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?

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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.

    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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    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 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.


    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.

    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!


    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.

    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?


    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.

    5 Things We Learned About Retirement Planning and Travel in 2020

    A Shopping Cart filled with toilet paper

    2020 is almost over. It seems like a bigger than normal celebration is in order, but ironically, the usual New Year’s festivities will be muted. Lockdown orders and an unwillingness to gather in crowds will do that.

    You can’t live through such a unique year without learning something. Maybe it was how to make a mask with an old t-shirt and duct tape, or perhaps it was how to time deliveries at your local supermarket so you could hoard Clorox Wipes.

    What have I learned? I’m glad you asked.

    Do it now

    “The future is promised to no one.”

    A great quote that either came from the Bible, Clint Eastwood, or Walter Payton – Google seems confused. Regardless, 2020 reinforced this concept with the subtlety of a tire iron to the knee.

    Globally there have been 1.6 million poor souls that have died from COVID-19 – a tragic number that continues to climb and a stark reminder that tomorrow is not guaranteed.

    So, do it now. Whatever you’ve been putting off, do it now. Of course, now doesn’t necessarily mean this instant. Do it as soon as it’s reasonably safe. Time with loved ones, long-delayed retirement planning, bucket-list travel – whatever you’ve been putting off. If it’s important to you, 2020 should be that gentle forceful push to get you moving.

    A large elephant nudges a baby elephant from behind

    Don’t try to time the market

    Sure, it’s easy. Sell high and buy low.

    When you’re unemotionally scanning a long-term chart of the S&P 500 in your pajamas, with hot cocoa by your side, the 2020 market drop seems like a tiny blip. Living through it was quite different. With a pandemic raging in the world and global stock markets plunging, opening a newspaper (or news website of your choice) delivered headlines like this:

    Coronavirus Rescue Package Fails to Clear Hurdle in Senate

    IOC Considers Postponing Tokyo Olympic Games

    Coronavirus Hits U.S. Senate as Rand Paul Tests Positive

    Marriott, Hotel Owners Furlough Thousands of Workers, Cut Staff

    And my favorite :

    The Great Toilet Paper Scare

    These articles appeared in the March 22nd edition of The Wall Street Journal – the day before the S&P 500 bottomed.

    Successfully timing the 2020 market involved two trades – selling before the most rapid bear market in history and buying before the fastest recovery. I’m sure everyone has an uncle who brags about how they nailed it to the day, but for most, coming out ahead navigating this market was extremely difficult.

    How hard is market timing? The September 2007 article “Mutual Fund Flows and Investor Returns: An Empirical Examination of Fund Investor Timing Ability” measured mutual fund investors’ performance from 1991-2004. Investor timing decisions caused them to average returns that were 1.56% lower each year than they could have been. Compounded over a lifetime, this is a crippling blow to an investor’s net worth.

    There is undoubtedly an investment guru who sidestepped the crash nimbly and then bought aggressively at the bottom. You’ll hear all about their genius. Don’t be impressed until they do it a second time.

    The best course of action? Keep diligently adding to your retirement accounts. You’ll buy more at lower prices, and your nest egg will thank you. Buy and hold investing works.

    The emergency fund became sexy

    For most people, the emergency fund is boring. It’s a pile of cash in a high-yielding account (try to control your laughter, these used to exist) that sits there unloved. That’s until a once-in-a-generation pandemic sweeps the globe and leaves financial destruction in its wake.

    Financial planning 101 – save 3-6 months of expenses for a rainy day. And every so often, a torrential downpour like 2020 comes along to make you happy you did. 

    Woman stands in pouring rain with umbrella

    If you made it through the year with your job, you were one of the lucky ones. Nearly 16 million Americans were not so fortunate.

    I’ve written many times that the emergency fund is not sexy, but it’s critical when you need it. It can reduce stress and give you extra time to weigh your options when an emergency strikes.

    Retirement may come earlier than you think

    “First time in nearly 50 years people 55 and over have lost jobs at a higher rate than younger peers” – AARP

    Unemployment has hit older workers hard during a time in their lives traditionally used to shore up retirement savings. These high-income years, paired with the ability to make catch-up contributions, are often instrumental to the financial success of a retirement plan.

    Whether it’s companies trying to cull well-compensated employees, or other forms of ageism, this development is unsettling. It may become the normal course of action when future economic shocks hit the economy.

    Even in good times, older workers often leave the workplace earlier than planned. Issues such as health or caring for loved ones can cut short a career.

    The pandemic is a harsh reminder that plans don’t always go as expected.

    The best way to prepare for the unexpected is to develop a retirement plan early and fund it aggressively. If you’d like to retire the day you reach 65, put together a plan that shaves a few years off that number. It’s better to save as if you’re going to retire a few years sooner than desired because early retirement may come whether you want it to or not.

    Another benefit of conservatively preparing for a premature exit is your employer may offer an early retirement package. You will be in a better position to accept an attractive offer. Also, early retirement packages can precede layoffs, so it’s nice to have options.

    Prepare for the future

    A good plan is most valuable when the world around you is falling apart. How did 2020 treat your plan?

    If it’s important to you, plan for it. Put together a budget for expenses, review your insurance policies, make sure your beneficiaries are up to date, and your will remains true to your wishes. It’s too late to come up with a well-conceived plan when you’re in the middle of a crisis.

    If you love to travel, now’s the time to plan your future adventures. Figure out where you want to go, what you want to do, and when you want to do it. Sure, you’ve always had the dream of an African safari sometime later in life, but now’s the time to put a date on it.

    Safari at Sunset

    If you’re not doing it already, include travel in your retirement budget. Most people want to travel when they are done working, but most don’t budget for it. (Financial advisor hint: It can be expensive.)

    Not to make this into a commercial, but now’s the time to put together a comprehensive financial plan. If you have the time, knowledge, and desire to do it yourself, I highly encourage you to go for it. If you need help, find a fee-only financial advisor who will help you with it.

    Conclusion

    The pandemic we are living through is miserable in so many ways. However, the worst thing to do is not learn from it. The last nine months have been a painful time for many, but the experience may ultimately help us all make better decisions and lead a more rewarding life.


    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.

    A First-Hand Account of Quarantining Caribbean Island Style, 7 Ways to Find Free Money, and More! – Links

    A stone Path Bridge in Central Park covered in snow

    If you find yourself with some free time this holiday season, there’s no better way to spend it than looking for some “Sidewalk Money”. Meb Faber walks you through seven ways you might be able to find some serious coin. While not as lucrative, I’ve included an additional half dozen articles that should be worth your time. I won’t be back with more links until after Christmas, so if you’re celebrating…Merry Christmas!


    New Graduates

    7 Financial Tips for College Grads in 2020 – (PBF)

    It’s the time of year for newly-minted college graduates. If you have one in your life, they may be wondering where to begin financially. Here’s an article highlighting seven tips that will benefit all graduates.


    Retirement

    Instead of drinking a fourth glass of egg nog this holiday season, consider spending an hour or two searching for “Sidewalk Money” – (Meb Faber)

    Meb presents 7 ways to find “free money”. Most take 15 minutes or less. What have you got to lose? I’ll tell you what you’ve got to lose – nothing!

    The pandemic is another reason to expect an earlier “retirement” then planned – (Forbes)

    Putting together a comprehensive financial plan with a retirement plan of 65 sounds like a fantastic idea. But what happens when a pandemic, ageism, or health issues smack you in the face and retirement comes sooner than expected? When planning it’s always a good idea to move your expected retirement age forward a few years to account for unpleasant surprises. It also puts you in a position to accept a generous early retirement package if it comes along.

    Lessons learned from three years of retirement – (CanIRetireYet?)

    “You won’t do it in retirement if you’re not doing it now.”


    Travel

    Want to quarantine on a Caribbean island? – (CondeNastTraveler)

    Here’s how to do it in a resort on the island of Grenada, at a hotel which…refers to quarantining there as “vacationing in place.” A hotel room in paradise is a fantastic place to quarantine – until it isn’t. 

    Trips you may want to book a year in advance – (ThePointsGuy)

    Safaris, French Polynesia, a cruise to Antarctica…all vacations you should consider planning a year in advance. My guess is that bucket-list travel will be in high demand once it is safe to travel again. You might want to prepare in advance, just make sure everything is fully refundable.


    Podcasts

    Top podcasts of 2020 compiled by The Idea Farm– (Spotify)

    If you’ve got some holiday downtime and you enjoy listening to podcasts about markets, investing, and general business ideas – this is the list for you!


    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.

    It’s Time to Fortify Your Travel Budget, How to Reduce Your Taxes in Retirement, and Otherworldly Landscapes – Links

    A brick pathbridge over a calm stream

    I’m highlighting the fact that travel will explode in the coming years, and with it, prices are sure to follow. Prepare your travel budget now so you can enjoy a seamless transition from cocooning in your home to exploring the world. 


    Retirement

    Your Travel Budget Is About to Implode – Here’s What to Do About It – (PBF)

    How does your retirement budget look? It might not look as good as you think, given the bottled-up demand for travel that will be unleashed when the pandemic eases.

    Retirees – reduce the tax hit – (CNBC)

    The right strategy in retirement can significantly decrease the taxes you pay.


    Travel

    26 Otherworldly Landscapes to Visit – (Conde Nast Traveller)

    You might not be able to visit anytime soon, but one can dream.

    VRBO Trend Report 2021 – (VRBO)

    An informative report  – this is what families are thinking about for 2021 travel. Hint: 82% of families already have travel plans for 2021. Now that’s pent-up demand!

    Round the world in style – (Luxury Travel Advisor)

    5 continents, 28 countries, 72 destinations. This is exactly what I need to forget 2020.

    Did COVID change travel permanently? – (CNN)

    A vaccine may open up the flood gates to bucket-list travel. New technology and ways of thinking about travel may change the experience for a long time; some things will be better, others not.


    If you’d like to subscribe to my newsletter, you can do so below. You’ll also get a PDF that shows you exactly what a comprehensive retirement plan for travelers looks like. 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.