More Older and Happier Ideas

I have been reading a good book titled “Older And Happier!” by Dag Sebastian Ahlander.  He has 109 handy ideas for living life to the fullest. It’s about living the good retirement life from his perspective as a happy old man.

In my previous post, Baby Boomers Get Older and Happier, I covered some of these from the book that I really related to, so I will now share a few more.

More Older and Happier Ideas

1. Resolve Your Feelings of Guilt and Bitterness

Mend your relationships or forget and move on is the idea. Many times there is nothing that can be done. Let it go.

2. Now is the Time to Do All The Things You Have Always Wanted To Do.

As this sign I saw in a window last week says: this is not your practice life. Focus on the possibilities not the challenges. Travel, write a book, start a business, learn something new, the possibilities are endless. Only you can stop you.  Stay engaged and have some fun!

3. Tell Your Life Stories

Write a book, tell your friends, start a blog are all ways to get your Boomer Stories out there. It will be rewarding and fun for you and others also enjoy hearing them. I will always remember Ann and I telling our boomer stories right here on Boomer Places. My walking buddies and I share stories from our lives.

4. Grow Your Garden

There is something very therapeutic and rewarding about growing a garden. When I retired I started two simple 4X4 feet square gardens and grew tomatoes, squash, cucumbers and lettuce. Gives you something to look forward everyday and gets you outside plus rewards you with the bounty!

5. Stops Acting Too Rationally

Not everything needs to be planned out. Be spontaneous once in a while. Do stuff you can do now, before it’s too late. No regrets.

If you are retired like me you probably can relate to each of these. It’s nice to see a few more ideas for positive changes as we age.

Originally posted 2015-02-15 16:47:00.

Retirement Home Purchase And A Tree Fetish

If you are considering purchasing your retirement home, make sure you check out the trees that are in the yard. Here’s why.

trees

There are many things to consider when a person purchases a home for their retirement days.  So far, I think that it is best for me to retire in a senior apartment.  Now that I am divorced, I really do not want the responsibility that goes along with home ownership.  Of course if I found a small house, I would be willing to rent a retirement home.  When I was younger, I had the pleasure of owning several houses.  All of them had beautiful trees in the yard.  I have a tree fetish.   Something about trees fascinates me.  My tree fetish came with a price.

One house that I owned had beautiful large trees in the backyard.  It reminded me of being in a forest.   When fall came the leaves turned beautiful colors but fell off the trees. I did not have one of those munchers, just a hand held rake.  For days I worked and worked.  I swept the leaves up and put them in plastic bags.  The city would not take them away unless they were in paper bags.  I came up with a bright idea just to throw the bags in the old shed out back.  Then summer arrived.  The lawn mower was in the shed.  When I opened the door, I was met by hornets.  They chased me into the house.  Lucky for me, I had a friend that was not afraid to get my lawn mower out of the shed.  By winter the huge hornet nest had frozen.  It captivated one guy that I called who collected hornet nests.  It was so big and a great find for him.  He removed it when the weather got real cold.  Yes, hornets like leaves but not cold weather.

Then spring came again.  I had saved all my pennies for a weekend get away.  When I returned home, I found one of the huge tree limbs laying on my neighbor’s garage roof.  My home owners insurance did not cover so that was another expense.  Later the trees needed trimming.  Some of the branches had died.  The estimates were over $3,000 and my back account said $300.  In addition, the trees had poison ivory growing in them.  Lucky for me again!  I found a couple of guys that needed some bucks and they cut me a deal to do the trimming.

Then the day came that I wanted to build a deck.  Yes, you guessed it!  One of the trees had to be cut down because it was too close to the house. The estimates to have the tree removed were more than the estimate to build the deck.  Lucky for me though, I found the same guys needing a few bucks.  This time though they did not haul the trees away.  The city inspector was not pleased and I got a citation.  Now I had to dish out another $1,000 for tree removal.  Slowly, though I was loosing my tree fetish.

Actually I did loose my fetish when buying my next house.  There were no trees in the back.  It wasn’t long until I missed the good old shade trees.  My friend and I found a lovely house with many trees. She had a DISLIKE for gum balls which grow on Sweet gum trees.  She had fought the gum balls at her last residence.  The more she sweep up and put in trash cans the more that fell.  It is unreal how may gum balls that can fall from a sweet gum tree.

You guessed it.  The new house had sweet gum trees.  When it rained the balls fell. It sounded like hail hitting the roof.  that really makes for poor sleeping.  Brody, my dog could be heard howling when he stepped on the gum balls.  They hurt his feet.  Also it was not pleasant when I stepped on them either.  One’s ankle can twist and cause a serious accident.  When sitting out on the deck it was almost necessary to wear a helmet to protect one’s head from falling gum balls.  Needless to say, once again the trees had to come down.  Not only was this a sad day because of the lack of shade, there were no guys that needed a few bucks.  Oh my, tree removal is expensive.

So if you live in a small town or a city and are considering purchasing your retirement home, make sure you check out the trees that are in the yard.  A sweet gum tree is great if there is a large yard and the tree is not growing near the house.  Also, remember there are pine cones on pine trees.  They make great decoration during the holiday season but you may not want a yard full of pine cones.  There is a lot to look at and consider when buying a retirement home.  Make your expense list and take it from me.  IF YOU HAVE A TREE FETISH MAKE SURE THAT YOU ALLOW A GOOD SIZE PORTION OF MONEY ON THE BUDGET TO TAKE CARE OF YOUR TREES.

Happy retirement home hunting!  Make it fun!  Enjoy the journey and make it the place of your dreams!  Actually, a nice palm tree in one of those 55 communities in Florida is sounding real nice to me!  🙂

Originally posted 2012-01-26 20:58:56.

Retirement Lifestyles: How It Was and How It Is Today

Working Boomer takes a look at how lifestyles, health care, housing, retirement used to be and compares it to today.

In 1953, I was five years old and my parents were in their 40’s.  The small town in Arkansas where I lived lacked a hospital.  The physician in town was elderly and only worked part time. The local pharmacy gave out prescription drugs from behind the counter without a Doctor’s Approval.  Health care was lacking in many rural areas.  Some folks resorted to using home remedies to treat their own illnesses.  There were folks that made the difficult choice of keeping a roof over their families heads instead of health care.  For some renting was the only option.

After reaching the age for early social security, my parents were able to purchase their first house at the age of  62. They had worked hard all their lives in order to see that small social security check that would enable them to retire. Retirement for them consisted of planting a garden, visiting with neighbors, canning vegetables, growing flowers, and an occasional fishing outing at the nearest pond or river. Other than that, there were not many resources for other types of recreation or social affairs. Therefore, that is how it was.

Unlike my parents, I had the opportunity to own a home by the age of nineteen after moving to the city.  Jobs were plentiful in the 80’s.  Health care went through many changes during that period.  There were many physicians, hospitals, skilled nursing facilities all growing larger in number, offering specialized care.  No longer did one go to the pharmacy without a prescription to obtain a needed behind the counter drug.  Insurance companies paid a patients bill with out the high out of pocket cost that are seen today.

Today there are retirement communities, retirement jobs, and senior housing for those that can afford or qualify for them. There are over 15,000 senior citizen centers in the United States that offer all types of recreation and social affairs. In addition, they enable seniors to live and experience healthier lives.

Some boomers are like me; living on one income, working and waiting for more health care changes.  Others are struggling with taking care of aging parents while juggling their work lives and family responsibilities.  Some have postponed retirement due to the economy and job loss.  Then there are those that are trying to help their grown children that have had job loss during these difficult times.  Boomers are going back to school, taking on jobs to supplement their retirement income.  Some people are ready for retirement so they can relax, travel, and do things that they have waited so long to do. Therefore, that is how it is.

No matter how it was or how it is, one thing still remains the same. Life is life and it is important how we live it!  The past is the past.  In today’s world, we have the resources along with our wisdom.  It is up to us to be creative and utilize the resources that are available to us.  Each one of us has our own opinion as to what retirement means in our life.  We are the beginning of a big change yet to come!

Originally posted 2011-03-08 13:57:47.

Planning for a Successful Retirement

Most of us know how important it is to stay flexible with our retirement planning due to life situations. Things can happen that will set us on a different

Most of us know how important it is to stay flexible with our retirement planning due to life situations.  Things can happen that will set us on a different course.  Many of these have happened to me.  In order to not get discouraged, it is important to stay as flexible as possible.  Acceptance is the key.  Just know that it is okay to take a different road if necessary or even just because you want to do it.

Tips for a Successful Retirement

Here are some things that may require flexibility as you go into your retirement journey.

  1. Housing – You may own your home but decide that a smaller one would be less work.  Then a senior apartment or villa might interest you.  Recently, I looked into some that offered house cleaning services, meals, health care provisions, recreational activities and trips.  If you enjoy the company of those your age then a 55 community might be what you would like.
  2. Travel- Some people decide to travel after many years of raising children or working.  This may not have been something that you were able to do during your earlier years.  Maybe you have found that your finances in retirement may not include cruises or trips to Europe.  Consider touring your own city or a near by state.  There are bus tours that are offered at adult centers.  These groups have fun!
  3. Television has changed.  Some of your favorite programs are no longer there.  Try reading, going to the library, exercising at the senior center, volunteering, or starting a new retirement hobby.
  4. Maybe in your earlier years you had a mate but you now find yourself alone at retirement age.  Friends can be made at church, senior centers, and social media.  You might even want to join a site for dating which is for seniors.
  5. Then there are those of us that have not been so successful with finances due to life circumstances and changes in the economy.  There are part time jobs that you may want to consider to supplement your retirement or social security income.
  6. Maybe you thought that your grown children would always be there for you.  Instead, they may have had to move far away due to job needs.  In that case, look into long term insurance, learn about assisted living, have an immediate emergency plan.  Learn about the resources in your area that are offered through hospitals, churches, senior centers, and many civic centers.
  7. Times are changing.  Post offices are even starting to disappear.  Be receptive to change.  Take a computer class.  Take advantage of learning opportunities at a near by college or library.  Many courses are offered for free.
  8. Transportation- There may have been a time that you drove your vehicle.  Now, for whatever reason, driving is not possible.  Find our about transportation that is in your area.  Some areas have public transportation with discounts for seniors.
  9. Gardening and lawn care-  Plant what you love!  Try some new things that might grow easily.  It might even be time to invest in a riding lawn mower if your yard is large.  Then again, if finances allow, look into hiring some help for those hot summer days.  Also if you live where there is lots of snow, help another by having them shovel your driveway.  They can use the money and you can use the help.  It is okay.  After all we want to stay safe and warm in our golden years.
  10. Diet and exercise-  At one time you may have enjoyed all those high calorie and high cholesterol foods.  I am hear to tell you that weigh is much easier taken off in the early years.  Read all you can about healthy eating, exercising and then do what you can.  You may find you feel better and really enjoy it.  It doesn’t take an expensive gym or exercise equipment.  Walking can reduce stress and is very healthy.
  11. Support system-  Some of us lack a healthy support system of friends or relatives.  Socialization is important as we age during our retirement years.  This is something that I need to work on myself since I am a night shift worker.  Remember, you are not alone.  Keep trying to meet people that understand, are caring, and honest with you.  Reaching out can sometimes be hard but we must do it.  Again, there are many clubs that you can join to meet people.  There are book clubs, fitness clubs, bird watching clubs,nature clubs, travel clubs and many others.  Find your niche and go for it!
  12. Pets-  If you are able to care for a pet and like animals, then get one.  Of course you must be able to care for their health too.  They can make a great companion and supply unconditional love.  There are many shelters with loving pets that may just be waiting for your love.

As you can see from reading, I did not focus on finances for a reason.  Many times in life, we plan and our plans can be taken away in a day, week, month or year.  This happened to me as it has happened to many of you that are boomer age.  I hope that this blog has made you think, not worry.  Our brains need exercise to stay healthy.  I hope that you add many positive comments to this list for all of us to consider. What have you encountered in your retirement planning that has helped when staying flexible as things change to stay the course for a successful retirement?

Originally posted 2012-04-12 11:39:57.

Baby Boomers Can Save by Banking On-Line

Save with On-Line Banking

Baby Boomers, have you tried on-line banking? You might want to consider it. To feel safe, put a month or so’s worth of money in a separate account in your bank. Make that your on-line account. Try paying your bills for a month and see how you like it. Pay small bills first so that you can become familiar with how it works. It looks like some of the mega banks use the same system. It also looks like some of the mega banks don’t purchase as fully functional parts of banking on-line as some of their competitors. Pay the big bills by check for the first month and evaluate how you like it.

2 things you should see right from the start.

  • The first is that you will be able to pay your bills in much less time than before you banked on-line.
  • The second is you do not have to pay for postage.

If the individual or business you are paying does not have a way to receive electronic payments, then the bank will mail the check to the Pay To party at their expense. I save money and I save time. Has a payment ever arrived late due to no fault of my own. Yes and the bank will get involved in your behalf. Check your terms but my bank will take care of the late fee and any penalty. They will follow up with the Pay To party to make sure your account is credited properly when they are alerted by you that the payment has not arrived as it should have. You can have the bank alert you when it is paying your bill; that is automated in that you set it once by payee and it will always respond to that payee as you indicated. You can set up recurring payments as well. I have not paid individuals and companys by getting electronic bills but I still receive paper bills and pay them through my bank. You can also view your account’s activity for deposits, withdrawals, etc. It is helpful to have some of this information when you rectify your monthly statements.

If paying bills on-line is not for you, just cancel the on-line ability to transact business from this account or try another bank as it may have software more to your liking. You are the customer and things should be done the way you want to do business. If you are not comfortable, go to where you are comfortable. Take small steps, try new things that make sense and that others are using. Ask your friends if they are using on-line banking and how they like it. What do they like? What would they like to change? Which financial institution are they using? Are they using credit unions? Based on what I have read, I would not suggest doing this from a cell phone or a wireless connection. I would only use an ethernet cable connection from your computer to your home modem and only access your on-line banking from home through a favorite so that you do not mistype and go to a website with a similar name that may scam you. If you change passwords, payees or payee’s information for example, the bank automatically emails you and this helps prevent fraud. For more information on good deals, discounts and bargains, you might want to try www.discountdealguide.com

Originally posted 2011-12-23 14:05:37.

Boomers: Save on Medical Expenses

As Boomer turn age 60 they are facing larger medical expenses from health insurance premium increases and doctor visits. Here is how one Baby Boomer became proactive to manage his medical costs.

How We Saved on Medical Expenses

When I turned age 60 I was jolted with a large health insurance premium increase. My wife also pointed out how much we were paying for other medical expenses. This prompted us to review what we were spending and the objective was to see what we could do to reduce medical costs now that we are semi-retired. We have been able to substantially save on our medical costs, mostly by being smarter about it and being proactive. Here’s how we did it.

1. Shop for a Better Deal on Health Insurance Since we were self employed and paying our own premiums the raises at age 60 were really hurting. We both shopped around and I was able to change from Blue Cross Blue Shield to Aetna Insurance and saved $261 per month for similar or better coverage and deductible. My new policy has dental coverage for two preventive visits per year saving me another $225. My wife has a preexisting condition and wasn’t able to get a better rate. Annual Saving: $3357

2. Call Your Insurance Company for Coverage Before Making Doctor Visits You can’t trust your doctor’s office to do this for you. They don’t know your coverage and don’t know how many visits you have had or how much you have spend towards your deductible. Calling your insurance company yourself is a major way to save on medical costs. Call the 800 number on your insurance card and tell them of your planned visit to a medical office and the purpose. Find out if it will be covered and do they have any suggestions. A lot of times it just depends on when, where and to whom you go for medical treatment. It can make all the difference in how much comes out of your pocket. Always call and take notes of who you talked to and what they said. Do not rely solely on coverage books or on-line information. Make the call.

For example for my annual routine eye exam I used to visit a board-certified ophthalmologist, a specialist in medical and surgical eye problems and the cost was $110 per visit and my insurance was not covering any of it since I did not have vision care. I called my insurance company to see what was covered and they said they covered eye exams by an optometrist, an eye care professional, like those at LensCrafters, so I changed and get the same comprehensive eye exam. Annual Saving $110

3. Time Visits to Your Policy Coverage Your policy may have a limit number of covered doctor visits per year. Also keep in mind if you have met your annual deductible. Don’t delay needed medical treatment but scheduling routine visits to your advantage really helps keep your cost down.

My wife need an overnight sleep study for Apnea so the doctor’s office scheduled it last December saying they had checked and it would be a covered expense as a doctor visit. But she had a 6 visit coverage limit on her policy which they didn’t know about. My wife knew she had used here 6 visits and rescheduled the sleep study to January. It was covered. Annual Saving $1800

4. Change to an In Network Doctor Call your insurance company to find a doctor in their network. This can make a huge difference in coverage. My story is that for my annual physical I tried to look up a doctor near me that was in my insurance company’s network. There were so many plans like mine that I couldn’t tell for sure what plan I had. I selected a doctor and called their office to verify they were in the network but they said they couldn’t advise tell either. I went ahead but it was not covered and I paid $400. This year I called my insurance company for a in network doctor. Come to find out that there was a doctor in the same office I went to last year that was in my network. Annual Saving $400

So the above steps resulted in a saving to us of $5673 in one year. I feel we received just as good or better medical service and saved lots of money. We will continue to be proactive in managing our medical expenses. I know there are lots more ways to save on medical expenses to be learned. We know no one will manage our medical expenses better than us. It is really not that hard to do, it is just recognizing you can make a difference by asking questions and participating in this part of your life which for so long was not as significant factor as it is now.

Robert Fowler is President of Retirement Media Inc

Originally posted 2011-12-23 14:18:17.