June 23, 2018

The 3 Worst Things You Can Do in Retirement: How To Avoid Them


Of course, there are all sorts of mistakes we make as we move through the retirement phase of life. I know, I committed many of them over the past 17 years. Some are just irritating or a waste of time. Some are from lack of knowledge until we have the experience to choose wisely.

The three listed below are among the most serious things we can do to sabotage our satisfying retirement. Why? Because they can chew up large chunks of time as you wait for things to sort themselves out.


1) To insist on following a pre-retirement plan, without change.

This is a biggie. I know, I did it. Being a very organized person, I had everything plotted out when my wife and I decided it was time to shut down my business and retire. I had worked on a budget for months. I met with my adviser several times to review where I stood and what I hoped to accomplish. I had no real hobbies or interests outside of work, but figured things would work themselves out. I figured I'd just push the start button and cruise for the next twenty five years.

Well, that was a mistake. Things did sort themselves out, but not for two years. My budget was great, except I forgot to allow for health care costs and increases once I was no longer covered by my plan at work. I forgot about vacations; I'm retired, who needs to take vacations? I underestimated the damage of inflation on my investments. I worried so much my wife offered to find a job, a job she hated, but her income made us both feel a little better. After a year of that, I asked her to quit. Watching her drive off to a job she despised while I sat at home and stewed was worse.

My lack of interests meant way too much time reading, napping, and watching old movies. Not until three years after retiring did I find something that became a lifelong interest. Once that barrier was broken, other passions quickly followed.

I learned that planning is very important, a specific plan is not. Retirement is about constant adjustments, to fiances, interests, needs versus wants, relationships. The two years I forced my life into my pre-arranged plan made things much rockier than they needed to be.


2) To wait for something good to begin.

That isn't the best way to approach your new life. Unlike work where your every move might have been under the control of others, retirement is when you can call most of the shots or simply be open to an opportunity. Waiting for something to develop just means missed opportunities, missed experiences, missed discoveries. 

Here is a good example from my life. Quite out of the blue I was asked to help newly released prisoners adjust to life on the outside. This was something completely outside of my realm of experience. I had never had contact with anyone who had gone through this process. Even so, I was aware that transitioning back into society can be quite difficult.

In any case, I said, yes. That decision lead to a six year involvement with a prison ministry organization. I went inside several state facilities to meet with the inmates before being released, and then was part of their life for at least six months after release. Being open to trying something totally out of my comfort zone lead to one of the most meaningful things I have done since I retired. 


3) To live in fear that your retirement will disappoint you.

If that is how you approach what lies ahead, that fear of disappointment could become a self-fulfilling prophesy. So much of what happens in retirement is under your control that disappointment should not paralyze you from taking steps to explore your potential.  

That said, I am not Mr. Rogers, where everything is sunny in my neighborhood. I am well aware that things can go wrong. Goals you plan for aren't met. Unexpected expenses put stumbling blocks in your path. The life you thought you'd live isn't working out.

First of all, every single one of those mishaps can happen while you are employed. Being alive guarantees problems and challenges. But, retirement is the time of life when you have so much more leeway to adjust and change. Sure, disappointment may (and probably will) occur during the 20 or 30 years of your journey. But, living in fear of what may happen just sucks the joy out of your day. 

If you are smart enough, dedicated enough, and disciplined enough to retire than you are quite capable of overcoming what life may through your way. Or, if the problem is the kind that can't be overcome, then you can adjust. Have faith and keep moving forward.

What do retired people do? They strive to eliminate these mistakes.

June 21, 2018

Preparing For Your Financial Future After Retirement

Click on the highlighted link below to taken directly to the book.


 Preparing For Your Financial Future after Retirement is a guide to the most exciting journey of your life, the one that takes place after retirement. This first in a series of three new booklet-length resources is now available.

Whether you are still working toward this new phase of your life, or already there, Preparing For Your Financial Future should be one of the resources you consult. It is an important step to take before retirement.

Taken from the pages of Satisfying Retirement, I have explored the most important subjects you should understand:


* Knowing When To Retire


* Knowing Where Retirement Income Comes From


* Knowing How Much Money You Really Need


* The Basics of Social Security


* Financial Literacy


* Should You pay Off Your Mortgage Before Retiring?


* Do You need a Professional Financial Advisor?


* What About Insurance? What Types Make Sense?



....and more. 

Available as a Kindle download, this guide is priced at just $3.49. The length is a reader-friendly 43 pages. If there is enough interest, I may also make a paperback version available in the future.

Designed to be part of a three booklet series, Preparing for Your Financial Future After Retirement covers the subjects that concern you most. 

The second booklet, Preparing for Your Active Life After Retirement will be available in July. The third booklet, Preparing To Make The Most of Your Free Time After Retirement will be available in August.

After the success of Living a Satisfying Retirement, I am pleased to offer vital retirement options and retirement advice in this new format. I'd very much appreciate your purchase of this booklet to help support  this blog, and as a resource for you. 

Positive reviews are crucial to the booklet's long term success. If you buy it and like it I'd appreciate a 4 or 5 rating. Any lower rating than that, I ask that you voice your concerns directly with me so I can fix any problems you identity.


Note: Living a Satisfying Retirement is undergoing a revision and is not available for sale at the moment until I am happy with the 2nd edition. In the meantime, please take a look at this new book available today.


June 18, 2018

Taking Care of the Caregiver: This is Vital




courtesy: pixabay.com

The Importance of Taking Care of Yourself

First, let’s dispel the myth that taking the time to take care of yourself is selfish. Self-care is always important, but never more critical than when you’re also caring for someone else. While you may feel that you must put someone else’s needs ahead of your own, neglecting what your body, spirit, and mind need is detrimental to your long-term health and well-being.

Signs of burnout include irritability, moodiness, depression, anxiety, frustration, and anger. If your energy levels dip, you’ve lost interest in hobbies, or find yourself resenting the person for whom you care, step back. Each of these symptoms is your body’s reaction to stress.

Self-care: not a reward, but part of the process

Besides preventing burnout, self-care reduces the effects of stress, and enables you to refocus. 

Increase your awareness of your daily stressors. Identify what causes you stress each day, and your physical and emotional reactions to it. Chart your symptoms for a week. Use that data to create a plan to manage your stress.

Listen to your body. When you’re tired, take a break. Cultivate a support system of family members, church and other community members, and visiting nurses to give you a break and/or provide regular respite care. 

Evaluate your caregiving work. Are there certain tasks that you find more challenging than others? Ask for help, and don’t turn it away when it’s offered. Be specific about what you need. 

De-stress healthfully
Avoid self-medicating with addictive substances, because doing so can put you at risk for serious issues like alcoholism. Stress makes it easy to drink another beer, have more wine after dinner, or reach for a cigarette or something else addictive. Instead, when you’re feeling the stress and know that it’s time to step away for a break, try these suggestions:

Schedule exercise. That’s right—add it to your calendar just like you do doctor’s appointments and other engagements. You don’t have to block out an hour every day if it’s not feasible, but aim for 20 to 30 minutes at least three times a week. Whether it’s a walk or jog around the neighborhood with a friend or partner, a solo bike ride, or a Spin class at the gym, commit to doing this for yourself.

Eat well. It’s easy to grab fast food through the drive-through, drink a mug of coffee and call it breakfast, and guzzle a diet soda for lunch. Whenever possible, though, you should reach for nutritious food that’s high in lean proteins, fiber, and vitamins and low in refined sugars, starches, and carbs. Don’t have a lot of time to cook? Prepare extra food and freeze leftovers for easy, quick future meals. Cultivate a positive relationship with a Crock-Pot or Instant Pot. A balanced diet will maintain your health and energy, and bolster your immune system.

Don’t sacrifice sleep. It’s tempting to come home and jump into the chores you’ve not had time to complete when you’re caring for someone else. But not allowing yourself time to relax makes it more difficult to get a good night’s sleep. End each day with a pre-bed routine, whether it’s reading a good book, soaking in a warm bath, or meditating. Try to unplug at least an hour before bedtime so that your brain has time to unwind, too.

Grow your tribe. Don’t discount the importance of friends. A solid support system is scientifically proven to improve your outlook. Plus, connecting with friends boosts oxytocin, which controls stress hormones and reduces anxiety.


A quick list of more self-care activities

Can’t spare more than a few minutes each day for yourself? You can still make it happen.

● Take a 10-minute walk and let the fresh air rejuvenate you.

● Set the timer for 15 minutes, pop on a favorite show, and put your feet up.

● Treat yourself. Schedule a bi-weekly massage, manicure, or whatever you enjoy that makes you feel good.

● Spend time snuggling with your pets.

● Meditate for a few minutes each day, or do yoga.

● Make time for your hobbies—whether it’s crafting, cooking, or diving into a good book.


Here are more self-care ideas you can adapt and incorporate into your life. 

This is a guest post from Harry Cline, someone with extensive experience in the field of caregiving. He is building what looks like an excellent resource at his web site: NewCareGiver.org. This post is filled with links for more information if you are interested.

Later this summer, he will be publishing a book that should be worth your time: The A-Z Home Care Handbook: Health Management How-Tos for Senior Caregivers.

Harry Cline is creator of NewCaregiver.org and author of the upcoming book, The A-Z Home Care Handbook: Health Management How-Tos for Senior Caregivers. As a retired nursing home administrator, father of three, and caregiver to his ninety-year-old uncle, Harry knows how challenging and rewarding caregiving can be. He also understands that caregiving is often overwhelming for those just starting out. He created his website and is writing his new book to offer new caregivers everywhere help and support.

Satisfying Retirement received no compensation for this post and is not necessarily endorsing any of the sites accessed by links provided by the other.


June 15, 2018

Shocking Retirement Medical Expenses: How Do You Cope?


A couple over 65 will spend at least $260,000 on medical care during the rest of their life. Even with Medicare and Medigap coverage that mountain of money is always on our mind. How is that for a figure guaranteed to disrupt your thoughts of a satisfying retirement?

My wife and I have been relatively lucky. While the American health care system is an absolute mess and not likely to get better in the near term, we have avoided big bills and debilitating problems. Betty has a series of medical issues she deals with by pushing through them, adjusting parts of her life to accommodate them, and waiting for Medicare coverage next year to proceed with some likely surgery.

I had a minor heart issue while on vacation three years ago, the normal number of colonoscopies for someone my age, an occasional bout of acid reflux which seems to be stress-related, and stiff knees and fingers. All in all, for a couple in their late to mid 60's, we have not been faced with medical issue or expense that we couldn't handle. 

What I am interested are your experiences. I have friends who are facing much more serious problems and more uncertain futures than we are. I know several of the blog readers have lived through some major medical issues that  caused real problems. My youngest brother had to go through a serious bout of colon cancer a few years ago. He is now 3 years cancer-free but that was a scary and uncomfortable time for him and his family.


What have you had to face? How did it affect your life? What adjustments have you made to your retirement? Have costs of medications or procedures forced you to ration care?

How is your attitude? What helped you get through the trials of whatever you faced? How has any of this affected your family?

What can you share to help the rest of us if we are faced with a serious, potentially life-threatening issue? 

June 13, 2018

Feeding Your Hidden Creativity [We all have it]


When I asked for new topics for this blog in the post, Where Does This Retirement Blog Go From Here?, a few suggested more about creativity. I'd venture to guess that few concepts are as misunderstood as creativity. So, let's see if I can clear up some misconceptions as well as provide a way to satisfy your desire to be more creative.

Wikipedia defines creativity as the use of the imagination or original ideas, especially in the production of an artistic work. To most of us that means the ability to paint or sculpt, play or compose music, sew unique clothing, build a beautiful wooden bookcase, write a novel or a book of poetry. The key part of the definition we latch onto is the phrase, "especially in the production of an artistic work." 

Certainly, the examples listed above are creative. Each involves a specific talent, either one we are born with, or one we study and perfect. Most of us think of being creative as a full time pursuit. A good musician, writer, painter, or chef doesn't spend 30 minutes a few times a week to at their skill. Rather, maybe a few hours a day are required. 

That's great for those of us driven to carry a certain type of creativity to its full potential. But, what about the rest of us? We don't have those skills or abilities. So creativity isn't for us, right?

Not so fast. 

Read this explanation of creativity from the web site, Creative Something, written several years ago by Tanner Christensen:

"Being creative means solving a problem in a new way. It means changing your perspective. Being creative means taking risks and ignoring doubt and facing fears. It means breaking with routine and doing something different for the sake of doing something different. It means mapping out a thousand different routes to reach one destination. It means challenging yourself every day. Being creative means searching for inspiration in even the most mundane places."

The author of this inspiring piece argues that creativity is not restricted to certain activities or certain skill sets. If I am reading his thoughts correctly, creativity can involve virtually any part of anyone's life.

You substitute or add an ingredient to a favorite recipe just to see what will happen. You find a new place to leave your car keys so you are less likely to forget them. You re-purpose an old bookcase into an entryway display case  with a mirror. You find a quicker way to a favorite bookstore. You fix a broken lampshade with clear tape and a few decals to cover the split.

Each of those examples, and thousands more we could think of show a type of thinking that certainly qualifies as creative. They describe someone solving a problem in a new way, or breaking with routine. No Frank Lloyd Wright,  Georgia O'Keeffe, Jackson Pollack, Picasso, or Ella Fitzgerald talent required.

Rather, the ability to solve a problem comes from allowing your mind to try a different path. It isn't necessarily coming up with something brand new. Rather, creativity is often just combining experience and what is known to trigger a new way to solve a problem or generate a fresh approach to something.

Huffpost had a fascinating article, Ways To Be More Creative, that should give you plenty of ideas to try. Among some of the suggestions: generate ideas based on everyday tasks, think of unusual uses for everyday items, engage with people who are different from you, become a beginner at something.

I found Creative Something to be a tremendous resource for all sort of ideas and motivation on the subject of creativity. There are hundreds of blog posts on all aspects of creativity that should inspire you to look for a new way of doing something, a new way of satisfying yourself.

I will leave you with one thought: every single one of us is creative, in hundreds of different ways. Even if you don't think of yourself this way, if you have ever figured out how to get a broken light bulb out of a lamp, found a substitute for Cumin in a recipe, used a staple remover to add something to a key ring, a bread clip to identify various cables to your audio or TV setup, put together a costume for your grandkid's school play, or figured out how to poach an egg without overcooking it, you are creative.

The engine of creativity is always working in your life. All you must do is allow it to push you to look for a new solution to an old problem, decide to perform a routine task differently, and not be afraid to experiment. 

Give it a try. I think you will be surprised at how creative you really are.



June 10, 2018

What Are Your Retirement Wishes?


That may seem like a deceptively easy question. What I want from my retirement is to be happy, to lead a fullly satisfying life. I want to enjoy the freedom that retirement seems to hold for me. I want to relax and do what I've always wanted to do.

OK, those are very reasonable responses. I wouldn't have a problem with any of them. They are fine, as goals. They are where I want to end up after a certain period of time. 

Of course, your goals may be very different. You want to start a business and make it a category-buster. Maybe you want to join the Peace Corps and spend 2 years helping starving families somewhere in the world.

You want to write that book that has been struggling to get out of you. You want to earn a degree that has always alluded you. You want to restore 1965 Mustangs or train the real ones. You want to be the best grandparent you can to your child's kids.

All great goals. What they are not is complete. Goals without plans to achieve them are really just wishes or hopes for your future.

I have written a lot about the dangers of making a retirement plan before or after leaving work and leaving it unchanged as time passes. Recently, there has been a lively discussion about how best to schedule one's time during a typical day. Certainly it is possible to over-plan, over-commit, over-volunteer. 

So, am I reversing myself? Not at all. The type of plan I refer to this time is a specific one designed to help you achieve a singular goal. It is a plan with a beginning and an end.

Think back to your days in business, teaching, retail, or virtually any way you earned a living. It is likely there was a plan to accomplish specific goals: increase revenue by 35%, cut expenses by 19%, implement new product roll out by a certain date. Teachers, you had a yearly plan to follow to cover certain subjects in a particular order. Self-employed? Same deal. I set goals the first of each year that I wanted my consulting practice to achieve.

Those plans came with steps to be taken to accomplish the objective. No one in charge would expect revenues to increase 35% without a way to reach that goal. I contend our retirement can benefit from the same mindset.

Let's say, you'd like to learn to quilt. Certainly, you'd look for classes in quilting. You'd talk to everyone you know to find other quilters. You'd do some Internet browsing, buy a few books, watch some YouTube videos. Then, you'd start working on something: a bedspread, maybe a blanket or something to display on a wall. Your goal? Finish by Christmas so you give your project as a gift.

How about learning enough about your finances that you can start making some of your own investments? The same process would be followed: gather information, talk to others, set aside a certain amount of money, and start slowly to learn what works and what doesn't. Your goal is to increase the size of your nest egg by 15% by the end of the year. Come December 31st it is easy to see if you met your goal.

Retirement often gives us the chance to set all sorts of different goals, some easy, some requiring lots of effort. To achieve what'd you like from the time, effort, and money you really should not approach a serious goal as an open-ended quest. If there is no finish line, no measurement, I think you cheat yourself out of a lot of the satisfaction that comes from accomplishing something that is important to you.


June 7, 2018

River Cruising: What is It Like?


Our home for 7 days;  Viking Mani
Most of us are familiar with cruise ships. We have seen pictures of these massive sea-going hotels. With the ability to hold thousands of passengers on each trip, taking a cruise is something an estimated 20 million folks indulge in each year. Virtually all of them feature a dozen restaurants and lounges, Broadway-like shows, casinos, rock climbing walls, swimming pools, full fitness centers, and enough shopping to bankrupt anyone.

Quite different is the experience of river cruising. With roughly 200 passengers, these 440 foot long vessels are very little like their big cousins. Instead of unlimited entertainment options on board, days are spent leisurely floating from one city or town to the next. Reading, playing cards, sitting on the deck watching the countryside pass by, and establishing friendships solidified over dinner each night and onshore excursions each day, river cruising is more  about being closer to the places you visit and the people on board.

Less than two weeks ago, Betty and I completed our first river cruise from Amsterdam to Basel on the Rhine River with Viking Cruise Lines. With a few extra days in Amsterdam before the cruise and then afterwards in the Swiss city of Lucerne, we spent 12 days having the time of our lives. 

Most river cruise ships have one restaurant, maybe a more casual choice for breakfast and lunch, a lounge for cocktails and evening entertainment, and a roof deck with plenty of chairs for relaxing. Our ship had shuffleboard and a few putting greens for those so inclined. A small but well-stocked library, a few Internet connected computers, and a couple of shelves of gift items completed the package.

Our stateroom came complete with a balcony, a TV (that we rarely used!), plenty of storage, desk and chair, excellent air conditioning, and one of the best showers we have experienced anywhere! Twice-a-day steward service kept our room clean, bottled water restocked, and turn down service during dinner each evening.

The ship was so smooth sometimes the only way to know we were moving was to look out the window. On a river, with such a large ship, there was no swaying or motion sickness to contend with.

The crew was absolutely on top of their game: friendly and efficient. After just two days, we were greeted by name more often than not; one of the benefits of 200 passengers instead of 3,000.

Each day included a stop in a city with a walking tour lead by a competent local guide. We visited the Anne Frank Museum in Amsterdam, a windmill site in Holland, Mannheim, Cologne, Heidelberg and the Black Forest in Germany, plus Strasbourg in France. Along the way, dozens of castles loomed over us from the steep hillsides that line portions of the Rhine.


Yes, we were that close to the wall
Actually, one of my favorite memories was passing through eight locks along the river. As the ship slipped into the slot, we were literally no more than 6 inches from the sides. As water filled the lock, we slowly rose 20 feet to meet the new level of the river.  I sat on our balcony or stood on the deck experiencing this fascinating display of engineering and skill.

The flight time to and from Phoenix was tough. On our last day we awoke at 6:30am in Lucerne and weren't home until 8:30am Switzerland time, the next morning, making for a 26 hour day. 

Even so, the friends we made and the places we saw made the effort worth it. Here are just a sampling of the thousands of photos Betty and I took on this memorable journey.


Amsterdam canal at night





More Amsterdam



Kinderdijk Windmills
Cologne, Cathedral 
The famous Anne Frank House and Museum

Local guide with traditional wooden shoes

Cologne at Night

There are dozens of castles along the middle Rhine





How to make cuckoo clocks
How to sell cuckoo clocks!
Strasbourg, France



These last few pictures are from Lucerne, Switzerland and while on a sightseeing cruise on Lake Lucerne. Yes, those are the Swiss Alps in the background.














June 4, 2018

Turning Off Politics, Turning On My Sanity


One nice benefit of being in Europe for almost two weeks was the ability to not pay attention to the scandals, breathless updates, and the heated rhetoric of our politics. Yes, I occasionally had wireless Internet in some places, but with no daily newspaper and no desire to ruin what was a marvelous trip, I stayed away from most of what passes as news today. I was vaguely aware of what was happening back home, but chose to ignore it. After all, I was looking at towns and villages hundreds, maybe even thousands of years old that had withstood much worse.

Of course, arriving home, the morning paper and the daily flood of  inflammatory headlines took their toll. It didn't take long to try to suck me back into the alternate reality of Washington. My brief dose of cleansing was over.

Or was it? 

I really felt a peace during that break from what passes as news today. I don't like to live with my head in the sand. I think part of the responsibility I have as a citizen is to know enough of what's going on to have an opinion and voice it when appropriate, vote when possible, and even protest if that is best.  But, to wallow in it, be surrounded by it, and buffeted by the almost endless expressions of anger or distrust, is exhausting.  

My thinking about how closely I want all of this to touch my daily life is undergoing an adjustment. I realize that swimming in that pool all the time means I can't avoid constantly being wet. Allowing political news and the daily flood of what is happening to be always in front of me is not serving a constructive purpose. 

A good analogy may be how I watch baseball games. There are times I turn off the TV before the end. I know whether I pay attention or the not  the final score will be what it is. My attention to the very last pitch won't change the ultimate outcome.

With our present state of affairs my awareness of every ebb and flow won't change what is eventually going to happen. Probes, investigations, judicial proceedings, lawsuits, whatever will be will be whether I am paying full attention or not.

The European pace of life, living on a ship cruising down a river, is not my normal life. I know that. But, can I bring some of the feeling of separation and calm home with me?

I'll find out.

June 1, 2018

Dementia and Alzheimers: What I Need To Know


First, we better start with some basic definitions. 

Dementia is a group of symptoms that affects mental cognitive tasks such as memory and reasoning. Dementia is a wide-ranging term that covers all sorts of problems so there is no accurate number of how many seniors have the symptoms. Though certain diseases can trigger dementia, it is usually an age-related development as brain cells are damaged.

Alzheimer's disease is a type of dementia. Roughly 5 million of those 65 and older have Alzheimer,'s or roughly 10% of the senior population. Alzheimer's is responsible for more than half of all cases of dementia.

The early symptoms of dementia can be mild and easily overlooked. It can begin with some episodes of  forgetfulness or losing track of time. I found an article with 10 early symptoms of dementia that you might want to review. 

As dementia gets worse, signs of forgetfulness and confusion grow. Names, faces, and dates may become more difficult to recall. Personal care starts to suffer as folks forget to bathe or shower. Repetitious questioning and problems with decision-making become more obvious.

In the most advanced stage, dementia sufferers become unable to care for themselves or communicate with others. Sometimes depression or aggressive behavior surfaces. Loss of bowel and bladder control along with swallowing issues can arise.


The speed at which someone with diagnosed dementia progresses from mild to severe stages is variable. It depends on the reason for the dementia as well as the person's genetic makeup. Unfortunately, while some medications and lifestyle changes can help, there is no cure. Eventually, full time care will be required. It is important to plan for what may come well before faced with a dire situation.

Alzheimer's, a type of dementia, is particularly feared because of its slow but steady erasing of someone's personality and awareness. Spouses, one's own children, family, friends, places and events can be lost. Here is a link to 10 early warning signs of Alzheimer's. The Alzheimer's organization has a powerful look at the extend of the disease and it's impact on us all.

I had no idea that Alzheimer's is the 6th leading cause of death in the United States. Research continues to narrow the hunt for a cure or something that will halt its progress, but for now the disease worsens over time. Some medications will slow its progress but there is no cure. Someone diagnosed with Alzheimer's has a life expectancy of 4-8 years.

There are steps anyone can take to help lower the odds of dementia and Alzheimer's but they are not guaranteed to prevent future problems. Even so, it can't hurt if you follow the advice to exercise, get enough sleep, and eat a low fat diet. The theory that stimulating your brain with learning new things helps is unproven at the moment, but might turn out to be important. In the meantime, it can't hurt.

The only solid advice is to recognize the warning signs and changes in your (or a loved one's) behavior. Tests are available to confirm the diagnosis. If dementia or Alzheimer's are confirmed, you and your family can begin to make plans and adjust lifestyles to maximize the quality of one's remaining years. Support groups for both the patient and caregivers can be quite beneficial. 

Here is the link to a powerful story of dedication and love as a wife begins to lose herself to Alzheimer's: From diagnosis to the final stages. The power of human love is a force that cannot be denied. The video is unavailable unless you have CBS All Access, but the text is.

Dementia and Alzheimer's are scary. In a recent highly unscientific poll on this blog, 35% of the respondents said they worry a lot about these issues. 56% said they don't because we can't prevent them, nor can we cure them if we are affected. This the lack of control and a future of slowly diminishing capacity are unpleasant realities, so acceptance is the best route for this majority of people.

The best we can do if be on the lookout for signs of the condition and act to prepare ourselves and loved ones for what may lie ahead.


May 29, 2018

How Far Do You Have To Travel For a Great Experience?


At this moment the question seems a little ironic. Betty and I flew 6,000 miles to return home two night ago from a 13 days Viking Rhine River cruise that took us from Amsterdam to Switzerland with extra days in a few cities. So, my answer would seem to be: quite a long way. Since we literally have been home less than 48 hours, pictures and our feelings about the experience are still a week or so in the future.

But, for purposes of this post let's consider the bigger question. Are the benefits of travel a function of distance, or time, or attitude, or opportunity? Are they determined by cost or experiences? 

One of the suggestions for future posts was about staycations, or pretty much the opposite of what I just finished. A post from a few weeks ago talked about retiring in another country. If that idea attracts you at all, one of the first "rules" is to spend time there first, starting with a few chunks of vacation time.

A vacation can be as simple as a long weekend somewhere within an easy drive. Camping in a local park, either old school in a tent or an RV may be what you envision. 

Maybe you have a fixed image: some place so different from your home that you are forced to adapt a bit. That could be a long train trip, a cruise, a road trip to see cousins hundreds or thousands of miles away, a ski holiday in the Rockies, or jetting away to Hawaii or The coast of Maine.

A staycation means spending time at home, but with at least a few differences to make it memorable. That might mean no shopping or cooking; every meal is at a restaurant. You may decide to go on an electronic fast: unplug the TV, put the phone on mute, and stay away from the computer.

Or, it could be just the opposite: all your favorite movies, back-to-back, with buckets of popcorn. Binge-watching until your eyes glaze over. Grab a stack of books and only stop reading to go out to a meal.

A staycation may be when you tackle that large project that has been on your to-do list forever. Knock down a few walls, put in new carpeting, order new kitchen appliances. Or, do nothing at all.


Personally, my most memorable vacations tend to be longer: 2 month RV trips, Hawaii, a week with the family at a beach rental in San Diego, and the just completed European visit. I enjoy quicker getaways to places in Arizona, like Prescott or Flagstaff, or a long weekend in Orange County. But, the most memorable seem to involve more effort and time.

How about you? Which vacations you have taken stick out most in your memories? Have you ever tried a staycation to explore where you live like a tourist? If you could save only set set of photos from a trip, which one would it be?


May 26, 2018

A Woman Looks at a Woman's Relationship to Money

The following is a guest post from financial advisor, Luna Jaffe. Her insight on the particular concerns women have in relationship with money is worth your consideration


If you’re a woman, chances are good that in the years ahead, it will be you and you alone who’s responsible for managing your money. 

That could be a problem: Even among the very affluent, many women admit they know little to nothing about bigger-picture money concerns such as financial planning and investment management, according to a recent survey. “A lot of women cede those responsibilities to their husbands or partners because they say they don’t have the time, interest or opportunity to learn,” says Luna Jaffe. “Things are changing- more women are choosing not to marry or have been devastated by divorce or death of a loved one.  They recognize they can’t ignore money any more, but don’t know where to turn or who to trust.”

But even women with a net worth of at least $1 million concede they aren’t especially knowledgeable about money management. In the Women & Wealth Study sponsored by GenSpring Family Offices, only a third said they know a lot about financial planning, and 30 percent said the same for investment management. Part of the problem is that financial education is male-oriented, catering to how men’s brains are wired and what appeals to them, Jaffe says, “When we approach it creatively and from a more emotion-based perspective, women are not only drawn to learning about it, they have no trouble getting it,” Jaffe says.

She offers these three things every woman should know about their relationship to money:
• Your investment decisions are influenced by your emotional baggage. We all bring baggage into our relationships, and it’s no different with money, Jaffe says. When you’re not aware of the baggage operating quietly in the background, you may think you’re making smart decisions when you’re actually simply reacting to past experiences. And those might not have been even your own experiences! “Whether you or a loved one suffered the consequences of a bad financial investment, it can color your thinking in many ways, from destroying your confidence in your judgment to writing off all similar investments as ‘bad.’ ’’ Take time to reflect on the experiences you’ve had with investing, the decisions you made, and the conclusions you made as a result. What stories do you tell yourself because of these experiences?

•  Understand the emotional response with which you receive money, whether a paycheck, a gift or an inheritance. It’s important to receive money with grace – to savor it, to be grateful for it, to be at peace with it. But depending on the circumstances by which it arrives, and lingering emotions from past experiences, we sometimes receive money with anger, guilt, resentment, greed, entitlement or any of a host of other negative emotions. This can lead to self-destructive actions. Jaffe shares a story about receiving a small inheritance from her father at a time when she had no money. She loaned the whole sum to a friend, who promptly vanished. “I was still grieving his death, and I received money that represented his legacy, yet it was only a tiny fraction of his estate – his second wife got everything else. Deep inside, I felt ripped off. Perhaps I thought by loaning my inheritance, I could wash the confusion and grief out of the money making it clean and safe to use. ”

• Know your Comfort Zone for risk and stay within it. Investment comes with risks; you can assume a lot for potentially greater returns, or less for lower returns. Understanding your Comfort Zone and staying within it will help you stay committed to your financial plan. Would your best friend describe you as a risk taker? If you got $100,000 with instructions to invest it all in just ONE of these options – stocks, a savings account, a mutual fund portfolio of stocks and bonds, or your best friend’s start-up – which would you choose? Knowing whether you’re very conservative; happy with a little growth; comfortable with some ups and downs; or in for adventure will help you avoid taking financial advice that makes you uncomfortable.


About Luna Jaffe
Luna Jaffe is a Certified Financial Planner™ and Accredited Asset Management Specialist with more than 10 years of financial advising experience. She is the author of  “Wild Money: A Creative Journey to Financial Wisdom” and its companion workbook, “Wild Money: A Financial Field Guide and Journal,” (www.lunajaffe.com)

I received no compensation for this post

May 23, 2018

A Retirement Calculator That Works



Do a simple Google search for the phrase, satisfying retirement, and you will find 6 million references. That seems like a lot. But, wait. Try "retirement calculator" and the results soar to 12.4 million links. That actually doesn't surprise me since the financial aspects of retirement are top of mind to most.

Such a calculator allows the user to put in the amount of various investments, savings, pensions, Social Security, and the like and predict how much will be available upon retirement age. Or, it is possible to input your age and lifestyle information and determine how much money you will have to save to be able to retire.

But, I'd like to take the retirement calculator phrase and give it a different meaning. I'd like to input the things that tend to make up a satisfying retirement and predict what my life will be like. Instead of 401(k) or IRA numbers, investment and savings amounts, inheritances, and home equity I'd like to be able to input:


...My passion index would be a measure of my ability to truly enjoy the time and opportunity retirement gives me. Would I wake up each morning ready to fill my day (and night) with activities and events that light my fire?

...My relationship status. How healthy are my primary relationships? How about friends...do I have any? Like too many men, did I leave all my male relationships back at work? Do I have a mentor, someone I can learn from?

...My health and physical status. In addition to a BMI number, height weight, and overall heart health, am I following a path that will give me as many healthy years as my body is programmed to give me? Will my desire to eat well and relax cost me years of active, productive life?

...My attitudes and demeanor. Will I become like the stereotypical crabby old man...the one who gripes at everything and everyone, the one who believes the world has gone to hell in a hand basket? Will I approach change as a possible good thing?

...My spirituality and belief in a higher power. How can I calculate my place in the universe if I don't believe in something greater than me? What affect will my faith have in my future happiness? How will I handle adversity..as a personal affront or simply a way for me to test my faith and belief system?

...My risk-taking profile. Do I think change is good, or will I fight it? Will I be content to say "I wish I had..." or will I say "I'm glad I...." Will I shy away from challenge because I might fail, or will I embrace it as a true measure of my aliveness?


No such retirement calculator is for sale. Converting emotions, knowledge, attitudes, spirituality, and relationship health cannot be quantified. I'm afraid we all have to do these calculations the hard way...by hand, one-at a time, for the rest of our lives.




If only this were real

May 20, 2018

Discover Your Passions: Know Who You Are


What follows is a guest post from author Boyd Lemon. I'm pleased to share some of his thoughts on an important topic: discovering your passion by discovering who you are.

Key to a fulfilling life


A key to living a fulfilling life in retirement is having or discovering a passion (or passions), something that truly drive you, that you feel you are here on earth to do.

I have known a few people, one quite well, who discovered in their early twenties what was important to them, what their passions were, what they felt they were here on earth to do, and pursued those passions. They knew themselves and didn’t let their parents, friends or society dictate how they would live or what their life’s purpose was. I envy them. Most of us are not as perceptive of ourselves at such a young age.

I had to discover a passion for retirement because I had worked all my life at something that I was not passionate about. I understood that in order to discover a passion I had to understand who I am. Figuring out who I am was not complicated, but it required time and effort. It took a lot of mental work, the hardest kind of work. It took a lot of experimenting and trial and error, the scariest kind of work. But almost anyone can do it. You don’t have to be a monk, priest, philosopher or psychologist. You don’t have to have a college degree.


What does it mean to ask who am I? 


It sounds like some new age gobbledygook, but it is really not as mysterious as it sounds. Who I am, the authentic me, consists of what fulfills me; what, to me, is important and unimportant; what I like and dislike; what interests me and what does not; what I want out of life; what makes me feel that I am doing something worthwhile; what makes me feel happy, fulfilled, competent and esteemed. What makes me feel sad, frustrated, angry, afraid and inadequate was instructive. When I grasped what caused those feelings, I was close to discovering what I was passionate about.

Knowing yourself makes it more likely that you will find something that you are or become passionate about. Although there is such a thing as an epiphany, when all of a sudden something important just comes to you, the discovery of a passion did not come to me in that way. Usually some experience with something is required before it becomes a passion.

Finding out who I am not was also helpful. I am not my job. Although I didn’t realize it for years, I was not a lawyer. I practiced law, but a lawyer was not who I was or who I am. I was not wholly a husband or a father; they were only part of what I was. Just as one never really knows another person, he never totally knows himself. Knowing yourself is a lifelong process that never ends.


Questions Asked


During the process of finding out who I am and am not I found a passion. Some of the things I asked myself and did that helped me understand who I am and to discover my passion were:

• I thought long and hard about what during the course of my life I had enjoyed doing. I also thought about what I didn’t enjoy. I considered what made my heart sing, what excited me, what I wished I could do more of, what were some general characteristics of what I enjoyed. Were they usually done outdoors? Did they involve something creative—music, dance, painting, writing, building or designing things? Did they involve doing things with my hands?

• What part of my job or jobs did I enjoy?

• I thought about what other people that I admired were doing.

• I even made lists of possibilities.

• I understood that I liked to learn new things and considered what type of things I would enjoy learning.

• I asked myself whether I am a planner, or am I more spontaneous? Some activities need more planning than others. Some of the creative arts are relatively spontaneous. Organizing a political campaign requires a lot of planning.

• Many people are passionate about creating. I thought about whether there was anything I would like to create. Men especially often bury the creative side of themselves. Once guys reach adolescence they are not encouraged to pursue anything creative. That doesn’t mean it isn’t buried down there somewhere. I tried digging it up.

• I always knew that history, art and culture interested me. There are a lot of activities that involve history, art and culture, including travel and writing.

•I realized I am not really a people person. I am more the solitary type, an introvert. This is important because a people person probably shouldn’t try to pursue something that involves a lot of alone time—writing, for example; a solitary person should not try something that keeps him around people most of the time, such as fundraising for charities.

• Do I enjoy physical effort or mental effort more, I asked?

• Do I need to keep busy doing a lot of different tasks, or am I happy focusing on one thing for a long time?

• Do I enjoy dealing with detail, or am I more a big picture person?
• Am I a perfectionist?

• Does helping other people make me feel fulfilled?

• Do I like sports, reading, writing, listening to music, hiking, taking photos?

• I looked through the catalogue of local night schools and extension schools to find classes that interested me, not necessarily to take the classes, but to clarify what types of subject matter interested me.

• I thought about what the meaning or purpose of my life could be? What would fulfill me or might leave my mark here on earth?

• I tried to keep an open mind and do and see things I normally wouldn’t. I read about things I hadn’t read about before, realizing that I might discover something that I had buried, so I might not readily see or feel it. I examined every possibility I could think of.

• I thought about my values. Why am I here? Why is anybody here? What is most important to me? I read books about what other people have had to say about those questions.

Eventually, I discovered that my passions were writing and travel, and that is what I have focused during my retirement, which has been the most fulfilling time in my life.



Boyd Lemon-Author of Retirement: A Memoir and Guide; Eat, Walk, Write: An American Senior’s Year of Adventure in Paris and TuscanyDigging Deep: A Writer Uncovers His Marriages; and 4 other booksInformation, reviews and excerpts: http://www.BoydLemon-Writer.com.  Amazon Author Page: http://www.Amazon.com/author/boydlemon.






Satisfying Retirement received no compensation for this guest post or its promotional value.