Showing posts from February, 2017

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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 …

Retirement and Watching Birds Feed

What do retirement and birds feeding have to do with each other? Well, usually not much. I guess you could say that retirement gives someone the time and freedom to watch the bird feeder in the backyard, and that's true. But, that is not where this is going.

I was watching birds eat on a particular morning not too long ago. Nothing was out of the ordinary. Dozens of them flew into the yard at first light and swarmed the feeder, suspended on a pole 7 feet in the air.

Those that couldn't get a clawhold on the feeder's lip waited patiently on the walls.

After an appropriate amount of time (in bird-time), a new batch would flap to the feeder and push away those who were already feeding. This process repeated itself for at least 20 minutes. I  moved on to something else as most of my morning visitors flew off to start their day.

Before leaving my chair and heading inside, what suddenly became obvious was the way some of the birds acted. While the majority jostled for space on the f…

Showing Love: Helping Our Aging Parents

Almost six and a half years ago I wrote a post about how we exhibit  love when we care for our parents as they age. Just last week I re-read that post and felt a twinge: I still had both of my parents when it was written. I wanted to share this with you again since this is something virtually all of us must deal with at some point. I haven't changed the original text which was written while both were still alive.

For many of us, One of the toughest things we face is dealing with our parents as they age. Watching someone you love decline is not pleasant. My mom and dad are struggling so I am learning as I go. Since they live in town that makes my wife and me the primary caregivers, though my brothers do what they can by long distance.

Almost 4 years ago, my parents had the foresight to move into a retirement community. It offers independent and assisted living options as well as a nursing care center. They wanted to avoid the situation where one or both became unable to care for them…

Social Security and Disability Insurance

The following is a guest post

Social Security might be seared into your mind as an iconic symbol of American retirement. That’s for good reason, with 43 million people counted in 2015 as receiving $56 billion in retirement benefits. But people over 50 should also realize there’s another side to Social Security.

It’s a major support program for people whose disabilities leave them unable to work. Another 11 million workers with disabilities and their dependents collect more than $11 billion in Social Security Disability benefits. And the Social Security Administration (SSA) predicts that your odds of needing the program will increase as you age. Among people who are 20 years old today, the SSA estimates more than a quarter of them will develop disabilities before age 67.
Applying for Social Security Disability (SSD) is a complex process, but it’s another element you might need to understand as part of your retirement planning.

Understanding Social Security Disability
First, it’s important t…

My 5 Least Used Purchases

I saw a press release a few weeks ago that noted Americans spend an estimated $9.5 billion on unwanted Christmas gifts. Many are either returned or discarded. Over the years I am sure I have contributed to that problem. I remember the year I gave my wife a non-working blender. I remember because she reminds of that faux pas occasionally. I received a grey, homemade, Nehru suit from my mother-in-law many years ago. It was as ugly as it sounds. No way was that being worn!

The subject triggered a thought: What purchases have I made that I simply don't use? These were not gifts, rather stuff I bought on purpose. Either the "need" wasn't real, the product doesn't work as advertised, or that season of my life has passed. Too many end up in the garage or storage shed. Here are five that come to mind (I am sure there are many more!):

*Fitbit Heart Rate Tracker. This was one of the best selling items on Amazon this past holiday season. I know a few people who own one or wan…

Ask Your Financial Advisor These 6 Questions

Not everyone agrees that a financial advisor is necessary. Some of us are quite good at fiscal discipline, understand how investments work, and have the experience and temperament to handle our financial future on our own.

For the rest of us (me!), having someone who can help us minimize mistakes and help us reach our goals is prudent. Just like we shouldn't self-diagnose ourselves when a funny-looking skin growth appears somewhere on our body, our financial health benefits from guidance. 

In thinking about this post, I figured there are a probably two dozen questions or concerns I could come up with if I were hunting for a new financial advisor (which I am not).  But, that is a bit overwhelming. You might look at such an extensive list and assume that finding the right person is too difficult. 

So, I have trimmed the list of key questions to six. The answer to each might lead you to another question or two, and that is good. Though not on the list, the most important question is one…