure you’re paying attention. As you exit the tunnel, you’ll be smacked with a visual feast I still admire after 15 years. For the first-time visitor – wham! Welcome to Pittsburgh!

    Day One

    Try to get to Pittsburgh around noon, which gives you two full days to explore the city. I recommend staying at the Omni William Penn Hotel, downtown and in the middle of the action. It recently celebrated 100 years, and while oozing with old-world charm, it’s gracefully kept up with the times. The lobby is a fantastic place to relax in between adventures with a coffee from the attached Starbucks.

    I’ve been on dozens of food tours all around the world, so I can say without a doubt ‘Burgh Bits & Bites offers some of the best tours you’ll ever experience. Pittsburgh is a city with 90 neighborhoods, and you get to choose from half a dozen of the most walkable options. You’ll “…explore the vivid history and culinary delights of the Steel City…” with a small group f both tourists and locals. Just don’t eat before your tour as you’ll not only leave stuffed, you’ll have a bag filled with snacks for later. However, their Strip District Market tour is similar to tomorrow’s suggested activities, so if you’re interested, try it next time you’re in town.

    After your tour, return to your hotel and fight the urge to slip into a food coma. There’s no time to nap. You’re going to a ballgame! Even if baseball’s not your thing, trust me. You’ll want to experience PNC Park.

    You should have some time between the food tour and the ballgame, so make your way down to Market Square. It’s an easy walk from the hotel. The square was established in the 1700s, and it has gone through many stages, including crime-ridden a few decades back. Now it’s a pedestrian-friendly location lined with restaurants and bars. The square is used for dozens of activities throughout the year, from outdoor yoga to a Christmas market.

    Now make your way to Point State Park. This is where Pittsburgh was born. You can still see the outlines of Fort Duquesne and Fort Pitt on the ground. These structures were built in the mid-1700s as the French and British vied to control the three rivers. For a brief history lesson on the forts and the Point, you can refer to Wikipedia.

    Pittsburgh - Fountain at the Point
    Fountain at the Point

    You can’t miss the 150-foot-tall fountain near the point. You’ll likely see more ornamental, awe-inspiring fountains in your lifetime, but its simplicity and brute force are precisely what you’d expect from a Pittsburgh landmark. There may be no other fountain in the country more adored by the city where it resides.

    Walk over to a bench close to the water and take a seat. It’s not often you get to see a river being born, so take it in. The Allegheny River to your right and the Monongahela River to your left come together to form the Ohio River. There’s something majestic about the powerful merging of the rivers and watching the water flow destined for someone’s Mardi Gras cocktail after the long journey south.

    On your visit to the Point, have you noticed a lot of fans walking around in Pittsburgh Pirate’s gear? That’s because there’s a game tonight! So, get a move on!

    From the Point there are many ways to get to PNC Park, but for an authentic game-day experience, cross the Roberto Clemente Bridge. The bridge, named after the Pirate’s most beloved player of all time, crosses the Allegheny River and is closed to cars before most games. If you look to your right, you’ll see the other two, “Three Sisters Bridges,” painted in iconic Pittsburgh Yellow.  It’s a festive atmosphere as fans stream over the bridge, accompanied by live music performed by street musicians.

    The Clemente Bridge dumps you on the doorstep of PNC Park, the home of the Pittsburgh Pirates. It is one of the most beautiful ballparks in all of baseball, and the view is unparalleled.

    Pittsburgh PNC Park
    Pittsburgh’s PNC Park

    While you can often walk up and buy tickets, you should order ahead in case there’s a high-demand special event such as Zambelli Fireworks Night. Pittsburghers love their fireworks! It’s a great show in you’re lucky enough to be in town for the spectacle.

    You’ll want to grab seats down the first base line. You’ll have a phenomenal view of the scoreboard and the Pittsburgh skyline. If you’re high enough, you’ll be able to see the Allegheny River floating by.

    If you’ve been dying to try a Primanti’s Sandwich, now’s your chance. No first-time trip to the Steel City is complete without trying one. An overflowing sandwich on Italian bread, topped with coleslaw and fries – what’s not to love?

    For the ultimate Pittsburgh moment, grab a sandwich, some french fries doused in Heinz Ketchup, and an Iron City beer. Enjoy your meal with one eye on the game and the other on the skyline. If you’re lucky, you’ll catch a Gateway Clipper riverboat slowly gliding by the Clemente Bridge.

    Once the ballgame is over, I’d recommend one of two options. If you’ve had enough and are ready to return to the hotel, find the North Side T-Station. The “T” is Pittsburgh’s light-rail system, and it’s free if you’re traveling on the North Side or downtown – very handy for getting around the city. The Steel Plaza station is close to the Omni William Penn Hotel, so exit there. If you’re up for a nightcap, the hotel’s lobby is a relaxing place to lounge.

    However, if you’re a night owl, make your way back across the Clemente Bridge and hang a left on Penn Ave. You’re entering the Cultural District, which is filled with theaters, restaurants, and bars. Some standouts on this street are Proper Brick Oven & Tap Room, Nicky’s Thai Kitchen, and Bakersfield.

    Day Two

    If you like to get up early to run or walk, I highly recommend the North Side branch of the Three Rivers Heritage Trail. Cross the Rachel Carson Bridge and turn left on the other side of the Allegheny River to find the trail. You’ll be treated to fantastic views of the river, PNC Park, Heinz Field (home of the Steelers), and the city. If you are feeling ambitious, you can drop by Mr. Roger’s Memorial Statue. The 11-foot-tall statue has been called “lumpy” by some, but the real reason you’re here is for the scenery. You can’t argue he was left with a rather spectacular view of the city he embraced.

    If you are feeling hunger pains, don’t worry. You’ll be eating soon.

    Today I recommend a walk down Penn Avenue in the Strip District (the Strip). This neighborhood is home to some of the best restaurants and ethnic markets Pittsburgh has to offer. But don’t be foolish, and sit down to a big meal. The day is about grazing on an endless variety of tasty offerings. There’s no shame in sharing either. You’ll want to begin around 11 am to have enough time to do the Strip justice.

    Start at the S&D Polish Deli and work your way toward downtown. If you’re not a borscht fan, you will be before you leave the Polish Deli. I traveled all over Poland and Ukraine, sampling the delicious beet soup in its motherland, so I have a good reference point. S&D’s offering holds its own. If you try it and you don’t like it, at least you’ll know you tried some of the best.

    From 11 am until 3 pm, take in the Strip. Slowly make your way through the area, sampling food and checking out shops. If you’re in the market for some Steelers, Pirates, or Penguins gear, you won’t be disappointed at the number of stores.

    The area has some of Pittsburgh’s best people-watching as it’s always bustling on the weekend. You’ll have plenty of opportunities to grab a drink and watch the world pass by.

    Some of my favorite stops:

    S&D Polish Deli – Borscht, pierogis, haluszki and more. For dining in, there’s a window toward the back of the store. Immigrants from Poland came to Pittsburgh to work in the steel mills in the 1800s, so there is an affinity for Polish food in the city, and S&D does it right.  

    Lucy’s – This sandwich cart sits next to Bar Marco and serves the best banh mi sandwiches I’ve had outside of Vietnam. When Lucy runs out, she runs out.

    The BeerHive – If you want to hang out with some locals and you’re in the mood for a cold beverage, you can’t go wrong with the BeerHive. There are usually a dozen beers on tap, many local, and the staff is always friendly.

    Colangelo’s Bakery & Café – Everything is fantastic at Colangelo’s. If you’re in Pittsburgh, you have to try bean & greens. The Colangelo version is different than the standard version you’ll find at Italian restaurants across the city, but they’re still excellent. The café also serves the best macaroons I’ve ever tasted.

    Pennsylvania Macaroni Company – Affectionately called Penn Mac by locals, this is the place to go for Italian groceries and more. To your left, as you walk through the front door, is a deli which can be a mob scene, but don’t let that scare you away. If you like cheese, you’ll be in heaven, and don’t be shy about sampling. Also, if you’re in the mood for dessert, there is a large selection of Italian favorites.  

    Roland’s Seafood Grill and Iron Landing – a.k.a. simply Roland’s, has the best people-watching location in the Strip. There are approximately 30 tables on the sidewalk and the balcony above. I can’t vouch for the menu here as I’m usually taking a food break, but it’s always full of happy-looking eaters. There are dozens of beers on tap, and the restaurant has a full bar.

    Wine Library in the PA Market – If you prefer wine, or it’s a boiling hot day, and you’re looking for coolness, the Wine Library is an excellent place to relax. The brick walls, wood floors, and comfortable couches make you feel like you’ve entered a friend’s living room – a wealthy friend.

    Edgars Best Tacos – Edgar’s is the most challenging restaurant to find in Pittsburgh. It is continuously on the move, but a loyal fanbase follows wherever it goes. And for a good reason, because Edgars has incredible street tacos and more. Make sure you save some room for this stop. I’m drooling as I write this.  

    Wholey’s Market – Wholey’s has been around for over a hundred years and is the place to go in Pittsburgh for seafood. The market is usually hopping, and it’s an interesting place to visit, even if you’re stuffed to the gills at this point. However, Andy’s Sushi at Wholey’s should not be missed if you’re still going strong. Just follow the long line of people and wait for your turn. You’ll be happy you did.

    Also, if you’re looking for something to take home, dozens of quirky stores in the Strip sell local items you won’t find anywhere else. There are even some non-food places!

    At 3 pm, it’s time to get educated. You’ll have two hours to explore one of three museums, depending on your interests.

    Senator John Heinz History Center – 250 years of Pittsburgh history is under one roof. This museum is my favorite of the three, but I’m partial to history. As luck would have it, or good planning, it’s located in the Strip and should be an easy walk for you. If you want a better understanding of the city you’re visiting, you’ll find it here.

    Pittsburgh Warhol Museum
    Pittsburgh Warhol Museum

    The Andy Warhol Museum – Art lovers, and especially fans of Andy Warhol, should grab a ride to the North Side. You’ll find the largest museum in the U.S. dedicated to a single artist. Immerse yourself into the world of Warhol as you admire his paintings, prints, sculptures, photographs, and movies. You’ll not only come away with a better understanding of his work but of his life as well.

    Carnegie Science Center – The most visited museum in Pittsburgh is ideal if you have children, but even if you don’t, you’ll be able to keep busy. Highlights are the Buhl Planetarium and the Miniature Railroad & Village. I’m not sure what it is about miniature railroads, but I often find them fascinating. Apparently, I’m not the only one, as this diorama has been around for 50 years. The trains are surrounded by a miniature depiction of 1880 to 1930 Western Pennsylvania, which adds character to the display.

    Each one of these museums is going to kick you out at 5 pm, but that’s ok because it’s time for dinner! In case you haven’t noticed, I like food. You’ll want to gussy up a little for tonight, but business casual will do as Pittsburgh still embraces its blue-collar past and is not a pretentious town.

    Make your way to the Monongahela Incline, which has been around since 1870. You’ll be treated to phenomenal views of the city as you make your way to the top of Mount Washington. Actually, this entire evening is about taking in the city of Pittsburgh from a magnificent vantage point.

    This area, overlooking the city, was a prime source of coal when the incline was built and was named Coal Hill. I’m guessing Mount Washington sounded better in travel brochures, so the name was changed.

    Exit the incline station and take a right. You have about a mile to walk until your next destination, but you’ll be enjoying panoramic views of the city the entire way. There are several viewing platforms you will pass for a closer look.

    Keep an eye out for the Duquesne Incline, which will be on your right. If you are interested in the workings of an incline, head inside and take a peek. You’ll get a view of the machinery that powers the car to the top of the hill. Also of note are pictures of the Pittsburgh flood of 1936. It is a stark reminder downtown sits between two powerful rivers. The flood caused billions of dollars in damage (in today’s dollars) and killed 45 people. The pictures of the event are striking.

    A handful of restaurants sit at the top of Mount Washington and offer impressive views of the city. My favorite by far is Altius. It’s hard for me to adequately describe their cuisine, so I won’t, but here’s their menu. If you are unable to get reservations, or you’d like to reduce your bill a touch by sampling apps, the restaurant has a fantastic bar with the same great view. Service is outstanding wherever you sit. I always start with the charcuterie and branch off from there.

    The desserts are certainly worthy at Altius, but you may need some time to walk off your dinner, and I have another location for you to visit. Exit Altius, take a right, and walk to the Monterey Bay Fish Grotto. You’ll take an elevator to the restaurant and then walk down one floor to the bar. I almost hate to give this secret away as the bar is typically used only by guests waiting to eat dinner, so it is rarely packed. You should be able to find a table in front of floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking a nighttime Pittsburgh.

    Pittsburgh at Night
    Pittsburgh at night

    The bar is a wonderful place to grab a mixed drink or glass of wine. Also, if you’re a chocolate lover, I highly recommend the Chocolate Latte dessert. It’s not coffee but a flourless chocolate cake made to resemble a latte. This cake is in my top 5 desserts of all time.

    If you are lucky enough to be in Pittsburgh during a firework display, and trust me, there are many; the Monterey Bay Fish Grotto Bar offers a unique viewing experience. Have you ever seen fireworks from above? This is your opportunity to see the show from a spectacular vantage point, high above the city.

    Day 3

    It’s getaway day, and I’m sure you have important things to do back home. However, consider dropping by DeLuca’s Diner in the Strip if you need some nourishment for the road.

    “Home of the best breakfast in town,” DeLuca’s has been around since 1950. The line out front that extends down the sidewalk doesn’t lie. It’s a Pittsburgh institution and extremely popular on the weekends, but if you arrive early enough, you should be able to get in quickly.

    There’s no need for me to make suggestions on what to order at DeLuca’s. Scan the menu, and rest assured whatever you order will be incredible and probably enough to feed two. After your meal, push away from the table, roll out into the street, and head home knowing you crushed Pittsburgh.

    Finances

    I hear you – “Sounds great, but what’s it going to cost me?”

    I’m all about budgeting and finances, so I’ve done my best to estimate prices and the most likely expenses you’ll have. A weekend in Pittsburgh, as outlined, will cost you about $1,200 for two people. If you eliminate the most expensive dining options, you should be able to spend closer to $1,000.

    Lodging$338$338
    Food & Beverage518343
    Food Tour9797
    Pirates Tickets6060
    Pittsburgh Swag9090
    Museum4040
    Uber/Lyft/Taxi5555
    Incline55
    Parking2626
       
    Total$1,229$1,054

    Your mileage may vary depending on the weekend, if you really like to eat (hand raised), and your transportation expenses before arriving in the city. 

    If you’ve never considered visiting Pittsburgh, it’s time to right the wrong. I’m not a native but after 15+ years I’ve grown to love the city and all it has to offer. You won’t be disappointed!


    Your questions about planning for retirement and travel answered. Where to go? What to do? How to plan it? How to afford it?

    You’ll not only be signed up for my newsletter, but you’ll also get a PDF that shows you exactly what a comprehensive retirement plan for people who love to travel is all about. Thanks for reading!

     

     
     
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    Financial Advisor David Tuzzolino

     

    David Tuzzolino, CFA, CFP®, is the Founder and CEO of PathBridge Financial, a firm that specializes in providing comprehensive financial planning and investment management services for clients that are nearing retirement and love to travel.

    Is It Too Soon to Travel? – Links

    Deep Snow Path Bridge

    In case you couldn’t tell, I’m eyeing up a return to travel soon. And apparently, everyone else is too. I have been reading article after article about vaccinations and travel planning, so I decided to share the best ones with you. Also, don’t skip my latest article on health insurance and travel. You may not be covered when traveling internationally, and that can be an expensive mistake. 


    Travel

    Vaccinated seniors are in full vacation planning mode – (The New York Times)

    “In the (Virtuoso) study, 83 percent of respondents over 77 said they were more ready to travel in 2021 than in 2020, and 95 percent of the same group said they would wait to travel until they received their vaccine…” Hmm, I think we’re going to see an explosion in travel this year.

    Does a roving European retirement make sense for you? – (International Living)

    Slow travel through Europe can give you the best of both worlds – live like a local while also experiencing multiple countries at a relaxed pace. Does splitting time between the U.S. and Europe sound ideal? Here’s how to plan your roving European retirement.

    Planning an epic retirement trip – (Conde Nast Traveler)

    There’s a light at the end of the tunnel, and after emerging from the pandemic, it might be the perfect time to plan a “no-holds-barred vacation.” What kind of epic trips do you have in mind?

    2021 travel trends– enthusiasm for travel is building – (Travelpulse)

    The latest Travel Technology Association’s survey outlines current travel trends. The results indicate travelers are ready to go on a trip, although outdoor destinations and driving will remain popular. 


    Retirement

    Does My Health Insurance Cover International Travel? – (PBF)

    Have you put much thought into whether you’re covered for medical mishaps on your next international trip? This article discusses the different scenarios you might encounter and what to do if you find you’re not covered. If you’re on Original Medicare, this article is extremely important because if you’re traveling internationally it does not cover you. 

    Saving for retirement in your 50’s – it’s not too late – (Bankrate)

    So, saving for retirement hasn’t been at the top of your to-do list, and you wake up to find yourself 50 and a little bit behind. No need to panic! Here’s a list of 6 things to get you in better retirement shape.


    Your questions about planning for retirement and travel answered. Where to go? What to do? How to plan it? How to afford it?

    You’ll not only be signed up for my newsletter, but you’ll also get a PDF that shows you exactly what a comprehensive retirement plan for people who love to travel is all about. Thanks for reading!

     

     
     
  • *Privacy policy: your email address is safe, and you will never receive SPAM.

     

    Financial Advisor David Tuzzolino

    David Tuzzolino, CFA, CFP®, is the Founder and CEO of PathBridge Financial, a firm that specializes in providing comprehensive financial planning and investment management services for clients that are nearing retirement and love to travel.

    Does My Health Insurance Cover International Travel?

    Passport on a blue suitcase

    Planning an international trip is an exciting experience. Where to go? What to do? Where to stay? However, overlooking vital questions about safety, logistics, and money, is a mistake.

    One critical question you must ask – Will my health insurance cover me? Like most things in personal finance, it depends. I’ve laid out the different scenarios below for your review.

    Pre-Medicare:

    If you are too young for Medicare, you likely have a policy through your employer, the Health Insurance Marketplace, or a private insurance company. Each policy will be different, so I recommend locating your policy documents to review and your insurance company’s customer service number to investigate any questions you may have.

    Emergencies:

    You should be covered for medical emergencies in another country. However, you must check with your insurance company before you leave to verify. Even if you’re covered, there will most likely be differences between receiving care at home and internationally.

    Check your policy for exclusions based on travel destination or activity. If you plan to go skydiving in a war-torn country, a standard health insurance policy will not cover you. Also, check for any additional exclusions that may be contained in your policy.

    Your insurance provider will want to be contacted as soon as possible by you or a travel companion if there is an emergency. Often within the first 24 hours, so carry their number with you.

    Expect to pay for emergency services out of pocket in a foreign country. Your insurance company will then reimburse you for all covered expenses at a later date.

    If you are taking an extended international trip, check how long your coverage will last. It will not be an infinite amount of time. A quick look at my health insurance policy shows coverage for the first 90 days of travel.

    If your health insurance coverage is inadequate in any area, add supplemental insurance. If you have a travel credit card, it may offer some coverage. As always, read the fine print.

    You can also buy a separate travel health insurance policy. Decide whether you need a primary or a supplemental plan and for how long you will need it. Insurance can be purchased for a single trip, multiple trips, or on a continuous basis. Before buying, check for the same exclusions discussed earlier. Some policies cover pre-existing conditions, and some do not. You can decide whether this is important to you, but make sure the policy’s terms meet your needs. Also, if you’re concerned about pandemics, make sure they are covered.

    If you want to compare travel insurance plans, the Point’s Guy website has a list of recommended insurance providers that is frequently updated. Shop for policies based on fit, reputation and financial strength of the policy writer, and price.

    American Express Travel Insurance has a nice feature where you can customize a policy to meet your insurance needs. For example, you can obtain travel health insurance without paying for other types of coverage you may not need, such as trip cancellation or baggage protection.

    Non-Emergencies

    Your U.S. health insurance will most likely not cover you for non-emergencies in a foreign country. Always check your policy or call your insurance company to get the details.

    Even if your health insurance does not cover an in-person visit with a doctor in a non-emergency situation, it might offer telehealth services. These services are convenient and becoming more common, fueled by the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Telehealth patient consults with a doctor online

    An added bonus of using remote services is you can sometimes speak with your doctor back home, who knows your medical history. A U.S. doctor can send a prescription to a foreign country such as Canada in some instances. Or your doctor can recommend a drug where a prescription is not needed.

    Each country has its own rules and regulations regarding health care. In some countries, pharmacists can write prescriptions or recommend over-the-counter options. Other alternatives are clinics or a visit with a local doctor. Foreign health care costs can vary widely depending on the country, so always ask about prices before receiving treatment in a non-emergency situation.

    If you have a travel insurance plan, the company will have a phone number for you to call. The company will help you receive the medical care you need and make a stressful situation better by organizing your care. It may make your life much easier if your first step is to call your travel insurance provider.

    Medicare

    Emergencies

    Original Medicare will not cover you when traveling outside of the U.S. unless you find yourself in a few narrowly-defined situations. Medicare Advantage plans may offer coverage, but this is dependent on the policy you have – check your paperwork. Some Medigap plans will cover you while traveling during your first 60 days. Be careful, though, as not all Medigap plans offer international coverage, and there is a lifetime limit of $50,000 for those that do. Expect to be reimbursed for emergency care after the fact.

    If you need supplemental insurance, there are many travel health insurance options, including ones specifically targeted to seniors using Medicare. The travel insurance alternatives discussed earlier apply here as well. These policies are critical for international travelers that aren’t covered by their regular health insurance or will be traveling past their plan’s cut-off date.  

    Non-Emergencies

    The non-emergency information discussed previously applies to travelers on Medicare as well. Access to health care becomes even more important the older we get, so Medicare participants should take extra care to ensure there are no holes in their coverage when traveling.  

    Medical Evacuation

    I want to highlight the importance of medical evacuation insurance. It can be part of a travel insurance policy or can be purchased on its own. Medical evacuation insurance covers the cost of getting you to a medical facility for treatment in the case of an emergency. Some plans also cover transportation home once you are stable, which can be of significant importance when traveling internationally. Make sure the policy you choose includes the exact coverage you want.

    A medical evacuation can be expensive. It can run well over $100,000, and the more remote your location, the more costly an evacuation can be.

    Yellow medical helicopter

    Unlike some less-important parts of travel insurance that might cover inconveniences such as lost luggage or a trip delay, medical evacuation insurance can help you avoid a catastrophic blow to your health and finances.

    Medical evacuation insurance is included in some travel insurance policies. It is also a perk offered in some higher-end credit cards marketed to travelers. If neither of these options suits your needs, stand-alone medical evacuation policies are available for either a single trip or on an annual basis.

    As with all types of insurance, read the fine print. Make sure you are comfortable with the limits on your medical evacuation policy. Understand the conditions for when it will kick in and who makes the decisions on where you will be transported. Policies often have exclusions on locations, activities, and pre-existing conditions, so be aware of these limitations and find a plan that will cover your unique situation.

    Summary

    Don’t assume your health insurance will transfer seamlessly to international travel. Fill in any gaps in your coverage through travel health insurance that meets your needs. Don’t forget medical evacuation insurance, especially if you travel to a destination with poor health care facilities or is remote. As always, check each policy you are considering carefully, ensuring you understand the benefits and exclusions that apply.


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    Financial Advisor David Tuzzolino

     

    David Tuzzolino, CFA, CFP®, is the Founder and CEO of PathBridge Financial, a firm that specializes in providing comprehensive financial planning and investment management services for clients that are nearing retirement and love to travel.

    Dreaming of International Retirement and Does Building a Linear City Make Any Sense at All? – Links

    Nothing more than solid travel and retirement articles this week. I’m fascinated with the concept of a linear city and wonder if it will ever even exist. Also, signing up for Medicare can be a huge headache, especially if you’re a traveler. My article this week explains how it will cover you when you’re on vacation out of state. 


    Travel

    A linear city? – (Architectural Digest)

    The 100-mile city has no cars, no streets, and no net carbon emissions. The project will begin in the first quarter of 2021, so it may be a while before visiting is a possibility, but I’ll be keeping an eye on the progress.

    Does your love of travel affect your decision to get a COVID vaccine? – (thePointsGuy)

    Travelers are ready to hit the road and a COVID vaccine is an important first step for many.

    Does the pandemic have you dreaming of an early retirement overseas? – (Forbes)

    As near-retirees ponder their options for retirement or early retirement, retiring overseas can be an attractive option. Here’s a list of ten alternatives spread out across the globe.

    You can now get a “home” office in your Airstream – (Yahoo)

    The pandemic is changing nearly every aspect of life, RVs included. The rapid adoption of technology has driven the work-from-anywhere trend, and manufacturers are adapting. Gone are the days of propping up a laptop on your, well, lap. The new Airstreams have the option of a small desk where you can “maintain a 40-hour workweek while also traveling the country.”


    Retirement

    Does My Health Insurance Cover Travel to Another State? – (PBF)

    This article could have gone under travel or retirement. If you’ve ever wondered – “Does my health insurance cover me when I’m in another state?” – this article is for you. It discusses the answer pre-65 and post-65. It may surprise you how Medicare works and what it doesn’t cover.


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    David Tuzzolino, CFA, CFP®, is the Founder and CEO of PathBridge Financial, a firm that specializes in providing comprehensive financial planning and investment management services for clients that are nearing retirement and love to travel.

    Does My Health Insurance Cover Travel to Another State?

    Does My Health Insurance Cover Travel to Another State?

    There’s no better way to clear a room than to start talking about health insurance. However, it becomes a little more interesting when your health is at risk, and it’s desperately needed. This article is the first in a series that covers health insurance for travelers. I’ll explore scenarios that range from the occasional U.S. vacationer to long-term ex-pat and explain what type of insurance you’ll need in each instance.

    Vacations in the U.S.

    Pre-Medicare:

    If you are younger than 65 and have health insurance, it will most likely be through your employer, the Health Insurance Marketplace, or a private health insurance company. It’s always smart to check your policy before a vacation to verify you’re covered at your destination. I’ll try not to harp on this recommendation repeatedly, but each insurance policy is different, and you must refer to it for any questions you might have. I know reading through an insurance policy is the equivalent of chewing tinfoil, but it’s necessary. If you want to save time, call your insurance company’s customer service line and ask them any question on your mind – but if you’re paranoid like me, make sure they point you to the wording in your policy that confirms their answers.

    Emergencies:

    The good news is your health insurance policy should cover you in the case of an emergency as long as you are in the U.S. or its territories. HealthCare.gov defines an emergency as – “An illness, injury, symptom or condition so serious that a reasonable person would seek care right away to avoid severe harm.” All health care policies in the U.S. should have similar language.

    Sometimes you might get a surprise bill after receiving emergency treatment out of state.

    Surprise Bill Balance Billing

    This occurs when your insurance company is unwilling to pay the entire amount charged for the services you received. This procedure is called balance billing, and it happens approximately 20% of the time in emergencies. The good news is recent legislation has eliminated it starting in 2022.

    Supplemental travel insurance can be purchased if you are concerned about receiving an unexpected bill before the law changes. You might also be covered for accidents through your travel credit card – check your agreement.

    There are currently state laws that apply to balance billing, and you can find state-by-state information here. Your state may outlaw the practice. If your state lacks legislation and you experience balance billing, there are steps to reduce or eliminate the bill you can find here.

    Non-Emergencies:

    Your coverage area for non-emergency health care will be outlined in your insurance policy. Your service area is often limited to your state or region. These restrictions shouldn’t be a major concern to the occasional traveler worried about being covered in an emergency.

    The COVID-19 pandemic has been a miserable experience, but a silver lining is improved telehealth technology and availability. You may be able to jump on a video conference with your doctor, receive a diagnosis, and even obtain a prescription, depending on state laws. Check with your health care provider for options.

    Medicare:

    Once you turn 65, you’re eligible for Medicare. Luckily, your situation simplifies as long as you remain in the United States.  

    Emergencies:

    Original Medicare and Medicare Advantage plans will cover you in an emergency throughout the U.S. and its territories. However, if you’re going on a cruise, consider supplemental insurance even if you’re staying in U.S. territorial waters.

    Non-Emergencies:

    As long as you visit doctors and hospitals that accept Medicare, you are covered in the U.S. and its territories for non-emergency care when traveling. Medicare also covers telehealth services if you’d like to work with your doctor from home.

    Summary

    Before traveling, check your health insurance policy and make sure you’re covered in your destination. Any holes in coverage can be filled with a travel insurance policy or potentially with your credit card. It also makes sense to familiarize yourself with the telehealth services offered by your doctor.


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    Financial Advisor David Tuzzolino

     

    David Tuzzolino, CFA, CFP®, is the Founder and CEO of PathBridge Financial, a firm that specializes in providing comprehensive financial planning and investment management services for clients that are nearing retirement and love to travel.

    Why You Have to Visit Naples, It Might Be Time to Rethink Your Rewards Credit Card, and More – Links

    Path bridge, snow, spanning a stream

    I’m going all travel links this week as there were plenty of interesting reads. I’m sure there are plenty of people ready to hit the road as soon as the pandemic eases. Until then, here are some articles to get you in the spirit.


    Travel

    What Will Travel Look Like in 2021? – (PBF)

    You can’t swing a stick around here without hitting someone’s 2021 prediction about travel – so I figured, why not give it a shot myself? An article about how to plan a vacation in 2021 and how you might approach it differently than in the past.

    Sure, you’ve done Italy, but have you done Naples? – (the Points Guy)

    It’s not the first place tourists think of when planning a trip to Italy, but if you want to get an authentic taste of Italian life, it’s an excellent place to start. It’s also a good base for seeing Pompeii and visiting picturesque Italian islands. And best of all, you can eat your way through the city’s many pizzerias with a smile on your face.

    Adventure, good for your well-being? – (A Luxury Travel Blog)

    “Summer vacations abroad may happen in a big way this year.” This statement might be wishful thinking if the current pace of vaccine distribution continues, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed for fall vacations.

    International travel’s return – what we know now – (CNN)

    Vaccines, quarantines, and mingling with strangers. When will international travel return, and what will it look like? Readers know I think it will come back quickly. This article spells out the procedures we may all have to endure until the world returns to normal. 

    Should you rethink your travel rewards card? – (Chriselliotts.com)

    It’s easy to become disgruntled with a travel rewards credit card when you’re unable to use many of the card’s perks, and your traveling has come to a halt. But don’t cut up your card without weighing the many cons and benefits first.


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    Financial Advisor David Tuzzolino

    David Tuzzolino, CFA, CFP®, is the Founder and CEO of PathBridge Financial, a firm that specializes in providing comprehensive financial planning and investment management services for clients that are nearing retirement and love to travel.

    What Will Travel Look Like in 2021?

    A pay telescope with New York City in the Background

    Some experts believe there will be a slow recovery as newly-vaccinated travelers cautiously test the waters. I think this outlook is wrong – it’s too conservative if the early signs of recovery gain momentum.

    Wanderlust is building, and I’m feeling it myself. I know I’m tired of staring at the same four walls of my home, with an occasional trip to the grocery store or a restaurant to pick up food.  Armed with a vaccine, I will travel. I’m not alone.

    How do I know others are dreaming of a return to travel? 90% of participants in the Generali Global Assistance Holiday/2021 Travel Sentiment Survey indicated they’d be traveling for leisure in 2021.

    Answering a survey is one thing, but taking action, like booking a cruise, is another. In September, Carnival, one of the world’s largest cruise lines, announced 2021 second-half bookings were at “…the higher end of the historical range…”.

    So how do you prepare for travel in 2021, keeping in mind it could rebound quickly? The first question is…

    Are you comfortable traveling?

    Your comfort level with traveling is going to be fluid this year. It will change depending on whether you’ve received a vaccine or not and the overall number of COVID-19 cases in your area.

    There is no right answer when it comes to comfort level, and it may be even more complicated when making plans with family and friends as there may be varying levels.

    Decisions you will have to make include how to get to your destination? Are you comfortable flying in a small, metal tube packed with hundreds of strangers? Or do you prefer the family sedan packed with your hygienically-challenged teenagers?

    Road Trip - Feet out the window

    Where will you stay? An Airbnb can offer a contactless experience, where you won’t have to interact with employees or other guests. Some hotels and motels provide this option as well.

    Are you comfortable with riding up twenty floors in an elevator with other guests? You can try to catch only empty elevators, but there are no guarantees. Or would you be more comfortable in a motel with direct outdoor access?

    Other factors to consider are cleanliness, price, and amenities that may, or may not, be available. 

    How do you feel about being near large groups of people? A trip to the city will put you in close contact with others, whereas you might not see another soul if you vacation in the country.  

    Stay informed

    Even as the pandemic lessens, there will be areas where it may not be contained. Gauge the safety of any destination and make sure there are no restrictions in place for visitors.

    If you’re traveling internationally, many countries will demand proof you’ve been vaccinated, make quarantines mandatory, and test you on arrival. Make sure you’re aware of the current procedures in place, and then double-check them. An internationally accepted proof of vaccination has not been approved, so make sure you have proof that is acceptable to the countries you plan to visit.

    Put together a detailed itinerary and make sure the places you want to visit are open and operating hours fit your schedule.

    Where do you find all of this information? I’ve put together a resource that is a good starting point, and you can find it here:  Coronavirus Travel Advice – a Resource Guide.

    Book early, but book wisely

    If my prediction of a strong travel rebound is accurate, you’ll want to book as early as possible. Supply will overwhelm demand at some point, and prices are going to rise dramatically. However, this is with the caveat of making sure everything is refundable or covered by insurance through a credit card or separate policy.

    Consider using miles to book your trip. Purchases of airfare and hotels using miles are generally refundable but check the fine print. Another reason to use miles is the travel industry is struggling, and these miles may be devalued.

    Budget

    Has your spending dropped during the pandemic? Travel, dining out, festivals, sporting events, movies in theatres – have all been reduced dramatically in my life.

    Did someone say travel fund? Yes. That was me. It’s time to earmark some of your savings for a vacation if you were not harmed financially during the pandemic.

    I realize many people lost their jobs, and a vacation is the last thing on their minds, regardless of how much spending dropped. It still makes sense to start planning, even if the date is in the distant future.

    The simple act of planning a vacation can make you feel better. And who doesn’t want that right now?

    Photos, glassess and a book spread across a map - planning

    Putting together a detailed itinerary and budgeting for your future vacation will not only make you feel good, but you’ll be financially prepared. While you’re at it, consider tucking a little away into a tax-advantaged retirement account. (The retirement advisor in me couldn’t resist.)

    Do I need travel insurance?

    When you start to book your next trip, there will be a strong desire to buy travel insurance. The coronavirus will weigh heavily on the decision. However, before you load up on insurance you might not need, ask yourself if it makes sense in your situation.

    Only buy insurance on non-refundable expenses. Check to see if big-ticket items like airfare and hotel are refundable and under what conditions. Will you get cash back or a voucher to use another time? Under what circumstances can you receive a refund?

    Read your credit card guide to benefits, or call customer service to see if you might be offered coverage. Credit cards targeted at frequent travelers often will cover parts of your trip.

    Your homeowner’s, auto, and renter’s insurance will also provide coverage in certain situations. Check your policies as they may cover your belongings while traveling

    There’s a big difference between losing some money and risking your health. Make sure you are covered for medical emergencies and medical evacuations above all else.

    After you determine what portions of your trip are already covered, calculate possible losses. You may find out the total you are liable for is minimal. Would you be comfortable losing this amount, and can you sleep at night without insurance? If the answer is yes to both of these questions, you should be able to skip travel insurance.

    For a more in-depth discussion on travel insurance and whether you need it, you can refer to my article: Do I Need Travel Insurance?

    Too soon?

    I debated whether it was a good time to write this article. Too soon? However, I firmly believe we will be traveling again in 2021. I could be wrong, but sometimes it pays to be an optimist when planning for the future. Remember to stay informed, book early, budget wisely, and use travel insurance only when needed. Safe travels!


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    Financial Advisor David Tuzzolino

     

    David Tuzzolino, CFA, CFP®, is the Founder and CEO of PathBridge Financial, a firm that specializes in providing comprehensive financial planning and investment management services for clients that are nearing retirement and love to travel.

    Adios 2020 – 5 Lessons, Best Travel Photos of the Year, and a Rollercoaster on a Cruise Ship? – Links

    Path bridge snow

    It’s the end of 2020, not what I was expecting when I rang in the New Year. My way of life changed dramatically for the worst in some ways, as traveling came to a halt and I grew a terrible beard. However, financially I’ve never looked better as the stock market soared and my spending dropped drastically. (It’s amazing how good your budget can look when you don’t go anywhere.) Unchanged, was my business, which didn’t miss a beat as I can work from anywhere with little adjustment. I realize this isn’t possible for everyone, and I feel very fortunate. Lastly, and most importantly, my health and that of my family is good.

    I’d prefer 2021 to be a bit more festive. I’m looking forward to some second-half of the year travel assuming vaccines go as planned. I have some canceled vacations I’d like to bring back to life and some family members I’d like to hug. That’s enough of my rambling…

    I hope everyone has a very happy New Year! 


    Retirement

    If you’re not following me on LinkedIn, now’s your chance! I’ve put together some new content and my intentions are to post daily (if I can keep it up) about planning for retirement and travel. I’ll attempt some humor along the way to try and keep it from being stuffy and just another financial planning lecture. Here’s my profile where you can connect. 

    5 Things We Learned About Retirement Planning and Travel in 2020 – (PBF)

    The old saying goes – “No sailor learned anything in calm seas.” Given 2020 was the equivalent of a hurricane, here are the most important lessons of the year.


    Travel

    Comprehensive article on how 2021 might look in terms of travel – (NY Times)

    The article goes in-depth into international travel, spending time on a cruise ship, traveling with children, business trips, and more. It will make you think about all the possible issues that might arise. It’s much more complex than get a vaccine – jump on a plane to Europe.

    Best travel photos of 2020 – (Worlds Nomads)

    Dreaming of travel in 2021? These travel photos of 2020 will get you in the right frame of mind.

    The newest cruise ship from Carnival – (Bloomberg)

    It may be a while, but at 1.5 times the size of Carnival’s next largest ship, it will be worth the wait. My guess is the Mardi Gras will be filled and collecting premium prices from cruisers within a year or two. Honestly, how do you pass up the chance to ride a roller coaster on the top of a cruise ship?


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    Financial Advisor David Tuzzolino

    David Tuzzolino, CFA, CFP®, is the Founder and CEO of PathBridge Financial, a firm that specializes in providing comprehensive financial planning and investment management services for clients that are nearing retirement and love to travel.