Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Health Apps and Websites for Baby Boomers

Baby Boomers are typically more tech savvy than previous generations of retirees, although some older senior citizens are also beginning to be comfortable using their smart phones and computers.  Regardless of your age, technology now makes it possible to have easy access to the most current information on health, safety, fitness and disease information.

Whether you want to keep track of your diabetes, lose weight, get more exercise, investigate a medical diagnosis or learn to live life to the fullest, it can be very helpful to turn to our phones, tablets and computers for information and support.  Below is a list of some of the apps and websites which a large number of people, including myself, have found to be most useful.  Please feel free to share your own favorites in the comments section so readers can discover even more useful resources.

Websites to Improve Your Health

WebMD.com - Whenever a friend or family member is diagnosed with an illness, many of us turn to WebMD to learn more about the condition and possible treatments.  In addition, I subscribe to their free daily email which always includes interesting information about a variety of health related topics.  I learn something new nearly every day and the information is completely free!

Hazeldenbettyford.org - If you or someone in your family has an alcoholism or addiction problem, Hazelden and the Betty Ford Center have put together a helpful, informative, free website.  You can also sign up to receive an email with their "Thought For The Day," which is a brief daily excerpt from a variety of books dealing with addiction issues.  Very few behaviors can damage your health more than alcoholism or an addiction problem, including addiction to a prescription medication.  Addictions and alcoholism also destroy careers, relationships and marriages, so you want to deal with them as soon as possible. 

Bluezones.com - The Blue Zones are areas around the world where people routinely live active, productive, healthy lives well into their 90s and even after the age of 100.  What is interesting about the Blue Zones is that the people who live long lives in these communities appear to benefit more from their healthy lifestyles than from having good genes.  Best of all, people do not need to live in remote corners of the world in order to benefit from the Blue Zone lifestyle.  In fact, one of the Blue Zones is in a suburb on the inland side of smoggy, crowded Los Angeles, California. Check out the Blue Zones website and sign up to have their free weekly newsletter emailed to you. You, too, can learn their tips for improving your health and adding years to your life, whether you live in a Blue Zone or not.

Health Apps for People of All Ages

In addition to the websites above, if you have a SmartPhone, there are a number of apps which will help you stay healthy.  Below is a list of some popular ones.

MyFitnessPal - This app is often used by people who are trying to lose weight.  It even has a barcode scanner so you can get detailed nutritional information about commercial food products before you buy them.  One aspect of the app which I particularly appreciate is that it lists far more than just the calorie count for a wide variety of food items.  The app also lists the amount of carbs, fat, protein, fiber, potassium and sodium.  Since my husband has kidney disease and we have to watch his sodium, potassium and protein intake carefully, this app has made it much easier to keep track of what he is eating.  Even if you are not trying to lose weight, this app can be helpful to anyone who needs to follow a special diet for their health.

Other dieting apps which will help you track what you eat include GoMeals (iPhone only), Lose it!, and Fooducate.

Fitness Buddy - Need some new exercise ideas?  This app contains over 1700 unique exercises and a system to track your workouts so you stay motivated.

Other fitness apps which will help you track your workouts and challenge yourself include Nike Training Club, Strava Run and Strava Cycling.

Blood Pressure Companion - This app is currently available only for the iPhone.  It helps you track your blood pressure, heart rate and weight. The newest iPhone is also capable of even more advanced heart monitoring.

Breathe2Relax - Do you have trouble relaxing?  This guided breathing app will help you manage your stress with diaphragmatic breathing exercises.

mySugr Diabetes - If you have diabetes, this app will make it easier for you to log your blood sugar levels, set your target blood glucose ranges, view your history and use graphs so you can quickly recognize when your numbers are out of their normal range.

Major News Source Apps - You may also want to add at least one news app to your smart phone, such as Google News, SmartNews or your favorite network affiliate like ABC or NBC news.  Most news sources will keep you informed about the recall of dangerous products, food poisoning outbreaks in your area, new treatments for diseases, and other health related topics.  In some cases, learning about a recall or food poisoning incident could be life-saving.

Try out some of the above websites and apps which are designed to help you maintain a healthy lifestyle and keep you educated about health related topics.  Thanks to modern technology, you can always have these useful tools at your fingertips!

If you are interested in more information about how to maintain your health as you age, where to retire, financial planning, Social Security, Medicare and more, use the tabs or pull down menu at the top of the page to find links to hundreds of additional articles.

You are reading from the blog:  http://www.baby-boomer-retirement.com

Photo credit:  Google images

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Retire in Portugal - Affordable Europe

Would you like to retire in Europe, but cannot afford to live in one of the more famous cities, such as London, Paris, Prague or Venice?  A country you may wish to consider is Portugal.  Retirement there is very affordable when compared to most locations in the United States.  In addition, with a Eurail Pass, it is easy to travel throughout the rest of Europe and see all those places you hoped to enjoy in retirement.

According to the website International Living, it is relatively easy for Americans to relocate to Portugal and the cost of living is more reasonable than most other European destinations.  Of course, anyone who seriously plans to retire in Europe should investigate their options thoroughly, beginning with an extended vacation in Portugal.  However, the information below will give you an idea if this is a place which could work out for you.

Portugal is Charming and Affordable

Portugal is one of the smaller countries in Europe.  It is only about the size of the state of Vermont and has a population of about 11 million people.  The vast majority of people in Portugal are Roman Catholic Christians.

The weather is generally beautiful, there are many courses where you can play golf, and it has a lengthy coast along the Atlantic Ocean.  Northern Portugal is mountainous and tends to be cooler and rainy; the southern part of the country consists of rolling plains and is warmer and drier.

Expatriates are most likely to be found in the areas of Portugal known as the Algarve, the Alentejo and the Silver Coast.  According to reports from "International Living," a variety of rental properties can be found in the $450 to $550 per month price range, rising to around $1,000 a month in the more popular areas of Lisbon.  International Living has reported that a couple can live in the countryside for about $1,750 a month, including their rent.  If they live in Lisbon, their monthly expenses will rise to about $2,250 a month.  Utilities cost about $80 a month.

Small condos and cottages can be purchased in the Alentejo region for $65,000 to $100,000.  However, experts highly recommend people rent for a year or more before purchasing property.  This will give you the opportunity to decide if you have moved to an area you enjoy.  When you do purchase a home, be sure you use a real estate agent and have a lawyer check the title and review the contract.

The country is beautiful and relaxed.  In the cities, expect to find charming roundabouts, statues, fountains, cobblestone streets, parks and outdoor cafes. Around the countryside there are a variety of castles and cathedrals.

Healthcare in Portugal

Good healthcare is available, particularly in the private hospitals.  New residents will need to obtain private health insurance.  Medicare from the United States cannot be used if you are a permanent resident of another country.  However, if you only live in Europe part of the year, you may want to maintain your Medicare policy in the United States so you can use it when you return to the states.

You can qualify for health insurance in Portugal if you have a job there and pay into their social security system.  If you are retired, you will need to purchase a private health insurance policy.  The U.S. Embassy advises that you obtain your insurance through a private Portuguese hospital or clinic.  One couple who described their experiences on the International Living website said they pay about $250 a month for the two of them to have health insurance.

Portuguese Visa Requirements

When you first visit Portugal, you do not need a special visa to enter the country.  You can stay up to 90 days without one.

Once you decide to move there permanently, you will need proof of private health insurance and enough funds to support yourself in Portugal.  Then you will be able to apply for a Type 1 Visa by submitting an application to the nearest Portuguese Consulate.  You cannot relocate permanently to Portugal or stay longer than 90 days until you have the visa.  If you want to work in Portugal, you will need a Permanent Residency Visa.  Foreigners can also set up a company in Portugal, if they are legal residents and have the necessary permits and capital.  This is another situation where it would be wise to consult with a lawyer and, possibly, a local accountant.

Once you are living in Portugal, you will want to open a local bank account.  The U.S. government will direct deposit your Social Security benefits into a European bank for you.

Portuguese Taxes

Portuguese income taxes depend on whether you are classified as a resident or non-resident.  Workers pay income taxes ranging from 14.5% to 48%, based on their total income from around the world.

Depending on your investments, you may also be required to pay a capital gains tax.  In addition, the country has a Value Added Tax on certain restaurant services and agricultural supplies.  Talk to a tax advisor or accountant to see how much of your income will go to cover your taxes, so you understand exactly how much of your assets will be available to pay for your living expenses.

Investigate, Investigate, Investigate

Whenever this website recommends a place to live overseas, we high recommend you check out the State Department website for any advisories or warnings regarding foreign countries.  In addition, I also recommend that you vacation in a place before you move there and, during your trip, you should consult a real estate agent, a lawyer and, possibly, a tax attorney so you can minimize any surprises.

You also need to be prepared for fluctuations in the value of the dollar against the currency of the country where you are moving.  As the value of your Social Security check rises and falls, you may find it easier or more difficult to cover your expenses.  You want to make sure you have allowed for a margin of error, so you are not forced to leave because you cannot afford to stay.

Finally, read everything you can before moving to country.  Expatriates have written about their lives in virtually every corner of the world and they often have helpful tips to make your transition easier.

If you are interested in learning more about where to retire abroad or in the United States, or financial planning, Social Security, Medicare, common medical problems and more, use the tabs or pull down menu at the top of the page to find links to hundreds of additional helpful articles on a variety of topics.


You are reading from the blog:  http://www.baby-boomer-retirement.com

Photo credit: Google images

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

International Travel Tips for Senior Citizens


One of the activities which many Baby Boomers look forward to when they retire is the ability to travel, often to countries they only dreamed about while working.  Without work or school to hinder them, they have a wide variety of ways they can pursue this dream. A number of companies cater to senior citizens who want to travel abroad.  In addition, many people choose to simply explore the world on their own.  Whether you travel in a group or privately, there are a few things everyone should know before they set out on their great adventure.

This week, I have invited Sean Turner, a well-traveled health and life insurance expert, to share his expertise and tips for senior citizens who plan to travel overseas.  Hopefully, this information will help them avoid some of the more common pitfalls which can arise with international travel.  Below is the article from Mr. Turner.

5 Tips for Seniors Traveling Internationally


There are several obstacles which seniors may face, which younger people might not, when it comes to traveling overseas, aside from the normal health risks, such as getting waterborne or food borne illnesses after drinking and eating at local restaurants. As a result, we want you to be prepared for your exciting trip overseas and hope you have some incredible and memorable experiences.

Consequently, we have compiled a list of tips for traveling internationally:

1.    Medicare will not cover you outside of the United States 

Original Medicare provides zero coverage as soon as you step off American soil. Even if you have a Medicare Supplement policy, it is likely to only have an extremely limited amount of coverage. This is why we recommend shopping for senior health insurance for international travel. Health insurance for traveling overseas is much more flexible than insurance used here in the States, primarily because there are claims administrators and coordinators who work with citizens in the country to which you are traveling. They understand the language and are familiar with local healthcare.

Travel Health Insurance is important because health emergencies can be more likely to occur overseas than at home. This is because you may be traveling to new places and consuming unfamiliar food and beverages. One way to prepare ahead of time is by purchasing the appropriate travel health insurance policy.

2.    Store Your Prescriptions in Several Locations

Packed swimsuit. Check. Packed phone charger. Check. Packed prescriptions. Check.

What you may want to double check is where you pack your prescriptions. If you rely heavily on specific prescriptions, you may want to consider packing duplicates in both your carry-on and checked luggage.  If you are overseas and lose a prescription, it may be impossible or nearly impossible to get it filled at a pharmacy outside of the U.S.  If you pack the prescriptions in multiple places, and one bag is stolen or lost, it is likely you will still have enough of your prescriptions in your other bag to figure out your next step.  

It is also a good idea to carry a copy of your written prescription from your physician with you. This will make it easier to get certain prescriptions refilled in a foreign country, if you need to.

3.    Look up the US Embassy or Consulate’s Contact Information

Before your trip, search for the closest US Embassy in the country to which you are traveling, and take their contact information with you. If a U.S. citizen is seriously injured or falls ill while in a foreign country, representatives from the embassy will assist in finding providers or healthcare professionals. While the U.S. Embassy will not recommend any one provider, they can provide a list of physicians to help with your specific injury or healthcare problem.

It is also a good idea to check the State Department's website for travel warnings and advisories before you leave on your trip, so you know if there are any areas or specific situations you should avoid.

4.    Take Your Time and Enjoy Your Travels

When you travel overseas, you may be hauling around one or more large suitcases full of clothes, sunscreen, souvenirs you have purchased, and other gadgets “you might need."

Many airlines have begun charging steep rates for checked bags. Before you know it, you are spending an outrageous amount of money just to get you and your stuff from one place to another. Here is our suggestion: Once you have landed at your international destination, you may look into traveling by train or rail to your next destinations.

Rail travel has become increasingly popular and inexpensive in many countries. You usually can carry on one or two bags and check another two at no cost. Some other benefits of traveling by rail are that you can enjoy playing card games in the observation car, view the beautiful landscapes, and even grab a meal in the dining car.  You may also get an opportunity to meet foreigners and learn a little about the country through which you are traveling.  Many people enjoy being unofficial "tour guides" and proudly pointing out interesting locations as you pass by. You will see much more of the countryside between destinations if you travel by rail rather than flying from location to location.

Also, if you are in places such as Europe, train travel is discounted for students and seniors.  Be sure to take along your student ID, or passport, when purchasing your tickets.

5.    Avoid Peak Seasons

Just as in the U.S., when the peak travel season is from June to August (when school is out), other parts of the world have peak travel seasons, as well. Typically, Baby Boomers have more freedom to choose the time of year which is best for travel. We recommend you consider choosing a low season rather than a peak season, when it works for you, because plane tickets and hotels can be much less expensive and the crowds will be smaller.

Low Seasons for Several Countries:
China – November to January
Ecuador – December to June
Europe – October to February
Indonesia – October to May
           
The only downside to traveling during low seasons are that the weather may be cooler and wetter than during the peak seasons, so be prepared to pack appropriate jackets and other clothing. Also, some attractions, such as museums, may be open to the public for shorter hours. Be sure to do your research ahead of time.


Conclusion 

While international travel is often about exploring new cultures, new people and languages, and seeing great places, it may be easier to enjoy it if you have used the above tips to prepare ahead of time. If you have any great tips from your travels, share them in the comments below.


About the Author 

Sean Turner is a licensed health and life insurance agent for Buffer Benefits. He has had the privilege of traveling to over eight different countries. You can learn more about travel insurance at https://bufferbenefits.com


I hope my readers found the above guest post helpful.  If you are interested in getting more information about travel, where to retire, financial planning, common medical problems, Social Security, Medicare and more, use the tabs or pull-down menu at the top of the page to find links to hundreds of additional articles.

You are reading from the blog:  http://www.baby-boomer-retirement.com

Photo credits:  Photo of Sean Turner supplied by him
Photo of Ecuadorian Art courtesy of morguefile.com

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Awesome Work-From-Home Jobs

One way to earn extra money is to sell your best photos.
A large number of Americans have discovered that it is absolutely essential they work after they have begun to collect their Social Security. It is simply not possible for many retirees to survive without supplementing their Social Security income. However, they may not have the energy and stamina to work full-time outside the home like they did when they were younger. The question becomes, what can they do to earn a little extra money from home?

Many retirees and younger adults have been pleased to discover there are a variety of ways they can supplement their income, regardless of their age, even if they find it difficult to get out. As a result, I have invited guest blogger, Good Nellie, to share her very useful list of work-from-home jobs.  Not all of these ideas will appeal to everyone.  Many of them require some knowledge of how to use a computer; a few require no computer use at all.  However, even if just one or two of these ideas works for you, the extra money could make your retirement more comfortable.  Below is the guest post from Good Nellie. Most of the suggestions have one resource where you can find additional information about how to pursue that possibility.  You may also find other ideas online.

10 Awesome Work-from-Home Jobs for Retired Persons


Working after retirement needs to be something which brings you pleasure, rather than causing you to be stressed out. Many people have discovered they need to earn extra money for a better lifestyle or to repay some of their debts, but they still want to enjoy their later years.
Whatever your situation, there are ways you can earn money by working from the comfort of your home.
So, does it mean you will only be able to earn a small amount?  No, in some cases you can earn quite a significant amount in your golden years by working from home, depending on the time you put into it.
Before discussing ways to make money after retirement, first let's look at the advantages of working after retirement.

      Undoubtedly, you can work towards financial stability and paying off debt, if any.
      You can take advantage of the increased Social Security benefits you will receive, especially if this helps you postpone collecting your benefits until the age of 70.
      People working after retirement may stay more active and more socially connected, which can result in better health.
      You can choose to work part-time and enjoy your leisure time instead of working full-time.
      You can explore new fields (which do not require specialization and extensive education) which you may have always wanted to try.

But, the question is, what are some of the ways senior citizens can earn money from home? Let us find out.

10 Work from home ideas for retired people

1.     Being a tutor

One of the best ways to make money after retirement is to use your lifelong experience to earn extra income. If you like teaching from the comfort of your home, consider becoming an online tutor.

You will be able to guide students of all ages, review materials, etc. Moreover, teacher certifications are not necessary. Think about how satisfying it will be if you help someone learn a subject.

2. Enjoy professional blogging
This is one enjoyable way to make money online. Share to your heart’s content on any topic which interests you with your readers. You never know, your blog might become one of the popular ones (such as this blog: baby-boomer-retirement.com.)
And, if your blog becomes a popular one, you can easily have a steady income from the advertising revenue on it. It is not too difficult to earn a couple of hundred dollars a month by working flexible hours from the comfort of your home. Not too bad, right?

3. Become an online juror
Have you been a fan of detective stories and you love analyzing situations? Have you ever thought this could help you earn money?
Yes, you can use your analytical mind to serve as a mock juror online. All you have to do is be analytical and enjoy processing large amounts of evidence and give your opinion.

4. Reviewing a website
If you’ve always loved to analyze things critically, you can become a website tester. By becoming one, you will review websites and analyze them critically.
It is one of the best ways to get income in retirement since you don’t need to have any specialized knowledge. You will review a website just as a normal person might.
You simply have to browse through the websites and share your experience so the websites can be made user-friendly.

5. Being a search engine evaluator
This is somewhat similar to the last money-making idea. You can make money online by being a search engine evaluator.
To do this, you have to browse through certain topics in various search engines and report errors so that the technical persons can fix them.

6. Organizing your photos and selling them
You may have lots of photographs on your phone or computer. Now is the time to organize them and pick out the very best ones.
There are websites for stock photos where you can sell your photographs and earn a decent amount of money when other people purchase them to use on their blogs or articles.
This may also be a fun opportunity for baby boomers to roam around, click pictures, and earn money.

7. Earn by doing paid searches
There are companies which employ people to do paid searches. When you do, you earn points that you can redeem for a gift or even cash.
Though you can’t make a large amount of money, it is not a bad option for a side gig.

8. Taking advantage of knowing multiple languages
Do you love different languages? Now is the time to use that to your benefit. Become an online translator and earn extra income.
Frequently, your work will be conducted by phone or video.
When doing so, you can also nurture your love for that language. There are several companies which hire translators.  One is listed below.  You may also find an opportunity to tutor or teach a second language in your community.

9. Renting the unused space in your home
You may even earn money without doing anything. How is it possible? Simply rent out any unused portions of your home to someone who needs storage space or who wants to rent a bedroom in your house.
You may even rent out your unused garage. When you are retired, you may be able to manage with only one vehicle.  If so, you can rent your extra garage space.  Advertise in your local newspaper or let your neighbors know you would be willing to rent out your garage.  They may have an extra car or a bunch of boxes they would love to store in your garage.

If you live in an area where basements are common, you may also find you can rent out a part of your basement to store boxes or furniture for someone else.  You earn extra money without the need to do anything.

10. Become a brand advocate for a company
It sounds lucrative to be a brand advocate of an organization, doesn't it? Yes, life may truly start at sixty!
You can become an online brand advocate for a product or a brand and answer online queries about that product.
You will have to know the products well so you can offer advice and recommend them to the target customers.  This could be a great opportunity if you have retired from a large company, but would still like to earn a little extra income by advocating for the products you know so much about.
It will help you if you have been loyal to a brand and its particular products. You will enjoy the job even more.

Not only are these ideas great retirement income streams, but you may also being doing something noble. Imagine how many people you could be helping out with your knowledge and experience.

The average pay for the above retirement jobs begins at about $10 per hour. However, it can go up to $22 per hour or more, depending on the type of work and your experience. In addition, the more time you devote, the greater your opportunity to earn more.

When you are searching for how to make money at age 60 or older, you may not want to only search for work-from-home opportunities.  If your health permits you to work outside your home and you enjoy that, then you should also look for part-time opportunities in the community, working in local shops or part-time for neighborhood businesses. However, if possible, do not opt for a stressful job; this is the time to enjoy life. Do not just focus on the money. Do whatever you like to do.

So, go ahead… Enjoy your golden years, earn a decent amount, and have a great lifestyle!

Author Bio:

Good Nelly analyzes financial happenings and writes articles to help her readers plan for their financial future. She has been associated with Debt Consolidation Care for a long time. However, she has contributed articles to other websites, too.

If you are interested in more ideas about financing your retirement, where to retire, common health issues, Social Security, Medicare and more, use the tabs or pull-down menu at the top of the page to find links to hundreds of additional helpful articles.

You are reading from the blog:  http://www.baby-boomer-retirement.com

Photo credit:  author