Sunday, September 29, 2013

Would You Recognize a Heart Attack?

When my mother was 65, only one year older than I am now, she had a massive heart attack, followed by triple by-pass surgery the next morning.  Until the heart attack hit her, she thought she was only feeling a little uncomfortable because of the heat that day.  She and my Dad were in the process of cleaning out my grandmother's house after my grandmother had moved to assisted living.  They spent the day cleaning and packing up granny's belongings.  It was a hot summer day and my parents were carrying things in and out of the house, so the fact that my mother was perspiring heavily and feeling a little weak did not alarm her ... until she collapsed.

Symptoms of Heart Attacks 

We are all accustomed to the movie version of heart attacks in which a man puts his hands to his chest and collapses.  However, while this dramatic event will sometimes occur, it is not the first or most likely sign that you may be having a heart attack.  Listed below are the symptoms that both men and women should be concerned about:

Excessive perspiration, including a red face
Shortness of breath when you have not been exerting yourself
A heavy feeling in the chest or back
Achy, flu-like symptoms
Pain in the jaw, neck, back, or chest that doesn't go away
Extreme and sudden weakness or fatigue

All of these symptoms are especially alarming if they come on quickly and they are not relieved when you sit or lie down.   However, if you are experiencing these symptoms and cannot figure out why, you need to seriously consider the possibility that you are having a heart attack.

As you'll see in the comment section below, Domestic Diva said, "Your warning symptoms should be taken seriously. I think one of the reactions you'll find experienced by many heart attack survivors is that what they felt was somehow different. It wasn't quite like indigestion they've had before, or a flu they've suffered in the past. If you've lived to your 60s and experience a discomfort you've never had in all those years, it's worth getting checked out."  I moved her comment up here because I thought her words were something everyone should read.

Heart Disease Does Not Discriminate

When you read the list of symptoms above, many of them can also indicate very common illnesses, such as the flu, a strained muscle, or heat exhaustion.  Because many heart attack symptoms are vague, it is no wonder that my mother thought she was simply suffering from the effects of the heat.  Although she was a smoker, she was not over-weight and she had no history of heart disease.  She had no idea that she was in the process of having a heart attack until she collapsed and woke up in the hospital.

Many people still think of heart disease as an illness that primarily kills men.  However, nothing could be further from the truth.  Women are actually about 15% more likely to have a heart attack than men, and they have double the chance of having a heart attack within six years of the first one.

Everyone should know that heart attacks kill women as well as men.  In addition, women (and their family members) need to know that women, in particular, can have a heart attack and never experience any chest pain!  About one out of three women will die of heart disease.  About two-thirds of them will have no prior symptoms. 

Our family was fortunate.  My mother is still alive at age 81, sixteen years after her heart attack and open heart surgery.  She has gone on to live an active lifestyle and, until recently, played golf on a regular basis. While she is suffering from other age-related health problems today, I'm pleased that she was able to survive her heart attack sixteen years ago.

For more information about this killer disease, go to the website of The American Heart Association.

If you are nearing retirement age and want more information about how to have a higher quality of life during your retirement years, please check out the index articles below.  They contain links to a number of helpful articles on a variety of topics.

Gifts, Travel and Family Relationships

Great Places for Boomers to Retire Overseas

Great Places to Retire in the United States

Health and Medical Topics for Baby Boomers

Money and Financial Planning for Retirement

You are reading from the blog:

Public domain photo of a heart is courtesy of

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Retirement Planning Is a Three-Legged Stool

Shortly before my recent retirement from my long-time job for a local school district, I attended a retirement seminar that was designed to help employees make sure they are financially prepared to stop working.  One of the things the speaker told us was that retirement is a three-legged stool, with Social Security as only one of the legs.  Here is how he explained it:

As mentioned above, the first leg of your retirement stool is Social Security.  This national pension program was never intended to be the only way that retirees supported themselves during their senior years.  Since recipients only receive a median benefit of about $1200 a month, this is not enough for anyone to fully support themselves.  If you had a stool with only one leg, you might be able to balance on it for a short while, but eventually you would fall over.

The second leg of the stool is a pension, annuity or fund.  At one time, many private companies provided their employees with a pension.  Today, only a few private companies still provide this perk, although some public employees, such as non-certificated school employees, still receive a pension.  Pensions are complicated.  For example, I had a job in which I paid into both the state pension plan as well as Social Security.  Therefore, I am able to collect both.  However, many people (such as California teachers) are only able to collect one or the other, in most circumstances.  If you do not have a pension, you may wish to take a portion of the money you have saved in your 401K or IRA and use it to invest in an annuity or investment fund in order to provide additional income.  This is the second leg of your stool.  At this point you have income from Social Security and income from a second source ... a pension, annuity or mutual fund.

The third leg of the stool, as suggested by the speaker at the retirement seminar, is your savings.  This is money that is accessible and not tied up in an investment.  It is money you can use in an emergency.  Everyone should have an emergency fund.  The size should depend on your available assets and your income.

The retirement consultant did not discuss the fact that the majority of Baby Boomers do not have enough savings to invest in an annuity or fund, let alone have enough put aside for emergencies.

However, if he had talked about it, he would probably have suggested that Baby Boomers find a way to earn a little extra money after retirement, as well.  As you will see in the Money section of this blog, I have written several blog posts over the years about ways that retirees can continue to earn money after they retire in order to supplement their income.  (We might think of a retirement job as the fourth leg of your stool.)

I have also written posts about how to save money, including cheap places to retire in both the United States as well as overseas.

In addition, you may want to consider downsizing.  Many people who have a lot of equity in their homes decide to sell the house, downsize and use the money they now have to put in savings and invest in various ways.  This is how they get the other two legs of their "stool."  Some people choose to get a reverse mortgage.  However, as I have mentioned in the past, this can be a dangerous decision and should only be reserved for people who are quite elderly.

If you are hoping to retire and you haven't saved enough money, you may want to check out some of the posts listed in the index articles listed below:

Gifts, Travel and Family Relationships

Great Places for Boomers to Retire Overseas

Great Places to Retire in the United States

Health and Medical Topics for Baby Boomers

Money and Financial Planning for Retirement

You are reading from the blog:

Public domain photo of money is courtesy of

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Kolter Planned Communities for Retirees

In researching appealing retirement communities around the United States, I have discovered that there are relatively few builders who are involved in this niche market.  As a result, I thought it would be helpful to my readers to do a series of reports on some of the specific developers you may encounter while you are shopping for a retirement home.

When I posted about Cresswind at Lake Lanier recently, I discovered that the developer, Kolter, has also built several other very appealing communities in the Southeastern United States.  Here's a little information about Kolter and the various neighborhoods that they have built.  Not all of these communities are age restricted.  However, they all offer a variety of amenities such as clubhouses, pools and recreational facilities.  In addition, I recognize that some retirees may prefer to live in a neighborhood that is not age restricted ... for example, if they want to share a home with their adult children or they like to live in a more diverse community.

The Kolter Group

Kolter is a real estate development and investment firm that is headquartered in Palm Beach County, Florida.  It has built over 3,400 homes in the Southeast and, when their currrent projects are completed, they will have built about 13,000 residences.

Since I have never personally dealt with this home builder, I thought it would be smart to check the company's Better Business Report.  As of early September, 2013, the BBB rated Kolter Signature Homes, LLC  as A+.  The report said that they received that score based on 16 factors, including the length of time they have been in business (since 1996), general background information, and the fact that there has been no complaints filed with the BBB.  Specifically, there were no complaints regarding advertising and sales, problems with the product, delivery, or their warranty.  There have also been no significant government actions involving Kolter Signature Homes.

In addition to building the homes and developing these master planned communities, Kolter also has a financial services branch that can help you arrange for your mortgage.  However, as a former Realtor, I always recommend that people also meet with their own banker, as well as an independent mortgage broker, before making a final mortgage decision.  While nothing is wrong with using your builder's mortgage company, it is still a good idea to shop around.

Kolter Communities

Cresswind at Victoria Gardens in DeLand, Florida
This is a 55+ age restricted community.  Visit this community and check out the five decorated model homes.  It is also conveniently located near a medical park.

Fairway Cove at Verandah in Fort Myers, Florida
This master planned development includes golf, nature trails, and convenient facilities for fishing and kayaking.  Homes priced from the mid-200,000's.

Cresswind Myrtle Beach in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Live in a Master Planned active adult golf course community that is within an easy bike ride to the ocean.  (The photo of the live oak tree used with this article was taken in the lovely Myrtle Beach area of South Carolina.)

PGA Village Verano in Port St. Lucie, Florida
Do you love the play golf?  This the the ultimate resort style community with 54 holes of PGA championship golf.

Cresswind at Lake Lanier in Gainesville, Georgia
This age restricted over-55 community, which has been previewed separately in this blog, has won more awards than any other adult community near Atlanta, Georgia.  Located on beautiful Lake Lanier, it features both a gorgeous clubhouse as well as a private marina.  Perfect if you want to take your boat with you when you retire!  The homes here start in the low $200,000's.  You can read my separate article on Cresswind at Lake Lanier here.  That article will give you information that applies to the other developments, as well.

You can get more information about these communities through these sources:

If you are looking for a place to live after retirement, you may also be interested in checking out the index articles below:

Gifts, Travel and Family Relationships

Great Places for Boomers to Retire Overseas

Great Places to Retire in the United States

Health and Medical Topics for Baby Boomers

Money and Financial Planning for Retirement

You are reading from the blog:

Photo of South Carolina live oak tree is courtesy of

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Be Prepared for Emergencies - It Could Save Your Life

No matter how old or how young you are, are you prepared for an emergency?  In particular, are you prepared for the most likely type of emergency that could happen where you live?  For example, if you live in coastal areas in the southern and eastern states, are you prepared for a hurricane?  If you live in California, are you prepared for an earthquake?  If you live in a heavily forested area, are your prepared for a forest fire?  And, if you live near a river or other waterway, are you prepared for flooding?  If not, you need to take action now.  Your life, and the lives of your loved ones, could depend on it.

Our retirement community has regular emergency drills.  In addition, we also have representatives throughout the community who are willing to go door to door to check on people in the event of an emergency.  These volunteers attend periodic trainings so they know how best to help their neighbors, especially those who are weak or injured.

However, it is also a responsibility for all of us to be as prepared as possible if we should become the victims of a hurricane, flood, tornado, blizzard, earthquake or other disaster. In a widespread emergency, it may take a few days before emergency personnel can find and help everyone who is is injured or displaced.  Our local authorities recommend that everyone be prepared to take care of themselves, if possible, for up to three days.  If you live in an area where you could lose your electricity and be snowed in for a week or more, you may need to make even more extensive preparations. While this may not be necessary for everyone, better safe than sorry.

Covering Your Basic Needs

Experts agree that we should make sure we are prepared to take care of our of certain basic needs, including:  food, shelter, water, light, personal hygiene, medicine, communications, and money. 

How do you prepare?   Take a chest or plastic storage bin and put in some essential supplies such as canned food and a can opener, a radio and flashlight with extra batteries, soap, eating utensils, a solar phone charger, a small amount of cash, a first aid kit, blankets, a change of clothing for each family member, and small quantities of important medications (which you should rotate out every few months).  Inside or next to your storage bin you should also put at least a five gallon container of water or more, depending on the size of your family.  If you have pets, you will also want to include zip lock bags containing their food, as well as enough water to satisfy their needs for a few days.

Next, you need to decide where to keep your storage bin.  Here in Southern California, where the biggest danger is earthquakes, I know of several people who keep their emergency kit in a protected area of their backyard.  They do this in case their home should be so badly damaged that they would be unable to go back inside to retrieve the items they would need.  We keep most of our supplies just inside the door to our garage ... although I must confess that I am not good about keeping everything up-to-date and gathered in one place.  One of my reasons for writing this post is to encourage me to practice what I preach!

I have already purchased a combination flashlight and phone charger for my husband and each of our children for Christmas this year.  I thought it would be a thoughtful gift and could be really helpful to at least one of them in the coming years.

Items You May Wish To Purchase

When you are putting your emergency kit together, there are certain items you may wish to purchase.  In addition to food, clothing, blankets, 5 to 10 gallons of water and your medications, here are some additional items you may need.  If you don't have them on hand, purchase them in advance:

A well-stocked First Aid kit that includes bandages, antibiotic cream and alcohol wipes
A back-up phone charger -- either solar, battery powered or wind-up
A battery powered camp lantern
A battery powered radio that will pick up emergency announcements
A propane stove with extra cartridges
A whistle so you can signal rescuers
Plastic tarp to protect you if you must stay outside in bad weather
Metal dishes, cups, eating utensils
A few pots and pans
Dishsoap and moist towelettes
Garbage bags (which can be improvised for use as a toilet in an emergency)
Toilet paper
A wrench or pliers that can be used to turn off utilities.  (Make sure you know how to do this before an emergency occurs.)

You may also want to have items like sleeping bags or a tent stored with your emergency supplies.

Why We Need to be Prepared

As we get older, it is easy to assume that someone will come rescue us if we are in danger.  However, as we saw with Hurricane Katrina and many other disasters, it can take quite a while before our rescuers are able to reach us.  If at all possible, we want to be able to take care of ourselves and not wait to be rescued.  Being prepared could save your life.

If you are retired or thinking about retiring in the future, you may be interested in reading some of the other posts from this blog.  They are all listed and linked in the index articles below:

Gifts, Travel and Family Relationships

Great Places for Boomers to Retire Overseas

Great Places to Retire in the United States

Health and Medical Topics for Baby Boomers

Money and Financial Planning for Retirement

You are reading from the blog:

Photo of hurricane damage is courtesy of

Sunday, September 15, 2013

More People Working After Age 65

Our concept of retirement has changed drastically over the past few years.  In fact, some people don't seem to be retiring at all ... and certainly not at the traditional age of 65.  The local newspaper for our retirement community, "The Laguna Woods Globe," reported this week that by 2019 approximately one in five seniors will be working either full or part-time after the age of 65.  Already, the number of workers in that age group has increased from 4.5 million to 7.5 million in the past ten years, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.  That's a whopping 60% increase in a decade!

Reasons Why Seniors are Working Longer

The article in "The Laguna Woods Globe" listed several reasons for this increase in the number of senior citizens who are still working, and I have added a few more reasons we have heard from some of the retirees we know who still work.

First, many Baby Boomers have not done a good job of retirement planning.  As a result, they are unable to survive on their low Social Security benefits, yet they have no savings to provide additional income.  Their only solution is to keep working as long as they possibly can.  The extra years of work also increases the size of their Social Security payments, so the benefits from working longer can help in several ways.

Second, even when people have saved some money towards their retirement, they may not have expected to enjoy such a long life expectancy after retirement.   When I was young, we were told that the average life expectancy was 72, which meant we only anticipated living a decade or less after we retired.  As I got older, life expectancy increased to 78.  Now that I am in my 60's, I have read that the average life expectancy can be as high as age 88 for people who are healthy at age 65.  That means you may need enough savings to last 25 to 30 years after retirement ... and even more if there is a lot of longevity in your family.  Many people who thought they were prepared for retirement are discovering that they failed to save enough.

Third, a number of companies that used to provide pensions to their employees have reduced or eliminated this benefit.  People who thought they would be able to live off the combination of their pension and Social Security may have much less retirement income than they expected.

Fourth, boredom is another reason for continuing to work past the traditional retirement age.  Some people use this time of life to pursue a career that they always dreamed of ... like becoming a blogger!  Others may continue to work part-time in their former careers, such as becoming a substitute teacher or business consultant. 

Fifth, many Baby Boomers are still healthy and they simply do not want to sit at home.  They would rather work and use the extra money to travel and have fun.  As one person in my local newspaper said, she doesn't need the money, but it sure "comes in handy."

Finally, sometimes seniors are involved in meaningful careers that they do not want to give up.  Many actors and religious leaders, such as the priests in the above picture, continue to work long past the traditional retirement age.  A nun I know is almost 80, yet she still travels all over the world leading spiritual retreats.  I have attended a few of her retreats, and she is still very energetic and a dynamic speaker.  One of the women in my bookclub is married to a physician.  She says he intends to work as long as he possibly can, because he believes that what he is doing contributes to society and he enjoys it.  Isn't that the best reason of all to keep working past age 65?  My own husband is still working, even though he is almost 69.  He really loves his job!

If you plan to work past age 65, I would love to hear the reason you made that decision.  Please feel free to mention it in the comments section of this article.

Meanwhile, if you are doing your retirement planning, you may be interested in reading some of the other articles from this blog.  They are listed alphabetically by topic with links in the the index articles listed below:

Gifts, Travel and Family Relationships

Great Places for Boomers to Retire Overseas

Great Places to Retire in the United States

Health and Medical Topics for Baby Boomers

Money and Financial Planning for Retirement

You are reading from the blog:

Photo of elderly priests is courtesy of

Source of Statistics:

"Working Late," Laguna Woods Globe by the Orange County Register, August 29, 2013.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Crime Against Senior Citizens

One personality trait that seems to take over when we retire is that we become much more relaxed about a lot of things that used to worry us.  When we become relaxed about how we spend our time, how late we stay up, or our vacation destinations, that is understandable and one of the advantages of being retired. 

However, sometimes people become alarmingly relaxed about their personal and financial security.  If that happens to you, it could put you in danger, as well as your loved ones.  It also could mean that you put at risk everything you have spent your life building.  Unfortunately, there are far too many people who prey on the elderly, taking advantage of their kindness and their trusting nature.  Don't let your retirement be ruined by predators.

Local Crime Against the Elderly

Our gated retirement community, Laguna Woods Village,which is considered one of the safest in the state of California, just released our latest crime statistics.  This data shows that residential burglaries in our town have tripled since 2007 and property crimes are at all-time highs.  Shown below are a few of the statistics listed for our neighborhood.

Between 2007 and 2013:

Burglaries increased from 13 to 20
Residential burglaries increased from 4 to 15
Thefts increased from 70 to 121
Bicycle thefts increased from 2 to 13
Thefts from cars increased from 11 to 24

These are significant increases in crime, especially considering that we live in a secured guard-gated, over-55 community with private security patrolling the streets 24 hours a day.  In addition, a high percentage of our residents are retired and home most of the time.

National Crime Statistics

Unfortunately, what is happening within our community is reflected across the country.  Incidents of crime against the elderly have become a serious national problem, according to a number of sources.  The types of crimes not only include burglary and property crimes, but theft of assets, fraud, physical and financial abuse and assaults.  Here are some of the troubling statistics I discovered:

In 1998, the National Center on Elder Abuse released an estimate that about 1/3 of the cases of elder abuse cases involved financial exploitation of some kind. Indications are that this type of crime has increased since then.

In 2000, the US Senate Special Committee on Aging reported $40 billion in losses to the elderly due to telemarketing fraud.  This number, as well, has certainly increased significantly in the past 13 years.

According to Project America, about 2.5 of every 1000 elderly citizens will experience a physical criminal attack each year.  The specific incidence of various types of physical attacks against the elderly are:

Rape or sexual assault:  0.1 per 1000
Robbery: 0.6 per 1000
Aggravated assault: 0.3 per 1000
Simple assault:  1.5 per 1000
Personal theft: 0.8 per 1000 

According to the website, every 2.7 minutes an elderly person is victimized in the U.S.  That is a horrifying statistic.

Actions You Can Take to Avoid Being a Victim of a Crime

Our local county sheriff's department published a list of suggestions to help the elderly reduce their chances of becoming crime victims.  While some of these suggestions seem obvious, I know that many residents of our neighborhood have become lax about basic security because they feel so safe living here.  A few suggestions are good reminders:

1.  Keep your doors and windows locked when you go out.  Make sure your locks are in good working order and you may also want to consider installing an alarm system.

2.  Put lights on timers when you are going to be out after dark.  This has the additional advantage of preventing accidents from trips and falls that can occur when you enter a dark house.

3.  Cancel newspapers when you are going to be gone or ask a neighbor to pick up your newspapers and mail.  Because so many people are home during the day in a retirement community, it should be easy to find someone to help you.

4.  If you have a computer, have a computer expert check it from time to time to make sure your firewall and anti-virus protection are the latest versions.  If a stranger calls and says they are trying to fix a virus on your computer, hang up.  Do not follow their instructions.  This is a popular scam that can allow them to trick you into loading a virus onto your computer ... that only the caller can repair!

5.  Do not give out personal information to anyone who calls you.  Your bank and credit card companies already have your account numbers.  Do not give this information out to anyone over the phone, unless you initiated the call in order to make a purchase.

6.  Ask for an I.D. from anyone who comes to your door and claims to be from a utility company or other local business.  If you have any doubts, call the utility company to confirm that they sent the person.

7.  Take pictures of your valuables and keep the photos in a safe place.  In addition, mark your valuables with an identification number, if possible.  This may make it easier to reclaim items that are stolen.

8.  Do not fall for requests for money from people pretending to be relatives.  It is one of the latest scams and, as I have mentioned before in this blog, several people I know have lost thousands of dollars in this way. Confirm, confirm, confirm.  Even if they ask you not to call anyone else in the family, call anyway.

9.  Do not leave valuables in plain view in your car.  Most thefts from cars occur when passersby see a cell phone, purse or other item in your car and they break a window and steal it.  Just a few weeks ago, someone broke several car windows at the stables in our retirement community.  While people were peacefully enjoying a trail ride, their purses were being stolen from their cars!

10.  Do not put your purse or wallet in the trunk of your car while standing in the parking lot of your gym, golf course or other public building.  Thieves hang around these place watching for people to put their valuables in the car trunks.  Then, while you are happily getting some exercise, they pop open your trunk and steal your belongings.  It just takes them seconds.

While some of the items listed above may just seem like good common sense, far too many elderly become lax as they age, especially if they feel they live in a safe area.  This is the time when you should become more vigilant than ever!

If you are retired or planning to retire soon, and you need additional information about how to have the best retirement possible, you may want to check out the blog posts listed in the index articles below.

Gifts, Travel and Family Relationships

Great Places for Boomers to Retire Overseas

Great Places to Retire in the United States

Health and Medical Topics for Baby Boomers

Money and Financial Planning for Retirement

You are reading from the blog:


"Property Crimes Spike in City," Laguna Woods Globe - Orange County Register, August 15, 2013.

Photo of police car is courtesy of

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Spending Time With the Grandkids

One of the joys of getting older is being able to spend time with your grandchildren.  I drive two of mine to their elementary and middle schools almost every morning during the school year.  The few minutes it takes us to drive from their home to their schools is one of the highlights of my day.  It is always fun to hear about their activities, the books they are reading, their friends, and the tests they are dreading.  If they have a late start day, we might stop at a Starbucks for a hot chocolate before school.  I love the time we spend together in the mornings.

Another granddaughter goes to a college about a one hour drive from our home.  Occasionally she will ask if she can get away from school and spend a night at our house.  This is another wonderful way to spend unstructured time with one of our grandkids.  We usually have dinner together and watch some fun movies on TV.   On several occasions, she has baked us cookies or made similar treats during her visit.

The key to spending quality time with grandkids is to be prepared with some fun ways to entertain them, while remaining spontaneous and flexible.  You'll want to have some supplies on hand to keep the kids busy, even though you may only use these items occasionally.

Preschool Grandkids

Coloring books
Construction paper
Simple games
Board books
Snack foods

Elementary Age Children

Craft kits for jewelry making or building things
Watercolors and paper
Jigsaw puzzles
Frisbees and balls
Snack foods

High School and Older Children

Video Games and a Game Player
An assortment of DVD's of fun movies (horror films are often a hit)
Snack foods

Ideas for All Ages

You'll notice that snack foods are on all the lists!  In addition, whenever we see a fun movie on TV that we think some of our grandkids might enjoy, we record it on our DVR.  We especially watch for movies or TV shows that they might not have been able to see.  The latest hit with the grandkids has been the TV movie from the SyFy channel called "Sharknado."  It's totally ridiculous.  However, since we live in Southern California, both our elementary age and our college age grandkids have loved watching all the local landmarks get demolished by sharks!

For more ideas, the newspaper for our retirement community frequently prints out a list of upcoming events and local attractions, along with their prices and hours, so we have ideas of fun places where we can take the grandkids.  Even if your local newspaper doesn't do this, you may want to put together your own list of local places that your grandchildren might enjoy.  Look up the basic information and put it on your list so you are prepared to go on the spur of the moment.  Some items you may want to include:

The nearest zoo
Science centers
Amusement parks
Water parks
Restaurants with discounts for kids
Discount or dollar movie theaters
Beaches, parks and playgrounds
Swimming pools

With plenty of activities to entertain the grandkids both in your home and in your community, you will never run out of fun ways to keep them happy and busy ... and wanting to come back!

Whether you are currently retired or planning to retire soon, you may also want to check out the articles listed in the five index articles shown below:

Gifts, Travel and Family Relationships

Great Places for Boomers to Retire Overseas

Great Places to Retire in the United States

Health and Medical Topics for Baby Boomers

Money and Financial Planning for Retirement

You are reading from the blog:

Photo of children playing is courtesy of

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Retire to San Miguel de Allende

In the early 1970's, my husband and I took a trip throughout most of Mexico in a Volkswagen Camper.  Yes, we were a lot more adventurous back in those days!  The investment company where my husband was working at the time went bankrupt and I hated my job as a legal secretary.  We sold our surburban home outside of San Franciso, bought the camper and took off for the open road.  It was a fun and illuminating trip.  Although we were in our early 20's at the time, one of the things we noticed was the fact that even four decades ago many Americans were retiring to Mexico. 

Life in San Miguel de Allende

During our trip, one of the places where we stayed was San Miguel de Allende.  We were charmed by this historic town.  If there were American ex-patriots living in the area at the time, however, we didn't meet any.

Today, however, San Miguel de Allende has become a mecca for thousands of retiring Americans.  Located in the state of Guanajuato, it is considered a colonial city with such charming architecture that it was nominated as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.  It is located about a three hour drive from Mexico City.

Activities in San Miguel

There is something for everyone in this lovely town, including boutique hotels, spas, and a main square that is a hub of lively activity with its carefully trimmed trees and an abundance of benches.  Live music is frequently performed in the town square.  The town also has art galleries, a museum, restaurants, nightclubs, boutiques, and craft shops.  Some of the local products that are for sale include furniture, stained glass, pottery, and metalwork.  In other words, most of the things you will need to furnish your retirement home can be purchased locally.

High temperatures range from about 60 degrees to 68 degrees the year around.  Expect rain in the summer.  

Retirement Info for Mexico

Currently, there are an estimated one million American retirees living in Mexico.  About 15% of them have purchased their residence and the remainder have found inexpensive places to rent.  San Miguel has attracted approximately 12,000 of those retirees with housing available in a variety of price ranges.

Unfortunately, many Americans have begun to feel uncomfortable in recent years about retiring in Mexico because of the increase in violence.   As always, I highly recommend that people who consider moving to another country check the State Department website for advisories and warnings.  In addition, if you do choose to move to another country, it is always wise to move to an area where there are many other Americans.  You are much more likely to feel safe and comfortable in such a location. Even in San Miguel de Allende, however, you should be alert, especially when you are traveling outside the town.

Housing Options

There are a variety of retirement housing options available in San Miguel de Allende.  Many of the developments have  facilities similar to what you would find in U.S. retirement communities, including fitness facilties, swimming pools, play rooms, movie theaters, beauty parlors and more. There are a number of real estate agencies in San Miguel that can help you rent or purchase an appropriate residence in the town.

Another housing option is the Complete Assisted Life Service, which offers specialized health care for those who need it, even if they have a terminal or degenerative disease like Alzheimers.  This is very appealing to those who cannot afford assisted living in the United States and has proven to be a viable option for many seriously ill Americans.  The facilities in San Miguel are built to meet the standards of Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) standards.  In these communities, residents can start out living an active lifestyle that includes golf, swimming and tennis; as their health worsens they will be moved to assisted housing where they can receive specialized care for their illness.  Complete Assisted Life Service facilities in San Miguel have proven to be a life saver for families that cannot afford expensive nursing care for their loved ones in the United States.

Real Estate in San Miguel

It was interesting to me to check out the real estate companies in San Miguel.  Although I cannot suggest a particular one, I highly recommend that people check out several on the internet before choosing one to deal with.  According to the website of the San Miguel Real Estate Agency, not only are retirees moving to their city, but younger American and Canadian adults are also moving there, especially since many of them are now able to work for businesses in their home country via the internet.  I found their website particularly helpful because it was written in English as well as Spanish, and home prices were advertised in dollars.  You will find their website listed in the resources section, below.  Featured homes that they advertised on their website ranged from $139,000 to several million dollars in 2013.  Obviously, buyers get a lot for their money when they are spending millions.  However, even the less expensive homes will give retirees the opportunity to enjoy the pleasant San Miguel lifestyle.

In addition, the various real estate websites advertised an abundant supply of homes and apartments for rent.  To show you the range in choices, I found a one bedroom apartment listed for rent at $500 a month and a number of homes in the $2000 to $2500 a month range.

If you are considering a move to San Miguel de Allende, you will want to check out the resources shown below:

In addition to the websites listed below, if you are going to be traveling to this area, you may also want to order travel guides about San Miguel de Allende from

Information about the community came from the following websites:

If you are considering retiring soon, check out the index articles below.  They contain links to additional information about those topics:

Gifts, Travel and Family Relationships

Great Places for Boomers to Retire Overseas

Great Places to Retire in the United States

Health and Medical Topics for Baby Boomers

Money and Financial Planning for Retirement

You are reading from the blog:

Photo of San Miguel de Allende courtesy of

Monday, September 2, 2013

Start a Baby Boomer's Club in Your Community

We Baby Boomers like to stick together.  Although there are many differences among us, we also have had numerous shared experiences over the decades, including our enjoyment of the music of our youth.  As a result, one of the most popular clubs in our homeowner's association is the Baby Boomers Club.

Our retirement community, like most over-55 developments, has a large number of clubs and organizations for the benefit of the residents.  There seems to be something for everyone ... bridge, golf, tennis, writing, paddleboard, swimming, fishing and dancing clubs.  About five years ago, a group of the first Baby Boomers to move into our community started their own club, too, and since its inception it has been a big hit.

Activities of the Baby Boomers Club

The Baby Boomers Club is not one of those organizations where everyone gets together to chat, eat snacks, have political discussions or quilt.  It fact, it is one of the more physically active groups in the community.  All of their gatherings are major social events and are well-attended by both men and women.  Some of the recent activities they have hosted or co-hosted with other clubs are:

Regular Saturday night dances featuring music from the 60's, 70's and 80's.
A Woodstock Festival at one of our clubhouse parking lots
Trips to area attractions, concerts, casinos, etc.
Beach parties

Benefits of a Baby Boomers Club

After retirement, many people feel cut off from the work connections they made over the years.  Joining a club is one way to make friends and form new connections.  It is also a way to celebrate life and return to those activities and hobbies that you loved when you were young.

While you may also benefit from taking an art class, bridge lessons, or getting more exercise, joining a group of your peers who enjoy the same music, the same dance styles, and who have similar interests is one way to enjoy reliving your memories and celebrating the life you have lived.

The relaxed, friendly socialization has also had an additional benefit for some members.  A number of couples in our community have met and begun dating as the result of having attended one of the events held by the Baby Boomers Club and other organizations.

If your current retirement community has not already started a Baby Boomers club, this may be a good time to start one yourself.  Baby Boomers are turning 65 at the rate of 10,000 to 11,000 a month.  Many of these new retirees are choosing to move into over-55 communities that have a wide assortment of amenities.  Now is the time for your community to begin welcoming your peers as they move in, and to help them feel they have found the right home!

If you are planning to retire soon, you may also be interested in looking through the links in the index articles below.

Gifts, Travel and Family Relationships

Great Places for Boomers to Retire Overseas

Great Places to Retire in the United States

Health and Medical Topics for Baby Boomers

Money and Financial Planning for Retirement

You are reading from the blog:

Photo of a sunset wedding is courtesy of