The Problem with Living on Social Security Alone, Longevity and Retirement Savings Disconnect, and Missing the Airport – Links

A wooden bridge spans a small brook with colorful trees in the background

I know you have other things on your mind right now, but don’t forget about retirement planning. If your only income is from social security, it’s going to be a lean ride.

Are you missing the airport? Yeah, me too. There’s something about the energy, the potential, the anticipation of the next adventure.


Can you live on social security alone? – (USA Today)

Of course, it depends. But if you do, don’t expect much extravagance in your life. How you can supplement your retirement savings.

The retirement savings disconnect – (Barrons)

“Americans’ optimism about their longevity comes at a time when planning for retirement has become more complex.”

Along with this longevity comes a healthier and more active retirement. Make sure your savings keep up with this new reality.


A lifelong traveler takes a journey inward – (The Washington Post)

I hope that we will be able to travel, interact with, and witness the world again shortly. When we do, it will certainly seem strange. But when has travel not been strange?

There’s a second wave of COVID-19, so be careful where you travel – (

Use common sense and avoid crowds. The article contains some useful links if you’re researching a location. It’s going to be a long winter, folks.

Missing the airport – (The Points Guy)

I miss the buzz of an airport. I miss the mass of people in motion to see loved ones or going on vacation. I miss the anticipation of far-flung destinations. Now, if I could only get there without going through a metal detector.  

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!


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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.

    Fall Foliage 2020

    A covered path bridge surrounded by an explosion of color fall foliage

    Fall is in the air and I’m in planning mode for a socially-distanced tour of Gettysburg. We should be treated to a colorful ride as we head east out of Pittsburgh. Pennsylvania is known for having the longest fall foliage season on earth so I became inspired and put together a short fall-foliage resource guide. Retirement links will return next week. 


    This travel portion is all about fall foliage. I am planning a trip and it’s just about the perfect time of year to see the changing colors in Pennsylvania. My apologies to everyone that missed the peak season in their area, as I am a little late with this.

    Fall foliage map – (Smokymountains)

    A phenomenal map of the entire United States that predicts the best time to travel to each area. You can change dates to move forward in time, and the map shows detail down to the county level.  The site also has some basic science on the entire process. Memorize it, so you don’t look like a fool when a three-year-old asks you about Chlorophyll.

    A guide to every state’s fall colors – (tripsavvy)

    Every state’s peak time and the colors expected to make an appearance are listed. Each state’s fall foliage hotline is also listed – who knew such a thing existed?

    Places to see stunning fall colors – (

    Which locations are worth visiting? Here’s a list with national parks heavily represented.

    11 fall foliage road trips to take in 2020 – (Jetsetter)

    If it’s epic road trips you prefer, here’s eleven of them that won’t disappoint. Make sure you talk someone else into driving, so you don’t miss a thing.

    Planning a Trip During a Pandemic – It Just Might Make You Feel Better – (PBF)

    My research for this Gettysburg trip is what motivated me to compile articles on fall foliage. Are you feeling down? Try planning a trip; it will likely make you feel better.

    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!


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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.

    Planning a Trip During a Pandemic – It Just Might Make You Feel Better


    Lori and I have named the two chipmunks that jump through the flowerpots on our patio Blue and Schnickelfritz. This is what passes for our entertainment during the pandemic. It’s time for a vacation.

    Chipmunk eating a blue flower

    It’s been about a year since I planned a trip that wasn’t canceled. It was New York City during Christmas, something I highly recommend you do once in your life. We took a short trip to Ellicottville, New York this summer, but Lori did most of the planning.

    I’m excited to begin!

    Planning a Trip and the Joy it Brings

    “To the most beautiful moment in life – better than the deed, better than the memory – the moment of anticipation.” – Jacques from The Simpsons

    Jacques wasn’t talking about taking a vacation, but he might as well have been. There are more than a few studies pointing to the pleasure of merely planning a trip. Often the positive feelings of planning a vacation can be the same or greater than the journey itself. From personal experience, I agree.


    Where to begin? The destination.

    As soon as Lori suggested Gettysburg, I knew we had our answer. It checks all of the boxes. There’s a historical component that I find fascinating, it’s within a four-hour drive, and neither of us has ever been there. Best of all, this may surprise some, but – the whole darn Battle of Gettysburg took place outside! Social distancing? Not a problem when you’re hiking and reading plaques in a vast field.


    Admittedly, my knowledge of the famous civil war battle is limited, but I’m ready to correct this. Before most vacations, I try to read a fiction and a non-fiction book about the destination. And when I don’t feel like breaking out the Kindle, I like to watch movies, documentaries, and YouTube videos to get a feel for the history, people, and culture of the place I am going. For this trip, my travel-media list looks something like this:

    • The Civil War by Ken Burns (at least the episodes that directly deal with The Battle of Gettysburg as I’ve seen it before and this is just a refresher)
    • Gettysburg – the 1993 movie
    • Gettysburg – the non-fiction book by Stephen W. Sears
    • The Killer Angels – the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel about the battle by Michael Shaara

    At the same time that I’m diving into the historical part of Gettysburg, I’m reading through reviews, blogs, and travel guides to get an idea of what to expect on our trip. Where to stay? What sights to see? Where to find a good cheesesteak? (I can’t be this close to Philly without indulging.) Yes, I’m the analytical type, and by the end of this process, I’ll have an extensive spreadsheet.

    I’m not militant enough to put together a schedule of events with a strict timeline, but I like to have options. I want to know what restaurants, sites, or tours are open each day and what hours they operate. I also created a resource list for planning a trip in this uncertain time, which you can access here.

    Plan a Trip Today

    “This virus can stop our travel plans, but it cannot stop our travel dreams.”- Rick Steves

    Travelers – I encourage you to take dreaming a step further.  Begin the planning process. Immerse yourself into a good book, movie, or vlog about your dream location. Plan for the trip you might take next month. Plan for the trip you might take a year from now. Trust me (and academia); you’ll feel better.

    Enjoy what you just read? If so, you can subscribe to my newsletter below. You’ll also receive a PDF that shows you exactly what a comprehensive retirement plan for travelers looks like. 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.

    Coronavirus Travel Advice – a Resource Guide

    A traveler puts a pin in a map

    Travel as we once knew it is gone. The timeline for its full-fledged return is uncertain.

    However, humans are curious creatures filled with wanderlust, and as the current pandemic begins to clear, we will return to the road. Cautiously, at first, but return, we will.

    I created a resource guide for when you feel ready to dip your toe back in the water. Safe travels!

    Travel Advisories


    Type in your destination, and you’ll receive travel advisories issued by the U.S. government. There’s a ton of additional information as well, covering each country’s visa requirements, local laws, and the quality of their health care.


    Want a second opinion? If one travel advisory is not enough, the Australian government provides them as well.

     Mona Lisa wears a mask to protect her health


    Traveler’s Health – CDC

    Where are you going? Type in your answer and the CDC provides you with detailed health-related information, including recommended vaccines and if there are any health notices.  


    Everything you could ever want to know about COVID-19 and other diseases. The CDC website also includes important food safety alerts.     

    Coronavirus and Travel in the United States – CDC

    The CDC covers coronavirus and travel in the U.S.

    World Health Organization

    Coronavirus news, advice, and country-specific information delivered by the WHO.

    Mayo Clinic

    A wealth of information, including best practices to avoid coronavirus and a self-assessment tool to see if you should get a COVID-19 test.

    U.S. Travel Association

    A helpful resource if you are concerned about taking a trip and would like to know what the travel industry is doing to protect travelers.

     A blue, rustic open sign

    What’s Open?

    The New York Times – Summary of States That Are Open

    A self-explanatory guide that is continuously updated by the New York Times.

    National Park Service

    If you’re planning a trip to a national park, this is the website for you – a list of openings, closures, and alerts.

    Tourist Attractions

    A list of over 800 tourist attractions around the world. Information includes the attraction’s current status, opening date (if known), and the safety measures that are in place.



    Enter your destination and currency to find the cost of everyday items. You can search by city or country. Prices on meals, hotels, taxis, and coffee! A pint of beer is going to cost me $1.47 in Botswana. How did I know? Numbeo!


    Detailed currency exchange, so you know how much your trip is going to set you back.


    In the age of coronavirus, you may feel the need to insure every aspect of your trip. Don’t do it! Try to dispassionately determine your needs and find a policy that will cover losses that would be a significant burden if they occurred.


    Research insurance plans, get quotes, and compare reviews.

    The Points Guy – “The best travel insurance policies and providers.”

    This is an outstanding article reviewing travel insurance providers by the respected website – The Points Guy.


    If you’re leaving the U.S. and you have Medicare, you are only covered for emergencies in very limited situations. Check out this government site for details on Medigap for additional coverage.

    Getting from Point A to Point B

    Google Maps

    Detailed information to help you get between any two places, and includes subways as well. The site has a fantastic Covid-19 resource and gives you links to local government websites where you are traveling.


    Their tagline – “Discover how to get anywhere by plane, train, bus, ferry & car.” It lives up to its name and can be used alone or in conjunction with Google Maps to compare results.

     A photographer takes a picture outside a maroon train



    The Man in Seat Sixty-One is, well…the Man! A fantastic resource for train travel around the world put together by train-enthusiast Mark Smith.     


    Trains, buses, flights, and ferries. Omio will provide you with a transportation schedule in the U.S., Canada, and Europe. Additional locations will be added in the future.



    Kayak is my go-to travel search engine for flights. It is amazingly flexible and simple to use.


    If you book a long flight without consulting SeatGuru first, you’re begging to sit in a seat that doesn’t recline near the bathroom. SeatGuru highlights the best and worst seats on each flight. Find the right seat in coach, and it will feel like you’re in first-class – sort of.

    Credit Cards

    The Points Guy – Review of Travel Credit Cards

    The Points Guy has your back with this discussion of the best travel credit cards. Each situation is different, but after reading this article, you should have a good idea of what makes sense for you.

    A traveler holds up a phone to take a picture on a crowded Turkish street

    International Phone Plans – Best International Cell Phone Plans

    A thorough guide to U.S. phone operators and their international plans. All cell phone carriers are not created equal when it comes to international options and pricing.

    Travel Expedited

    Are you looking forward to standing in line with a mass of humanity for hours at a time?

    Answer before coronavirus: “No!”

    Answer after coronavirus: “Hell, no!”

    TSA Precheck

    Leave the long airport security lines for those poor saps without TSA Precheck. Keep your shoes on, leave the liquids in your bag, and prepare for stares of absolute envy – nirvana!

    Global Entry

    Speed through customs and avoid the lines when returning to the U.S.

    US Embassy

    You’re not getting anywhere quickly without your passport – a list of U.S. Embassies, Consulates, and Diplomatic Missions by country.



    Hotels, things to do, restaurants, forums – TripAdvisor has it all. Are some of the reviews fake? Unfortunately, yes, but it is still my favorite place to find hotels. Gravitate toward the hotels with hundreds of enthusiastic reviews and a score of 4.5 or above, and you won’t go wrong.  


    Frommers’ top-ranked hotel aggregator/search engine for 2020, and lauded for its ability to find the best rate.


    Places to stay and experiences. A good option for travelers looking for lodging a little out of the ordinary or potentially less expensive than traditional hotels. Fees can add up, however, so keep an eye on them.



    I use TripAdvisor for restaurants in the same way I use it for hotels. It rarely disappoints.

    Travel Guides

    Rick Steves

    On my first trip to Europe twenty years ago, I used a dog-eared copy of a Rick Steves’ book to find my way. I always appreciate the candor in his guides. His website has a ton of great information, including helpful forums.


    A crowdsourced travel guide that covers a vast number of destinations around the globe.



    “See the world through children’s eyes.” A resource for children that includes interesting information about things only a kid would ask, such as “What is the name of the bird on the Guatemala flag?”

     Lightning strikes in the distance of a city at night


    The Weather Channel

    If you want to know average temperatures and rainfall for your destination, this is the website to visit. It’s difficult to pack light if you don’t know what to expect on your travels. 



    Are cruises dead? I don’t believe it. They will be popular once again, but it might take some time. A website that combines a cruise search engine, reviews, and hundreds of articles in one place – not too shabby!



    Type in your destination and viator will display a list of possible tours. Select categories to refine your search even further. Each tour has a rating and reviews. When you’re done with your search, book directly through the site.  


    TripAdvisor owns viator but is another good source for tour information and reviews.

    Enjoy what you just read? If so, you can subscribe to my newsletter below. You’ll also receive a PDF that shows you exactly what a comprehensive retirement plan for travelers looks like. 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.

    Retirement Planning for People Who Love to Travel – Beware the Bucket List

    Beware the Bucket List - People run with the bulls, photo from above

    Failing to Plan for Travel Spending Later in Life Can Sink Your Retirement Plans

    The rule-of-thumb for spending in retirement is your expenses will drop to 80% of what they were pre-retirement. This number may be adequate for some retirees, but for travelers – it’s unacceptable.

    The Botswanan safari you’ve always dreamed of is expensive. The RV you’re going to use to explore the country will set you back a fair amount too. Plane tickets to visit the Cup of Noodles Museum in Japan – not cheap, and a little odd, but no one is judging you here. That bucket-list of travel experiences and destinations you want to conquer can significantly affect your budget. And according to Merrill Lynch, 67% of retirees age 50 and older have not budgeted for travel in retirement.  

    bucket list travel - safari where a giraffe stretches upward to eat leaves from a lone tree in the savanna

    As a traveler, you should expect an increase in travel-related expenses for at least the first several years of retirement as you work through your bucket list. You’ve been dreaming about the moment for many years, you’re feeling healthy, and the jump in leisure-time all will contribute to a jump in travel spending.

    How do you prepare for this new chapter in life? Create a retirement budget that includes all of these new, travel-related expenses. The earlier, the better, so you can make the necessary adjustments in your spending and saving habits along the way.

    Expenses That Will Decline

    Let’s start with the good news first. You have expenses during your working life that will likely go away or drop substantially when you retire.

    Your daily commute can include gasoline, parking, wear and tear on your car, and the cost of public transportation. These will disappear except as they relate to leisure.

    Your wardrobe will likely change, as well. Goodbye work clothes, hello loungewear! Yes, this may be an oversimplification, but you should be able to retire enough clothing to the point of actually being able to find something in your walk-in closet.

    College tuition for children and mortgage payments are additional expenses that can go away. Taxes should decrease given the drop in work-related income. In addition, there’s no need to save for retirement anymore, because you’re living it!

    Expenses That Will Increase

    Yes, spending will increase in certain areas of your life during retirement. Some of these expenditures you will welcome with open arms, and some you will grudgingly pay wearing a look of disgust.

    Travel expenses can jump dramatically in the first few years of retirement. However, there can be a considerable difference depending on your travel style. Flying in first-class while hop-scotching around the Pacific, staying in 5-star

    5 Star Resort in the South Pacific on many people's bucket list

    resorts, and dining at 3-star Michelin restaurants is one end of the spectrum. Driving a few states away to attend a barbecue with your family who put you up for the weekend will be less expensive.

    The cost of health care in retirement is what every red-blooded American fears. But preparing for these expenses ahead of time can ease the sting.


    If you don’t currently have a budget, I highly recommend you put one together. It’s retirement planning 101 and is key to projecting when you’ll be able to retire.

    Your budget is likely to change dramatically, however, at retirement, especially if you’re a traveler. I recommend you put together a second budget, which will begin once you retire.

    Many expenses in your life will not change at all. However, for those that will, do your best to estimate the change, especially for items that will significantly affect your budget.  

    One expense that can drastically move up or down is housing. Paying off a mortgage or downsizing can bring down the cost substantially.

    Is relocation a consideration? What does the cost of living look like in the new location? Do you want to buy a vacation home, but keep your original home? Adjust your budget for the potentially significant changes. 

    Budgeting for Travel

    If you love to travel, this part should be fun. Let your mind run wild and think of all the adventures you’d like to have in retirement. Create a travel bucket-list that contains all of the events you’d like to attend, destinations you’d like to visit, and experiences you’d like to…well, experience.

    Do your best to estimate your travel costs accurately.  How many trips will you take per year? How long will they be? Will spending be extravagant or constrained?

    Also, ask yourself how your travel might change. As people age, they tend to value service, comfort, and safety more, and they are willing to pay extra for it. Staying in nicer hotels and traveling with higher-end tour groups can be the result. For all but the most intrepid retirees, gone are the days of solo backpacking through Europe and sleeping 10 to a room in hostel bunk beds.

    Travel in Style - a hostel room filled with bunk beds

    However, there are also changes in retirement that can reduce the cost of travel. The time-freedom that comes with retirement allows travelers to vacation during the off-season, book last-minute deals, and travel in a more deliberate way, such as taking a bus or train instead of an expensive flight.

    If you’re like me, you weren’t in a very good mood the day your first invitation to join AARP arrived in the mail. However, a benefit of being over 50 is discount offers start piling up. By the time you turn 65, discounts on airlines, hotels, restaurants, etc. are prevalent.

    Now that you’ve put some thought into retirement travel, include it in your budget. Be as accurate as you can, but don’t be afraid to err on the high side. It’s better to budget for a bucket-list trip and decide not to take it than the other way around.

    Here are some websites that will help you put together a budget and assist you with finding discounts:

    TripAdvisor – an excellent resource for trip planning and pricing flights, hotels, tours, and more.

    Kayak – another fantastic resource for pricing the major components of travel, includes one of the most flexible, user-friendly airfare search engines available.

    The Senior List – an extensive list of discounts on transportation, lodging, and dining for people 50+.

    Numbeo – if you’re trying to determine how expensive/inexpensive a city or country is, this website is includes the local cost of living index and the prices of everyday items.

    Winding Down

    A difficult part of budgeting far into the future is the many unknowns. One of the most important factors is health. I want to think I’ll still be the healthy, adventurous soul I am now when I’m 90. Unfortunately, this is unlikely to be the case.

    Travel spending tends to decline with health. Ask yourself – how healthy and active are/were your parents later in life? How about your grandparents?

    Studies show, on average, travel spending starts to decline as travelers enter their 80’s, so this is a good time to start lowering the travel component of your budget. Just don’t do it too rapidly, as many older retirees are still actively traveling. If you want to be conservative, don’t drop it at all.


    Don’t be part of the two-thirds of Americans who fail to budget for travel in retirement. Instead, take a pro-active approach to plan your future and start saving early. The 80% rule-of-thumb may leave you ill-prepared for the active retirement many travelers desire, so try and budget for the large expenses later in life as accurately as possible and be conservative when making estimates. A little planning should ensure you’ll end up crossing off your bucket list in style.  

    Enjoy what you just read? If so, you can subscribe to my newsletter below. You’ll also receive 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.

    The 5 Biggest Mistakes Made by Travelers Planning for Retirement

    Three pictures of travel destinations lay on a map next to a old film camera

    Do you like to travel? Are you looking forward to a future when your leisure time will be measured in months, not seconds gained by cutting your 30-minute lunch “hour” short?

    A man checks his watch and is pressed for time

    There are pitfalls particular to travelers when planning for retirement. This article will help you avoid them so you’ll be ready to retire and tackle the next chapter of your life with confidence.

    Not Budgeting for Travel in Retirement

    A retirement study published by Merrill Lynch reveals that 84% of retirees over the age of 50 have done “hardly any” planning for leisure activities for the next ten years. And 67% have not budgeted for travel in retirement.

    The best retirement plan in the world is useless if it doesn’t include spending on travel in retirement. For the first several years, retirement-bliss is often filled with bucket list travel, which can be extremely expensive. Your new RV, a trip to the Galapagos Islands, and the two-week African safari won’t be cheap. Sure, your travel spending may decline after this initial period, but it tends to stay elevated for people who love to travel.

    Failing to plan for travel will present you with two difficult choices. Either come up with the money from other places in your budget or miss out on the travel you love.

    Why not build travel into your retirement budget in the first place? Your future self will thank you for it.

    Not Acquiring the Right Health Care Insurance

    Medicare will not cover you in an emergency when you’re traveling internationally, except for very limited circumstances. If you’re a traveler who plans on leaving the U.S. in retirement, you need to make sure you’re insured in another way.

    Some Medigap policies and Medicare Advantage plans will cover you outside of the country, but not all. There are also time constraints to this coverage. For example, Medigap policies will only cover you for the first 60 days when traveling.

    There is also travel insurance that can be purchased on a one-time or annual basis. A year-long policy may be less expensive, depending on how often you are traveling.

    Some credit cards will also pay your emergency medical bills when traveling. Read the fine print carefully, but for travelers without an ongoing plan, this can be a good way to cover yourself without having to shop for a new policy each time you leave home.

    As a traveler, it’s important to objectively analyze your needs and make an informed decision as you approach 65. How much is each insurance option? How much of your medical bills will each alternative pay? What is your exposure if you have a severe medical emergency? Are there time limits when traveling?

    There are enrollment periods when signing up for the government plans, so if you decide to make a change, you might have to wait a while. This is another reason to prepare for the critical decision concerning health care well ahead of time.

    Another concern is early retirement. Travelers that retire before 65 must find health care insurance before Medicare kicks in. Alternatives include the Health Insurance Marketplace, a spouse’s insurance, or a part-time job that provides the benefit.

    Not Using the Right Credit Card

    Finding the right credit card as a traveler can be a warm fuzzy feeling. You will earn miles or points, you will not have to pay foreign transaction fees, you will have access to airport lounges, and sign up bonuses can be tremendous – equivalent to a free flight or more.

    Remember the medical insurance we discussed earlier? Some higher-end cards will not only cover you in case of a medical emergency when traveling, but also include rental car coverage, trip cancellation insurance, lost luggage reimbursement, and medical evacuation coverage.

    Two credit cards with stellar benefits are the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card and the American Express Platinum Card. The Points Guy does an excellent job of explaining the benefits of each. Don’t be shell-shocked by the $500 plus annual fees, as most semi-frequent travelers will easily recoup the cost via attractive benefits such as a $300 annual travel credit and reimbursement of TSA pre-check fees.

    If you’re using the wrong card, you could be missing out on thousands of dollars. That’s money you could spend on another trip!

    Paying Too Much in Taxes

    Raise your hand if you’d like to pay more in taxes. I didn’t think so.

    A woman raises her handMaxing out your retirement accounts is one of the best long-term, tax-saving moves you can make. If you work for a company that matches your contributions to a retirement plan, such as a 401k or 403b, make sure you’re at least investing enough money to capture the entire match. There are many additional tax-advantaged plans you may be eligible for, including an IRA, Roth IRA, SIMPLE, SEP IRA, etc. Use them to save aggressively.

    Do you have access to a Health Savings Account (HSA)? Max it out, and try not to touch the funds until retirement. An HSA presents the opportunity for you to deposit money before tax and withdraw it tax-free. Pay for your current health care needs with after-tax cash instead.

    People who love to travel don’t have to worry about what they are going to do in retirement, because…well, they love to travel. This can lead to early retirement and a prolonged period between a high-income career and the required minimum distributions that must be taken from retirement plans.

    During this stretch, you may find yourself in a lower tax bracket when you retire, which presents the perfect opportunity to convert an IRA or a Rollover IRA into a Roth IRA. You’ll be taxed on the conversion, but this can be your chance to take advantage of a lower tax bracket. This money will grow and be distributed tax-free. It’s better to be taxed early, while in a low tax bracket, then wait until you are forced to take money when you may be pushed into a higher tax bracket. This maneuver can be complicated, so I recommend checking with a financial advisor to see if it’s a good fit for your situation. For do-it-yourselfers who want to dig into this topic, has detailed information on the conversion here.   

    Waiting Until Retirement to Travel

    Waiting to travel can be the biggest mistake you make as a traveler when planning for retirement. If the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us anything, it’s – don’t wait until retirement to travel!

    Few quotes hit home now, during our coronavirus-hellscape, more the one from motivational speaker Wayne Dyer – “Do it now. The future is promised to no one.”

    (David Tuzzolino caveat: “You might want to wait until the pandemic dies down before “doing it now,” but I’m sure you get my point.”)

    Don’t make the mistake of waiting until retirement to start checking items off your bucket list. Things change; you might not get the chance if you wait.

    Your health can deteriorate rapidly, or new responsibilities can come along that make traveling problematic. Money issues may crop up.

    If you love to travel, plan diligently, and create an extra-long list of retirement destinations, events, and experiences. However, the worst thing you can do is sacrifice the present by delaying your travel dreams for a tomorrow that may never come.

    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.

    Do I Need Travel Insurance?

    Travel Insurance - A hand holding a bubble with a plane and suitcase in it

    There’s an old saying – “Never ask a barber if you need a haircut.” The same can be said for travel insurance. If you’re asking the person who’s going to be making money on the sale, the answer will always be yes.

    Do you need travel insurance? Like most things in life, it depends. However, I’m going to help you decide for yourself.

    Types of Insurance

    While necessary, insurance can be a little dry. Please bear with me as I run through the most common types of travel insurance – warning, you are about to enter a no-humor zone.

    Trip cancellation/interruption insurance covers non-refundable expenses associated with a trip being canceled or interrupted. It is normally the most expensive portion of the overall travel insurance package. If you’re buying a la cart, it can be multiples of the other types of insurance.  

    Emergency medical covers emergency health care expenses while you’re traveling.

    Medical evacuation insurance will cover the cost of evacuating you to a decent medical facility, and possibly home.

    Travel accident insurance will cover you if you’re unlucky enough to experience death or dismemberment due to an accident.

    Baggage protection covers the cost of your luggage and its contents if lost, stolen, or damaged. It will also reimburse you for essential items you may have to buy if your baggage is delayed.

    Trip delay insurance covers the necessary expenses you may encounter if events out of your control cause your travel to be delayed. It will cover expenses such as accommodation, meals, and transportation.

    Comprehensive travel insurance is coverage that wraps all, or nearly all, of these individual types of insurance together.

    Cancel for Any Reason (CFAR) insurance is a supplemental option that can be added to a travel insurance policy. In the age of COVID-19, the merits of CFAR have become a popular discussion. CFAR will add about 40-60% to the cost of comprehensive travel insurance and will cover approximately 50-75% of the trip if used.

    What Travel Insurance Do You Need?

    There are financial risks and health risks to consider when buying travel insurance. Although the risk of losing money should be a concern, the risk of a medical emergency is paramount.

    Health Risk

    Emergency medical insurance is unquestionably the most crucial insurance to obtain for a trip as you’re not just exposed to a financial loss, but you may be putting your health at risk. If you have health care insurance, carefully read through the policy to see if you are covered, or call the insurance company and talk to a representative. If you’re not covered, emergency medical is critical. It also tends to be relatively inexpensive.

    A remote cabin, surrounded by mountains

    Medical evacuation insurance can be equally important. The more remote your vacation spot, the more crucial thisinsurance can be. You should also take into consideration the quality of medical care in the locations you’re going to visit. Medical evacuation insurance is often inexpensive and is highly recommended because, again, it’s your health that is at risk without it.

    Financial Risk

    Travel insurance prices vary greatly and often range from 4-12% of the cost of a trip – not an insignificant number. How do you determine if you should splurge for the protection? Ask yourself these questions.

    Am I already covered under existing insurance policies?

    Check your health care insurance first. Make sure your policy will cover you based on your location and the duration of your trip. Many policies will only cover you for 60 days if you’re traveling outside of the U.S.

    Homeowners/renters insurance will often cover your valuables while you are traveling. Check your policy for coverage limits while away from home.

    Do I have a credit card that will cover me when traveling?

    If you have a credit card specifically designed for travelers, it will likely have some level of travel insurance. The good ones will cover nearly everything.

    For example, the Chase Sapphire Reserve card will cover you in the following scenarios: trip cancellation/interruption, baggage delay, trip delay, lost luggage, accidental death, emergency evacuation, and emergency medical and dental.

    If you don’t have a credit card that offers these protections, consider snapping one up. They offer other valuable perks for travelers as well, such as airport lounge access, generous mileage rewards, and travel credit.  

    How often have I had to cancel a trip in the past?

    Take an honest look at your travel history. How many trips have you had to cancel on short notice? Is it something that happens frequently? Or never at all?

    Risk - a tan shoe about to step on a banana peel

    I have been traveling extensively for over 25 years. A normal (non-pandemic) year averages three to four trips. I can think of only two or three trips during that time that I’ve had to cancel.

    The more often you’ve canceled trips in the past, the more attractive travel insurance might be. If you’ve canceled very few trips in the past, the less travel insurance makes sense…

    Are there reasons I might have to cancel this trip?

    …unless you have reasons to believe circumstances have changed. A complicated life filled with a demanding job, and people that depend on you can make travel insurance more attractive.

    Do you have loved ones that are elderly or in poor health? Do you have small children who have a sniffle after every birthday party they attend? Travel insurance starts to look more attractive if there is a higher likelihood that an event will arise and force you to alter your plans.

    There are no guarantees that you’ll never have to cancel a vacation if you’re living a life with few potential conflicts, but you’re playing a game of percentages.

    Is this an expensive, once-in-lifetime trip?

    Are you embarking on an around-the-word, retirement cruise? Or did you grab a super-saver fare for the weekend to do some hiking a few states away? The more expensive your vacation, in relationship to your financial means, the more important travel insurance will be.

    Am I losing sleep?

    Travel is supposed to be fun. If you’re worrying, it is not. Throw out everything you read in this article if you will lose sleep without comprehensive travel insurance. Buy it and sleep well.

    Only Cover What You Will Actually Lose

    Many travel expenses will be refunded to you, whether you have travel insurance or not. Thanks to recent changes, airline tickets can often be rebooked for free. Hotel stays can generally be canceled without penalty.

    Always pay attention to the cancellation policy of any pre-paid travel expense. There is often a substantial difference between the total price of a trip and the amount you might lose if you have to cancel.

    Do the Math

    Let’s say you have a vacation scheduled where you will lose $10,000 if it is canceled. A comprehensive insurance policy will cost you $1,000. Dividing $1,000 by $10,000 results in 10%. If you believe you have less than a 10% chance of canceling your trip, you should decline travel insurance as you will come out ahead over time.

    This comes with a lot of caveats, however. The calculation above is rough and does not include deductibles. Also, it is impossible to calculate the odds of a canceled trip precisely.

    Make sure you can financially afford the loss if the vacation does get canceled. Do you have an emergency fund that covers 3-6 months of your daily expenses? You should. Will your losses only be a small percentage of this fund?

    If you will be financially crippled by a canceled vacation, then buying insurance is a smart move regardless of the odds. If the loss will be a small hit to your overall financial wellbeing, consider not purchasing insurance and self-insure the trip.


    The recent pandemic sweeping the globe has even skeptical travelers reconsidering travel insurance. If this is you, double-check to make sure any policy you purchase covers COVID-19. And also, make sure you understand the situations in which it will cover you. Some policies only cover you if you are infected with the disease, not if an area you are traveling to becomes a hotspot, and you decide not to go. A better option might be to book everything on a refundable/exchangeable basis until things normalize.

    CFAR is an alternative for skittish travelers who have high non-refundable expenses. Just keep in mind the substantial cost and limitations. It will only cover 50-75% of your losses, and there are constraints as to when it must be purchased and how soon before a trip it can be used. The Points Guy has a good article that describes the coverage in detail.


    When booking a vacation, don’t immediately run out and buy comprehensive travel insurance. Carefully calculate the non-refundable portion of your vacation, analyze your current insurance policies for coverage, and consider self-insuring the financial parts of your exposure.

    Above all else, a vacation is supposed to be fun and refreshing. If not buying a travel insurance policy is keeping you from enjoying your hard-earned time off, throw out all of the calculations, and buy a policy that will help you sleep like a baby.   

    Baby sleeping


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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.

    Retirement Planning for People Who Love to Travel

    A scale balancing a globe on one side and a stack of money on the other side - perfect to illustrate retirement planning for travelers

    What is PathBridge Financial?

    I am a financial advisor who is not going to be a perfect fit for every person seeking guidance. 

    Why? Because PathBridge Financial was designed for a very particular type of client. I developed a firm for people nearing retirement (or retired already), and who love to travel. 

    So what in the world does that look like?  

    B.P.F. – Before PathBridge Financial

    When I left my last job at one of those large, unnamed financial institutions, I had a decision to make. (Actually, the institution appears on my LinkedIn bio, but I thought “unnamed” financial institution added some mystery.)

    The easy path – find a position at another firm and resume my career doing the same thing. I am not someone who hates the corporate world. And I certainly was not the bitter, angry dude who sits in a cubicle all day badmouthing management while frequently shooting glances at a retirement countdown clock. Digital clock with a picture of a lounge chair on a beach that says Countdown to My Retirement

    I worked with a great group of people, and I thought we were adding real value to our clients’ lives. I enjoyed the work, and I was happy to go into the office each day. Sure there was some mind-numbing bureaucracy, but there were also some phenomenal benefits! Oh, how I miss employer-sponsored health care!

    The harder path was starting a firm from scratch. Where do I begin? What if I fail?  What do I do when my computer freezes up 20 minutes before a client Zoom meeting, and there’s no tech-support line to call? Questions I’ve had to answer.

    Eventually, I embraced the challenge of starting a firm of my own.  Computer issues be damned!

    Helping Others

    The idea of helping clients with the financial part of their lives excited me. I won’t go through my entire bio (you can find it here), but I’ve had a long career in the finance world, and I’ve picked up some valuable knowledge along the way. I wanted to share this hard-earned insight and make a difference in the lives of people looking for help.

    The investment and financial planning world is complex and can be challenging to navigate when it’s not your full-time job. But ignoring it is not an option. I’ve seen the change that comprehensive financial planning can make in people’s lives, and it can be monumental.

    Why Focus on Retirement?

    The 10-15 years before retirement are crucial to your financial future. Salaries tend to peak, images of life in retirement start to come into focus, and there’s still time to make meaningful changes, although it’s running out quickly. You’re not alone if you’ve recently woken up in a cold sweat and asked yourself, “Do I have enough money to retire?”

    Each one of us goes through a similar process when preparing for retirement, and by working exclusively with clients at this stage of life, I can deliver customized solutions. As in medicine, would you rather work with a generalist or a specialist?

    People Who Love to Travel

    Traveling adds another dimension to retirement planning. Expenses often jump in the two to three years after retirement as bucket list items are crossed off. Failing to plan for these expenses will lead to a budget shortfall and can damage retirement and travel dreams.Retirement traveler searches for a place to travel. Blue world map covered with a passport, camera, magnifying glass, and a bottle of wine.

    Health insurance, including Medicare, is a minefield for travelers. Many policies will not cover you overseas, and those that do often won’t protect you past 60 days.

    Additional areas of financial planning important to travelers are obtaining the right credit card and buying travel insurance. The right credit card can offer extremely valuable perks such as generous sign-up bonuses, complimentary checked-bag fees, and airport lounge access. The right card may also include travel insurance, which can often allow you to skip the expense of buying a separate policy.

    I have experience working through these issues with clients, and as an avid traveler, I’ve tackled many personally. Again, would you like to work with a generalist or specialist?

    Small Firm

    PathBridge Financial is a small firm. Is this good or bad? It depends on what you’re looking for.

    Some people feel all warm and fuzzy when they enter the wood-paneled offices of a multi-billion dollar banking institution such as Wells Fargo. A firm with an army of financial specialists at their disposal and tremendous resources.

    Unfortunately, you also can be exposed to less than ideal practices. I’m not pointing the finger at any one bad actor. But I have worked in the industry long enough to witness less-than-ideal practices at several firms.

    At large institutions, unless you’re a client with tens of millions of dollars, your account can be passed around to junior advisors with little experience. There is often pressure for advisors to invest client money in company-run products, regardless of whether they are the best alternative.

    Large, public companies are also under pressure from shareholders to maximize earnings each quarter. Questionable revenue-generating activities can be the unfortunate result. 

    On the other end of the spectrum are small firms. Regrettably, I have no wood-paneling. I also don’t have an army of financial specialists sitting in offices down the hall. I do, however, have an outside network of specialists who can help when their expertise is needed.

    I can guarantee that your financial plan and portfolio will be customized using products that are best suited for your situation. There are no proprietary products to be pushed here.

    When you call PathBridge Financial, you’re going to talk to me. And I’m never going to pass your account off to a junior associate because I’m leaving for another firm. There’s also a succession plan in place just in case I’m run down by the proverbial bus.

    Did I skew the benefits of working with a small firm a little in my favor? Hell, yes! I’m slightly biassed, and that’s why I started a small firm instead of going to work for another large institution. There is no right or wrong answer. This is a very personal decision, so do your homework and decide what’s best for you.


    There are many ways a firm can be paid for financial advice. Fee-only firms do not earn commissions on the products they sell and are compensated exclusively by clients. This fee structure reduces the likelihood of a conflict of interest arising and your hard-earned money going into a high-commission product sold to you so your advisor can afford a Christmas cruise.

    PathBridge Financial is, and always will be, a fee-only firm. I have also never been on a Christmas cruise. For more on the benefits of a fee-only advisor, please see the following article at “What Is a Fee-Only Financial Planner?”


    I’d love to say that I’m the outgoing life of the party – the type of advisor that will enter a room of 100 and leave a half-hour later with 50 new friends. I am not. I’m an introvert. I prefer small groups as compared to a packed room, so networking is not my strongest attribute.

    All is not lost, however! Introverts are known as good listeners, analytical, observant, and trustworthy. Yes, I’d say that describes my 20 plus years in the financial industry.

    My financial planning style involves listening intently to client issues and carefully analyzing the data presented. Trustworthy? I have chosen to operate as a fiduciary because doing what’s in the best interest of my clients is non-negotiable.

    So, no, I will not walk out of that room with 50 new “friends”. But I might walk out of the room, having made a meaningful connection with one or two good people. And building meaningful connections is what being a financial advisor is all about.


    If you are a regular reader of my blog, you’ve noticed I like to inject a little humor into my writing. The world of financial planning can get awfully dry sometimes. There’s no reason for this.

    I’m sure there are readers who roll their eyes when my attempt at humor falls flat, but if I can get a slight chuckle every so often, I’ve made financial planning more fun. I know when I find a topic fun, I am more likely to remember the material and implement the information into my own life. Most people react in the same way.


    The investment knowledge of financial advisors can range from very little to expert level. Some advisors will contract the investment portion of their business to a third party. There’s nothing wrong with this, and it’s the right thing to do in situations where the advisor’s investment knowledge is lacking.

    I am on the other side of the spectrum. I have spent a good portion of my financial career analyzing and managing investments. I am a CFA® Charterholder, in addition to a CFP® Professional, a distinction only a small percentage of financial advisors can claim.

    I manage globally diversified portfolios with the goal of keeping fees as low as possible while monitoring performance. Tax efficiency is a focus, and investments are chosen based on a long-term time horizon.


    PathBridge Financial is not for everyone. However, if you’re looking for a small firm that specializes in helping clients prepare for retirement with a focus on minimizing taxes, reducing fees, and personalized service with a touch of humor, you’re in the right place. If the idea of working with a fee-only, fiduciary with investment expertise, who takes pride in pro-active listening and in-depth analysis, you may have found a home.

    I decided to become a financial advisor to help people, so if any reader ever has a question or concern, big or small, please reach out. I’ll do my best to help. Financial/Retirement planning can be complicated and confusing, so if you decide you’d like an experienced guide to help you navigate the way – PathBridge Financial is here for you.

    If you’d like to see exactly what a comprehensive financial plan looks like that was specifically designed for travelers, please enter your information below. My promise to you, never any 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.

    Travel in the Age of Coronavirus

    travel road trip

    My First Trip

    I love to travel.

    2020 has not been kind.

    Our European vacation to Hungary, Slovakia, and Austria – canceled. The extended-family, once-in-a-lifetime cruise to Alaska – canceled. There are more, but you get where I’m going, and you didn’t come here to read about my sorrows.

    Lori and I had been staring at the same four walls since March, and it was time for a much-needed escape. As we pulled out of the garage, I heard the distinctive voice of Morgan Freeman, and the last three minutes of The Shawshank Redemption ran through my head.

    “I find I’m so excited I can barely sit still or hold a thought in my head. I think it’s the excitement only a free man can feel. A free man at the start of a long journey, whose conclusion is uncertain.” – Red

    Google Maps snapped me out of my daydream moment and directed me north to Ellicottville, New York.


    Ellicottville is a small town that is home to the Holiday Valley ski resort, and the village was coined “The Aspen of the East” by a travel writer over 60 years ago. Things have changed dramatically since then, at least in Aspen, which has turned into a hotspot for the rich and famous.  

    Ellicottville has managed to keep its small-town charm, even driving fast-food restaurants to the edge of town, which leaves the downtown area picturesque. The local Tim Hortons is evidence that there is a steady flow of Canadians during non-pandemic times. Due to health insurance issues and border difficulties, our neighbors to the north were absent in large numbers.

    During the summer, Ellicottville is quiet. During a pandemic in the middle of the week, it’s very quiet. But this is precisely what we had in mind.

    Mountain Coaster

    We had several goals for our first trip of 2020 – travel by car, avoid crowds, hike extensively, and ride a mountain coaster. I know what you’re thinking – “What the heck is a mountain coaster?”

    It did not disappoint. Lori was a skeptic, but after careening down the steep track, screaming along the way, she demanded another ride. Who was I to argue?

    The exciting thing about a mountain coaster is that you have a brake, so you feel partly in control. If you’re concerned about your speed heading into a sharp turn, you can tap the brake. However, it also plays with your pride. I’ll be damned if I’m going to slow down and have some thirteen-year-old kid tailing me and wishing the old man would just get out of the way, go home, and take a nap – so full-throttle was the only answer.

    After a mountain coaster ride, you find yourself at the bottom of the hill with a wide grin. Our second ride could have easily led to a third, fourth, etc. But we had a full day planned. 


    State forests are everywhere in this part of New York, and they are filled with hiking trails. Highlights included Little Rock City Trail, where the star of the show is, believe it or not, rocks! The trail is certainly unique and worth a visit. 

    Travel David Little Rock City Trail Little Rock City Trail Little Rock City Trail Lori












    The path to Bridal Falls is less than a quarter-mile, but the scenery is fantastic, especially if you are lucky enough to experience it alone. We had the peaceful falls to ourselves for at least 20 minutes. You can also hike along the river in either direction.

    Travel Bridal Falls


    A long day of hiking can make me hangry, especially after Lori leads me up the side of a mountain for an hour straight. Not surprisingly, the Ellicottville dining scene was slow in the middle of the week during a pandemic.

    I love to travel to the world’s largest cities, where crowds energize me. However, what I would usually consider boringly slow and quiet, was perfect. There were just enough restaurants open, with outdoor dining to give us some variety. Wait times were nonexistent or minimal.

    I’m still somewhat paranoid about eating in restaurants. But given New York City’s early struggles with the coronavirus, most of the restaurants we visited in the state were taking precautions seriously. All employees wore masks, and tables were separated. It’s funny how eating a meal in a restaurant parking lot went from “You’ve got to be kidding me!” to “Best thing ever!” in a few months.

    Ellicottville Brewery stood out as there is a fantastic beer garden that is somewhere you’d want to have a meal and linger, whether during a pandemic or not. I tend to be a diner that prefers a delicious meal slapped on a paper plate in a rundown shack than a bland meal served with china, candlelight, and pretentiousness. But after four months of semi-lockdown, I’m gaining a new appreciation for ambiance. Combine a pint of rye barrel-aged beer, decent food, and a string of lights – I’ll be happy every time.

    The House

    A highlight of our trip was the amazing house Lori found through VRBO. It was probably more house than the two of us needed as it had three bedrooms and could sleep at least eight people, but the extra space was fantastic.

    I cried myself to sleep the night I found out our condo association was banning grills – the result of a neighbor melting the vinyl siding off the building. I even wrote a nicely worded letter to the board, but they took no pity on me. My grill now sits in the back of my garage, waiting to make a triumphant return sometime in the future. However, our house in Ellicottville had a glorious grill on the back porch that I used several times – just like riding a bike.

    David Travels to Man Grill Fantastic Porch Ellicottville

    As if one porch was not enough, there was another in front of the house. It was the classic, sprawling porch you see on many older homes. Perfect for rainy days, warm nights, and a morning coffee. Our house was on the main street leading into Ellicottville, so we were able to watch the world go by from our perch. There is something about a pandemic that makes you appreciate the well-designed outdoor space of a house.


    I still don’t feel comfortable jumping on a plane, but I see it in my future. The day will come when I’m released from the confines of this pandemic and jetting off to exotic locations on a different continent to see, taste, and experience the world once again. I imagine it will be with even more excitement and intensity than usual, given current circumstances.

    However, I will always look back fondly on our Ellicottville trip. It will never be the bucket-list, destination of a lifetime, filled with exotic people, food, and languages, but it will forever be a great memory. It will always be the first trip we were able to take after the pandemic hit, and it will forever remain exactly what we needed at the time.

    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. This summer he can be found manning the nearest grill, at least when there’s not a mountain coaster nearby.