The financial roundtable discussion was a success. I think we started out with nearly 40 people in attendance with well over 20 people staying for a record 1-1/2 exchange of ideas on a wide variety of subjects. Some of the topics I recall were:
Medical insurance - www.ehealthinsurance.com
is a good place to start to see what might be available in your area. After that, check with a local, independent insurance agent.
Where do you put your money today? CD interest is at record lows. Some iRV2 members suggested credit unions for slightly higher interest rates. Another person checks interest rates at online "banks."
How do full-timers handle residency? There is no single answer for this. There are a variety of services available to handle mail forwarding and help you with establishing residency. South Dakata has several options for full-timers, Texas has one option that is used by a large number of RVers and many people establish residency in Florida. Things to consider are: state income taxes, sales taxes, ad valorem (value) taxes, ease of license tag and driver license renewal, ease of registering a new/used vehicle, voting requirements.... the list goes on.
Can you withdraw money from your IRA (or similar retirement account) prior to age 59-1/2? Yes, use the 72(t) rule. There are many T's to cross and I's to dot but you can withdraw your money without penalty using the 72(t) rule. The basic rule is you have to continue the withdrawals for 5 years or until you're 59-1/2, whichever is longer.
How do you live off your savings/investments? Two basic methods - withdraw a portion of the "growth," or withdraw the dividends/interest.
Do dividends keep up with inflation? Many stocks increase their dividends on 12 - 18 month cycles. While this is not a guarantee, it is true with most "blue chip" stocks. However, as an example, GE stock decreased its dividend dramatically during the financial downturn. However, many stocks did not decrease their dividends and many have increased dividends on a regular basis for well over 10 years.
Is it better to begin Social Security payouts early or wait and hold out for a larger amount? It seems like there is no single answer on this subject. In gereral it seems like iRV2 members opted to start as early (as young) as possible. However, on member had a very valid reason for starting the SS payouts later - this person wanted the dollar amount to be has high as possible in order to give the surviving spouse (in the event of death) the largest monthly amount. There may be other factors to consider and it may make sense to speak to a financial advisor.
Is it necessary to use a financial advisor? What are the benefits of a financial advisor? It's not necessary but it may help you have peace of mind with your withdrawal strategy. An advisor may be able to provide some guidance to what has worked with other people in similar situations. Many financial advisors will provide a free one-hour consultation.
Does anyone have experience buying precious metals? The iRV2 member specifically wanted to know if anyone had purchased gold or silver coins, bullion, tangible metals as opposed to buying a gold fund. This was an interesting topic but nobody in the room had a specific answer for the question.
You can see there were a variety of questions and most everyone who participated thought this was a good topic for iRV2 members.