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10 Top Places to Retire on Social Security

Elderly couple preparing to move

Statistics from the US Social Security Administration show that upward of 84 percent of retirees in the United States qualify for Social Security payments and for most – 61 percent – those payments make up at least half of their income. In fact, for a third of retirees, Social Security is their only major source of income in retirement.

It’s no news flash that living on a Social Security can be tough, considering that the average monthly SS payment was $1,341 as of January 2016. For a married couple, both receiving SS checks, that means an average combined retirement income of just $32,184, adjusted for inflation each year.

The good news is that there are ways to help stretch that benefit much further – including choosing the right locale to spend your golden years. A recent US News analysis of 104 major metropolitan areas, using data from the US Census Bureau and Bureau of Labor Statistics, found that couples receiving average SS payments would have enough money to cover all the basics – housing, food, transportation, health care and utilities – in two-thirds of major cities.

But covering the basics doesn’t necessarily mean a high quality of life. To help pinpoint areas that offer the best chances for a safe, comfortable and happy abode, researchers dug deeper into a myriad of quality-of-life factors including crime rates, access to health care and recreation opportunities. Their efforts revealed the top 10 recommendations for retirement living on SS benefits:

  1. Boise, Idaho: Low housing costs, beautiful 25-mile greenbelt and senior discounts to the Boise Art Museum, Zoo Boise, Bogus Basin ski area and many Boise State sporting events.
  2. Cape Coral, Florida: Affordable waterfront property, mild winters and no state income tax.
  3. Colorado Springs, Colorado: Breathtaking mountain views for bargain-basement costs if you’ve paid off your mortgage.
  4. Dayton, Ohio: One of the best spots for access to health care, and US Air Force retirees love the National Aviation Hall of Fame and the Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park.
  5. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Relatively low housing costs, a booming healthcare industry and an impressive arts scene.
  6. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania: Another great spot for relatively low housing costs, plus the nation’s 12th ranked best hospital (UPMC Shadyside) and a sports fan’s paradise.
  7. Richmond, Virginia: Several well-regarded hospitals and a favorite, lower-cost spot for retirees jettisoning northern Virginia and the Washington, DC area.
  8. Rochester, New York: Low housing costs, a highly rated hospital (Strong Memorial Hospital) and several major colleges for retirees who’d like to return to studies. Granted, the winters can be tough, but you’ll love celebrating the arrival of springtime at the annual Lilac Festival.
  9. San Antonio, Texas: Low housing costs for renters and no state income tax. Plus, it’s a pure delight for history buffs.
  10. Spokane, Washington: A top spot for active retirees who love the outdoors.

If you’re a retiree looking to move to or from the Washington DC metro area, McKendree Moving & Storage can help with special services and rates tailored for seniors. Call 800-530-2626 to schedule a consultation today.

Five Items Most Likely to Break During a Move

home with artwork

A top source of stress during a move is the worry over whether your household items are safe and sound – and with good reason. Movers know there are certain items that are far more likely than others to be damaged during transport. Here are the five most commonly broken items we see, particularly during DIY moves:

  1. Electronics: Because of their numerous delicate components, electronics such as computers and television sets are easily damaged. Even if the damage isn’t outwardly visible, one bump too many can displace functional components, causing these items to fail when you press the on button.
  2. Tables: Tables and table legs are among the most commonly damaged items, primarily because they’re simply awkward to move. A top tip is to remove the legs, pack and move them separately. Tables with tops made of heavier material, such as marble, are of particular concern because of the sheer force involved when they’re dropped.
  3. China, mirrors and other glassware: The most common culprit is a lack of sufficient padding. The more fragile the material, the more you’ll need. Let your pillows do double duty as padding for large mirrors. And don’t forget your wine and liquor selections. Damage happens not only in the way of broken bottles and stains on items packed nearby, but also in spoiled beverages caused by intense temperature changes, particularly during long moves.
  4. Artwork: Pierced canvases, broken frames and smudged paint are all too common. At highest risk are ornate frames with detailed surfaces and canvases packed near items with sharp corners or edges. Also keep in mind that long periods of high temperatures can mar paint.
  5. Appliances: After all, they’re heavy, difficult to carry and, like smaller electronics, have lots of inner components that can affect functionality. Front-loading washers are most easily broken. That’s because most fail to realize that spinning drums must be properly suspended throughout a move.

Also at risk are various features of the homes you’re vacating and moving into. Inexperienced or clumsy movers can leave behind dented walls and door jambs, broken stairway rails, scuffed floors and torn carpet. And remember – you’re at risk, too. Improperly handled moves have sent many a victim to the hospital or emergency room with broken bones, pulled muscles, skin lacerations and aching backs.

Why risk breaking your most used or cherished items? Trust your move, your health and your sanity to professionals. If you plan a move to or from the Washington, DC metropolitan area, call 800-530-2626 and schedule an appointment with McKendree Moving & Storage

Five To-Dos Before Making a Career-Prompted Move

Confident business man looking over new area

If you’ve been offered a great new job or simply know that a particular city will afford you better opportunities, making a move for your career can prove effective and exciting. It also can prove distressing without a plan for a smooth transition. McKendree Moving & Storage offers these tips:

  1. If you’ve got a job offer, ask your new employer about relocation benefits: Many businesses, particularly larger ones that regularly recruit new employees, have relationships with moving, storage and relocation companies that offer a range of discounts and other financial benefits. These may include coverage of moving expenses and closing costs, or even providing a buyout option if your current home doesn’t sell before your move date.
  2. Check out your new locale: As soon as you’ve decided to make the move, begin researching your new city and community, both via the Internet and in person. Research the local economy and housing market so that you know what you’re in for financially. This information may prove useful in negotiating your new salary and benefits. You’ll also want to know particulars such as great coffee shops near your new workplace where you can hold offsite business meetings.
  3. Test the commute: Arrange a visit to your new city to make the trip from your prospective new homes to the workplace during both the morning and afternoon rushes. Knowing which routes will help you avoid an excruciating commute may prove incredibly useful in choosing whether to live downtown or in the suburb.
  4. Make your travel and move arrangements: Topping the list is choosing a reputable mover to pack, load, transport and deliver your furniture and other household items. Then, decide how you, your family and your pets will make the move. Will you drive your own vehicles or fly to your new town and have a mover deliver your vehicles? Whatever you choose, know that making travel arrangements as early as possible will help minimize costs and your stress level. However, because moving can involve lots of variables, make sure that your travel plans have some flexibility – the ability to change flights inexpensively, for instance.
  5.  Attend to transition details: Arrange to have your utilities, internet connections, etc. turned off at your old home, and on at your new home. Make sure you’ve stocked up on prescription medications and have copies of all medical records for both your family members and pets. If you have school-age children, be sure to have their academic transcripts sent to their new schools and check into local school immunization requirements, which may differ from those in your old locale. Complete a change-of-address card at your post office and notify banks, credit card companies and other important contacts of your new address. And, update any business-related social media profiles to help assure a great start in your new position. ‘

If your move will take you to or from the Washington, DC metro area, McKendree Moving & Storage should be your first call. Reach us at 800-530-2626.

 

Top 20 Pet-Friendly Cities

Cat in moving box with styrofoam peanuts

If you’re a true pet lover considering a move, no doubt you’re seeking new hometown that’s as great for Fido and Fluffy as it is for you. According to results of a recent survey by American Pet Products Association, pet ownership in the US is booming. In fact, a record 65 percent of American households today own a pet. That figure reflects upward of 79.7 million homes with four-legged family members.

To help assure you make the best choice for you and your furry loved ones, check out results of WalletHub’s most recent compilation of the nation’s most pet-friendly cities. Researchers pored over multiple metrics including availability of a wide range of pet services and products such as professional pet walking and gourmet pet food; average costs of pet ownership as it relates to veterinary care, licenses, grooming and apartment pet deposits and related fees; and the presence of businesses designed for or open to pets, such as dog parks and restaurants that allow your pet to join you for lunch or dinner.

So here they are – The top 20 pet-friendly cities in America for 2016:

  1. Orlando, Florida
  2. Birmingham, Alabama
  3. Tampa, Florida
  4. Lexington-Fayette, Kentucky
  5. Scottsdale, Arizona
  6. Reno, Nevada
  7. Colorado Springs, Colorado
  8. Cincinnati, Ohio
  9. Las Vegas, Nevada
  10. St. Louis, Missourri
  11. Baton Rouge, Louisiana
  12. Boise, Idaho
  13. Henderson, Nevada
  14. Atlanta, Georgia
  15. Plano, Texas
  16. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
  17. St. Petersburg, Florida
  18. Portland, Oregon
  19. Gilbert, Arizona
  20. Albuquerque, New Mexico

Make sure your move goes smoothly for you and your pets. Call 800-530-2626 to schedule a consultation with McKendree Moving & Storage.

 

Tips for Moving Your Prized Vinyl Collection

Vinyl Record Collection

For vinyl album holdouts – and yes, there are many of them across the United States – the notion of a long-distance move can be a sad, sad song, indeed. But you need not be singing the blues. McKendree Moving & Storage has a few tips that can help assure the safe transport and arrival of your prized collection to a whole new vinyl frontier.

First, head your nearest vintage vinyl shop and stock up on acid-free paper liners and poly sleeves. Take your records out of their cardboard jackets and place them in or between the paper liners. Then, place the jackets in poly sleeves. This will help to protect your records from dust, heat and moisture and your jackets from all sorts of outside wear, including discolored, depressed ring imprints of the vinyls themselves.

Next, choose your moving boxes wisely. Make sure they’re sturdy and have dimensions of at least 14″ x 14″ x 14″ (used wine boxes are a great option if you’ve got them). Bungobox and the Container Store offer boxes designed and sized specifically for moving or shipping vinyl records. Line the bottom and sides of boxes with bubble wrap or Styrofoam to provide a bit of shock absorption during the ride.

When packing them in boxes, stand your records and jackets vertically, side by side rather than stacking them. This helps to protect jackets from bending on the edges and from ring wear and other superficial nicks and scrapes. Be sure to pack them snuggly, but not so tight as to risk warping. Fill any leftover space in the box with bubble wrap to assure they won’t slide or get jostled around.

Once packed, make sure boxes are securely closed and mark which side is up to help assure movers know just how to handle and place them. For your own post-move sanity, also mark them alphabetically, by genre or however you’ll organize them on the shelves of your new place. Also make sure that your boxes will remain out of direct sunlight throughout the duration of the move.

From Stravinsky to Sinatra to Skynyrd, if you’re planning a move to or from the Washington, DC metropolitan area, we’ve got you covered. Call 800-530-2626 to schedule a pre-move consultation with McKendree Moving & Storage.

10 States Where You’re Sure to Find Success

shutterstock_288321791

Feeling stuck in your career? Got an idea for an entrepreneurial venture? Thinking about relocating your company to new digs? Well, you know what they say – The key to success is “location, location, location.” So, if you’re considering making a move for a career boost, you’ll be interested in the results of a recent study by financial services provider GoBankingRates.

The recently-released report ranks the nation’s wealthiest and most successful states, based on these factors:

  • Average income of the top one percent
  • Average income of the bottom 99 percent
  • Poverty rate
  • Percentage of population in the upper, middle and lower classes
  • Number of millionaires and billionaires
  • Ratio of millionaires to total households

Topping the list – Connecticut. Dubbed the Constitution State (because it’s believed that ideas for the writing of the US Constitution were drawn from the state’s first constitution), it’s home to a upward of 101,000 millionaire households and 12 billionaires. In fact, the average income of the top one-percenters in Connecticut is an enviable $2.4 million. But even those not drawing seven figures are doing relatively well. The average income of the other 99 percent there is a very respectable $56,445.

“Living in a state that offers families a richer life and boasts a fair share of people who are thriving financially might help you achieve the financial success you’ve always wanted,” GoBankingRates says.

So, where should you make your next career move? Here are the top 10 most successful states:

  1. Connecticut
  2. Maryland
  3. New Jersey
  4. Massachusetts
  5. New Hampshire
  6. Washington, DC
  7. California
  8. Alaska
  9. North Dakota
  10. Virginia

No matter where you’re seeking success, if you plan a move to or from the Washington, DC metro area, McKendree Moving & Storage can help. Call 800-530-2626 to schedule a consultation or visit us online to request a free quote.

Nashville Tops America’s 15 Friendliest Cities List

Nashville, TN Skyline

When choosing a new city to live, work, find love or raise a family, friendliness can prove a major decision point. To that end, Travel+Leisure magazine annually compiles and releases its list of America’s Favorite Cities, including those that offer the highest friendliness factors.

This year, the highly read publication asked readers to rank 38 of the nation’s major metropolitan areas for sought-after features such as great pizza joints, swanky wine bars, eclectic coffee houses, pedestrian-friendly streets, luxury shopping districts with cool, independent boutiques and picnic table-equipped food truck pods.

Dominating the 2016 list are metro areas in the country’s heartland, plus an artsy Southwest locale and one tropical island destination. Did your current or future hometown make the list? Here’s how the top 15 finishers played out:

  1. Nashville, Tennessee – The country music capital known as the Athens of the South
  2. Salt Lake City, Utah – The Crossroads of the West
  3. Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota – The Twin Cities
  4. Kansas City, Missouri – The Jazz and BBQ capital known as the Paris of the Plains
  5. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma – Quite aptly known as The Big Friendly
  6. Charleston, South Carolina – The Big Sweet Grass Basket
  7. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania – The City of Bridges
  8. New Orleans, Louisiana – The Big Easy
  9. Albuquerque, New Mexico – The Duke City
  10. Austin, Texas – Hippie Haven
  11. Houston, Texas – Known as The Big Heart for welcoming and assisting victims of Hurricane Katrina
  12. Honolulu, Hawaii – The Big Pineapple
  13. Louisville, Kentucky – The City of Beautiful Searches
  14. Portland, Oregon – City of Roses
  15. Atlanta, Georgia – Hot ‘Lanta, the Empire City of the South

If you’re considering a move between one of these amiable areas and the Washington, DC metro area, call 800-530-2626 to schedule a consultation with a relocation expert with McKendree Moving & Storage.

 

First Things First – 10 Moves to Make in your New Home

Bedroom of new home with moving boxes

There’s not much more exciting – or more stressful – than moving day. To help you settle in quickly, McKendree Moving & Storage offers these tips for your first day in a new home:

  1. Inspect and clean your new home: Before the moving truck rolls up and boxes start flying every which way, do a thorough inspection of your new home and yard, looking for any signs of damage, pests, plumbing leaks, dripping faucets, continuously running toilets, broken windows, broken or faulty door, window and gate locks, etc. You’ll want to have any existing or potential issues addressed before settling in.
  2. Inspect all delivered boxes: Hopefully, you made, or received from your moving company, a comprehensive list of which household items were in which boxes before the move. Take a look inside each box as it’s delivered to your new digs and check it off your list to assure nothing got left behind or lost in transport.
  3. Get utilities up and running: Trust us, you’ll want a hot shower or soak in the tub after a long day of moving. If you haven’t already, dial up the local power and water company immediately to the basic utilities turned on asap, followed shortly by phone, internet and other services. While you’re at it, locate the circuit breaker box and main water valve so you’re ready when utilities service starts.
  4. Unpack the essentials: When it comes to arranging furniture and unpacking boxes, start with the two most important rooms – the bedroom and bathroom. Depending upon the distance and complexity of your move, you may be tuckered out before everything can be unpacked. If that’s the case, you’ll appreciate the comfort of your bedroom and the necessities of the bathroom for a night before getting back to the moving grind the next day. Of course, you’ll want the other important rooms such as the kitchen and laundry room in operation quickly, so get all major appliances in place and plugged in before following with all the smaller appliances and accessories. Just make sure you give your refrigerator at least three hours in its final spot before plugging it in, assuring time for the oil to flow into the compressor.
  5. Greet your new neighbors: Introduce yourself to your new neighbors. Not only is it the polite thing to do, but it can prove a huge help as you begin to navigate your new surroundings.

If you’re planning a move to or from the Washington, DC metropolitan area, call McKendree Moving & Storage at 800-530-2626 today.

Ten Top Cities for Women Entrepreneurs

Beautiful mixed race woman entrepreneur

It’s a great time to be a woman with a little business savvy. Consider these statistics from the 2012 US Census Bureau’s Survey of Small Business Owners:

  • As of 2012, there were 9.9 million women-owned businesses in America, up from 7.8 million in 2007 – a 28 percent jump. That figure represents a growth rate four times that of men-owned businesses.
  • Women-owned businesses today represent 36 percent of all US businesses.
  • Revenues for women-owned business hit $1.6 trillion in 2012, up from $1.2 trillion in 2007.
  • Women-owned businesses increased their employee count 20 percent between 2007 and 2012, while men-owned businesses increased their number of employees by just 12 percent.

But some areas seem to offer more opportunity for success than others, according to a study of the Census Bureau’s survey by Small Business Trends, an online publication for entrepreneurs. Here are the top 10 cities for female entrepreneurs:

  1. New York City – 413,899 women entrepreneurs
  2. Los Angeles – 192,358 women entrepreneurs
  3. Chicago – 123,632 women entrepreneurs
  4. Houston – 102,813 women entrepreneurs
  5. Dallas – 52,798 women entrepreneurs
  6. San Diego – 47,942 women entrepreneurs
  7. San Antonio – 44,295 women entrepreneurs
  8. Phoenix – 44,294 women entrepreneurs
  9. Philadelphia – 40,906 women entrepreneurs
  10. San Francisco – 40,135 women entrepreneurs

If you’re a business-minded woman planning a move to or from the Washington, DC metropolitan area, call McKendree Moving & Storage at 800-530-2626 to begin planning your business or residential relocation today.

Five Top Tips for Packing Clothing for a Move

Woman laying in pile of clothing

Breakables, heavy appliances and odd-shaped items that don’t fit nicely into any box or bag may seem the most problematic when preparing for a move. By comparison, few give much thought to packing clothing. After all, clothing won’t break if you drop it, will easily fit through even the narrowest of doorways and can easily be cleaned or mended in the case of a mishap. But a few tip will help to make packing up your closet easier and better protect your clothing.

Here are five top tips for a smooth, stylish move:

  1. Clean out: Before even beginning to pack up your closet and dresser drawers, do a thorough clean-out. Box up and take to your nearest donation center anything that’s outgrown, outdated or inappropriate for your new locale (That heavy, fur-lined parka is no longer needed if you’re jettisoning Alaska for Florida). Throw away anything that’s stained, worn out or beyond mending.
  2. Group: Separating your clothing into groups will help to keep them organized and easily accessible. Three top groupings are seasonal, material and purpose. If you’re moving during the heat of summer, you won’t need your winter clothes anytime soon. Clothing made of natural fabrics are prone to creasing and will need more delicate handling, while synthetics and polyesters can take a bit more of a beating.
  3. Layer by weight: For clothing that you’ll pack in a moving box, heaviest garments should go first, with lighter-weight garments on top. Consider spreading large garments on the bottom, then wrapping smaller items inside them. This offers a bit of additional protection.
  4. Leave ‘em hanging: Hanging clothes are most easily packed with plastic garment bags or even trash bags hung over a fastened bundle of hanger hooks. For more delicate or specialty clothing, a wardrobe box with a hanging bar offers more protection.
  5. First-week holdouts: When packing your clothing, be sure to hold out a few ultra-comfortable outfits for your moving days, and a few additional pieces to cover your first week of work or other activities planned for your earliest days in your new hometown. After all, moving can be a tiresome and it may take a bit longer than you expect to unpack everything.

Of course, the easiest way to pack your clothing and other items for a move is to not pack them at all. Instead, leave it to a professional. If you’re planning a move to or from the Washington, DC metro area, call 800-530-2626 and schedule an appointment with McKendree Moving & Storage.