Thursday, June 28, 2012

How the Affordable Healthcare Act Affects You

The Affordable Heathcare Act has been upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court and is the law of the land.  While millions of people have been able to obtain insurance under it, some for the first time, many other people are confused about how it will affect them.  If you are interested in reading the full text of the Healthcare Act, you can find it on the government's website at  It has detailed information that will pertain to people of all ages.  However, below are some key provisions that will be of interest to those of us who are 50 and older.

If You are on Medicare

If you are already on Medicare, it means that you now qualify for a yearly wellness visit and other preventive services for free, including no-cost screenings for cancer, diabetes and other chronic diseases.  There will be better discounts on drugs for senior citizens. Improvements will be made to care for seniors after they leave the hospital. You may also receive help if you need to stop smoking. On regular Medicare, there will be no co-payment or deductible for screenings such as:

Bone mass measurement
Cervical cancer
Cholesterol and other cardiovascular screenings
Most colorectal screenings
Diabetes screenings
HIV screenings, if requested
Prostate cancer screening

You should also be able to get free flu shots, pneumonia shots and the hepatitis B shot.

If you are in a Medicare Advantage Plan, you need to check with your provider for information about their benefits.  However, Medicare Advantage Plans are required to provide the same minimum benefits as regular Medicare and, in some cases, may even be better.

If you have a Medicare Supplement Plan, you will have basic Medicare plus whatever additional benefits your supplement plan provides.

Whatever type of Medicare you have, you may also want to supplement your insurance with a vision and dental plan.  Most Medicare plans do not include these benefits; you must purchase a separate plan for them.

If You are Not Yet on Medicare

For those people over the age of 50 who are still working and not yet old enough for Medicare, the Affordable Healthcare Act was completely implemented by January 1, 2014.  Here are some of the significant changes taking place:

Small Business Health Insurance Tax Credits to make it easier for small companies to provide insurance for their employees.

Federal matching funds that help states cover more people on Medicaid.  Unfortunately, some states have opted out of accepting these matching funds, which means that insurance is unnecessarily expensive for middle class residents of those states.  Some states, however, are beginning to change their minds and reducing the barriers to accepting the matching funds.  You will have to check with insurance representatives in your state to see if you could be eligible for financial assistance with your premiums.

A program to provide financial help for employment based insurance plans so they can continue to cover people who retire between ages 55 and 65, as well as their spouses and dependents.

You cannot be denied health insurance because of a pre-existing condition.

Young adults can now stay on their parent's insurance plan until they are 26 years old.  This has been a tremendous help to young adults who are in graduate school, student teaching or doing internships for little or not pay.

No deductible, co-pay or coinsurance payment for certain preventive services such as mammograms and colonoscopies.

Insurance cannot be cancelled if you get sick.

Insurance cannot be dropped if you participate in a clinical trial.  (Personally, I didn't know this was even possible before.  My husband has been participating in a clinical trial of a drug for chronic kidney disease.)

No annual or lifetime limits on your insurance coverage.

Children cannot be denied insurance coverage because of pre-existing conditions.

Women will no longer be charged more for their health insurance.

Insurance companies have to justify premium increases and show that a significant portion of the premiums they collect are going to provide healthcare benefits.  This requirement seems to work better in some states than others.  In some states, like California, the Insurance Commissioner cannot block premium increases.  Some state legislators are working to change this.

Expansion of community health centers; incentives to increase the numbers of doctors, nurses and other heathcare professionals.

There are many more details than could possibly be included in this blog.  Although there remain glitches in the Healthcare Act and people who still fall through the cracks, millions of uninsured people have obtained insurance through it and this trend is expected to continue in coming years.

If you are interested in learning more about health issues affecting senior citizens, changing family relationships, where to retire or financial planning, use the tabs or pull down menu at the top of this page to find links to hundreds of additional useful articles.

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Sunday, June 24, 2012

Independent Travel vs. Guided Vacations

Baby Boomers love to travel.  From the time we hit college age, we began exploring the world and many of us plan to continue to do so after retirement.  Now, however, we have become a little older and wiser.  Boomers are no longer quite as willing to buy a Volkswagen Westfalia camper and travel around Mexico for a few months, as my husband and I did in the mid-1970's. 

Instead, we want to travel efficiently, affordably, safely and comfortably, while exploring new areas of the world.  At the same time, we want the freedom to try new things and explore interesting places on our own.  Is it possible to do both?

Independent Travel vs. Guided Vacations

Like most Baby Boomers, the majority of the trips my husband and I have taken involved independent travel.  In addition to our lengthy trip to Mexico, we have gone on road trips through every state in the continental United States and several provinces of Canada.  We have also visited several countries in the Caribbean and Europe and enjoyed a number of trips to Hawaii.  During most of those trips, we simply booked our own travel arrangements and hotels, and wandered around our destination.  Once, we spent a week in Paris casually strolling the boulevards, visiting sidewalk cafes, majestic cathedrals, and breathtaking museums.  We have done for shorter period of time England, Switzerland, Germany and all the other states and countries we visited.

However, we have also taken two guided vacations, which is simply the new, modern term for group tours.  The first was a employer sponsored trip to Banff, Canada.  We loved having everything organized for us with very little effort on our part, but we didn't take another guided vacation for years. 

In our late 50's, we signed up for a Princess Land Tour of Alaska, prior to a Princess Cruise.  It was an absolute delight.  All our travel plans, hotels, transportation, etc., were taken care of.  We put our luggage outside our hotel door early each morning, and it was whisked away before we had breakfast.  When we arrived at the next hotel, our luggage was waiting in our room.  It was so wonderful not to have to carry it around!  We could order whatever we wanted off the menu in the Princess Lodges where we stayed.  

We were a bit worried that we would be forced to spend every minute with the group, but that didn't happen at all.  At Mt. McKinley (Denali), my husband spent the day riding in a school bus through a national forest looking for bears and other wildlife, while I attended a Ranger lecture, and relaxed at the resort.  The next day, we went together into the little town of Talkeetna and took a float trip down the river.  Look at the picture above.  That's me in the blue hat; my husband is to the left.  No one else from our tour group went into Talkeetna.  They spent the day doing other things.  We all saw each other that evening at dinner, and shared our various experiences.

That was not the only day we spent doing our own thing during the tour.  We strolled around Anchorage and Fairbanks on our own, and in other locations we had a choice of several activities.  We never felt rushed, stressed or bored.  It was nice to be able to do whatever we wanted, without having to worry about the mundane things like luggage, hotels and transportation.  According to an article in the AAA Westways Magazine, June 2012, guided vacations are the new trend in tour groups.  The tour operators take you to the various areas, and suggest a variety of activities.  However, you have the freedom to choose what you want to do.  In my opinion, this will be the preferred way to travel as we get older.

Worried About Bed Bugs?

As we plan other trips around the United States, one of our daughters recently told us about the Bed Bug Registry!  I promised I would mention it in any travel articles I write.  If you are making hotel reservations anywhere in the United States, you can go to and see if there have been complaints about bed bugs at that hotel.  Anyone who has stayed at a hotel and had a problem with bed bugs is invited to leave a comment at the registry.  Hopefully, this will force hotels to deal with the problem, and protect all of us from accidentally stumbling into a hotel that has a serious problem.

Happy traveling!

If you are interested in learning more about travel issues, where to retire in the United States or overseas, financial planning, medical issues and changing family relationships, 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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Thursday, June 21, 2012

Frightening Facts About Retirement

Are you planning a picture perfect retirement?  Do you dream of spending your Golden Years with paint brush, fishing pole or golf clubs in hand?  Although undoubtedly the day will come when you will have to stop working, whether you want to or not, your financial well-being may not be as comfortable as you had hoped.

According to Yahoo!Finance, in an article from U.S.News entitled "8 Scary Retirement Facts," the 2007 decline in the economy caused havoc for the retirement plans of substantial numbers of aging Baby Boomers.  Sadly enough, their financial problems may be even more severe because our life expectancy continues to climb, even as their savings dwindle.

Scary Facts About Retirement for the Baby Boomer Generation

Here are a few facts from the U.S.News article that you may want to consider as you work on your retirement nest egg:

1.  Today, one in six senior citizens is living below the poverty line, which is $22,350 for a family of four, and even less for a single person.

2.  Currently, there is one working age adult between the ages of 15 and 64 for every five senior citizens.  By 2050, the ratio will change to one working age adult for every three seniors.  There will be fewer working people to support us, and we will be living longer than ever!

3.  The number of senior citizens will more than double from 40 million to 89 million by 2050.  This will put a huge strain on the economy.

4.  Right now, the median cost of an assisted living facility is $3,300 a month.  In California, where I live, I have read estimates of $6,000 a month.  In Alaska, it is $6,813 a month.  Today, assisted living is not affordable for people who are living solely on Social Security.  This will become an even greater problem as we Baby Boomers age.  While Medicaid is often the payer of this expense for many low and moderate income retirees, this is one more burden that will be placed on the government and working adults.  Those who do not qualify for Medicaid will have to pay these costs out-of-pocket.

5.  The economic losses of a few years has already taken a toll on people who are age 55 and older.  This age group accounts for approximately 20% of all bankruptcies, often because of medical expenses.  Surprisingly, older Americans also have more credit card debt than younger adults.

6.  Baby Boomers will need to have more savings in the future than ever, just to survive during their retirement years.  For many people, their lack of savings will mean they will need to work much later in life than they had planned.  This will not be easy for the numerous Baby Boomers who lost their jobs during the recession, often forcing them to take their Social Security benefits earlier than they had planned.

7.  While some Baby Boomers do know that we need to save more, it appears that the message is not getting through to many Americans.  According to a 2009 Career Builder survey, over one-third of Americans admitted that they do not contribute to retirement accounts.

8.  Age discrimination continues to make it hard for senior citizens to find and keep jobs.

All this information may seem discouraging.  However, it is meant to be more of a warning to those who want to make sure they have done everything possible to prepare for their retirement.  Preparing for retirement certainly brings to mind the old saying, "Hope for the best and prepare for the worst!"  The better prepared we are, the more likely we will manage to have a comfortable retirement when the time comes.

If you are looking for information about financial planning, where to retire, medical concerns and changing family relationships, 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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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Heat Related Deaths in Seniors

Did you know that over 1,000 people die each year from heat related deaths, and most of them are over the age of 50?  According "UCI Health," a publication from the University of California at Irvine, seniors are especially vulnerable to heat related illnesses.

What is particularly said about this cause of death is that most of the time they are entirely preventable. Unfortunately, many seniors don't recognize when they are suffering the symptoms of a heat related illness ... until it is too late.

Causes of Heat Related Illnesses

As we get older, we perspire less.  In addition, our blood vessels have a reduced capacity to constrict and expand.  These two factors make it harder for our bodies to cool themselves, and makes us more vulnerable to the effects of heat.  If you have diabetes, heart disease or chronic kidney disease, you may be at an even greater risk.  Sometimes, older people also  feel cold, even when it is hot outside.  These factors can all spell trouble for us as we age.

About four years ago, when my husband was in his early 60's, he was playing golf in Palm Springs on a hot June afternoon.  When he returned to our hotel room, he was shaking, and felt dizzy and nauseous.    We immediately recognized that he was suffering from heat exhaustion.  He took a shower, drank some water, relaxed in our air conditioned room, and the symptoms subsided.  Later  that evening he got a massage, which also helped cool him down.  If his symptoms had not gotten better quickly, or had gotten worse, we would have had to seek medical help.  Now when he plays golf in the desert, he only plays in the early morning.  He learned his lesson!

Symptoms of Heat Exhaustion and Heat Stroke

What are the symptoms of heat exhaustion or heat stroke?  Everyone needs to be able to recognize when they may be overheated, even if they are not sweating and thing they are OK.  The symptoms are:

rapid pulse
dry mouth
excessive thirst
fainting in extreme cases. 

If you have been exposed to high temperatures and experience any of these symptoms, go into an air conditioned space, wipe yourself down with cool water and, if the symptoms do not subside quickly, contact a doctor immediately!

How to Stay Safe in Hot Weather

Here are a few common sense steps everyone should take to stay safe when the weather is hot outside:

Use air conditioning in your home, if possible.
Use air conditioning in your car, even for short distances.
Go to a mall, library or senior center if you don't have air conditioning in your home.
Drink water and other non-caffeinated, non-alcoholic liquids, even if you are not thirsty.
Avoid excessive heat whenever possible, even for short periods of time.
Stay out of the sun.
Avoid strenuous activities in the heat (like playing golf).
If you are outside, wear a hat, light clothing, and sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30.

Take care of yourself, and live to enjoy your retirement!

If you are interested in other health issues that could affect you in retirement, or topics that include where to retire, financial planning and changing family relationships, use the tabs or pull down menu at the top of the page to find links to hundreds of additional helpful articles.

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Saturday, June 16, 2012

Best Places to Retire Outside the US

I recently wrote a post about the advantages of retiring in the country of Panama, and I have also written posts about the most affordable places to retire and the sunniest places to retire in the United States.  Now it's time to broaden our horizons and consider some places where Americans are moving overseas in order to retire overseas.

While moving to another country is not to be taken lightly, it is not an unusual decision.  Currently, over 600,000 Americans are receiving their Social Security checks in another country.  This figure does not include those people who have their checks deposited into a bank in the U.S., and use ATMs to withdraw it in other countries.  This is especially popular for people who only live overseas part of the year ... a growing trend. has recently compiled a list of countries that are affordable, beautiful, have good health care and that welcome retiring Americans. 

Here is the AARP List of Best Places to Retire Abroad:

Argentina:  Buenos Aires is called the Paris of South America.  It is an elegant, European style city.  Rents in neighborhoods that are popular with ex-pats range from $800 - $2200 a month.  It is a sophisticated city for people who want to live in an affordable, upscale urban area.

Belize:  Formerly known as British Honduras, this Central American paradise is famous for its beaches and beauty.  The official language is English.  Retired persons can be put on the fast tract to residency.

Costa Rica:  The outlying towns in Costa Rica have temperate climates, exceptional beauty, lovely beaches and misty rain forests.  A friend of one of our daughters moved to Costa Rica from New York City three years ago to teach school, and has decided to stay permanently.  She constantly tells us how lucky she feels to live in Costa Rica.  She and her husband live comfortably on less than $2000 a month.

France:  The Mediterranean region of France is particularly popular with American retirees.  The Languedoc-Roussillon area in the Southwest is more affordable than many other regions, yet it is only three hours from Paris by high-speed rail.  In fact, living in Europe is very appealing because it is so easy to use the rail system and travel all over the continent and into Great Britain.

Italy:  In this country famous for its art, culture and beaches, Tuscany has long been popular with Americans.  However, Tuscany has become quite expensive, so now ex-pats are discovering LeMarche on the Adriatic.  Here you will find lovely vineyards, fabulous beaches, and snow-capped mountains, as well as amazing food. 

Mexico:  When my husband and I were young,we seriously considered moving to an American community in the Lake Chapala region of Mexico, in the mountains between Guadalajara and Puerto Vallarta.  Since then, however, we have been to Puerto Vallarta several times, and have heard that this beautiful city on the sea is drawing more retirees than ever.  Real estate is a bargain, compared to similar locations in the United States, and you can enjoy the gorgeous beaches and modern amenities.  Other areas of Mexico are also still popular with foreign retirees, including Lake Chapala, which still has a thriving American community, and San Miguel de Allende.  In fact, San Miguel has a bustling community of American ex-patriots and boasts retirement communities, assisted living facilities, hospitals and more.

Nicaragua:  The dollar goes particularly far in Nicaragua, making this one of the more affordable choices for American retirees.  While the capital city of Managua is rundown, the historic city of Granada or the resort town of San Juan del Sur are both lovely and affordable.

Panama:  I wrote a blog post specifically about retiring in Panama just a few weeks ago.  That article mentioned that many American retirees are moving to the affordable beach communities that are some distance away from the capital of Panama City.  This AARP article mentions the advantages of moving to the mountain village of Boquete as another possibility in Panama.  One aspect that Americans in Panama appreciate is that the U.S. dollar is the official currency in Panama, which makes it easy to handle your finances.

Portugal:  Retiring in Portugal can feel a bit like going back in time, with its castles and cobblestone streets.  However, you can also find plenty of golf courses, beaches and popular resorts, so you do not need to do without modern amenities.  Portugal is also less expensive than other areas of Western Europe.  The town of Cascais seems to be particularly popular with retiring Americans.

Spain:  Many American retirees are attracted to the quaint villages and spacious beaches in the Costa del Sol region of Spain.  There are currently some exceptional real estate deals in Spain, which makes it particularly affordable for relocating Americans.  There is no sales tax, and property taxes are very low.  There are golf course, hiking clubs, and a large ex-patriot community.

If there are other countries that you believe would appeal to retiring Americans, feel free to mention these places in the comments section below.

If you are interested in additional information about where to retire in the US or overseas, financial planning, medical issues that could arise, and changing family relationships, use the tabs or pull down menu at the top of this page to find links to hundreds of additional articles on these topics.

You may also be interested in reading one of the following articles:

Americans Retiring in Panama
Why Retire in Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands or Guam
Live in Ecuador Comfortably on Social Security
Retiring in Luxury to Hua Hin, Thailand

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Thursday, June 14, 2012

Coping with Divorce after 50 - Gray Divorce

More and more older couples are discovering that they no longer see eye-to-eye.  In fact, while the overall divorce rate in the United States has decreased since 1990, it has actually doubled for couples over the age of 50!  This trend has come to be called gray divorce, and it is creating serious problems for many baby boomers.

According to a report in the June 2012 issue of the AARP Bulletin entitled "Life After Divorce" approximately one in three baby boomers will be unmarried during their senior years, sometimes because of death, but often because of divorce. 

Reasons Older Couples Divorce

You may have read about two giant turtles at an Austrian zoo that have been inseparable for the past 115 years ... until recently.  Now they cannot be left alone in the same cage.  She even bit him and took a large chunk out of his shell!  If this kind of disharmony can occur in animals after many years, the same can happen with humans.  In addition to general irritability with one another, after the children have been raised some couples feel there is no longer a reason for them to stay together.  They want to try new things and explore new opportunities.  In other cases, working women in unhappy relationships have discovered that they do not have to stay married.  They are capable of supporting themselves.

Consequences of a Late Divorce

The consequences of a divorce late in life can be serious.  The couple must split their assets, and this can create financial hardship for both the husband and wife.  Because they are older, they also have less time to recover financially.  The home may be sold, and the equity divided.  Neither person may have enough assets to buy another home like the one they shared together. 

Women in particular, who often earn less money than men and have a greater life expectancy after retirement, are at a much greater risk of poverty.  An extra burden on women, in particular, is that they often end up as caregivers for their own parents or elderly relatives. 

However, late divorces can create stressful living situations for men, as well.  If the men have not stayed close to their children over the years, they can sometimes end up alone, with no one to take care of them as they age.  Currently, according to the AARP article, up to half of the 5.4 million people who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease have no identifiable caregiver!

Coping with Gray Divorce

Unlike turtles, humans are coming up with creative solutions to resolve some of the problems that come up when they no longer want to live with their spouse.  In some cases, divorced Baby Boomers are intentionally moving in with their elderly parents.  This provides them with a home, and enables them to be caregivers for their parents.  Other divorced Boomers are taking in boarders, or moving into roommate situations.  There are also retirement villages where older singles can own their own separate condos, but have a community of friends who will help them out, when necessary.  Low income divorced seniors can apply for senior housing, although there is a waiting list for it in many areas.

As difficult as these transistions can be as people age, many Baby Boomers are finding that they are able to survive and even thrive after a late in life divorce.  How things work out for any one individual often depends on how well they have prepared for this possibility.

If you are interested in more helpful articles for Baby Boomers, use the tabs or pull down menu at the top of the page to find links to hundreds of additional articles about retirement planning, financial issues, changing family relationships, or where to retire.

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Sunday, June 10, 2012

No Choice But Early Social Security

Many people have spent decades working hard and carefully planning for their retirement years.  Often they have held responsible jobs, paid into Social Security, had a pension or a 401K, and taken other steps to assure themselves that they could spend their retirement years painting, traveling or doing whatever they want.

What If You Are Forced Into Early Retirement?

When the Great Recession came along, many Baby Boomers lost their jobs; they spent their savings in order to survive; they lost much of the equity in their homes, and perhaps even lost their homes, too.  In far too many cases, their only choice was to begin collecting Social Security at age 62 instead of being able to wait until they turned 66, 67 or, even better, age 70.

In the blog post, Lies and Liars: The Retirement Lie, you can read the story of Ms. Clare Keany, a resident of Palm Springs who shared her personal situation in a New York Times story called "Forced to Early Social Security, Unemployed Pay a Steep Price."  Ms. Keany felt disappointed and discouraged when she shared her story.  She believed she tried to do everything right, and was cast aside when the recession hit and she lost her job.  She went through her savings and is now struggling to get by on a below average amount of Social Security.

Ms. Keany is not the only one who feels this way.  Many Baby Boomers have been put between the proverbial rock and a hard place.  Often they feel that they did everything that was expected of them, and they still will not be able to have the comfortable retirement they had planned.

Issues Faced By Millions of Baby Boomers 

When people are in their late 50's or their 60's, it can be very difficult to recover from an economic setback. Here are some of the issues that they sometimes face:

*  It is sometimes more difficult for Baby Boomers to find new employment than it is for younger adults.
*  They tend to remain on unemployment much longer. 

*  Once they run out of unemployment benefits, many unemployed Baby Boomers feel they have no other alternative than to begin collecting their Social Security benefits early.  The unfortunate consequence of this is that their benefits will be permanently reduced by about 20% or more.

You May be Able to Turn Things Around

If you are one of those retirees who has been forced into early retirement, you may feel that you are doomed to spend the rest of your life in poverty.  While this may be very discouraging, there are a few things that you can do to improve your situation:

*  Even though you are already collecting your Social Security benefits, you can still work part-time.  Once you have reached full retirement age, you can even work full time and receive no decrease in your retirement income.  Millions of Baby Boomers have found it helpful and rewarding to go back to work in their retirement years.  Don't pass up an opportunity to go back to work, even if you are already collection your Social Security benefits.

*  Your Social Security benefits, even if they are small, may allow you to have enough of a basic income that you can try other occupations that you never thought were possible when you were younger ... working for a non-profit, selling your artwork, baby-sitting, or trying an entirely new career.

*  If your income is low, you may discover that you are entitled to other benefits that you may not have considered.  Talk to both your local Social Security office and social services department to find out if you are eligible for SSI (Supplemental Insurance Income), food stamps, Section 8 housing vouchers, financial aid to cover your Medicare premiums, or similar programs.  Do not be embarrassed to accept this extra assistance.  You have contributed to these programs all your life and now there is no reason to hesitate to use them.

With a little patience and creativity, you can recover from a forced early retirement. 

If you are looking for more assistance with your retirement planning, use the tabs or pull down menu at the top of the page to find links to hundreds of additional articles on where to retire, financial help, medical issues that can arise, changing family relationships and more.

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Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Part-time Retirement Jobs for Baby Boomers

As 10,000 Baby Boomers a day turn 65, many of them are concerned about how to make ends meet after retirement.  If your Social Security benefits will not provide all the income you need, and your savings have been depleted because of stock market losses or high medical bills, one post-retirement option is to get a part-time job.

Part-Time Jobs Can Make Retirement Easier

Most retirees hope to relax, enjoy their retirement years, and have fun once they begin to collect Social Security. This does not mean that you can't have a part-time job at the same time.  In fact, if you find a retirement job that you enjoy, you will see it as one more way to keep involved with the outside world and have fun in your retirement years.  The extra money will also reduce your financial stress and make it easier for you to travel or indulge yourself in other ways.

After Your Full Retirement Age You Can Work and Collect Social Security Simultaneously!

The good news about working after retirement is that, once you reach your full retirement age of about age 66 to 67, you can collect your full Social Security benefits AND work at the same time, without a reduction in your benefits.  For many people, this means that the combination of a part-time job with their Social Security benefits will earn them an income equal to what they had been earning by working full-time before they retired.  In this way, you will not need to reduce your standard of living, even though you cut back on the amount of hours you spend working each week!  How's that for a cheerful thought?

In addition, if you had some low-earning years in the past 35 years that you worked, your new job could actually replace those low-earning years in your Social Security calculations, resulting in higher Social Security benefits!

What Type of Part-Time Job Should You Get?

One way to choose a part-time job is to look carefully at what you are doing now.  Would you enjoy your current job more if you were able to cut back your hours and only work part-time?  Many people chose their current careers because they found them interesting.  However, as they have gotten older, the physical and emotional toll of working full-time may be too much for people in their 60's.  If your present employer will allow you to work part-time in your current position or a similar one, you may have found a great way to ease the transition into retirement.

If this is not acceptable to your current employer, you might be able to go to work for a similar company in your area.  Your experience could be of benefit to many smaller companies that cannot afford many full-time employees.

Why Not Try Something New?

On the other hand, you may want to do something entirely different.  Perhaps you have always dreamed of working in a little clothing boutique, an art gallery, a flower shop or a hardware store.  If so, this is the time in your life when you can indulge those dreams. Contact some businesses in your area, and apply for jobs.  If you have been working most of your life, you may have skills that small business owners will really appreciate.  Many companies appreciate responsible employees with a consistent job record and lots of experience.

AARP Suggestions for Jobs That are in Demand

If you aren't sure what kind of part-time job would work best for you, you may want to look at this list of suggestions from  According to them, these are examples of the best part-time job for workers over the age of 50:

Library Assistants
Home Care Aides
Medical Assistants
Teacher's Aides
Youth Coaches / Umpires / Referees
Tour Guides and Tour Bus Drivers
Convention Center Jobs

As I looked over this list, I realized that I have actually held two of the part-time jobs after I reached full retirement age.  I worked for several years as a Special Education Teacher's Aide.  In addition, I am a blogger, and plan to continue blogging as long as I can move my fingers over the keyboard!  It's good to know that AARP considers these both good examples of post-retirement jobs.

More Ideas for Retirement Jobs

I recently wrote another article based on the US Bureau of Labor Statistics and their suggestions for jobs that will be in high demand in the coming decade.  It also contains ideas for how to use the talents and experience you already have to supplement your income.  Here is a link to that supplemental article:

Second Careers for Baby Boomers

If you are looking for a part-time retirement job or ideas for a second career, you will definitely want to read this article.

How to Find Retirement Jobs

Ask around among your friends and neighbors.  Our retirement community, for example, hires many of the residents to work as gate guards, office workers, bus drivers and security people.  Most of them only work two to four shifts a week, with each shift about four to six hours long.  These part-time jobs get residents out of their homes and gives them something to look forward to.  They earn an extra $500 - $1000 a month while getting to know their neighbors.  In addition, it helps our community, which has been listed as one of the safest small towns in our state!  When our community hires its own residents, it is a win-win situation for everyone.

If you are looking for more information to help Baby Boomers with their retirement planning, including where to retire, financial help, common health issues, changing family relationships and more, use the tabs or pull down menu at the top of the page to find links to hundreds of additional articles.

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Sunday, June 3, 2012

Second Careers for Baby Boomers

During the 2007 recession, many Baby Boomers were forced into retirement sooner than they had planned.  While the employment picture has improved substantially since that time, a significant number of newly retired Boomers are discovering that it is difficult to survive on Social Security alone. 

As a result, retirees of all ages are frequently open to second careers and new business opportunities.  Going back to work in a new occupation that excites and interests you may be the best way to maintain a comfortable lifestyle, even if you have had to downsize and cut back over the past few years.

Baby Boomers often have experience, training and a history of being responsible that makes us desirable employees in many of the fields where there is still job growth.  We have the ability to compete successfully with new college graduates.  If you are planning to retrain for a second career and need a few ideas, listed below are the areas where you might find good job opportunities, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Employment Projections:

Retail Sales

There is still a large demand for retail sales people working in businesses that range from department stores to auto dealerships.  In fact, one good item of economic news is that U.S. auto sales are continuing to be strong in 2015.  If you are interested in sales, this can be an excellent choice for experienced Baby Boomers and great job opportunities may be as close as your local mall or auto dealership.  Are you under 65 and need affordable health insurance through an employer that pays most of the cost?  Consider working for Starbucks.  They take pride in the fact that they offer health insurance to any employees that work at least 20 hours a week.

Health Care

You do not need to plan on becoming a doctor or registered nurse in order to benefit from the growth in the health care industry.  By attending a community college or vocational school for one or two years, you can complete a certificate program as a medical assistant, nursing aide, vocational nurse, medical technician or medical secretary.  Home health aides require only a few weeks of training, and many Baby Boomers already have had life experience caring for an elderly person in their home.  This makes them a more desirable employee in many cases than a young adult would be.

Childcare Workers

Because so many women need to work in order to help their families financially, there is a tremendous need for childcare workers.  Some older people have opened childcare services in their homes; others work for preschools; still others have become bonded babysitters, working through a babysitting service.

Accounting or Tax Preparation

A number of people who worked as accountants or bookkeepers before retirement may discover that there are opportunities for them to freelance in these same businesses during a period of semi-retirement. Check with job listings in your area, or approach local businesses and see if they have a need for a part-time bookkeeper or accountant.

If you would like to work part of the year, you can also be trained to be a tax preparer.  Contact H&R Block or other tax preparation companies in your area to find out about their training programs. 

Substitute Teachers

In some states, substitute teachers in public schools are required to have a college degree, but not necessarily in education.  You may have to pass a state examination to get an emergency credential or meet other requirements.  However, this can be a high paying part-time job.

If you are not qualified to work in the public school system in your state, check with private schools or pre-schools, both of which have more freedom in choosing their substitute teachers.

Other School Jobs

Many retirees who have worked in the past in other occupations have found that it is very rewarding to work as school bus drivers or crossing guards.  Others find part-time work as teacher's aides.  If you want to work with children and possibly earn credit towards a small state pension in the future, it could be very beneficial to work at a school in your community.

Pet Groomers and Trainers

Do you have a way with animals?  You might enjoy working part-time as a pet groomer.  Another possibility is to advertise your pet training services in your local newspaper.  Offer classes in pet behavior or provide private training.

Share Your Talent with Others

If you are an artist, enjoy making crafts, sewing or can work with wood, you may be able to make gift items and sell them at local fairs and festivals.  You might also give lessons to others.  In either case, it can be a fun way to earn a little extra money.  

Public Service

If you have spent years doing volunteer work in your community, you may want to check with about job opportunities with non-profit organizations in your community and around the world.  Even people in their 70's can join the Peace Corp.  You may also want to work with Teach For America or a wide variety of non-profit organizations in your neighborhood.   The pay may be low when you work for a non-profit, but the emotional rewards can be great.

There are Opportunities all Around You

Although you may have retired sooner than you planned during the "Great Recession," it is possible that you may find a new career that will help you make your Golden Years a little more golden.  Any of these jobs can provide you with a little extra income and could even add to your pension or Social Security benefits.

If you are interested in learning more about financial planning for retirement, where to retire, health issues that could arise and changing family relationships, use the tabs or pull down menu at the top of the page to find links to hundreds of additional useful articles.

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