Baby Boomer Generation Book by Rick Bava

Rick Bava’s new book “In Search of The Baby Boomer Generation” is the definitive book about the Baby Boomer Generation. Rick nails what it was like to grow up as a baby boomer, what it is like today and what we will be facing in the near future.

Rick traveled the US for two years having in-depth conversation with fellow baby boomers about all aspects of their lives. He shares the observations about baby boomer lives intermingled with sharing his own personal experience growing up and living as a baby boomer and the end result is a very enlightening and enjoyable read.

I related to everything in Rick’s book and he reminds us of many things we experienced that had a lasting effect in shaping our lives from our eagerness to leave home to start our own lives which was so very different than our parents to later thinking our parents were not so out of touch after all.

We were very much in touch with other boomers to experience life with our own mindset. He touches on the music we cherished, movies we watched, growing up with friends, college, then getting married and morphing into the corporate culture.

I particularly enjoy stories about remembering our childhood days, our college days, how we met our spouses and family relations. When Rick was sharing his story about listening to the World Series on a transistor radio, I was thinking hey, that was me!

We have shared a lot but we all have some Once in a Lifetime Experiences as well. That’s what makes our generation special. When we started this blog Ann and I did our fair share of telling our baby boomer stories as we called them. I loved to tell as well as hear other boomers stories from their lives.

Now many of us, especially the older boomers, are retiring. We are finding new passions, starting businesses, mentoring or discovering an encore career. Some are searching for new places to live. Along the way we are trying to make new friends while staying in touch with long time friends and relatives. Baby boomers need friends. Some boomers are even dating again.  A lot of this was discussed in the chapter on Social Relationships, which I particularly enjoyed.

Rick shared many personal stories of our fellow baby boomers that represent what is happening in our baby boomer lives right now. Many people were hurt by the Great Recession and have a heavy load to deal with as we face the future we are transitioning into pretty fast. But Rick also gives examples of boomers who did most things right, getting an education, working hard, staying married, respecting family, saving and investing and now have the resources to live an interesting retirement.

Rick then addresses issues in our immediate future that we are or will be dealing with soon.

On top of our list now are retirement plans, travel, grandchildren, making new friends and connecting with old friends. Finding new passions, experiences and things to do.

Taking care of parents is a responsibility many are faced with or will be soon.

We are now ready to finally get our social security benefits (it is not an entitlement, we worked for it!) and sign up for Medicare.

Many of us have helped settle our parents’ estates and gained valuable knowledge in doing so which we are now using to better organize our own estates.  We now know how important this is to do.

Rick has a positive outlook of what our baby boomer generation has accomplished and our challenging future. We have been through quite a bit and lived to tell about it!

I am very impressed by the excellent job Rick Bava has done taking the reader on this journey through our past, present and future. Get the book for an enjoyable read.

Rick Bava writes  the column “The Baby Boomer Corner” for Today’s Senior Magazine.

By Robert Fowler, President
Retirement Media Inc.

Booking Strategies To Get The Best Cruise Price

I asked Vince at CruiseShipCenters why should I book a cruise early, like a year in advance.  Here is his excellent reply which I gained his approval to share with you.

Why Should I Book A Cruise Early?

Hi Robert,

I was thinking about our conversation from yesterday, and wanted to share a few more thoughts. This email may get long, but I hope you’ll find it interesting and useful.

For 7-night cruises, final payment is usually due 75 days before the departure date; for longer cruises, final payment is usually due 90 days before the departure date. For the sake of this discussion, let’s consider a “last minute” booking to be any booking made after the final payment date.

With a few exceptions, deposits for cruise reservations are fully refundable prior to the final payment date. If you’ve paid a refundable deposit, you’re guaranteed to always be able to re-book and take advantage of a better deal if one becomes available prior to the final payment date. That is, you can simply cancel your reservation for a full refund and then re-book to get the better deal. The cruise lines know this and don’t make you go through the cancel-and-rebook process; instead, they let you re-book your original reservation to get the better deal.

Because there are cancellation penalties after the final payment date, things get a little trickier. After the final payment date, you can no longer cancel and get a full refund. This is when cruise lines will sometimes introduce “last minute” deals that are not available to customers with paid-in-full reservations. In these cases, you’re not able to re-book to take advantage of the better deal. However, the cruise lines will always allow you to upgrade to take advantage of the better deal. For example, let’s say you’re book into an oceanview stateroom and a last minute deal comes out such that balcony staterooms are priced only $100 higher than what you paid for the oceanview. In this case, the cruise lines will allow you to upgrade to the oceanview by paying only the $100 difference.

I’ve used the “last minute deal upgrade” strategy on my personal cruises. Last December, I went on a Royal Caribbean cruise and wanted a junior suite. I had guessed that there might be last-minute deals on this cruise because it was a time of low demand, but I wanted to book right away to be sure to get onboard. Therefore, I booked the lowest-price balcony stateroom and waited. Sure enough, a last minute deal became available and I was able to upgrade to the junior suite for less that I would have paid when I originally booked. (If a last minute deal had not become available, I would have been happy with my balcony stateroom).

It is true that it’s sometimes (often?) possible to get a lower price by waiting for a “last minute” deal after the final payment date. However, there are some caveats for waiting for these deals:

1. Popular cruises may sell out, which means not only are there no last minute deals, but you may not get onboard at all. Therefore, if you know you want to go on a particular cruise on a specific date, waiting for a last minute deal isn’t a good strategy.

2. The most desirable staterooms on a ship always sell first. Therefore, the only staterooms left at the last minute are the ones no one else wanted. If stateroom location is important to you, waiting for a last minute deal isn’t a good strategy. A good example of this is a family that needs multiple staterooms close to each other.

3. Airfare is always more expensive closer to the travel date. What you save in cruise fare, you might give back in airfare.

4. The cruise lines release their schedule 12-18 months in advance. They set their initial prices low and then raise them as the sailing date gets closer (similar to what the airlines do). They’ll raise the prices faster or more slowly depending on how well a particular cruise is selling. Then, after the final payment date, they may offer last minute deals to fill the remaining staterooms. However, because they’ve been raising prices all along, the “last minute deals” may actually be higher than the initial prices you would have paid 12-18 months in advance.

The bottom line is, waiting for a last minute deal can be a good strategy if: (a) you don’t care if you don’t get to go on the cruise at all because the ship sells out; (b) you don’t care about the location of your stateroom; and, (c) you’re not worried about airfare, either because you’re driving to the cruise port or using awards miles to pay for your flight.

A better strategy for most people is to book a cruise as early as possible to take advantage of the initial low fares before the cruise lines start raising prices. If a better deal becomes available before the final payment date, it’s a simple matter to re-book and get the better deal. After the final payment date, you can use the “last minute deal upgrade” strategy to improve your stateroom category.

I always enjoy talking with you. I hope you found this interesting.

Warm regards,

Vince Bonfanti
Franchise Owner

Expedia CruiseShipCenters
Alpharetta, GA

PS: at the meeting at CruiseShipCenters fellow cruises told me they book to get the cabin they want and can watch airfares to get a good price there too.

Thanks to Vince for this excellent reply to my question of Why should I book a cruise early?

Robert Fowler, Boomer Places

bomer cruiser

AARP Discounts: Consumer Cellular

In retirement it is wise to control your expenses and a good way to do that is to review your current expenses to see if there is a way to save some money by decreasing your pay outs for existing services. This is a good exercise actually for everyone regardless if you are retired or not.

I called the cable company and was able to reduce my monthly expenses, at least for a few months. Good start.

So I took a look at our cellular phone bill and was surprised to see how high the cost has gotten.  We had the same large carrier for over 20 years now and I think I have fallen asleep with regards to scrutinizing their bills. I figured I should be able to do better than this. So I contacted them but they were not willing to reduce the costs, just offered to give me a little more services which I didn’t want.

So I did some checking around and found Consumer Cellular through AARP was offering very reasonable fees for all the coverage we needed. We could save some serious money by switching to Consumer Cellular.  With AARP membersip benefits activation is free and you get a 5% discount every month on service and usage charges with no contract. So the cost and terms were much better than my existing plan.

Consumer Cellular is Less Money But Are They As Good?

I checked the community website where we will be moving to shortly and three people in the discussion group said they have Consumer Cellular and have fine service. Others also say the service is fine, in fact they used the same towers that AT&T and T-Mobile use.

So do I have to use one of those big phones? Nope, you probably can use your existing phone if it has a SIM card. So mostly likely you can use your existing phone or purchase one of many types of phones from them at a discounted price.

I called them and the representative was very helpful. Plus they have 100% USA based support.

Another plus in my book was that they have no contracts so I am not locked into one of those two year contracts again. Their 100% risk free guarantee means you can try Consumer Cellular for up to 45 days with 450 minutes and cancel with no charge whatsoever as I understand it. Also the representative told me that there are no hidden fees, no shipping nor credit card fees.

So if you are looking for an easy way to save on monthly costs without giving anything up, a look into AARP Consumer Cellular might be worth your time. Phone: 1-888-429-7449

AARP Consumer Cellular
AARP Consumer Cellular



Thanks to the ladies at the Consumer Cellular booth at Life@50 in South Beach for posing for the photo I took that appears at the top of this post. And thanks for the helpful info.