Easy Money Management for Baby Boomers

The number of baby boomers hitting retirement is well, booming, to say the least! While the idea of retirement is usually a welcome prospect, many baby boomers are encountering a bit of a struggle juggling retirement with their current lifestyle. The struggle is largely in part to being ill-prepared financially, leaving many boomers flailing just to stay afloat.

The simple fact of the matter is that there are a number of factors working against the aging baby boomer population, making financial stability difficult to obtain. The recent recession in the American economy played a large role, creating instability in the stock markets, financial institutions, and housing markets. This left a wake of financial ruin to many boomers, even those who thought they were secure. Along with the recession is the rise in unemployment. Jobs that were once considered secure became bankrupt, and steady incomes slowed to a trickle.

Another big contributor affecting boomers is financial planning, or lack thereof. While it may seem like a primitive and simple concept, proper financial planning has proven quite elusive for many boomers. Unfortunately, it is key to a financially-sound retirement. While financial planning is most effective when started as early as possible, just remember that it is never too late to start.

The Basics:

Personal Finance – This may seem like an archaic concept, but getting your personal finances in order is one of the first steps in successfully managing your money. Many programs exist (both free and paid) that can simplify this process. Sites such as www.mint.com offer a wealth of free tools that make budgeting, spending, and saving, a quick and easy process. Other programs exist that cater to taxes, HSAs, investments and practically any other financial category.

Financial Advisors – While you may think that you can manage your money effectively, many boomers find themselves stuck in a hole without a shovel. This is where a professional can help. Financial advisors make a living helping folks effectively manage their assets in as lucrative a way as conceivably possible. They are up-to-date on current investment strategies and many have reputations of making clients good money.

Banking – Most people see a bank as a convenient way to handle their money. While that is absolutely true, most banks are offer fantastic financial resources to their members. For instance, a bank might offer financial advice completely free simply for using their services to handle your assets. Aside from that, many banks have investment advisors, mortgage specialists, and other financial professionals on site.

If your retirement fund leaves a lot to desire, then it is important to get in control of it as soon as possible. Whether you utilize a personal finance program, a financial advisor, a banking professional, or all of the above, there are a lot of ways to grasp the reins. Your retirement should be a time of rest and relaxation, not a time of turmoil.

Baby Boomers Come Full Circle

What do Robin in NYC, Ann in St. Louis and Robert in Atlanta have in common? More than you might expect. since all three are boomers at a certain stage of life. Connecting on Facebook you can see commonality.

Robin recently retired buying a second home in Miami Beach. Ann downsized and moved to a senior living community. Robert is moving from his 3 level suburban home to a Del Webb active adult community. A more suitable residence in retirement is certainly a common theme these days with older boomers.

We have been downsizing. Robert posted on Facebook his baby pictures (above) from 67 years ago that he was disposing of. This brought a plethora of comments. Family members not wanting their relatives photos discarded. Robin like my wife Mary Ann is the keeper of one of her parents photos that were inherited. What to do with those? Scan and upload to the cloud? And how about your own photos from a long life? Well we don’t have children, so those big prints of my baby pictures that my mother thought were so good, are now in the recycle. Each person’s decision about what to do with family photographs and other keepsakes will be different, but we are all faced with the dilemma. Meanwhile shredding even business records brings back a flood of memories. Observations are made… look how cheap things were… how skinny we were.

By the way, it turns out all three of us have been or are bloggers. We like to tell stories from our lives, some from a long time ago, others from what is happening in our lives currently. These stories bring others to comment about how they remember too or this is what they are now doing also.

I know a lot of my friends are enjoying traveling quiet a bit. We are too. It is fun and interesting to hear about trips my friends are taking.

Ann says it seems we boomers have come full circle. I offer that we come into this world with nothing and we will leave with nothing. But I think Ann is talking about more than just that. We baby boomers seem to be connecting more these days.

Remember when we were growing up, in those new schools being build for us, going off to college, being drafted, etc. We were all going through something new together. Then life happened and we went our different ways. But now having the time and inclination to connect again, we see that we do have a lot in common, memories but new experiences too. Rick Bava brought a lot of this together in his new book “In Search of The Baby Boomer Generation” which you will both enjoy and it will enlighten you on trends in our boomer lives today as well.

Anyway, thanks to Robin and Ann for a lively chat on Facebook and inspiring this post.

Robert Fowler

Boomers Find Path to Senior Games via Senior Centers

When I started retiring less than 10 years ago, I would have never in my wildest dreams thought I would be competing at the National Senior Games. Yet, I just returned from that event where I competed in two race walking competitions. It is an experience I will remember the rest of my life.

My unexpected path to the National Senior Games as it turns out, is a common one shared by many people I have spoken with. It began with me, as others, at our local senior center.

A few years ago I discovered Park Place Adult Center here in my town Johns Creek GA and began walking with the Park Place Pacers.  The men’s group was only me and Don from Cleveland and Lamond from New Jersey. We walked about 3.2 miles through Newtown Park three times a week, sharing the news of the day and stories from our lives.

Then at the annual North Fulton Golden Games we were pitted against 4 or 5 other local senior centers in a day of competition which included a couple of walking races. I heard about how good some of the other walkers were and we began training a little.

At the North Fulton Golden Games a gentleman 10 years older than me beat me in the one half mile race by 20 yards!  I was puzzled. Upon researching I found out he was race walking, a technique that makes you more efficient so you can walk faster.

I learned that the upcoming 2014 state level competition called the Georgia Olympics had a competition in race walking.  I signed up for some instructions in race walking and made the trip down to Warner Robins for the state meet last Sept where I came in 2nd in my age group for the 1500 meter race walk.

That qualified me for the National Senior Games in St. Paul MN in July 2015, so I signed up for the 1500 meters and the 5K race walks and began training a couple of months ago. The competition at the National Senior Games is fierce with 1200 athletes coming from all over the country to compete. The heat from my 1500 meter race, for example, shows 20 men coming from 19 different states for that race, many of which have been there before.

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The experiences were valuable and enjoyable all along the way. Nothing like walking with new friends at your local senior center.  Competition at the state level gets those juices flowing while still fun.  At the National Senior Games level you are competing with the best but you don’t have to be a pro to enjoy it,  if you can make it that far.

Competing at any of these levels you will have the fellowship with others and enjoy their company. Everyone is happy and excited to be there. It is motivating as well to see what some people can accomplish in their 50+ lives. The training and discipline at the sate and national level is amazing.

I would encourage anyone to get involved with their local Senior Center, Active Adult Center, Adult Recreation Center, whatever it is called, and give it a try. Your life will be better for it. You will get some activity, develop some new routines on your schedule, and make new friends while sharing those activities.

Robert Fowler, age 67

PS: I came in 8th place at the National Senior Games and got a certificate and an experience I will remember. Who knows, maybe I will be going to the next National Senior Games which will be in Birmingham AL in July 2017. Hope to see you there. Find your senior center.  Here are some pics I took at the National Senior Games in Minnesota.

national senior games winners

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

basketball at national senior games

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

womens competion at National Senior Games