June 27, 2023

When Was The Last Time You Checked The Ultimate Retirement Resources Guide?

 For at least the last ten years, there has been an informational treasure trove lurking on the left sidebar of this blog. It is the Ultimate Retirement Resources Guide, a large (and growing) listing that is added to on a regular basis and checked every six months to make sure all the links still work.

Over the last three or four years, the number of views has shown a decline, even with the blog showing steady traffic. Of course, it is entirely possible that the resources are not as interesting to newer readers. 

Or, some folks simply are unaware it is there! After all, we are busy, and even making time for favorite blogs comes at a cost to our free time.

In case the drop-off is due to unfamiliarity, I have reproduced the Guide here. Feel free to click on any topic or article that may appeal to you.

Importantly, if there is a subject that is not listed, but is important to you, let me know in the comments section and I will do my best to add that missing piece.

Think about your retirement and all sorts of possibilities, problems, and thoughts that might pop into your mind. Luckily, the Internet has enough resources to answer most everything, sometimes correctly!

To save you some time, and with just a little bit of exaggeration in the title, I have put together this Really Big Retirement Resources Link Guide. Here you will find direct links to some websites and resources grouped by category. Many are provided to Satisfying Retirement by various companies or individuals. These listings don't serve as a personal endorsement but appear for informational purposes only. 

Hopefully, this will save you some time and point you to places to start getting the information you seek. Most of these sites have links to other places that provide more information or a different perspective. I encourage you to get as much input as you can, then make your own decisions and choices.

If there is a website you have found that isn't listed, please drop me a note and I will be glad to add it to this guide. All links were checked in June 2023 to make sure they are active and still relevant.

Note: The guide from Caller Smart covers virtually everything that may concern you: Scammers, health questions, housing, discrimination, financial concerns are some of the topics covered.


Financial preparation, investments, and Second Career 


21 Exercises for Seniors (simple but effective!)

Housing and Living Choices & Planning


Time management and Lifestyle: What do I do all day?

What retirees say retirement is really like  (article by me on Next Avenue web site)

The Retirement problem: What to do with all that time?

How to live a purposeful life after retirement

Travel (Post-Covid)

June 23, 2023

Does Our Name Still Fit?

The United States of America. 

Five words that are used to label a country of about 332 million people, 3.7 million square miles (not including territories), and a political entity that holds sway as one of, if not the, most powerful governmental bodies on earth.

The name implies two important parts of who we are: a collection of 50 separate state governments that have united around a common purpose and structure.The Federal government is responsible for the country's overall security and interpreting and enforcing a set of basic rules and regulations as written in the Constitution and Bill of Rights.

In a rather unique arrangement, 50 separate governmental bodies, along with all the regional and local entities, are tasked with developing and overseeing much of what day-to-day life looks like: police and enforcement of both Federal and local laws, education,  local commerce, and much of the basic infrastructure, like roads and public utilities.

How residents of each state participate in their local and state government's decision-making and regulatory structure depend on regulations and restrictions put in place by entities within the state. While certain rights and freedoms are enforceable by Washington, each state can attempt to craft those rules to accomplish more local political and structural outcomes. 

And, as we all know, whichever political party holds sway in the Nation's capitol is directly reflected in much of what happens closer to home. Additionally, the party that holds the majority in each state uses it to enact changes beneficial to their hold on power and the implementation of their vision for governance.

So far, so good. 

Except when the 50 states begin to question the overall structure that was essential after breaking away from England. Except when political divisions between conservatives and liberals become so different that the way local government interacts with its citizens is visibly different from state to state. Except when living in a deeply liberal state makes traveling to a very conservative state feel like traveling to a foreign country. Except when you turn down a job in another city because the political environment makes you too uncomfortable.

Can a union that is fracturing into separate entities still call itself "United?" Can a Federal government do its job when so much time is spent in courts attempting to force one after another localized government to follow the "law of the land?" Is consensus possible? Can one state have a way of interpreting and enforcing laws that would be judged illegal just across an artificial line on a map?

Can there be a foreign policy that enough citizens support to allow other countries to trust or understand what the U.S.A. is willing to do?

I don't have an answer.

I can be reassured by our history; nothing is more serious than an actual Civil War that managed to not bring an end to the Union, though leaving scars and beliefs that linger almost 160 years later.

I am reassured in my belief that the majority of us want "a more perfect union," and much of the noise and fury is coming from a very loud minority. Yet, a dedicated portion of any society can overwhelm and overrule a large but less organized majority. History is full of examples.

Yet, I can remain fearful of where we have been, where we are now, and where we are heading. Maybe the expression "through a glass darkly" best fits my interpretation of reality. Am I looking through that smudgy glass with optimism about what is actually there? Or, is the dark I seem to see what is really right in front of me. 

Lots to ponder.

June 19, 2023

Retirement Stories: My Answers

After four fascinating posts from readers who responded to my questions about retirement, I can avoid my responsibilities no longer. I promised to give you my answers to these queries. So, here goes.

Who was the greatest inspiration/mentor in your life?

I would have to say my parents. They created and maintained a loving, supportive, and encouraging environment for three boys to grow into men. Staying married for 63 years set an example for me to attempt to follow in my own marriage. My dad's devotion and treatment of my mom set a very high bar for me to attempt to maintain.

My Uncle was not exactly a mentor but someone who lived a life dedicated to serving others and expanding his mind through lifelong education. To this day, I rarely find anyone as curious and engaged when conversing with others. He dies much too young at 65; my daughters would have found him a joy if he had lived longer.

What were you taught about money and finances in your youth?

 As I have noted in other posts, my dad was unemployed quite often in his field of sales and marketing. My mom's teaching income and young boys' ability to enjoy endless casseroles allowed us to live a comfortable, secure life. Dad's struggles never seemed to get him down, and he certainly protected his children from worry about the lack of another income.

Early in life, I learned the lessons of fiscal responsibility. Valuing experiences over things was a family motto that Betty and I carried into our life together. Our daughters learned that lesson well and continue to practice it as adults. They would much rather take a trip instead of purchasing the latest and greatest whatever.

From my parents, I learned the importance of a budget. They maintained one even after retirement when the money pressures were pretty much gone. I have followed suit. I don't record every nickel and dime, but well past the point when I need to use Quicken, I keep it up to date. Knowing where the money is going is my security blanket.

What did you think about old age as a youth, and how do you feel about it now?

 Frankly, I didn't think much about aging. Family and friends used to joke I was born 40 years old - all responsibility and the control needs that come from being the firstborn.

Moving through my young and middle adult years, I don't think my attitude about my age was ever any kind of factor. Only now do I realize how close I am to my ending story. Even so, I do not fear death and am comfortable with a life well lived. I have faith in a continuing story; if I am wrong, I will never know it.

What wisdom has come to you in your advancing years?

When I retired almost 22 years ago at age 52, Betty and I were rolling the dice. With my business failing I had two choices: pump a bunch of money into resurrecting everything or, retiring before we had the financial foundation to carry us all the way to the end.

That experience gave me the confidence to look at problems as opportunities and have confidence in our ability to work together to either solve a problem or survive it.

What do you miss about your career?

I must admit every once in a while, I will listen to recordings of my 21-year-old self as a DJ. It was exciting to be a radio personality, in a major college town, on the #1 station. I will not lie: my ego and social life were happy.

The rest of my career was spent helping other announcers and stations become better. It was fulfilling, tiring, stimulating, and terrifying all at the same time. If the station's ratings went up, everyone was happy. If they went down, I was likely to be let go. Life was a constant battle to keep current clients happy and find new ones to replace those that drifted away. I was on the road 150 days a year; my marriage was tested and my daughters missed their dad too often.

By the time I retired, I was burned out. Frankly, I was happy to let it all go. I have never looked back and missed any part of that life. Financially, that career built the financial stability to continue to keep us comfortable and secure.

What do I miss about my career? Nothing.

Would I change any part of it? No. Every step was required for professional and personal growth to leave me with fond memories and a satisfying retirement 

Thanks to everyone who submitted responses to the original post. This series has become one of my favorites.

June 15, 2023

Places In Your Life

In preparation for an eventual move, Betty and I have been going through dozens of old photo albums, deciding which pictures to keep and scan and those that can be tossed. With a photographer as a wife, this is quite a project. 

All told, over forty albums must be reviewed; thousands of photos await a decision Some bring back very special family moments, Others are of spectacular vistas, oceans, and countryside. Some are not worth keeping. They join the disposal pile.

What this has done is remind me how many different places we traveled as a family. Our two daughters, Betty and I, were racking up frequent flyer miles before they were invented! 

Probably a dozen trips to our summer timeshare near Sarasota were the foundation. We spend each two-week visit with good friends The photos show their daughter and ours growing up together: swimming in the pool, splashing in the Gulf, hunting for seashells, untold meals, and enjoying sunsets on the porch.

A few times, we added side trips to Key West that included snorkeling trips and boat rides up and down the Keys and the canals. 

A day trip to Fort Jefferson was especially memorable. 70 miles off the coast of Key West is a massive structure that was built to hold prisoners during the Civil War. The most famous person who endured this lonely spot was the doctor who treated John Wilkes Booth, Samuel Mudd.

Three trips to Hawaii added to our special times as a family: twice for Christmas and once to become certified to scuba dive off the coast of The Big Island. A family cabin in the White Mountains two hours from our home was a cooler weekend getaway for several years. 

Looking at the pictures reminded me how active we were as a family as our daughters grew up. Betty and I believed experiences were much more important than things; these photo albums confirm the correctness of that approach.

Does the review of our family trips bring back memories of similar experiences for you? Did you have a special place, or places, that you visited as a kid? Was that place a highlight of your summertime memories?

It didn't have to be a plane flight away! Maybe your grandparent's place or a special nearby park where your family had a picnic every weekend during good weather. Possibly a trip to Washington, D.C., or the Grand Canyon sticks in your memory.

Do you remember any place that awed you, knocked you on your backside the first time you saw it? Where was this magical place? What made it so special?

Was your youth filled with family gatherings? Or, were you very happy with your own company and remember the quiet times walking in the nearby woods or sketching the birds in the big tree out back?

At this time of life, I find it very comforting and satisfying to remember family times, special trips, or even simple celebrations that mark parts of my life. Memories are forever.

June 11, 2023

The Choice of Resilience


What is resilience? It is the ability to rebound or spring back from a problem or disappointment. It is an important emotional and physical characteristic. Without resilience, a person can become discouraged by failures or perceived shortcomings, and simply give up. Even minor setbacks can become debilitating.

Having a satisfying retirement is really a case study in resilience. When your working days come to an end, much of what you have known ends, too. Your senseu of self, your financial underpinnings, possibly your access to good health care, your social structure, and your relationships with others, will all undergo changes.

Some people have serious problems adapting to the differences. Others may stumble around a bit but eventually find their stride and move into this new phase of life with the enthusiasm and energy of a teenager. 

I am convinced attitude is one of the keys to retirement success. Resilience is one of the hallmarks of attitude. I'd like to share a few examples of resilience from my family. They occurred several years after retirement but are examples of bouncing back that can help us see what is possible.

My Dad spent a part of his career unemployed and looking for a job. He was good at what he did but always seemed to be with a small company that either went out of business or was bought by someone else and downsized. 

I remember stacks of resumes on the dining room table, rolls of postage stamps, and a hopeful look when the mail came, or the phone rang. I'm sure he was discouraged from time to time but it never showed. He was always cheerful. 

Our home life didn't change during these periods even though money must have been tight. Mom continued to teach, and we simply ate more casseroles. Eventually, something would come his way, and off he'd go to work with the same briefcase and the same happy attitude. His resilience wasn't recognized by me then, but I can see it in hindsight.

My Mom had several years of health challenges starting about 6 years before her death. She gradually became less mobile. Her eyesight began to disappear, fading away completely about 18 months before her death. 

After breaking a leg and ankle she became confined to bed. Eventually, heart failure ended her life. With all that she never lost her fascination with life, her interest in her sons, daughters-in-law, and grandkids. 

She refused to accept the limitations her health imposed on her until the last month when she requested hospice care. She refused to become negative and did everything she could to bounce back from every problem. Her smile and cheeriness often belied the reality she lived, but she refused to be defeated.

After her death Dad showed another type of resilience that few in his family expected to see. After 63 years of marriage and virtually no time apart after each retired, Mom and Dad were inseparable. 

Often it was hard to tell where one ended and the other began. For her memorial service, it was tough finding pictures with just Mom in the shot. Dad was always right next to her.

Much to our surprise, he did not wither away or become depressed with the loss of his other half. Perhaps it was his personality to think positively and reject bad thoughts. Perhaps he had to put his entire life on hold for the last few years of Mom's life to care for her all day, everyday, and welcomed having some "me" time again.

Whatever the reason, he adjusted beautifully. He started singing in two different choirs. He had lunch with friends Mom and he both knew for years. 

When Mom was alive, I rarely saw him read. After her passing there were always stacks of books that he was working through. 

He was an avid Phoenix Suns fan and never missed a game on TV. Ask him about the previous night's effort and he would become animated and excited in describing the good, the bad, and the ugly parts of the contest. 

He came to family picnics. He developed a regular schedule for washing his clothes and dishes. He kept the house neat and organized. Did he miss his wife? Absolutely. Every minute of every day. Did he get lonely? I'm sure. Did he allow those feelings to dominate his life? No way. He showed unrelenting resilience.

Just like my Mom, he showed that he was not afraid to step over that line of fear we all draw sometime in our life. This may not have been how he figured his last years would be spent. But, his demonstration of adjusting and resilience are an ongoing example to me.

He lived to be 91. While his 63 years of marriage and his dedication to Mom gave me a path to emulate. But, I am ashamed to admit I didn't truly understand the depth of his inner strength, appreciate all his life lessons, or learn the power of resilience until the last several years of his life.

Accepting the slings and arrows of life, bouncing back from adversity, keeping an attitude of "it will be OK," and smiling even if your heart is breaking are what he and Mom left my family and me. These are makers on the path to a gratifying life and a satisfying retirement. 

It is my intention to follow their guidance.

June 7, 2023

What Will We Face?

Betty and I are steadily moving toward a relocation into a three-level retirement community. The original five-six year timeline is now more likely to be three or four years. Why? The maintenance and insurance costs for our 30-year-old home are starting to add up. Lawn work and keeping our 2,000-square-foot home clean are increasingly more expensive. 

The desire to become involved in a community is a factor. The amenities and meals prepared by someone other than us are draws. On-site classes and studios for art, woodworking, ceramics, and continuing education look attractive.

Even so, we struggle with what will be lost: living space, the privacy that comes with a single-family home, the huge upfront expense, and just the hassle of packing up and moving. Leaving a home for a retirement community can be a difficult decision.

Even if the logic for moving is sound, some basic research turns up these common reasons why this is so:

Emotional attachment 

Your home is likely filled with memories of your life, your family, and your friends. Moving away from your home can be a major emotional upheaval.

We will be been in this house for ten or eleven years...long enough for it to be our safe space. Memories of grandkids growing up, family dinners, and games in the backyard cannot be moved along with the furniture. Private space for both of us to pursue our artistic whims will largely disappear.

Sense of loss of independence

Many people move into retirement communities because they can no longer manage their homes on their own. This can be a difficult adjustment, as it can mean losing a sense of independence. 

We have never lived in an apartment, shared walls, or parking spaces. We will have to quickly adopt to noises and neighbors just one wall away.


The community at the top of our list has a very high move-in fee. Then, there is the monthly rental cost which will seem like a shock to us since we haven't had a mortgage for almost twenty years. Because this is an independently owned, non-profit situation, yearly rental increases are not excessive. The buy-in fee guarantees space in assisted living and a nursing care center when that becomes necessary, with no change in the monthly rental cost.

On the other hand, we will not be paying for electricity, water, cable, maintenance, real estate taxes, homeowners insurance, cleaning, and most of our food needs. 


Retirement communities can be isolating, especially for people who don't know anyone else there. That will be us. But, one of the motivators to move rather soon is to begin to establish friendships and begin to feel a part of this community. We have virtually no interaction with the neighbors now; recognizing familiar faces at meals, activities, happy hours, or the gym will bring a sense of belonging.

Changing Regular Routines

Though less than twenty minutes from where we live now, there will be adjustments, both big and small. On those occasions when we must grocery shop or pick up some medicine at a pharmacy, those errands will have to be at someplace new. Not a biggie, but we have regular stops that will need to change.

Just because it is a hassle to change, it is likely we will stick with our doctors and dentist. My barber knows what I like, so he is worth the 20-minute drive. A few of our favorite restaurants are close to us now. After the move, they may fall off our radar. 

Address changes with the Post Office, banks, investment people, credit cards, the DMV, and various state and Federal tax people will want to keep track of us. Part of life, but after a decade, it will take some work.

So as not to be a burden on our daughters, this is a move we are willingly undertaking. That doesn't mean it will be easy!

June 3, 2023

Pardon Me - Can You Speak Up?

Estimates are that about 37 million Americans suffer from some degree of hearing loss. Nearly 30 million of those could benefit from some form of hearing aid or alternative.

Men are twice as likely as women to suffer a noticeable decline in the ability to distinguish words or hear in a noisy environment. Yet, they are less likely to agree to a solution. My wife has worn hearing aids for thirty-five years. I just turn up the television and avoid places that make it hard to listen to the conversation.

Well, that is about to change. I am about to take the plunge and reenter the world of decent hearing. The average age that a man in America finally agrees to help is 70. I turned 74 last month, so it is (past) time.

My radio career meant wearing very loud headphones when I was on the air. It meant going to concerts with the likes of Led Zeppelin and Grand Funk Railroad, playing at ear-splitting volumes for hours at a time. It was not unusual for my ears to ring for a full day or two after such exposure. 

I started experiencing tinnitus a decade ago, but that ringing would always fade away. The male side of my family produces ear wax like world champions. Every 12 months, a doctor is privileged to go digging and give me improved hearing for a while.

But, the obvious decline in my ability to hear soft words, my grandkids' questions at church, or the fact that I have almost maxed out the TV volume led me to the obvious conclusion: I need help.

Hearing aids are expensive. I mean, really pricey. About fifteen years ago, Betty bought a top-of-the-line pair that retailed for $10,000. Amazingly, her health insurance covered that purchase. Maybe not coincidentally; that same company removed the hearing aid benefit one year later.

Her last few pairs have been in the $4-$5,000 range. My Dad purchased a set for almost $7,000 just a few years before his death. Medicare does cover batteries, but not the actual hearing aids.  So usually, that cost is out-of-pocket.

Suddenly, a sea change. Late last year, the Federal government approved the sale of over-the-counter hearing aids. With quality almost as good as the prescription-grade ones sold by audiologists, the hearing-challenged, like me, could suddenly find a pair for $1,000-$3,000.

Though their big brothers are more customized in fit or function, my research tells me the performance will be entirely acceptable for me. I have been tested, revealing mild to moderate loss in both ears. For someone like me, OTC aids are a viable option.

The pair I am purchasing will be the type with the working parts in small cases that fit behind the ear. A nearly invisible wire is placed in the ear canal, carrying the sound. A smartphone app allows for the customization of the sounds that are amplified or muted. I can boost the sound in the mid-range, where I struggle the most. 

I will be able to use Bluetooth to stream music and TV audio to the hearing aids, as well as answering and responding to phone calls without needing the phone by my side.

There is a 100-day trial period, with a full refund available. Since it takes the brain 2-3 weeks to adjust to the new level of sound entering the ears, having a testing and adjustment period is critical. With a $195 deductible, if the hearing aids are damaged or lost, they will be replaced at no cost within the first three years.

I am expecting my pair next week. That will give me almost three months before our France trip to get used to both the sound and care of the aids. 

This will be a significant adjustment for me, but one that holds the potential for improving the quality of my life and saving the ears of those near our TV.