Thursday, August 30, 2012

Garden Spot Village Community for Seniors in PA

Are you looking for retirement communities located in small towns or rural areas?  One possibility is Garden Spot Village on the outskirts of New Holland, Pennsylvania.  This community for seniors in located in Lancaster County which is frequently referred to as the Garden Spot of the United States.  Although this retirement community is in a rural area, surrounded by spectacular views and an abundance of nature, you will find that it is also within driving distance of several large metropolitan areas including New York, Philadelphia and, a bit further away, Washington, D.C. and Baltimore.

Activities at Garden Spot Village

The heart of Garden Spot Village is the Village Square, a spacious building containing a sunny atrium, an indoor park, an exotic fish aquarium, a bank, mail center, small general store, a chapel, a beauty salon and an internet cafe.  Also located on the ground floor of Village Square is the heated indoor swimming pool and the superb fitness center.  Everything you absolutely need is conveniently located.  The community has planned activities, a choir, an annual marathon and exercise classes.  There is no reason to be lonely or bored in this friendly community.

Housing Choices at Garden Spot Village

New residents have a wide range of housing choices.  You may choose the Village Square Apartments that are attached to the Village Square, with sizes ranging from about 1500 to 1900 square feet.  Other nearby apartment buildings have sizes ranging from 725 to 1700 square feet.  However, for those who prefer something more private or spacious, you can select one of the lovely attached cottages or carriage homes.  The cottages range in size from 1088 to 1318 square feet, and the carriage homes are availabe in sizes up to 2029 square feet.

Medical Support at Garden Spot Village

As we age, we may not be able to manage quite as well on our own.  If this happens to you or your loved one, there is no need to leave your friends and activities at Garden Spot Village.  They have several options to make life easier for residents.  You can request the assistance of a part time aide  to help out in your own residence or you can move into the Mountain View independent living suites.  Those who develop dementia may choose to live in the Laurel Memory Support facility; patients with more serious medical issues or who need post-surgical temporary assistance may choose to stay in the skilled nursing facilities known as The Households.  Garden Spot Village also offers respite care, which gives family caregivers the opportunity to get a much needed break, as well as adult day services.

In addition, nearby Ephrata Community Hospital operates a clinic just inside the gate to Garden Spot Village.  This makes it possible for residents to walk to their doctors' appointments, pick up prescriptions, get lab work done, have an x-ray, and receive other medical services. 

Once you move to Garden Spot Village you can be confident that you have chosen a community where you will want to spend the remainder of your life.

If you are interested in living somewhere besides Pennsylvania, use the tabs or the pull down menu at the top of this post to find links to hundreds of additional articles.

In addition, you may want to read:

The Best Sunny Places to Retire
Cheap Places to Retire
Finding Niche Retirement Communities
Best Places to Retire Outside the US

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Saturday, August 25, 2012

Why Retire in Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands or Guam

According to a MarketWatch article mentioned in, entitled "7 Money Matters to Consider if Retiring Overseas," there are more Americans than ever who are making plans to retire to another country.  They don't want to give up their U.S. citizenship; they just want to try living somewhere that is less expensive. 

Since many Americans lost a large part of their retirement funds in the past decade, the desire to live in a cheap, exotic location is greater than ever. In fact, The Social Security Administration reports that the number of people receiving their benefit checks overseas has grown from 242,000 in 2002 to 613,000 in 2014. 

The Market Watch article listed some of the issues that Americans should consider before they make a move to another country, and the author repeated over and over again the importance of getting professional assistance and expert advice from attorneys and estate planners who have experience in this area.  In fact, you may want to first consult an American attorney, and then work with attorneys, accountants and tax professionals in the country where you plan to reside.

Professional Assistance is Needed for these Issues:

Foreign income tax issues
U.S. income tax issues while living in a foreign country
Income taxes owed to your former state of residence
Fees for transferring Social Security to foreign banks and converting currency
Foreign health insurance (Medicare doesn't cover Americans living abroad)
Foreign real estate investments
Foreign securities investments
Estate Planning - especially if you want to transfer foreign assets after your death

Retire to the American Territories of Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Northern Mariana Islands or Guam

If dealing with these legal and financial problems overwhelms you, it is important to know that you can move somewhere inexpensive and exotic without the complications mentioned above.  Rather than live in another country, you could choose to move to one of the U.S. territories.  Living in Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa, the Northern Mariana Islands or Guam will give you all the advantages of retiring somewhere far away and romantic, without the necessity of learning a new language, finding foreign lawyers, securing foreign health insurance, and worrying about the complications of filing foreign taxes or owning property in a foreign country.

Living in Puerto Rico

While living in Puerto Rico is not as cheap as living in a third world country, rents are affordable once you get outside of the major cities like San Juan.  You do not need a passport to travel to any of the US territories.  In Puerto Rico, there are no inheritance taxes.  If you buy land in Puerto Rico, consult with an attorney, and make sure that you have title insurance and a clear legal title to the land in order to avoid future legal complications.  However, the good news is that there are no restrictions on American citizens who want to own property in Puerto Rico.  Puerto Rico has beautiful beaches as well as gorgeous mountain towns.  There are a variety of climates from which to choose.  In addition, your Medicare is valid in all the US territories.

Living in the U.S. Virgin Islands - St. Thomas, St. Croix and St. John

Like Puerto Rico, if you move to the U.S. Virgin Islands you do not need any special documents.  You can travel freely to and from these tropical islands.  Among the islands that make up the U.S. Virgin Islands are St. Thomas, St. Croix and St. John.  If you have a beloved pet, it is possible to bring it with you when you move to this Caribbean paradise.  Some cell phone carriers offer free long distance to the mainland.  There are currently no large malls on the islands, although there are a few popular stores such as Tommy Hilfiger and Polo.  The weather is fairly constant, with high temperatures normally in the 70's and 80's.  Severe rain is unusual.  There is no sales tax or state tax.  New residents should also realize that this is a laid back, slow paced Caribbean territory, so don't expect things to happen on a mainland schedule.

Living in Guam and the nearby Northern Mariana Islands

Guam, in the northwestern Pacific Ocean, along with the other Northern Mariana Islands, is a beautiful island territory that is often compared to the smaller, less populated islands of Hawaii.  Pets can be brought here after a short quarantine period.  It is a pretty island, and the high temperatures are typically in the 70's and 80's.  It is a popular area for anyone who loves to scuba dive or snorkel.  It is very laid back, with low speed limits and slow moving traffic.  It is also only a four hour flight to Japan and South Korea, if you want to vacation in one of those destinations.  There is a large U.S. Navy base located on Guam and, like the other territories, U.S. laws are enforced there.

American Samoa

Another option is to move to American Samoa, in the South Pacific.  The disadvantage is that it is along way from the mainland of the United States and it is an expensive flight home.  However, most of the 55,000 to 60,000 residents speak English as well as Samoan and it is a very patriotic location, with the highest level of military recruitment of any state or territory.


If you are interested in other overseas retirement destinations that are outside the US, use the tabs or pull down menu at the top of this article for links to hundreds of additional articles.  You may also want to read:

Best Places to Retire Outside the US
Americans Retiring in Panama
Live in Ecuador Comfortably on Social Security
Retiring in Luxury to Hua Hin, Thailand

You will find additional articles using the tabs at the top of this page ... particularly the one that focuses on places to retire overseas.

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Thursday, August 23, 2012

Best Places to Retire in the United States on $100 a Day

Whenever I find a high quality list of good places to retire, I try to pass that information on for my readers to review.  In 2012, AARP Magazine and released their 2012 list of great places to live on $100 a day.  This amounts to $36,500 a year, which they estimate would result in an after tax income of $27,375 a year or $2281 a month. (Note:  Due to inflation, I suggest you add 3% to the home prices and cost of living for every year you read this after 2012.  In other words, if you are reading this in 2015, add 9% to the financial figures you see here.  The principle still remains, however, that these locations are affordable and could be good retirement locals for people who will be retiring on Social Security alone.)

This level of income is well within the reach of many retirees, especially couples.  If one spouse has Social Security benefits of $2000 a month and their spouse will receive $1000 a month, they could afford to retire in one of these communities. 

One of the requirements that AARP had in determining the best places to live on $100 a day was that they had to have "affordable luxuries".  They defined this as cities with cultural attractions like museums or symphony orchestras, sports teams, great places to eat, and homes that sell for about $192,000 or less.  In those instances in which I have spent time in a city, I have added my own comments to the AARP list.

2012 List of Best Places to Live on $100 a Day (Prices May be 5 to 10 Percent Higher, Now)

San Antonio, Texas:  San Antonio is a charming town that is sunny 263 days a year.  The median home price is $135,000.  There are plenty of libraries, museums, golf courses and other affordable luxuries in this city.  As a former resident of Texas, we have visited this city several times during the months of July and August and it is important to disclose that San Antonio gets HOT in the summer.  However, one delightful way to cool off is to take a stroll along the famous Riverwalk (pictured above) and perhaps have a cool beverage in one of the numerous sidewalk cafes.  It's right across the street from the Alamo.

Roanoke, Virginia: Roanoke is in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia.  It is sunny 217 days a year and has a median home price of $151,500.  The city hosts half a dozen festivals every year, and the downtown area has a planetarium, theater and museums.  One of our daughters went to college in nearby Lexington, Virginia and you should know that this town is about a four hour drive from Washington, DC, in a very rural part of Virginia.  However, it is also in an absolutely gorgeous part of the United States, and is a lovely location for enjoying fall foliage.

Las Cruces, New Mexico:  Las Cruces is in the high desert of New Mexico, which means you can expect very hot summers.  We have stayed in this town while driving across the country and love the desert landscapes.  However, the scenery may not appeal to everyone.  There are 287 sunny days a year, and the median home price is $148,000.

I have not stayed in the remaining towns on the list, so I will only list the main statistics here.  To read more, you can see the full descriptions at Best Places 2012.  I just wanted to make sure that I brought these great cities to your attention, so you could add them to the locations you are considering for retirement.

Spokane, Washington:  Spokane has 176 sunny days a year, with a median home price of $145,000.  It's a great city for people who love outdoor sports, whether it is fishing or skiing.  As most people realize, Spokane is much rainier than many other popular retirement locations.  However, we have friends who retired in this area, and they love it!

Eau Claire, Wisconsin:  Eau Claire is another location that is popular with people who enjoy outdoor sports, especially in the winter.  It has 200 sunny days a year and a median home price of only $121,100.  It is also home to a branch of the University of Wisconsin which provides lots of cultural, entertainment and adult education possibilities.

Morgantown, West Virginia:  Morgantown is a small college town in the center of Appalachia.  It boasts an excellent healthcare system.  There are 185 sunny days a year, and a median home price of $168,900.

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania:  Pittsburgh is no longer a city that is defined solely by the steel industry.  With a wonderful symphony orchestra and a beautiful waterfront, it has become popular with retirees.  The 194 sunny days and median home price of $106,500 is very appealing, too.

Omaha, Nebraska:  Omaha is a Midwestern city that has become popular with high-tech companies in recent years.  It has a symphony and the largest community theater in the United States.  Omaha has 193 sunny days a year, and a median home price of $123,500.

Grand Junction, Colorado:  Grand Junction is a lovely town only a few hours away from the gorgeous ski slopes of Vail and Aspen.  It also has 214 sunny days a year, and a median home price of $159,800.

Gainesville, Florida:  Gainesville is home to the University of Florida, as well as the Florida Museum of Natural History.  It has 205 sunny days a year, and a median home price of $125,000.  Florida has long been considered a retirement mecca because of low home prices and low taxes.  It does get very hot in the summer.

Here is information about other wonderful places you may want to put on your retirement list:

The Best Sunny Places to Retire
Cheap Places to Retire
Best Places to Retire Outside the US
Finding Niche Retirement Communities

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Sunday, August 19, 2012

Pros and Cons of Social Security Privatization

Social Security privatizaton has been under consideration since George Bush suggested it in 2005.  However, after the Great Recession hit in 2008, many people were shocked to see their stock portfolios and mutual funds crash.  Those who were forced to retire in 2009 were frequently left far worse off than they had ever anticipated.

Recently, the subject of Social Security privatization has resurfaced because of the nomination of Paul Ryan as the Republican candidate for Vice President.  In 2010, Mr. Ryan proposed in his work "Road Map for America's Future" that workers should be allowed to divert one-third of their Social Security taxes into private accounts that individuals could invest and control.

Politics aside, this is a subject that needs to be respectfully analyzed.  What are the pros and cons of Social Security privatization?

Pros of Social Security Privatization:

My husband has been an institutional stockbroker for 41 years.  He has pointed out to me that people in the investment business would stand to earn much more money, since billions of dollars would be invested in the stock market.  This would provide a huge influx of capital that would be invested in large corporations, mutual funds and financial markets.  This would raise incomes for people in the investment business.

In a bull market, successful investors could make more money than the guaranteed amount from Social Security. During those bull market years, people could retire with a large nest egg, which is what Mr. Ryan concluded in his analysis of the benefits of privatization.

Cons of Social Security Privatization:

If people could remove money from their Social Security investment accounts over the years for things like down payments on homes, medical costs or educational expenses, many people would raid their accounts regularly, just as they now raid their IRA's.

However, it is possible that raiding Social Security savings would be strictly forbidden.  Even so, not everyone would retire in a bull market.  Every few years, some people would be retiring in a bear market, which could mean that they would be worse off than if they had chosen to take traditional Social Security.  It would be a type of Russian roulette.

Some people would make investments that turned out to be disastrous.  Remember those who invested in Enron or put all their retirement savings with Bernie Madoff?  In both cases, they lost nearly everything.

For those people who did choose to invest one-third of their Social Security taxes into private accounts, and lost it, their traditional Social Security benefits would be cut by one-third.  Most retirees can barely survive on Social Security alone right now.  Losing one-third of their benefits would be devastating.

People can already put money in personal retirement accounts that they manage themselves.  Unfortunately, research shows that many of them spend that money during the first few years after they retire, rather than spreading it out over their lifetime.  Although investment planners recommend that people never withdraw more than 3% - 4% of their retirement savings in a single year, far too many people exceed this amount and run through their savings quickly. 

Would the government have to spend substantially more on low cost housing for the elderly, special supplemental payments and food stamps for all those who lost that portion of their Social Security taxes that they had managed and invested themselves?  Would the government be spending less on Social Security, only to spend more on providing supplemental income?  Although it is impossible to predict the future with absolute assurance, it is possible that what started out as a Christmas gift for people in the investment field could become the Grinch who stole Christmas for future generations of taxpayers and retirees.

Other Options for Saving Social Security

There are ways, other than privatization, that could help put Social Security on solid ground.  Social Security taxes could be collected on incomes above $110,000.  The retirement ages could all be raised by one year, including the age of early retirement, which is currently 62.  In fact, the age of early retirement could be raised to age 64.  If someone is disabled, they could still collect disability.  However, able-bodied people would be better off waiting to collect Social Security until age 64, at the very least.  These modest adjustments would insure that Social Security benefits could be paid in full for many decades.  (Disclosure:  I am 63, so these changes could affect me.  However, if they strengthened Social Security, they would be worth it.)

Another suggestion that could be made to Social Security is raising the tax from 15% (half paid by the employers and half paid by the employees) to 16%.  Some people have also suggesting reducing the Cost of Living Adjustments that retirees currently receive.  They would still receive a COLA, it would just be smaller.  Needless to say, theses ideas are not popular, but they would be effective in saving Social Security for future generations, and they may honestly be the changes that must be made.


There are certainly both pros and cons to the idea of Social Security privatization, and undoubtedly there would be both winners and losers with this change.  However, since it seems to be a topic of consideration again, it is important that we carefully discuss the advantages and disadvantages, as well as other options for saving Social Security.  What do you think?

Other articles that may interest you are:

Do You Need a Million Dollars to Retire?
Retirement Deferred by Parent Student Loans
Retirement Income from Annuities or Investment Income
Cheap Places to Retire

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Thursday, August 16, 2012

How to Treat Chronic Pain

While people of any age can experience pain, as we grow older we are even more likely to experience chronic pain.  It may be back pain, migraine headaches, neck and shoulder pain, or overall pain.  The pain can be caused by a variety of reasons, including overly aggressive exercise and health problems. 

Often we simply reach for the nearest over-the-counter NSAID pain reliever, such as Tylenol or Aleve, and hope that these pain relief pills will help us to feel better in the morning. 

Dr. Oz Alternative Treatments for Chronic Pain

If you develop chronic pain and you do not want to take pills every day for it, you may want to try some of these alternative treatments that recently were mentioned on The Doctor Oz Show.  For more information about them, you can get detailed information at

The first of the pain solutions that Dr. Oz mentions on his website is called Gua Sha.  This treatment for back pain is provided by a licensed acupuncturist and involves scraping the skin's surface with a special instrument.

Although Dr. Oz did not mention in this article the advantages of getting a traditional acupuncture treatment using needles, I personally used this ancient treatment when I developed a stiff neck a few years ago.  It worked surprisingly well, and the beneficial effect has remained, despite the fact that it has been over four years since I last saw the acupuncturist.

The second pain management technique suggested by Doctor Oz was botox for migraines.  Botox is a powerful muscle relaxant and can be effective at relieving tension in the forehead and neck.  Many women who have had botox to reduce their wrinkles have also experienced the pleasant side effect of fewer migraine headaches.

The third pain reliever mentioned by Doctor Oz was HVLA.  This is similar to chiropractic manipulation, but it is performed by an osteopathic doctor.  Again, although Dr. Oz did not mention seeing a chiropractor, members of my family have been very happy with the pain relief they have received from chiropractic manipulation.

The next method of pain management that he mentions on his website is called Radiofrequency Ablation, which uses a radio wave to treat pain anywhere in the body, including the back, neck and even your feet!  If you suffer from overall pain, and you cannot get relief any other way, you might ask your family doctor to recommend someone who is trained to do Radiofrequency Ablation.

Dr. Oz also recommended some cheap treatments for chronic pain that cost less than $10.  His list included:

Helichrysum Oil - available from health food stores
Hot and Cold Packs
Medicated herbal plasters

He also suggested that people use a telephone headset, rather than cradling a phone on their shoulders, which is apparently a common cause of neck and shoulder pain.

Since so many of us suffer from chronic pain, it is important to stay up-to-date with alternative treatments, especially any new treatments or unusual ones.  There is no reason to suffer unnecessarily.  If we can relieve our chronic pain, even a little, it will improve our quality of life, and keep us much more active after retirement.  It is not much fun to quit working, only to discover that pain keeps us from doing many of things that we had anticipated being able to do after retirement.

If you are interested in learning more about medical issues that can affect us as we age, financial planning, where to retire, or changing family relationships, use the tabs or pull down menu at the top of the page to find links to hundreds of additional articles. 

You may also be interested in reading:

How to Prevent Bone Loss from Osteoporosis
Brain Activities to Lower Alzheimers Risk
Natural Cures to Stop Snoring
Your Medication May Be Causing Your Depression

To read more about Dr. Oz's recommendations for pain relief, the link to his article is:

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Sunday, August 12, 2012

Watch 'Hope Springs' for Baby Boomer Couples

The movie "Hope Springs" is a thought-provoking film for Baby Boomers who are either married or in a long term relationship.  My husband and I viewed this movie with two other couples who have also been married over 40 years.  When we discussed it afterwards, we agreed that we had all enjoyed it, and we acknowledged that it had brought up some interesting issues in our own relationships.

Plot Summary of "Hope Springs"

The movie is about a couple, Kay and Arnold, who have been married 31 years.  They now sleep in separate bedrooms, and have very little intimacy left in their relationship.  Kay arranges for the two of them to spend a week in intensive marriage therapy in the town of Great Hope Springs, Maine.

Kay is played by Meryl Streep, her husband Arnold is played by Tommy Lee Jones, and their therapist is played by Steve Carell.  With this cast, the movie could have easily slipped into being a silly, light-hearted situation comedy, but all of the actors play their parts with sincerity and honesty.  The topics that are discussed in the movie are subjects that are difficult for most couples to discuss, and the actors are able to portray that discomfort convincingly.

This Movie Could Enhance Your Own Relationship

This movie is designed for a narrow audience, primarily people over the age of 50 who are in committed relationships and, because of this, it will surely never be considered a blockbuster movie for any of these actors.  Performing in this film almost certainly was a labor of love.  However, for those who are open to seeing it, just viewing this movie could bring life back into a marriage that has slipped into boredom and repetition.

What better gift can we give each other, as we prepare for retirement, than to bring enthusiasm and romance back into our lives?

If you are interested in reading more about changing family relationships after retirement, where to retire, financial planning, medical issues and more, use the tabs or pull down menu at the top of the page to find links to hundreds of other helpful articles.

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Thursday, August 9, 2012

Retirement Postponed by Parent Student Loans

When our youngest daughter graduated from college eight years ago, the father of one of her roommates made the comment that he would probably be paying off student loans for his children for the rest of his life.  Sadly, he died six years later, still carrying the burden of those loans.  Unfortunately, his situation is not uncommon.  Many parents in their 50's who take out student loans to pay for their children's college education will not live long enough to pay off those student loans.  As a result, an unknown number of senior citizens have to postpone their own retirement because of the debt they took on in order to get their children through college.

Retirement Destroyed by Student Loans

An article I recently read startled me.  The title was "Baby Boomers Beware: Many Paralyzed by Burden of Student Debt; Parents Sacrifice Financial Stability in Down Economy to Support Children Pursuing Degrees."  (That is one exhaustively long title, by the way!)

The article was distributed by PRWeb, and bemoaned the fact that many parents sacrifice their own financial security in order to pay for their children to attend college.  According to, the student loan debt carried by parents amounts to approximately 10% of outstanding total student loan debt.  Often parents will continue to pay these loans for 15 to 20 years after their last child has graduated from college.  This means that many Baby Boomer parents will be paying for their childrens' educations well into their 70's!  Although some have petitioned the government to consider a program of student loan forgiveness under certain circumstances, to date this movement has been unsuccessful.

Since the focus of this blog is geared towards helping Baby Boomers have the type of retirement they desire, the burden of these parent student loans can be crippling and may even prevent many of them from ever being able to retire at all!

High College Tuition Contributes to this Problem

The problem of student loan debt has become even more serious since the cost of tuition at the average university has quadrupled over the past 30 years.  In addition, a little over a decade ago the U.S. federal bankruptcy laws were changed so that even a bankruptcy does not make it possible for either parents or students to rid themselves of student debt.  It almost seems like a joke that student loans are considered financial aid, since they frequently to not provide aid but rather a burden to students after they graduate!

How to Reduce Student Loan Debt for Both Parents and Students

If you want your student to attend college, and you cannot afford to easily pay for it, what options do you have?  Your first step will be to try to reduce the amount of debt you have to take on, since it is nearly impossible to get rid of the debt, once you have incurred it.

The same article mentioned above made these suggestions:

* Students should live at home and attend a community college for their first two years of general education courses.  If there is a state college within driving distance of your home, students should consider living at home for all four years of college.

* Students should apply for every possible grant or scholarship.

* More than ever before, students should consider whether their choice of major will support their potential loan balance. (Ironically, this may mean that many students should not attend expensive, prestigious colleges if they intend to teach school, become a minister or go into public service.)

* Students (and their parents) should avoid all consumer debt, especially credit card debt, in order to avoid being crushed by their entire debt load.

* Students should be willing to work part-time during college in order to keep student loans to a minimum.

These choices may not be what your student had in mind when they envisioned going to college.  However, when your child graduates and sees their friends making student loan payments of $400 - $600 (or more), while you and your child are paying little or nothing, your entire family will be grateful that you followed these suggestions.

In addition, the Baby Boomer parents who encourage their children to follow these recommendations are much more likely to have a happy, comfortable retirement without carrying the burden of student loans for the remainder of their lives!

If you are interested in additional information about retirement financial planning, where to retire, medical issues 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.

You may also be interest in reading:

Healing Relationships with Your Adult Children
Retiring Former Hippies Spark a New Generation Gap
Do You Need a Million Dollars to Retire?
Retirement Income from Annuities or Investment Income

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Sunday, August 5, 2012

Where to Keep a Will

You've done the right thing and created a will so your family will know how you want your estate handled upon your death.  You've spent hours making sure every detail is covered.  Now, you need to decide where to keep your will so that the executor of your estate can find it easily after your death.  One thing is certain; you do not want to file a will in the same easily accessible drawer or box where you keep old tax returns and bank statements.  When experts at tell their clients how to store a will, they want to make certain you understand the advantages and disadvantages of all the various choices.

Where Should I Keep My Will?

Below is a list of places where you might want to keep your will, along with some things to consider before you make a final decision.  All of these choices have advantages.  Once you make a decision, you will want to be sure to let the executor of your state know where to find both your will and other important documents ... such as insurance policies, receipt for a burial plot, list of people you want contacted upon your death, etc. 

Where are some of the places where you can keep your will and other documents are:

Keep Your Will in a Safe Deposit Box at a Bank

A safe deposit box is the first choice for many people.  Your will will be safe from fires, floods, theft and similar catastrophes.  However, depending on the state where you live, your executor may need a court order to get the bank to open the safe deposit box so the executor can look for the will.  If you decide to keep your will in a safe deposit box, let your executor and beneficiaries know where your safe deposit box is located, and give the executor the legal authority to take possession of the will after your death.

Store Your Will with Your Attorney

If you have no plans to change your attorney, you may want to simply leave the original copy of your will at your attorney's office.  They will charge little or nothing to store it for you.  Once again, you need to make sure your executor and heirs know the name of your attorney and how to get in touch with him.

As for other documents you want your executor to have, such as your insurance policies and list of contacts, you can give them copies at the time you name them the executor.  This way, they will quickly be able to have access to all the information they need.

Keep Your Will in Your Home Safe

Another option is to store your will in a heavy, waterproof and fireproof safe in your home.  You want the safe to be heavy enough that you are unlikely to have thieves easily remove the entire safe from your home.  As mentioned before, you do not want to simply file the original will in a home filing cabinet or in a plastic bag in the freezer.  In either case it would be far too easy for it to be stolen or altered without your knowledge.  If you do keep your will in a home safe, be sure your executor knows where the safe is located, and how to get into it.

File a Will with the County Clerk

In some parts of the country, you can file your will with the local county clerk's office.  This is a good solution if you have no plans to move out of the area, and if you make sure everyone knows that they need to contact the county clerk's office when you are gone.

If you make this choice, you will want to be sure to give other documents directly to your executor when you decide who that person will be.  Another option is to put these items in safe storage at your home, and let your executor know where to find them.

Whatever decision you make about where to keep your will, you will want to be certain that both your executor and your heirs have been informed.  They will need the original will in order to efficiently handle the disposition of your estate.  The simpler you can keep things for them, the less confusion there will be after your death.

If you are interested in additional information about funeral planning, financial planning, medical issues that can arise in your later years, where to retire, travel and changing family relationships, use the tabs or pull down menu at the top of the page to find links to hundreds of helpful articles for retirees.

You may also be interested in reading these blog posts:

Healing Relationships with Your Adult Children
How to Cope with Death and Grief
How to Publish Your Autobiography for Free
Life Alert Bracelets for Peace of Mind

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Wednesday, August 1, 2012

How to Prevent Bone Loss from Osteoporosis

One of the biggest dangers to our health that we face as we age is bone loss due to osteoporosis.  This skeletal disease was once referred to as brittle bone disease, which seems like an apt description. 

The mother of a friend of mine in college left a lasting impression on me because of the way her brittle bones virtually destroyed her life.  She was an active woman who had played tennis and gardened when she was younger, until she fell and broke her leg one day.  When she tried to get around with the use of crutches, several of her ribs cracked.  Afterwards, she was confined to a wheelchair.  I never saw this friend, or his mother, after I graduated from college in 1970, so I don't know if she was able to survive this debilitating skeletal disease.  However, I remember how frail she seemed the last time I saw her.  She was only in her 50's!

Modern Treatments for Osteoporosis Help Protect Our Bones

Today, doctors have a much better understanding of osteoporosis and its causes.  Although there are no real cures, they now have better ideas about how to prevent osteoporosis, as well as several methods for treating the condition.  In order to diagnose osteoporosis, your doctor will probably order a bone density test at age 65 if you are a woman, or at age 70 if you are a man.  Left untreated, a person can easily end up with a fracture of the hip or spine.  Spinal fractures frequently lead to premature death; hip fractures often mean the person is no longer able to live independently.  Learning more about prevention and treatment is important to anyone who hopes to have a long, healthy and independent life after retirement.

How to Prevent Osteoporosis

There are four steps we must all take if we plan to prevent bone loss.  According to, these steps are:

* Continue to engage in daily weight-bearing exercises, such as walking, running, dancing and tennis;
* Maintain you core muscle strength, especially your abs, as a way to keep your balance;
* Consume 1,200 mg. of calcium in foods such as milk, yogurt, broccoli, plus a small amount in a supplement;
* Get Vitamin D by spending 20 minutes a day in the sun without sunscreen, consuming foods such as salmon and sardines, or taking a supplement containing 600 - 800 IUs of Vitamin D a day.

Risk Factors for Osteoporosis

There are several risk factors that makes you more likely to develop osteoporosis.  Some of these are:

Low body weight, especially if you weigh less that 127 pounds;
Beginning menopause prior to age 47;
Certain medications, such as antidepressants, corticosteroids and proton pump inhibitors, anti-seizure medications and some cancer treatments

Osteoporosis Guidelines for Treatment

If your physician determines that you need to be treated for Osteoporosis, they have several options.

First, try lifestyle changes such as the ones listed above.  You can improve your bone density when you make changes early.  If lifestyle changes are not enough, your doctor may recommend one of these types of medications:

Bisphosphonates to slow down how fast the bone is broken down.  These medications can be taken as tablets, a nasal spray or as a quarterly or annual injection.  Tablets can upset your stomach.

Teriparatide increases the bone-building cells by using a hormone to encourage new bone growth.  It is taken as an injection under the skin.  Long-term effects are unknown, so it is usually only used for two years.

Raloxifene is a selective estrogen-receptor modulator which acts like estrogen to slow bone loss.  It can cause hot flashes and an increased risk of stroke.

Estrogen therapy is also used, although it has been associated with an increased risk of breast cancer, heart disease and endometrial cancer.

Obviously, before opting for one of the treatments, your first choice should be lifestyle changes that will prevent the disease.  The earlier you begin these lifestyle changes, the longer you can postpone or prevent developing osteoporosis.

If you are interested in learning more about health issues that can affect you after retirement, financial planning, where to retire, or changing family relationships, use the tabs or pull down menu at the top of the page to find links to hundreds of helpful, informative articles.

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