Sunday, November 27, 2011

Shopping Safety Tips for Senior Citizens

Use Caution When Gift Shopping
(photo by
At any time of year, senior citizens can be particularly vulnerable when they are out shopping in malls and stores.  They are easy victims of pick-pockets, purse snatchers, muggers and similar criminals.  It is sad that some criminals will take advantage of people who appear to be frail, but it is an unfortunate reality.

During the holidays, it is particularly easy to become busy and distracted. As a result, people of any age may forget some basic rules of shopping safety.   Whenever we are out in public, we have to be aware of our surroundings and particularly careful.  We all have to keep our wits about us, especially when we are shopping.

How to Stay Safe While Shopping in Malls and Stores

* Be aware of your surroundings.  Notice anyone who may be watching you or following you while you are doing your holiday shopping.  If someone makes you feel uncomfortable, ask for a store or mall security guard to escort you to your car.

* Whenever possible, go shopping in groups.  Whether you take family members with you, or go with your friends, there is safety in numbers.

* Do not flash around a lot of cash.  Be careful about putting your credit cards and debit card away after each transaction. Take your time.

* Do your shopping during daylight hours and park your car close to the store.

* Be cautious about leaving packages in your car.  When you have made some of your purchases, do not simply load your packages into the trunk of your car and go back into the mall to buy more.  Someone could be watching the parking lot, and they might break into your car while you are gone.  Instead, take that load of packages home.  If that isn't possible, get in your car and drive to the other side of the mall, where any observers will not know that your trunk is full of gifts.  Then, re-park and re-enter the mall.  Do not leave any packages in plain site inside your car.

Only use ATM's in well-lit areas, and take steps to make sure your PIN number cannot be observed.

By being cautious and aware while out holiday shopping, you should be able to protect your purchases and avoid being attacked or injured during a robbery.  Don't let criminals ruin your holidays or other shopping experiences.

If you are looking for additional information for Baby Boomers and Senior Citizens, use the tabs or pull down menu at the top of this article to find links to hundreds of additional articles.

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Monday, November 21, 2011

Gratitude at Thanksgiving

Pecan Pie
(photo by

Happy Thanksgiving to all Baby-Boomers!

Times have been tough for many Baby Boomers during the past few years.  However, it is important to take a few minutes at Thanksgiving to remember all the aspects of our lives for which we can be grateful.

For many of us, our families are extremely important.  Yes, we may have spoiled our children and grandchildren, or disagreed from time to time with their decisions, but we still delight in watching them grow and mature.  Our family dinners may not be as formal as the ones our parents prepared, but we still enjoy getting everyone together for a holiday meal, or even to just gather around the television and watch a good holiday movie or football game.  Despite all the ups and downs of family life, we love our own families the best.

We also can be grateful for the amazing lives that many of us have lead.  We have traveled more widely than any generation before us.  We have seen inventions that seemed inconceivable when we were young.  We have witnessed major transformations in our society as far as the acceptance of different races and religions within our communities.

The majority of Baby Boomers have also had the opportunity to own at least one home during their lifetime.  They have been able to indulge themselves in ways that their parents could never even imagine, with everything from big screen TVs to home computers and amazing cell phones.

According to the federal website, Baby Boomers have made meaningful contributions to our nation.  About one-third of Baby Boomers volunteer for a formal organization each year; on average we each volunteer about 51 hours a year.  Baby Boomers actually increase the amount of time they spend volunteering during the years immediately after they retire.  We enjoy giving back to our communities and trying to improve life for future generations.  Boomers have a lot to be proud of! 

When I look around at my family, my quality of life, the places where I have traveled, and the ways in which I have served my own community, I feel very grateful for the life I have lived.  Consequently, when I wake up on Thanksgiving morning, I want to start the day off by saying “I have been blessed beyond measure.”  Because, despite all the ups and downs of the economy, as well as the disappointments and setbacks I have faced over the years, I am still able to feel truly blessed by this wonderful life that I have lead!  I hope you will, too.  Happy Thanksgiving!

If you want to stay up-to-date with summaries of news articles and other information pertinent to our generation, add the Baby Boomer Retirement blog to your favorites list, or subscribe to email updates.  The blog can be found at

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Las Vegas Weddings for Seniors

Famous Little White Chapel
in Las Vegas is one place
you can marry, but there are
many more!
Las Vegas is the perfect wedding location for many people who want to keep their marriage plans simple and affordable.  It is ideal for Baby Boomers thinking about getting married or re-married.   Vegas has long been known as a delightful place to have a fun wedding, without the necessity of inviting lots of people or planning a big, formal affair.  Thousands of people from all over the country go to Las Vegas each year to have a private wedding with just a few friends or family members.  If you are thinking about getting married there, here are some of the things you need to know.

This article will give you an overview of what you need to know about getting married in Las Vegas.  However, if you want to learn more and plan a wedding there, you will want to get a copy of the Amazon book:  Your Guide to a Fabulous Las Vegas Wedding.  It tells you about the laws, chapels, restaurants, how to get discount show tickets, and much more.  It is available in both Kindle and paperback editions.

Las Vegas Marriage Laws: 

The basic laws for getting married in Las Vegas are simple.  Just go to the Clark County Marriage License Bureau (any cab can take you) and show your driver's license, passport or other ID that proves you are both over 18 years old.  The current fee is about $60, although that changes from time to time.  You are best off if you plan to pay in cash.  Sometimes you can pay by credit card, cash or cashier's check; other times, they will not accept credit or debit cards.

If you have been divorced, you need to provide the date, city and state where the divorce was finalized.  You don't need to show your divorce decree.  If you have been widowed, you must provide the date, city and state of your former spouse's death.  There is no waiting period, and you do not need a blood test.  The Marriage License Bureau is open from 8:00 a.m. until midnight 365 days a year.  Once you have your license in hand, you are immediately ready to get married.

Where to Get Married:  

Your license is good for a year; however, most people use it within the next day or two.  There are many chapels throughout Las Vegas that provide fun wedding venues.  You can get married at the Mandalay Bay Wedding Chapels, the Graceland Wedding Chapel or the famous Little White Wedding Chapel where many famous people, including Joan Collins and Michael Jordan, have been wed.  Most of the major hotels also have wedding chapels.  I have seen a wide variety of nuptials performed in Las Vegas, and enjoyed them all.  You can usually call a chapel for an appointment and get married the same day.  For some of the fancier places, such as the Mandalay Bay, you may want to call a few weeks in advance.  The book I mentioned above contains information about a number of other chapels, too.

What to Do in Las Vegas:  

If you have never been to Las Vegas, you may be surprised by all the possible activities you can enjoy during your stay.  There are spectacular golf courses, tennis courts, lovely swimming pools, casinos, incredible restaurants, shopping and the famous Las Vegas shows.  If you decide to go to a show, go to a Tix4Tonight booth first.  They are located throughout Las Vegas and they are a great place to get 1/2 price tickets for shows on the evening of the day you purchase your tickets.

Baby Boomers are looking for ways to save money and simplify their lives.  Planning to have your own wedding or the wedding of one of your children in Las Vegas is one way to keep your life simple!

Whether you are planning a wedding, wondering how to maximize your retirement income, or find out about the latest medical advances, you may want to add this blog to your favorites list, or sign up to have Google email notices of the latest posts.

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Thursday, November 17, 2011

New Rules for Grandparents of New Babies

 New Rules for Changing Diapers!
(photo by
Are you about to babysit for a new grandchild for the first time?  Or, are you about to become a grandparent?  If so, be prepared for some careful instructions from your adult children.  New research over the past 20 years has created several changes in the way we need to care for those precious grandchildren, and their parents will want you to educate yourselves, and heed this new advice.

Yes, somehow we managed to raise our own kids without knowing about all this research.  However, if you want to get along well with the parents of that new baby, you had better be willing to learn this updated information.  It is one of the best ways you can begin to build rapport within your growing family.

Here are some of the changes that have been made to parenting guidelines since we were raising our own children:

Make sure your whooping cough shot is current.  Many pediatricians are telling young parents not to let anyone around their newborn who does not have a current whooping cough vaccine, and this remains true for the first year of a child's life, until they are vaccinated themselves.

Do not put a baby to sleep on its tummy.  This increases the chances of sudden infant death syndrome.  Instead, doctors recommend that babies be put to sleep on their backs.

Do not use talcum powder when you change a diaper.  New parents now use diaper cream, instead.

Don't push the new parents to begin feeding the baby cereal when they are only a few weeks old. Evidence indicates that babies are better off waiting until they are about six months old to begin eating cereal or other solid foods.

Take a grandparenting class.  Many hospitals now offer grandparenting classes for the parents and in-laws of expectant mothers.  Find out if one is offered in your area, and take it.  It doesn't matter how many children you have already raised.  Just showing up for the class will enhance your relationship with the new mother, and increase her confidence in your willingness to be a supportive grandparent who will encourage her, rather than try to undermine her.

Learn how to install a car seat in an automobile correctly.  They can be very tricky, and you want to make sure you do it right.  The last thing you want to have happen is for the child and the car seat  to flip over if you need to slam on your brakes!

Finally, the most important thing you can do is learn to curb your tongue.  You may not agree with everything the new parent does.  However, if you want to maintain good family relationships, and get to really enjoy spending time with your grandkids, make a sincere effort not to make suggestions.  They will be considered criticisms, no matter how gentle you try to be!

For more information about retirement, family relationships and other issues as you age, use the tabs or pull down menu at the top of this page to find links to hundreds of additional articles.

If you are a Baby Boomer and you are looking forward to retirement, you may want to follow the Baby Boomer Retirement blog at for more information on how to enhance your senior years.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Online Money Scams to Avoid

Don't Fall for Scams
(photo by
Learning how to make money online may seem like a puzzle at first.  There are a number of good, solid companies that actually do give you the opportunity to earn money while you work from home.  Some of these opportunities include writing articles for InfoBarrel or Hubpages, starting your own blog, answering questions on WebAnswers, or selling products for Amazon or eBay.  However, there are also a lot of scams out there that can cause you to lose money instead of make it.  Listed below are some of the ones to watch out for.

Multi Level Marketing: 

These are the pyramid schemes that encourage you to get 3 or more people under you, and each of them gets 3 people under them, etc.  Most of the time, you have a hard time getting your 3 sponsees.  However, once you have coerced some of your friends, they may not even bother to try recruiting anyone else.  Your pyramid falls apart quickly, and any money you spent to "buy in" or purchase products for resale is simply wasted.

Online Business Training:  

There are lots of ads out there telling you that they will teach you how to make money online, start your own business, make money posting ads, data entry jobs, etc.  Most of the time, they are selling you a book; often the book simply suggests that you run ads like the one that hooked you.  Putting together your ads is your online business or data entry job.  This is not a real business.  You'll probably lose your initial "training" expense. These are very similar to the "envelope stuffing" businesses that were advertised all over the place in the days before the computer.  I've never known anyone to make money on any of them.

Lists of Companies Hiring Online Workers: 

Some websites offer to sell you a list of companies that are hiring workers.  However, real companies that are looking for employees will not require you to pay to find out about them.  They advertise in places that you can access for free.  They are simply charging you for a list of corporations in your area. 

Other Scams: 

Watch out for other sites that offer extravagant amounts of money for you to complete surveys.  Often you are encouraged to buy a product, or try a product and pay later, before you earn anything.  Again, this can cost you more money than you earn.  As always, if it sounds too good to be true, it almost certainly is.  There are a few companies that do pay people to complete surveys, but be careful.  They can be tricky.

This article cannot include all the possible scams, because the scammers keep coming up with new ones all the time. Just be careful about spending any money in order to make money.  There are plenty of free and legitimate online sources of revenue available. 

As always, this blog is designed to keep you up to date on any new trends that could affect Baby Boomers and other retirees.  Use the tabs or pull down menu at the top of the article to find links to hundreds of other articles of help to Baby Boomers

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Sunday, November 13, 2011

Gray Divorce or Divorce After 50

Divorce Happens at All Ages
(photo by
Many people assume that their marriage problems will smooth out as they get older.  However, there are indications that this may not always be the case.  According to the National Center for Family and Marriage Research from Bowling Green State University, the number of couples who are getting divorced after the age of 50 has doubled in the past 20 years.  Baby Boomers are getting divorced even at the stage of their lives when they had once envisioned themselves traveling, having fun and living in empty-nest tranquility.

In 2008, over 300,000 couples over the age of 50 got divorced, and the number is expected to continue to increase in coming years.

What will be the consequences of these late-in-life divorces, sometimes called Gray Divorce?  For many couples, their already fragile retirement savings will be further depleted.  Homes and other real estate will be sold and any profits will be shared; retirement accounts will be split; investments, savings accounts and other assets will have to be divided.  This will put Baby Boomers who stay single in even worse financial condition than they were during their marriage.  They may also have difficulty selling their real estate if they get divorced during a bad real estate market.

On the other hand, some of those divorcing Baby Boomers can expect to remarry.  In fact, many boomers who are getting divorced are already on their second or third marriage, and are likely to marry again.  Therefore, getting divorced after 50 does not necessarily mean that you will spend the remainder of your life alone.

However, any couple who gets divorced late in life needs to consult with both an attorney and a financial planner, especially if they want to make sure that both of them will have adequate assets to survive, particularly if they do remain alone for the remainder of their lives.  Both partners need to have a clear understanding of their expected retirement income from Social Security and pensions, as well as the amount of income they can expect to receive from any investments they may have.

The majority of people in a gray divorce will need to carefully evaluate their situation and make sure they fully understand their finances and immediately take steps to preserve as many of their assets as possible and make whatever adjustments are necessary to their cost of living.

They also need to discuss the situation with their adult children and work out arrangements for holiday visits and other family events, so that everyone will be as comfortable as possible.  Divorce counseling is highly recommended, so you can discuss issues such as how you will treat each other (and your ex-spouse's potential future spouse or dates) at family events such as weddings, graduations, the birth of grandchildren, etc.

If you are looking for additional information about retirement planning, use the tabs or pull down menu at the top of this page to find links to hundreds of articles about retirement planning, where to retire, health concerns, family issues, etc.

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Thursday, November 10, 2011

How Much Money Do I Need to Retire?

When Can You Retire?
In early 2011, on my way to work, I heard a disturbing news report.  Approximately 44% of Americans felt that they did not have enough money to be able to retire comfortably.  That number has only grown worse.  Millions of Baby Boomers are not prepared to retire.  In fact, since that report in 2011, the truth is that currently mover than half do not feel they have saved enough.

More recently, the CBS also reported that more people than ever before expect to work past the age of 65, primarily because they need the money.  Reality is beginning to set in for Baby Boomers.

The Retirement Situation for Baby Boomers

The November 2011 AARP Bulletin reported some alarming statistics.  While the exact numbers have changed a little since that time, they are roughly the same.

*  31% of people over the age of 50 have credit card balances

*  44% have mortgage payments on their home

*  In 50% of households of people over the age of 50, neither spouse is currently saving for retirement!

*  The average monthly Social Security benefit is $1,182 a month (that amount was closer to $1,200 a month by 2015, although that is still depressingly low).

*  In 2009, 22% of retirees relied on Social Security for at least 90% of their retirement income

*  In 2010, 56% of Social Security beneficiaries were women ... and they often receive lower benefits than the average man

These statistics paint a discouraging picture about the future financial situation of the aging Baby Boomers.  It may be time that more of us take a hard look at our investment income, and decide what we can do now to prepare for retirement.  Although many of us assume that we will just keep on working forever, the reality is that it isn't always possible.  Sometimes people get laid off in their 60's and find it difficult to find another job.  In other cases, our health declines and we simply are not physically capable of continuing to work.

What Are Your Plans for Assisted Living?

Finally, think about what will happen to you if you need to go into assisted living.  According to the Genworth 2011 Cost of Care Survey, the median annual cost of a one bedroom unit at an assisted living facility ranges from about $28,800 per person in Georgia to about $55,000 in Maine and Delaware.  It is an extraordinary $66,000 in Alaska.  Can you and your spouse afford to pay that?

There are options.  The time to purchase long-term care insurance is when you are young and relatively healthy.  Purchasing this insurance means you will have to save far less money to cover your future medical expenses.

How Much Will You Need to Retire?

The bottom line is that only you can figure out how much you will need to retire.  Start by looking at your benefit estimates from Social Security.  Compare that to your budget.  Look at the difference between the two amounts.

Are there areas in your budget that will disappear by the time you retire?  If possible, pay off all the bills you can.  Look at all the ways you can get your budget as low as possible by retirement.  Then compare the differences between the two amounts.

Let's assume you will still be short $800 a month or $9600 a year.  If you are going to follow the 4% rule, which financial planners suggest as a way to make sure your money lasts the rest of your life, then you need to save 25 times the $9600 a month in order to have enough money to retire.  That means, in this case, you will need to save $240,000.  Obviously, the sooner you start, the easier it will be to save this amount of money.

If you don't think you can save this much, you need to figure out how you will cut your expenses or increase your retirement income ... perhaps by postponing your retirement.

Start planning early for a successful retirement.

If you are interested in reading more about retirement planning, where to retire, health issues, and more, use the tabs or pull down menu at the top of this page to find links to hundreds of additional articles.

(Photo courtesy of

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Work From Home and Make Money

Work Wherever You Want!
Whether you are just barely getting by, hoping to raise extra money for your kids' college expenses, saving for retirement, or supplementing your current retirement income, there are many good reasons you may want to earn extra money by working at home.  However, you may be uncertain about the different options that are available to you.

Most work at home opportunities fall into two different categories.  You can either offer a personal service, or you can work online.  Here are some options that you should consider:

Provide a Service 

Babysitting: Our family has hired bonded baby sitters several times while staying at out-of-town hotels.  On several occasions, the babysitters were older women who were earning a little extra money on weekends by registering with a babysitting service.  Another option is to become a licensed babysitter and provide childcare in your own home.  You could do it every day or, if that doesn't appeal to you, you may want to just host a "Mom's Day Out" or "Date Night" service.

Sell a Product:  Companies like Mary Kay Cosmetics, Tupperware and Pampered Chef all have independent sales people.  If you enjoy selling, this can be a fun way to supplement your income.

Teach a Skill:  Retired school teachers often earn extra money by tutoring children.  However, you don't have to be a retired teacher to earn money passing on a skill.  If you know how to play a musical instrument, speak a foreign language, or paint water colors, you can offer classes or private lessons as a way to earn money from home.

Make Money Online

Start an Online Store: With websites like eBay available, you can now easily sell your own crafts and artwork, or collect things from garage sales and thrift stores and sell them online.  It's a fun way to start a business without having to rent a location, spend a lot of money on inventory, or hire sales people.

Freelance Writing:  With sites like you can write articles, post them on the internet and occasionally earn a little money from the advertisers.  You can see samples of the articles I have written there at If you enjoy writing, you could also start a blog like this one.  Either way, you may not make a lot of money, but any extra income is always a good thing.  In addition, it is mentally stimulating to share your experience and knowledge by writing about it online.

If you are interested in staying-up-to-date with new developments that could affect your retirement plans, you may want to receive regular information through

(Photo courtesy of

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Tips for Healthy Cholesterol

Exercise Lowers Cholesterol
(photo by
Are you trying to reach healthy cholesterol levels and postpone taking statins as long as possible?  Here are a few natural techniques that you can use for lowering your cholesterol.  They are all easy, and are certainly worth a try.

According to the RealAge website, in their article "Exercise and Cholesterol," combining daily exercise with a low-fat, high-fiber diet can improve your cholesterol levels within three weeks.

Aerobic Exercise Can Reduce Your Cholesterol

First, they emphasize that aerobic exercises, such as walking, swimming or cycling, can raise your good cholesterol (HDL) and lower your bad cholesterol (LDL).  It can also lower your triglycerides.  It is important to do the exercises every day, if possible.  Just taking your dog on a long walk a couple of times a day may make a big difference in your health.

Foods That Will Reduce Your Cholesterol

In addition to exercise and a diet that is generally low in fat and high in fiber, RealAge also recommends that you consume these 10 foods as an additional step in reaching lower cholesterol levels:  almonds, orange juice, olive oil, steamed asparagus, oatmeal, pinto beans, blueberries,  tomato products (such as tomato sauce), avocado and dark chocolate.

While you will still need to seek medical advice, and have your cholesterol levels regularly tested, there is nothing in this program that will harm anyone (unless they have allergies), and it is a healthy approach to getting lower cholesterol levels naturally.  As we all know, anytime we can improve our health and postpone taking medications, the better off we will be ... both medically and financially!

If you are looking for more health and retirement information, use the tabs or pull down menu at the top of this page to find links to hundreds of additional articles.

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