Friday, May 29, 2009

Where in the World Have You Been?

Even in tough economic times, travel remains the number one dream activity for retirees.

While many are curbing their travel plans, staying closer to home, for example, the desire to see the world still exists. The newly retired and not so newly retired are discovering creative ways to travel without having it break the bank.

I stumbled across this site through Twitter and love the idea of tracking and sharing where I've been. My only complaint is I wish they broke the US into individual states. Here's where I've been Create your own map at

Thursday, May 28, 2009

What's in a Retirement Home?

The concept of home takes on a completely new meaning in retirement. In fact, home is considered on of the foundation elements, along with health and finances.

My husband and I remodeled our home almost ten years ago with the intention of making it our retirement home. Now, ‘retirement California’ may not make sense.

We’re not alone in our thinking. As people look forward to retirement, they take a special interest in where they want to live. For many, their retirement residence is a key factor in their plan for retirement.

Like many, I’d like to explore the possibility of retiring abroad. But, I’m not sure I’d be willing to totally give up a residence in the states.

There’s also a part of me that would love to be a vagabond for a year or two and not have to worry about a home.

When I think about living on the road, or retiring overseas, I always come back to the question of what would we do with the cats?

Right now, the primary question is what do we want in our new home? Not just the home, but what factors determine the community and surrounding area? These are all questions to consider

Research shows very few people actually move to a new retirement location. I'd like to know if it's something you are considering and what are the factors that are important to you?

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Retirement or College for the Kids

Recently, I read a lot about how parents are having to choose between retirement and sending their children to college. Or, saying they’re not going to get to college at all because of a lack of funds. I’m here to say, “Hogwash!”

This is a ‘back in my day story,’ but I think it is worth telling.

I completed my first year of college at a local community college before I made some stupid and life altering decisions. Over the next three years, I got married, pregnant and divorced, so by the time I was twenty-two I was a single parent. It was a difficult time in my life, but the one good thing that came out of it, besides my daughter, was the decision to complete my education. It took another six years to get my bachelor degree. I paid for it all myself, worked went to school and raised my daughter. I will admit, I lived with my parents for a few years and they help tremendously by taking care of her.

As I look back over my life, I regret not having the college experience of living in a dorm on a college campus, or of going to football games. If you want the college experience, it’s going to cost you. And yes, I know, the cost of college has gone up. But, if you want an education, you can get a college degree. It may take you longer. That’s a decision, I have never regretted.

Senior Health

I did something for myself today. No, not the usual indulgence of chocolates or flowers. I actually did something important. At first, I was reluctant to discuss it, because it comes under the heading that is traditionally considered unmentionable. Life over 50 gets complicated and sometimes we need to discuss unpleasant things.

I had a colonoscopy this morning. The reason I decided to discuss it is many people don’t have the procedure. I’m lucky I have insurance and quite probably wouldn’t have had it done without it. I’m talking to the people who have insurance or can otherwise afford it, but elect not to do the procedure. It’s inconvenient. It’s a bit uncomfortable and it occurs in the part of the body most of us would like to ignore.

That’s the main reason I decided to write about it. Denial can be wonderful thing. Well, sometimes. Rarely. Nope, now that I think about it, I don’t know that denial is a good thing. We get to pretend, but that just postpones reality and when reality actually hits, the ramifications of denial are magnified.

The doctor found a small polyp in my colon. He removed it. There’s a possibility that had I not chosen to have the procedure, it could have grown and in ten years I’d have colon cancer.

As I wrote in a previous post, a friend of mine died of cancer this winter. Cancer is not fun. There is no way we can absolutely prevent all health issues in our life. I can’t be assured that I won’t get some other form of cancer in some other part of my body. There are many things we can do to ensure senior citizens health.

Today I had a procedure that will minimize the probability of getting one form of cancer. If you’re over 55, get it done. It’s as simple as that.

If you have any questions, please feel free to ask me anything. Boundaries are minimal.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Senior Fitness for Abs

While I try to accept my aging body, the post menopausal tummy, drives me crazy. I know I eat too much, but I'm going to try these ab exercises from FitnessDiet.Info. I actually like crunches, so I'll let you know if it works.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Should You Retirement?

To most people, retirement is mostly a question about money. Do I have enough financial resources to last the rest of my life?

Here are additional questions to think about.

What percentage of time do you love what you do?

What percentage of time do you love who you work with?

What percentage of time do you love when you work?

Can those questions be a criteria of when you should retire or look for another job?

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Family Finances Part Two

As I mentioned in a previous post, we scheduled a family meeting to discuss money. Not everyone made it this year, but a process was started that I plan on continuing.

We have one daughter and one son. My husband and I try to split everything equally. Unfortunately, we made a bad decision (I think) by making them co-executors of our estate, should something happen to us simultaneously.

My husband was executor of his mother’s estate and there was a lot of paperwork to fill out and sign. He was in a different state than the attorney, so it was challenge. My children live in different states and I don’t think we’ve done them any favors by making them co-executors. We don’t have a resolution. I hoping they will discuss it and help us decide what to do.

My son brought up concerns about making the mortgage payment if we’re not around. I thought that was a good question, but couldn’t provide an answer. We’re going to discuss it with our financial person to find out the answer.

Every family I know struggles over family estates. I know of more than one family where siblings and parents stopped talking to each other over money. I don’t know if we can prevent that from happening. I glad we had a family meeting.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Family Finances

Americans don’t like to talk about money or finances. There’s an attitude that it’s none of anyone else’s business. Which may be true, but money is a major factor in successful aging.

My mother is a very independent woman. I trait I appreciate, but also drives my brother, sister and I crazy. She is reticent to share her financial situation with us, which has made it difficult for us to help her. Now that she’s in her mid-eighties with memory issues it would be nice to be able to have a open dialog about her financial situation.

As my siblings and I continue to try to figure how to help my mother, my husband and I are discussing how we might avoid the same trap. While our children have a vague idea about our estate the plan has been to have a yearly meeting to let them know about our financial and estate situation. We’ve been intending to do this for over a year, but have failed to schedule a time to have the conversation.

I’ve decided Mother’s Day is the right time to have the call. While not the most sentimental of topics, it is for the benefit of all of us that we have the discussion.

My husband and I live in Southern California, daughter is in San Francisco and son is on the east coast. Everyone can call into Instant Conferencing # for free. They will have to pay any toll charges for the long distance call.

I’m still working on the agenda, but we want to let them know where financial information is kept. We have a trust, so we’ll answer any questions they might have about that. We’ll also let them know where our money and an overview of our financial situation. In addition, I’m hoping we can answer any questions they may have.

Aging and finances are intricately intertwined. Families should learn to work together for successful retirement living. Not everyone can have this conversation, but I’d like to hear how other families deal with finances and family as they get older.
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Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Quotes from Thomas Leonard

This comes from Andrea J. Lee's Blog

Here are your 5 snippets of wisdom about people for this week. We hope you’ll find them as useful and thought-provoking as always. They’re from the collection by Thomas Leonard, and assembled by his R&D team.

We hope you’ll enjoy!

· People have the capacity to create. They create their lives and opportunities each day of their lives.

· People most often criticize traits in others that they dislike about themselves.

· People play out issues from their families of origin in their present workplace situations.

· People suffer because they resist the present moment.

· People see the world not as it is, but as they are.