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Showing posts from September, 2016

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What One Thing Would You Change In Your Life?

I know, you have several things you'd like to change. One thing isn't nearly enough. Altering your life can be a constant process. Even so, by picking one thing you will be forced to prioritize what is really important to you at this moment. 

This is a tough question. I had to give it a lot of thought. Physical conditioning, missed experiences, strengthening my important relationships, working harder to build up this blog, still worrying too much about money, choosing easy over hard....I have plenty to pick from. 

Of course, the choice really has to be within the realm of reality. No matter how much I might enjoy it, I will never be a professional baseball player or pro golfer. I cannot break the world record for high jumps. I am not going to the Olympics (except as a spectator). That 50 foot cabin cruiser is never going to sail with me at the helm. 

Since I think we are all interested in each other's answers, I am going to keep my part of this post very short. This is a bit …

Owning Our Choices: The Power Within

Blogger Galen Pearl is is one of my favorite writers. She is also a very good friend to Betty and me. So, I wasn't surprised when I asked her to write a guest post and she quickly agreed. You probably know her from the 10 Steps To Finding Your Happy Place blog, or her latest effort, No Way Cafe.

Here is her insight on an important satisfying retirement topic: choice. I look forward to your comments.

“I have no choice!” Recently, several people spoke these words to me while describing situations that were causing them deep distress. The situations were very different, but in each case, my first thought was, “Of course you have a choice.”
In one situation, for example, the parents were in despair over an adult child who was still living at home. Not an unusual scenario these days. But the adult child was not making any effort to find work or otherwise contribute to the household. On the contrary, she took over the living room, falling asleep on the couch watching TV till late at night,…

When a "Normal" Retirement Doesn't Work

For many of us, a satisfying retirement follows a pattern that seems almost preordained. We work for several decades. We live a "normal" life, spending more than we should at times, but careful to set aside money for the future. We try to control our human urge for instant gratification and do our best to live within a budget. Eventually, we leave the world of work and begin to experience the freedom of this new phase of our life.

Social Security starts. Medicare eases many of our worries about health expenses. We travel some, spend more time with family, satisfy our creative urges, volunteer in a way that gives back some of our blessings, and often see growth in our spiritual life. In short, our retirement is what we hoped for.

Unfortunately, not everyone lives this picture. A post a month or so ago dealt with grandparents becoming parents. That topic generated some excellent comments. Most of us expect that the daily parenting part of our life is over as we approach retireme…

I've Changed my opinion about....

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......The Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare. Now, before you shoot daggers at me, I will add that the system we had before Obamacare was a dismal failure, too. Sick people were denied coverage. Life-saving tests were unaffordable for many. Insurance companies could decide a treatment was not warranted and people would die. Those without employer-provided policies who didn't have any dreaded "pre-existing conditions"  faced back-breaking premiums, deductibles, and limitations. Bankruptcies happened.


So, where are we? The unfettered for-profit system prior to 2010 was a train wreck. The ACA is headed to a future where premiums are too expensive to pay because competition has disappeared. Health care companies have figured out they are better off walking away from customers if they are too sick. The fines for not have health coverage are so low that many younger people are better off paying the penalty rather than hundreds of dollars a month for coverage with hu…

An Average Life? Aim Higher

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Average means ordinary or usual. Average is what many people aspire to be. Don’t rock the boat, don’t stand out, don’t make waves. I’m guessing you want more. You want each day to be special, to mean something. You’d like your life to follow a path that you create.

Here’s the answer: ignore common wisdom. Just forget it. Common is average. Your life can be more by being different. Here are 4 ways to break from the pack and create a satisfying retirement lifestyle that is under your control.

1) Short cuts usually get you lost. Too many people figure they know how to get something for nothing. Hard work is for suckers. The path to glory and greatness lies through other's efforts or money. Don’t bother perfecting your skills. Don’t waste time learning what you need to know. Look for the easy way. Look for the shortcut. Just don’t be surprised if you find yourself in the forest with no way out.

There are no shortcuts on the road to a non-average life. You have to want it enough to work h…

Adult Coloring Books

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Color me surprised. 

Last year over 12 million adult coloring books were sold in the United States. There are coloring books for adults in bookstores, craft shops, and on-line. There are adult coloring clubs, Facebook groups, and Instagram pages. Groups gather for community and conversation with coloring groups in most cities across the country. If this is a fad, it is a pretty healthy one. 

Frankly, I was completely in the dark about adult coloring books, until a few month ago when my daughters showed me some of the beautiful art work they had created. I was given a few pages to try. While the results don't make me a Van Gogh, I was pleasantly surprised that they didn't look terrible. Of course, like paint-by-numbers, it is pretty hard to make serious mistakes when what you are doing is coloring in open spaces. But, choosing the colors that go together is, well, artistic! I did find it enjoyable to focus on the page and shut off all other thoughts for awhile. 

So, I started to d…

On The RV Road Again

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As I write this, we have just arrived in Oklahoma City. After leaving home on Monday, September 5th, we have driven 960 miles, stopped in 7 different towns, and had a tremendous time. With about 6 weeks to go on our RV trip, we are adding experiences, memories, and photos to our satisfying retirement.

Unlike previous trips, we are keeping most travel days to only 3 hours on the road. That means less wear and tear on the driver (me!) and allows us to arrive at our new destination by early afternoon. There is plenty of time to get things set up, relax, and see any local sights that grab our attention.

Normally, we will stay for just one night in smaller towns, and then two nights in areas with more to see. With careful planning this has meant extra time in the bigger towns of Albuquerque, Amarillo, and now, OKC. 

Frankly, we could spend much longer in each place, but we have family visits built around certain timing that means this is the best setup for now. On the return trip from Tenness…

Downsizing To a Forever Home

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One of the bloggers I enjoy following is Barbara Hammond. Zero to 60 and beyond is a lively chronicle of her retirement journey.  More than that, it is a place she shares details of her turbulent and difficult childhood, a journey soon to be turned into a book.
I look forward to her thoughts and beautiful photos on Facebook.  At one point I discovered that she and I actually worked at the same time for competing radio stations in Pittsburgh, she in sales and me in program consulting. Small world!
After too many moves to catalogue, she and her husband made a dream come true: they moved from the big city to a small seaside resort town at the southern tip of New Jersey. I asked if she would give us an overview of what that journey looked like and some of the adjustments she had to make to downsize to a smaller town.

"I didn’t see an ocean until I was seventeen. I had lived on the edge of Lake Erie my entire life. It wasn’t for lack of moving that I hadn’t reached the outer edges of the…

Retirement and Being Single

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Being single and retired brings some special issues that face folks attempting to navigate a satisfying retirement journey. As someone who has been married for 40 years I barely remember what it was like to be single, so I can only pass along some general thoughts gleaned from Internet research and life experiences. But, I am sure there is helpful insight and feedback from readers who are in this position. So, I will be asking for your participation in the comments section.

For purposes of this post, I am defining a single person as someone who is living alone and has never been married, or if divorced or widowed, did not receive enough financial support to eliminate most worries. That all goes to say the single person is on his or her own to make retirement work.

Single Person Disadvantages Research shows that a single retired person tends to save less for retirement than a married couple. That makes common sense. With the majority of married couples today being two income households, a…

Building Your Next Adventure

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Yesterday, Betty, our dog, Bailey, and I left on our RV trip. We will cover over 5,000 miles while driving through 11 different states. We will meet up with family and friends, one of whom we haven't seen in 40 years. We will spend time with folks I have only met through blogging. 

Already this year we have had a tremendous week with friends at the Palm Springs Film Festival and taken our first Alaskan cruise. We have been to Flagstaff for cool weather and a cute B &B experience. We rented a house three blocks from the beach in San Diego for a fabulous week of family experiences. We discovered a great getaway place; Silver City, NM. In early December it will be back to Disneyland with the grandkids.

Now, a long RV trip. It has been a busy year. But, there are things we give up. We will miss family. Our grandson will have his 10th birthday before we get home. Our youngest daughter will be packing up for a move to a different part of the Phoenix area. A lot of life will have happe…

When Children Become Part of Retirement

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This comment was left on a blog post last month:
"One subject that I would suggest has to do with Grandparents (retired) who find themselves assisting adult children and grandchildren through financial and/or emotional difficulties; sometimes long term. I have two friends who have custody of their grandchildren. One has embraced it as a "second chance", while the other struggles with the disruption to her recent retirement. In both cases, they were the only option for the children. So, it makes me wonder just how many situations like this there are out there, and how people cope with their circumstances."
What an excellent and important question. Whether you are a grandparent or not, have a similar situation or know of someone who does, or have never really thought about it before, this is a topic full of important issues. For this post, let's assume that the grandkids are not someone's responsibility because of the tragic death of the parents. I think that p…