Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Most Popular Retirement Stories of 2015

Each year I compile a list of the most popular retirement articles on this blog for that year.  These are the individual articles that were read by hundreds or even thousands of people.  By listing them here, it gives readers the opportunity to make sure they did not miss one that would be particularly helpful to them.

Whether you are looking for the most important stories on where to retire, serious health issues or financial planning, these are the articles that attracted the most interest in 2015.

Here is your opportunity to go back and re-read the ones that you might find useful.

Popular Articles from 2015 

How to Have a Happy Marriage After Retirement - We all want to have a happy marriage.  However, when both a husband and wife retire and go from leading independent lives to being together nearly 24 hours a day, a great deal of stress can be put on the relationship.  No wonder this was the most popular retirement story of 2015.

Senior Discounts You Will Love! - We all want to save money, especially when we are living on a fixed income.  Learn how to take advantage of senior discounts, no matter where you live.

Why Millennials Resent Baby Boomers - Many Baby Boomers wonder why they have an uncomfortable relationship with the young adults in their lives.  This article will be very eye-opening and could help you engage in productive conversations with them.

The Baby Boomer Body Maintenance Plan - Most Baby Boomers want to stay healthy as long as they can.  This maintenance plan contains some of the information you will need to take care of yourself.

Free Tax Preparation Help - Did you know that most low and middle income U.S. senior citizens are qualified to receive free tax preparation help?  This article explains how to access this service in your own community.

Where to Retire in the U.S. on Social Security Alone - It is no secret that some parts of the U.S. are much more affordable than others.  If you are going to live on the average amount of Social Security in the U.S., then you need to know the locations where you can afford to live the most comfortably.  This article will help you choose the right place for you.

TIA Mini Strokes - Transient Ischemic Attacks - A surprising number of people experience a TIA each year.  Unfortunately, they can also lead to more serious problems.  Learn how to recognize the symptoms so you can get treated as soon as possible.

How to Prevent Colon Cancer - Did you know that the vast majority of colon cancers could be prevented?  Sadly, far too many people do not take the simple preventive measures that could save their lives.  Once you read this, there will be no more excuses.

Affordable California Coastal Retirement Communities - Have you ever dreamed of retiring somewhere along the coast of California? While most of the well-know beach communities are far out of reach of the average person, there are small towns near the coast where people could rent or buy a place to live at prices that are comparable to other parts of the U.S.  Check out this list.  Perhaps one of them could work for you.

Health Benefits of Holiday - We all know that there are dangers from the holidays ... eating too much, gaining weight, money worries and stress.  However, did you also know there are also health benefits?  Sometimes it is good to focus on the positive.

How to Draw Down Retirement Assets - If you are about to retire, how much money can you afford to take from your retirement savings each year and still feel confident your assets will last the rest of your life?  This article will help you make those calculations.

Loneliness and Isolation During Retirement - One of the most serious problems for retirees is that a large percentage of them become lonely and isolated.  However, it doesn't have to be that way.  There are ways to stay active and involved all over the United States.  This article will help you find the help you need and activities you will enjoy.

Update on the UCI 90+ Study at Laguna Woods Village - For over 30 years, the University of California in Irvine has been studying a group of retirees who live in the nearby retirement community of Laguna Woods Village. Some of those people have lived to be in their 90s or even over 100 years old. Why did some people live longer than the others?  Which ones got dementia and which ones kept their memories?  Are there steps you can take to increase the changes that you will be able to live to your 90s and be free of dementia?  Learn more about their research in this article.

If you are interested in learning more about where to retire, financial planning, common 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 articles.

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

Photo courtesy of morguefile.com.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Health Benefits of Holidays

We have all heard about how the holidays can wreck our health ... overeating, gaining weight, drinking too much, forgetting to exercise, becoming exhausted or stressed and financial worry.  Knowing all this is enough to make us want to skip the holidays completely.

This is why I was delighted to learn that there are also some health benefits of holidays.  Perhaps we would enjoy this period of time more if we could just focus on the benefits and do what we can to minimize the risks.

Below are some ways you can fully enjoy the health benefits of holidays. 

Giving Really is Better Than Receiving

We all like to get presents.  Did you know that it also makes us feel just as good to give a present as it does to receive one?  In fact, many people feel better when they give someone a gift than when they receive one.  Of course, you do not want to overdo it and add to your financial worries.  However, when we focus on giving and helping others during the holidays, we really will feel better about ourselves.

Give the Gift of an Experience

Not all gifts need to be something that comes in a box or bag.  Why not give the gift of a trip, lessons, an evening at the theater or some other experience gift ... especially if it is something you can share with the recipient?  According to a 2014 Cornell study, people who anticipate an experience are happier than those who purchase an item.

Shopping Burns Calories

Is there any other time of the year when you find yourself walking through shops and malls more than you do during the weeks before Christmas and other gift giving holidays?  You burn between 200 and 300 calories every hour you spend mall walking.  Even if you do not do much shopping, it can help you to get out of the house and do some window shopping.  The holiday decorations and music will lift your spirits and you will burn calories at the same time!

Singing Holiday Songs is Calming

Did you know that singing can reduce your stress hormones and boost your natural oxytocin ... also known as the love hormone?  Singing also slows your breathing in a way similar to what happens when you practice yoga.  Even if you just softly sing along to the music in the grocery store or mall, you will feel good.

Some Holiday Treats are Healthy

As reported in other articles in this blog, one tablespoon of cocoa a day can lower your LDL cholesterol and blood pressure.  It also improves your cognitive function and contributes to a healthy blood flow.

Another treat that can help you is peppermint.  It reduces inflammation in the colon, although the amount in a candy cane may not be enough to accomplish this.  However, just sniffing a candy cane can reduce food cravings and cut the amount of calories you eat!

The Holidays Can Bring Out Feelings of Gratitude

Do you send out holiday notes or cards?  If so, consider mentioning the reasons you feel grateful for the year that has just passed.  People who jot down the reasons they are grateful tend to be more optimistic.  Some studies report that grateful people exercise more and see their doctors less.

Enjoy the Health Benefits of Holidays

Like many other health issues, your attitude can make all the difference.  Focus on the good aspects of the holidays, make sure you eat right, exercise and get plenty of rest.  Enjoy new experiences. Give fun gifts you can afford.  Sing.  Be grateful for anything good in your life.

Do these things and you truly will get the most out of the holidays.

Are you interested in learning more about improving your health as you age or other aspects of retirement planning?  If so, use the tabs or pull down menu at the top of the page to find links to hundreds of additional helpful articles!

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

Photo credit:  Photo of mall taken by author, Deborah-Diane.  All rights reserved.

Source:  "Why Holidays Are Healthier than You Think," Reader's Digest, Dec. 2014/Jan. 2015

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

How to Cope with Arthritis Pain

It seems that everyone I know in the Baby Boomer age group is dealing with sore knees, painful hands, irritated shoulders or other stiff joints.  Although arthritis may be a common part of the aging process, there is no reason to allow it to define who you are or to let it completely restrict your activities.  With a few modifications, most people can continue to enjoy everything they like to do.

Of course, if you suffer from arthritis and you are feeling stiff and sore, you may not feel like doing much of anything.  This is a poor decision.  Instead, if you want to continue to be active and busy, you need to learn how to cope with arthritis.

How to Cope with Arthritis Pain

While most people with arthritis may experience pain, stiffness and discomfort, there are several things they can do to ease that pain.

* Use the medications your doctor prescribes or suggests.  Your physician may recommend an over-the-counter medication such as a low dose of Tylenol or Aleve.  In more extreme cases, you may need to take a prescription medication.  You may have to try several different medications before you find the one that works best for you.  Don't give up until you find something that eases your discomfort so you can remain active.

Experiment with supplements that help some people with arthritis pain.  Among the supplements you may want to try, with your doctor's approval, are glucosamine combined with chondroitin or MSM.  Other people have been helped by taking fish oil, faxseed oil, and/or avocado/soybean oil.  Make sure your doctor knows what you are taking, so nothing you take conflicts with what they prescribe. With your physician's approval, however, you may find something that eases your stiffness.

Stay as active as possible.  You will become more flexible and have less pain if you participate in low-impact exercises such as yoga, walking, Tao Chi and water exercises.  Start gradually so you do not do too much too soon.  Make sure you do something for exercise every day.  It is also a good idea to break your exercise up into small pieces.  Strive to get a total of at least 40 minutes of exercise a day, but it can be broken into two or three sessions that are 15 to 20 minutes long.

Lose weight.  Each time you lose one pound, you will take four pounds of pressure off your hips, knees and ankles.  This will also help ease your pain.

When pain flares up, take time to rest your joints.  Alternating activity with relaxation is the ideal way to help your joints.  However, you do not want to remain inactive for too many days unless you are recovering from surgery or your doctor advises you to rest for a lengthy period of time. Otherwise, resume your activities as soon as possible.

Alternate heat and cold when your joints are inflamed.  In addition to taking medication and resting your joints, you may also want to use heating pads or cold packs on your painful joints.  It may also help to take a warm bath.

At times, you may want to apply a topical painkiller.  Many people have found temporary relief when they have used creams containing capsaicin on a sore, inflamed joint.

Practice relaxation techniques.  Your state-of-mind can have a tremendous effect on your level of pain.  Practice yoga, deep breathing, meditation, aromatherapy, guided imagery, hypnosis or other relaxation techniques to help you learn to be less sensitive to pain.

Consider natural treatments such as massage, acupuncture or acupressure. These alternative treatments may help you relax and reduce the pain you are experiencing.

*   See a chiropractor or osteopath if you think your arthritis pain has caused your body to get out of alignment.  Their adjustments can help you feel more comfortable and increase your range of motion.

Learn to listen to your body.  You need to recognize the signs of fatigue and be able to identify when you might be putting too much stress on a joint.  This will help you know when you should back off and modify your activity.  For example, if walking on land is too painful at first, you might want to try walking in a swimming pool.  Don't overdo it, though!

Modify your activities, as needed.  Finally, you may have to make some small changes to your lifestyle in order to accommodate your arthritis, especially if it is severe.  Depending on where you feel the most pain, you may need to do things such as purchase an electric jar opener, sit on a tall kitchen stool when cooking for any length of time, have your door knobs replaced by levers, or ask for other assistance devices.  You may benefit from a stair lift to help you get up to a second floor bedroom or a comfy chair lift that helps you get back on your feet after sitting.  Don't be embarrassed to ask for help when you need it!

You can also order products online that will help you adapt to your arthritis.  Use this Amazon link to see some of the different products that are available, whether you order them from Amazon or not.  Amazon has everything from special gloves, handy grips, topical medications and much more.  You may discover the perfect solution to a problem that has caused you to restrict your activities.

You can find more information about how to cope with your arthritis from the Arthritis Foundation at arthritis.org.

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

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

Photo credit:  morguefile.com

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

How to Avoid Poverty for Single Women Retirees

If you are a single women approaching retirement, you are at much higher risk of living in poverty as you age.  Approximately one out of three Baby Boomer women is either divorced or never married.  While they may have managed just fine on their salaries during their working years, the sad truth is that single women over the age of 65 who were never married, or who are divorced or widowed are three times more likely to be living in poverty

The statistics are even more dire for minority single women than they are for Caucasian women, although a significant number of single women of all races are impacted.

Poverty Rates for Retired Single Women Over Age 65

Caucasians - 1 out of 6
African-Americans - 1 in 3
Hispanics - 1 in 2

Reasons for High Rate of Poverty for Single Women Retirees

There are a variety of circumstances that contribute to the high poverty rates for single women over the age of 65.

*  Women who live with a spouse benefit from his Social Security benefits and pensions while he is alive.  In addition, they are eligible to receive their own payment that equals about one-half of their husband's Social Security, depending on the wife's age when she begins to collect.  If she becomes widowed, her Social Security benefits will usually be increased to close to what her husband was receiving before he died.  She may also have access to the proceeds of private pensions and investments.  Single women do not have the benefit of receiving as much income from a spouse.  Even if they are divorced and were married over ten years, at most they can only collect half of what their former spouse received in benefits, with no increase if he dies before her.

*  In general, women earn less than men, so the amount they have paid into Social Security and the amount they will collect based on their own earnings is often substantially less.  They are more likely to be in either lower paying or part-time jobs.  If they are unmarried at the time of retirement, their benefits are likely to be much lower than the benefits men receive.

*  Women often spend less time in the workforce because they are frequently expected to drop out periodically to act as caregivers ... either for their children, their parents or other members of their family.  On average, women caregivers take 12 years out of the workforce, which dramatically reduces their lifetime earnings and Social Security benefits.  This can have a devastating effect on retired women, since half of elderly women depend on Social Security as their only source of income.

*  In addition to qualifying for lower Social Security benefits, women also tend to have much less money saved in private retirement accounts and pensions.

*  Women tend to live about 3 to 4 years longer than men, on average, which means their meager savings must last longer.

*  The average man over 65 receives $27,657 a year in income from a combination of Social Security, pensions, dividends and other income; the average women over 65 receives only about $15,323 a year from all income sources.

*  Marriage rates continue to decline, which means the issue of poverty in retirement for single women is likely to continue for generations.  In fact, it is estimated that 25% of young adults will never marry.  When this is added to the number of women who will be divorced or widowed, many young women are likely to face the same situation as the women in the Baby Boomer generation.

Proposed Government Solutions to Reduce Poverty for Single Women Retirees

Currently, no one has come up with a solution to the issue of how to help single, elderly women retirees.  Here are some of the ideas that are being tossed around:

*  Expand Social Security benefits for people over the age of 80 or 85 ... an age group that is primarily female.

*  Change the way Social Security benefits are calculated so that women get credit for those periods of time when they are working as full-time, unpaid caregivers for their children, parents or other family members.

*  Giving everyone either a flat minimum payment or a means-tested minimum benefit, regardless of their marital status or how much they have earned during their working years.

What Women Can Do to Lower Their Own Poverty after Retirement

Many women who are struggling to make ends meet month after month may not be able to do very much to improve their situation.  However, until the government makes changes, there are a few things women should try to do, if possible:

*  Work full-time rather than part-time, for as many years as possible, to increase the amount of Social Security benefits they will receive in the future.

*  Look for jobs with the government or employers who provide a private pension or match contributions to a 401(k).

*  Contribute to an IRA or other pension plan.

*  Delay retirement until age 70 in order to maximize their Social Security benefits.

Other Help for Low Income Retirees

In addition, there are programs available to help low income retirees.  You may be interested in reading my article on this topic:

"Public Assistance for Low Income Retirees"


"The Next Social Security Crisis: Why American Women are Bearing the Brunt of the Retirement Crunch,"  Time Magazine, August 3, 2015, pg. 48.

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

Photo credit:  Morguefile.com

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Update on the UCI 90+ Study at Laguna Woods Village

During the past few years, I have been following the 90+ Study in which researchers from the University of California in Irvine have studied people who live to age 90 or older.  They refer to them as the Oldest of the Old.

The UCI findings have been fascinating.  The study has been conducted on residents of the retirement community where I live who are over the age of 90.  However, when the project first started, these people were in their 60s.  As a result, the researchers have learned a great deal about this group of people.

Recently, I once again attended a speech by Dr. Claudia Kawas of UCI in which she discussed her major findings.  She and her team of researchers have learned a number of things about the lifestyle choices and genetic makeup of people who manage to live to be 90 years old.  Below you will find data from their website, 90study.org, which summarizes what they have discovered.

Major Findings from the 90+ Study Listed on Their Website

*  People who drank moderate amounts of alcohol and coffee lived longer than those who abstained.  However, as you will see later in this article, living a long life is not the same as having a clear mind and a good quality of life.

*  People who were overweight in their 70s lived longer than normal or underweight people did.  Again, a long life does not mean you will avoid dementia or disability.

*  Over 40% of people who live until they are between 90 and 100 years old will suffer from dementia; almost 80% of the people in this age group are physically disabled.  Both conditions are more common in elderly women than men.

*  About half the people over the age of 90 who have dementia do not have sufficient neuropathology in their brain to explain their cognitive loss.  This means that some people develop dementia, even when an autopsy does not show that there was anything seriously wrong with their brain.

*  People aged 90 and older with an APOE2 gene are less likely to have clinical Alzheimer's dementia, but are much more likely to have Alzheimer's neuropathology in their brains.  In other words, an autopsy may show that their brains have damage that would normally indicate Alzheimer's, but there were no clinical symptoms of the disease while they were alive.

More Findings from the 90+ Study about Dementia

In addition to the items listed above, Dr. Kawas reported a few additional facts about dementia during her recent presentation at Laguna Woods Village.

*  At age 75, there is about a 5% risk of dementia. At age 80, senior citizens have about a 10% risk.  The risk currently doubles approximately every five years.  At age 85, the rate is 20%.  At age 90 and older it is 40%. 

*  While moderate alcohol and caffeine consumption may help you live longer, it does not appear to prevent dementia.  Taking Vitamins E and C did not appear to help, either.  However, physical exercise does seem to "increase the production of a key brain nutrient called brain-derived neurotrophic factor."  Exercise is the only lifestyle choice Dr. Kawas mentions in her website that definitely seems to make a difference in brain function later in life.
increases the production of a key brain nutrient called brain-derived neurotrophic factor - See more at: http://www.mind.uci.edu/research/cutting-edge-alzheimers-research/diet-and-exercise/#sthash.O3ebpG0v.dpuf
increases the production of a key brain nutrient called brain-derived neurotrophic factor - See more at: http://www.mind.uci.edu/research/cutting-edge-alzheimers-research/diet-and-exercise/#sthash.O3ebpG0v.dpuf
increases the production of a key brain nutrient called brain-derived neurotrophic factor - See more at: http://www.mind.uci.edu/research/cutting-edge-alzheimers-research/diet-and-exercise/#sthash.O3ebpG0v.dpuf

*  While many people assume that Alzheimer's Disease is the only cause of dementia, there are actually over 100 different pathologies or symptoms of diseases which appear to cause dementia.  For example, irreversible dementia can also be caused by vascular problems, a stroke, brain injury, sleep apnea, Parkinson's disease and Huntington's disease.  As reported above, people can have the Alzheimer's neuropathology in their brain and NOT develop dementia.  If they have the Alzheimer's neuropathology and one additional dementia pathology, they are much more likely to develop dementia symptoms.  If they have the Alzheimer's neuropathology and two additional dementia pathologies (or symptoms of brain diseases), they almost always have dementia symptoms that can be observed while they are alive.

*  On the other hand, approximately 40% of people with dementia have none of the pathologies or disease symptoms which are known to cause dementia.  In these people, the cause of their dementia is unknown!

*  Alzheimer's is the most common form of dementia (defined as a decline in memory and cognitive abilities severe enough to interfere with everyday functioning).  Alzheimer's accounts for 70% of cases of dementia.

*  Alzheimer's is the 6th leading cause of death in the United States, often because the patient becomes bedridden and develops pneumonia.

*  One out of nine people age 65 or older and one out of three people age 85 or older are living with Alzheimer's Disease. 

*  Age appears to be the greatest risk for dementia.  No matter what you do, the longer you live, the greater your risk of becoming mentally impaired.

How to Learn More About the 90+ Study from UCI

Many of us are going to want to continue to follow the 90+ Study and readers can watch for future reports in this blog about the findings in the coming years.  Here are a few other ways you can learn more and, in some cases, help.

*  You can sign up to participate in a trial at:  TrialMatch.alz.org

*  You can follow the UCI 90+ study and, if you wish, make a donation at:  90study.org

*   You can read more on the background and findings of the UCI study in my article:  The UCI 90+ Study at Laguna Woods Village. 

If you are looking for more information that will benefit you as you age, use the tabs or pull down menu at the top of this page to find links to hundreds of additional articles on medical issues, where to retire, financial planning, family relationships and more.

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

Photo credit:  Photo of Laguna Woods Village taken by author, Deborah-Diane.

  • People who drank moderate amounts of alcohol or coffee lived longer than those who abstained.
  • People who were overweight in their 70s lived longer than normal or underweight people did.
  • Over 40% of people aged 90 and older suffer from dementia while almost 80% are disabled. Both are more common in women than men.
  • About half of people with dementia over age 90 do not have sufficient neuropathology in their brain to explain their cognitive loss.
  • People aged 90 and older with an APOE2 gene are less likely to have clinical Alzheimer’s dementia, but are much more likely to have Alzheimer’s neuropathology in their brains.
  • - See more at: http://www.mind.uci.edu/research/90plus-study/#sthash.Ynp7gWGK.dpuf

  • People who drank moderate amounts of alcohol or coffee lived longer than those who abstained.
  • People who were overweight in their 70s lived longer than normal or underweight people did.
  • Over 40% of people aged 90 and older suffer from dementia while almost 80% are disabled. Both are more common in women than men.
  • About half of people with dementia over age 90 do not have sufficient neuropathology in their brain to explain their cognitive loss.
  • People aged 90 and older with an APOE2 gene are less likely to have clinical Alzheimer’s dementia, but are much more likely to have Alzheimer’s neuropathology in their brains.
  • - See more at: http://www.mind.uci.edu/research/90plus-study/#sthash.Ynp7gWGK.dpuf

  • People who drank moderate amounts of alcohol or coffee lived longer than those who abstained.
  • People who were overweight in their 70s lived longer than normal or underweight people did.
  • Over 40% of people aged 90 and older suffer from dementia while almost 80% are disabled. Both are more common in women than men.
  • About half of people with dementia over age 90 do not have sufficient neuropathology in their brain to explain their cognitive loss.
  • People aged 90 and older with an APOE2 gene are less likely to have clinical Alzheimer’s dementia, but are much more likely to have Alzheimer’s neuropathology in their brains.
  • - See more at: http://www.mind.uci.edu/research/90plus-study/#sthash.Ynp7gWGK.dpuf

    Tuesday, November 24, 2015

    How Americans are Aging and Changing

    The Baby Boomer generation is getting older and lifespans in general are increasing.  As a result  the United States is aging rapidly.  Recently, I attended "The State of Aging in Orange County," a seminar put on by the Office on Aging and other agencies in Orange County, California.  The speakers were outstanding and over the next few weeks this blog will contain posts on some of the information that was covered during the seminar.

    In particular, most Baby Boomers will be interested in some of the general facts that were brought up by the speakers.

    Redefining What it Means to be Old

    Karen Roper, who is Director of OC Community Services and oversees the Office on Aging, the Veterans Service Bureau and several other agencies, said they are working to redefine what it means to be old.  Rather than basing it on someone's age, they want to define it based on a person's functional ability.  After all, she pointed out, some people can be in their 80's or 90's and still be able to live on their own and take care of their shopping, housework, cooking, etc.  On the other hand, a person who is in their 50's or 60's might be suffering from a number of medical conditions, including early onset dementia, which might make it difficult for them function independently at all.  Which person should be considered "old?"

    The U.S. Population is Aging Rapidly

    Michael Schrader, the Chief Executive Officer of CalOptima, presented fascinating statistics regarding how quickly the American population is aging.  In 2015, there are approximately 40 million people over the age of 65.  Over the next ten years, by 2025, the population of people over the age of 65 will increase by 50% to 60 million.

    Social Security and Medicare Will Need to be Reformed

    Mr. Schrader revealed that over that same ten year period, Social Security costs are expected to increase by 77% and Medicare costs by 89%.  This is unsustainable without some types of reforms. As was recently mentioned in this blog, one change has already been made in order to save the government money in Social Security expenditures. It was part of the 2015 budget agreement.  The SSA has now eliminated an option couples used to have for maximizing their benefits ... the file and suspend option. 

    Among other changes that are being considered are:

    * Raise the minimum ages to receive both Social Security and Medicare benefits
    * Increase the co-pays and other forms of cost sharing for Medicare beneficiaries
    * Change to a need based voucher system for Medicare benefits

    New Approaches to Administering Medicare and Medicaid

    CalOptima is also experimenting with a new system to make Medicare benefits more efficient, cost effective and easier to use for beneficiaries who qualify for both Medicare and Medicaid (known as Medi-Cal in California).  Many of the people who qualify for both have to deal with four different programs ... Medicare Part A, Medicare part B, Medicare part D, and Medicaid.  Since these people frequently have dementia or other health issues, dealing with all these different  programs is overwhelming.  CalOptima is experimenting with combining all four of those programs into one, adding on dental and vision services, and providing case carriers to assist the recipients.  They believe that reducing the fragmentation will make the program operate more efficiently and less expensively.  In addition, beneficiaries will only have one phone number to call and one person to deal with, which should make things more manageable.

    If the CalOptima program works here in Orange County, it will be spread to other parts of the United States.

    In the coming weeks, this blog will contain additional information that was provided during the State of Aging seminar ... interspersed with other topics of interest to Baby Boomers.

    If you are looking for additional information on retirement planning, coping with health issues, finding good places to retire, changing family relationships or more, use the tabs or pull down menu at the top of this article to find links to hundreds of additional helpful articles on a variety of subjects.

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

    Photo credit: Morguefile.com

    Monday, November 16, 2015

    Charitable Deductions and U.S. Estate Taxes

    Are you thinking about leaving money or property in your estate to your college or favorite charity?  If so, it is very important you discuss the best way to do this with your financial adviser.  You have several options, and you want to make sure you use the option that will allow you to use the charitable deduction to reduce the estate taxes on your estate, benefiting both your heirs and the charity.

    In some cases, you can even arrange your charitable giving in such a way that you or a loved one can receive a stream of income from your charitable contribution.  By doing this, you can help yourself or an heir, as well as the charity.  Everyone wins!

    Recently, I received an interesting brochure from the university which I attended.  It summarized some of the options donors have.  Below you will find some excerpts from that brochure, as well as additional comments.  If this is something you think you will want to do as part of your estate tax planning, you will want to be sure you carefully research the type of charitable gift that will be best for your circumstances.

    How the Federal Estate Tax Rate Can Affect Your Charitable Donations

    When you have large capital gains on some of your assets, the estate tax rate can be as much as 28 percent.  However, if you give the assets to a qualified charity, you can reduce or eliminate this portion of your estate taxes.

    "Tax on capital gains property such as securities and real estate can sting tax payers in the highest brackets at a rate of more than 28 percent.  Not selling first, but giving appreciated assets directly to a charity allows a donor to avoid the capital gains tax." 

    According to their explanation, the charity will get a stepped up basis on the donated property, and the donor or his estate is able to avoid paying taxes on the gain.

    Create an Income from your Charitable Donations

    What if you have valuable assets that do not currently produce an income for you?  An example of this might be a valuable art collection that you wish to donate after you die.  Another example would be stocks that do not pay a dividend.  There are ways you can gift this property to a charitable organization while you are still alive and they will provide you or the person of your choice with a stream of income for an agreed period of time.

    "When a donor makes a gift of appreciated property to a charity in exchange for a life income arrangement, the donor is allowed to spread the capital gains tax over the life of the agreement, reducing the impact of the tax on the donor and creating a stream of payments over a period of years, or for a lifetime.  Donors can accomplish this through certain types of charitable trusts or charitable gift annuities."

    Many charitable organizations are already familiar with this type of gift arrangement and can help you make the necessary arrangements.  Of course, you will want to discuss this with your financial advisor first, so you donate the appropriate assets.

    Make a Charity a Beneficiary of All or a Portion of Your Retirement Account

    When you receive a distribution from a retirement account, you usually must pay taxes on it.  However, when the distribution is donated to a charity, the charitable deduction may be used to offset all or part of the taxes.  This is true even when you have already died!

    "The tax owed on a retirement plan does not go away at death.  The tax liability passes into the estate and onto heirs with some exceptions, such as when a charity is beneficiary of the account.  Charities are not taxable.... (When a charity is) the beneficiary of all or a portion of your retirement account, it removes a highly taxable asset from your estate."

    You MIGHT Be Able to Make an IRA Charitable Rollover

    In 2014, Congress made it possible for donors to roll over part of their IRA to a charity.  However, this has to be voted on each year, so it might not always be possible in the future, depending on what Congress decides.  If they keep the rules the same, the requirements currently are:

    *  You must be 70 1/2 or older when you make the gift;
    *  You cannot transfer more than $100,000 to a charity;
    *  This only applies to IRAs and not other types of retirement plans;
    *  The funds must go directly to a charity and NOT to a charitable trust, a charitable gift annuity or anything similar.

    What Should You Do?

    The best type of charitable giving arrangement will be different for each person.  This article is only intended to let you know about the different types of possible options so you can reduce your federal estate taxes.  You need to discuss the best option for you with your financial adviser, tax accountant, the lawyer handling your will and the charity involved.

    If you are looking for more retirement advice, information about where to retire, medical concerns, or changing family relationships, use the tabs or pull down menu at the top of this article.  They will link you to hundreds of additional articles.

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

    Photo credit:  Morguefile.com

    Monday, November 9, 2015

    Why Millennials Resent Baby Boomers

    If you are active on Facebook and you are connected to younger adults, you may have seen a recent article that is being passed around and shared by thousands of Millennials and members of Generation X.  When I read it, I was shocked and saddened.  I am sure that this information is going to stun many other Baby Boomers, as well.

    The title of the article is:  "Baby Boomers are What's Wrong with America's Economy."  This article was not written by an uneducated, ill-informed, resentful teen.  It is written by Jim Tankersley, a well-educated, highly regarded writer for the Washington Post ... and I am afraid he is speaking for many young adults in this country. 

    While I do NOT agree with everything this author has to say, and I believe it only gives the viewpoint of his age group, I do believe that it is important for Baby Boomers to understand some of the backlash we are getting from members of the younger generations.  Many of them agree completely with the points made by this author, which is why they continue to spread it around through Social Media.

    You will want to read the entire article for yourself.  Meanwhile, some of the main points are listed below.

    Many Young Adults Believe Baby Boomers Have Stolen Their Future

    *  As the author pointed out, Baby Boomers entered the economy at a time when good-paying jobs were plentiful for both high school and college graduate.  As we must admit, the economic situation has been much more difficult during the past decade, and it has taken a hard toll on young adults.

    *  Because we benefited from a strong job market, many Baby Boomers were able to maintain a higher standard of living than is possible for a large number of our children and grandchildren.  In the words of the Jim Tankersley, "My generation, Gen X, is in far worse financial shape than our parents were at the same age. Millennials are even worse off than we are."

    *  Despite having lower-paying jobs and less financial security, Jim Tankersley comments that "future generations will have to pay the costs of weaning the world from fossil fuels and/or adapting to warmer temperatures, rising seas and more extreme weather. (Estimates vary, but some projections suggest they could total trillions of dollars for America alone.) They will also have to shoulder the burden of keeping America’s retirement promises to the boomers."  It is obvious from his narrative that Mr. Tankersley and his peers resent this.

    *  Tankersley also resents the fact that Baby Boomers expect to receive all the Social Security and Medicare benefits they have been promised, even though this will put an added burden on their children and grandchildren.  Many Millennials and members of Generation X apparently feel it is unfair, in their view, that Baby Boomers want benefits, but are unwilling to make the same sacrifices that are expected from their offspring.  Jim Tankersley goes on to say, "folks my father’s age like to say they’ve paid for those benefits, so they should get them in full. But they haven’t. The Urban Institute has estimated that a typical couple retiring in 2011, at the leading edge of the boomer wave, will end up drawing about $200,000 more from Medicare and Social Security than they paid in taxes to support those programs."  (Of course, Mr. Tankersley does not take into consideration the fact that the money Baby Boomers paid into Social Security and Medicare over the past 40 years should be worth more than we put in, because of the value of compound interest on the principal.)

    *  The author then lists other "sins" that he feels have been committed by Baby Boomers.  He asserts that Baby Boomers could have prevented some of the problems that are being passed on to the younger generations, since Boomers have controlled Congress since the George W. Bush administration.  Despite the power that Boomers have held, they have failed to put money aside to protect Social Security.  Instead, as Jim Tankersley says, Boomers have cut their own taxes, deficit funded two wars, shipped manufacturing jobs to China, failed to invest in job training for younger people, and allowed college costs to more than double ... which creates more difficulty for the younger generations.

    *  How can Baby Boomers convince younger generations that we do want to reduce the future strain on our offspring?  The author suggests that Boomers should begin to take more responsibility for the current problems.  He believes we should do everything we can to lower carbon emissions and head off a debt crisis.  Boomers should be more willing to pay higher taxes and accept lower retirement benefits.  Clean energy should be a top priority.

    Jim Tankersley Made Some Thought-Provoking Points

    I must admit that the author has put forth some thought-provoking assertions.  It would be impossible to guess his political affiliation based on what he has to say in this article.  On the liberal side, he wants more money spent on job training and to lower the cost of higher education.  He also wants both the government and individuals to invest in clean air and clean energy.  On the conservative side, he wants a balanced budget and reduced government debt ... and feels that all Americans, including retirees, should share in the cost of accomplishing this.

    Other Complaints About Baby Boomers

    The Jim Tankersley essay is not the first time I have heard complaints from younger adults about the burden being placed on them by Baby Boomers.  From time to time, I have also received very critical comments about Boomers on this blog ... and promptly removed them.

    In one case, a young adult posted a comment on my blog that said, "Why don't all you Baby-Boomers just hurry up and die so there will be more jobs for people my age?"

    Of course, I removed that comment as quickly as possible.  I assumed that it, and others I have received like it, were just left by malcontents. 

    However, I am beginning to see that some of these comments are not being left by "mentally unstable" individuals.  Instead, they may be reflecting the beliefs of a large number of members of the younger generations.

    And that is why I thought every older adult should know why Generation X and Millennials resent Baby Boomers.  We need to be prepared for some of the changes they may make once they are the generation in power ... and it currently looks as if we may not like the decisions they could make regarding our benefits and care.

    If you want to read the full article, you can find it at:

    "Baby Boomers are What's Wrong with America's Economy"

    If you are interested in ideas about where to retire, financial planning, health issues as we age, 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 helpful articles.

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

    Photo credit:  morguefile.com

    Tuesday, November 3, 2015

    Social Security Benefit Changes

    From the beginning of 2016 and going forward, Social Security beneficiaries will see several major changes to the program.  More changes are likely to follow in the coming years.  Whether you are already receiving your Social Security benefits or expect to receive them in the coming years, many of these changes will affect you.

    The End of the File and Suspend Option

    File and Suspend is an option that first became available in 2000.  Under this strategy, a married couple could plan for one of the individuals to initially receive a smaller check based on one-half the income of their spouse, while letting their own benefits continue to grow until age 70.  At age 70, they were able to choose whichever benefit was greater.  File and Suspend will no longer be an option.  There is no point in explaining the finer points of this tactic, because it ends in a few weeks.  It is unavailable to anyone who reaches age 62 in 2015 or beyond.  Many people who were planning to use this option when they reached their retirement age will be disappointed.

    Deemed Filing is Now the Option Chosen by Most Married Couples

    Moving forward, when a person files for benefits anytime between the ages of 62 and 70, it will be considered a deemed filing.  At that point, the beneficiary will choose between the larger of their spousal and personal retirement benefits.  Up until now, retirees could only use deemed filing up until their full retirement age, at which time they had to choose between collecting benefits on their own earnings or taking the spousal benefit.  Now retirees will have a few years longer to make that choice. 
    Because some of the rules around this are new, retirees should do more research about the deemed filing option as they get close to retirement.  In addition, I cannot stress enough the importance of purchasing one of the excellent books about Social Security that are available using this Amazon.com link.  It is important to realize that many of them will not be updated with the newest information for a few months.  Ebooks will probably be updated the most quickly.

    Fixing the Social Security Trust Fund Shortfall

    The elimination of File and Suspend will cost some couples tens of thousands of dollars during their lifetime.  However, this change is the first step in making sure that the trust fund does not run out of money as quickly as has been projected and it will improve its long-term financial stability.

    In the future, taxpayers should expect additional changes to protect the Social Security Fund.  Although no final decisions have been made, the changes will probably include small increases in payroll tax withholding and a slight rise in the full retirement age.

    Benefits Will Be Lower Than Expected for the Highest Income New Retirees

    Some high income retirees will be surprised to discover that they will receive about $24 less per month than they expected.  According to a Social Security Administration statement, "A decrease in full maximum benefits occurs when there is no cost-of-living adjustment, but there is an increase in the national average wage index."  In 2016, the maximum amount that a 66 year-old worker will receive per month will be $2,639, reduced from $2,663 in 2015.

    Online Changes

    In an effort to save money in administrative costs, the Social Security Administration will offer more online services than they have in the past.  For example, beneficiaries will now be able to order a new Medicare card online, rather than being required to visit a Social Security office.

    Longer Office Hours

    Another change to expect at your local Social Security office is longer office hours.  Most offices will be open one hour longer each day, although they will still close at noon on Wednesdays to allow employees to reduce backlogs.  If you are planning to visit your local office, it is advised that you call and confirm the office hours before you show up.

    If you want to learn more about your Social Security benefits, financial planning, where to retire, health issues and more, use the tabs or pull down menus at the top of the page to find links to hundreds of additional articles.

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

    Photo credit:  wikipedia.org/commons




    Thursday, October 29, 2015

    Aging in America - Fascinating Facts

    The Population Reference Bureau, which searches for population trends around the world for a variety of populations including the aged, children, and minorities, has a very interesting brochure which can be downloaded from their website.  It contains fascinating statistics about how and where the population of the United States is aging.  It is called Aging in America and you will find a link to it at the end of this article.

    The twenty page brochure contains charts, statistics and far more information than I could possibly fit into a blog post.  However, I thought I would summarize some of the more fascinating facts here.

    America's Aging Population

    *  Baby Boomers are the people who were born between 1946 and 1964.  This means that the Baby Boomer generation began turning 65 in 2011 and is continuing to turn 65 at a rate of about 10,000 to 11,000 a DAY!

    *  There are currently a little over 40 million Americans ages 65 and older; by 2050, that number will more than double to 89 million Americans.  By that time, about one-fifth of the U.S. population will be age 65 and older.

    *   Japan, Italy, Germany and the United Kingdom are aging at even a faster pace than the population of the United States.  Aging is also accelerating in other countries, including Russia, China, Brazil, India and Mexico, and is becoming a global phenomena.  As life expectancy grows longer and birth rates drop, the world's population will continue to age.

    *  The racial make-up of this country is also changing.  In California, New Mexico and Hawaii, non-Hispanic whites now make up less than half the population of those states.  Typical Caucasian, non-Hispanic whites will be a minority nationally by 2041.  In the near future, there will no longer be a single racial majority nationwide.  The labor force at that time be made up primarily of Hispanic, Asian and multi-racial workers, while the aging Baby Boomer population consists primarily of non-Hispanic whites.  Will this knowledge encourage the non-Hispanic whites in positions of power in our government to adopt policies that provide greater access to education and jobs for those minorities who will soon be running this country?  After all, in the future those Hispanic, Asian and multi-racial workers will be the ones to support and take care of the aging Baby Boomers.

    *  The aging population is not spread out evenly across the country, but is heavier in certain pockets.  For example, in the Midwest and Northeast, the population is aging faster because many of the young people are moving away and older residents are aging in place, remaining in their familiar communities. 

    *  On the other hand, when people do choose to relocate, they are moving in large numbers to certain retirement destinations, bringing a higher than average number of senior citizens to those regions.  Among the retirement destinations that are heavily impacted are Florida, Arizona and Nevada.  In addition, many retirees are choosing to move to or remain in small towns and rural areas, which will increase the demand in those areas for senior housing, public transportation, health care and retail businesses.

    *  According to the Index for the Well Being of Older Populations, the best countries for those 65 and older are Denmark, Netherlands, Switzerland and the United States.  Our goal should be to make sure we remain near the top of the list in the coming decades.

    There is a great deal of additional fascinating demographic information about our aging population in this brochure.  It is well worth reading ... as are other brochures that are available from the Population Reference Bureau.

    To read the full brochure for yourself, you can download it at:  America's Aging Population from the Population Reference Bureau at PRB.org - Volume 66, No. 1.

    If you are looking for additional information about aging and retirement, use the tabs or pull down menu at the top of the page to find links to hundreds of articles about where to retire in the United States and overseas, health issues, financial planning and more.

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

    Photo credit:  Morguefile.com

    Wednesday, October 21, 2015

    Money Magazine Best Places to Retire

    Forbes, Money, AARP and U.S. News periodically come out with their own lists of the best places to retire in the United States.  The reason there are so many different lists is because they each use different criteria.  However, I believe it is helpful to my readers to be informed about these various lists so they know if the communities they are considering are a good possibility.

    This month I am featuring the 2015 Money Magazine list of the Best Places to Retire.  First, however, you will want to know the criteria they used.

    Money Magazine Criteria for the Best Places to Retire

    What were the types of things that Money Magazine considered when they compiled their list?  First, they considered the four top towns in five different categories.

    The categories were: The places where retirees could pursue an active lifestyle in ...

    The outdoors
    The arts
    Waterfront living
    Continuing Education

    How did they choose the best communities for each of those interests?

    Here are the issues they considered:

    Communities with at least 10,000 residents
    A variety of services and populations
    No more than 95% of residents of one race
    At least 20% of residents over the age of 50
    Median home prices below the national average
    Low taxes
    Within 30 miles of a major hospital
    Accessible to culture, recreation and green space

    Finally, they also interviewed both new and longtime residents to determine if there is a sense of community spirit and vibrancy ... issues that can be hard to measure.

    Once they had taken all these factors into consideration, they came up with their lists.  Below, I have listed their top picks, along with the median home price.

    Where to Enjoy the Great Outdoors after Retirement

    St. George, Utah - $195,000
    Vail, Arizona - $199,500
    Fayetteville, Arkansas - $166,000
    Richland, Washington - $205,450

    Where to Enjoy the Arts after Retirement

    Boise, Idaho - $184,500
    Santa Fe, New Mexico - $248,000
    Chattanooga, Tennessee - $128,650
    Dover, Delaware - $136,000

    Best Retirement Areas for Golf Lovers

    Prattville, Alabama - $150,415
    Clermont, Florida - $190,000
    Stillwater, Oklahoma - $136,000
    Fishers, Indiana - $228,000

    Best College Towns for Retirees

    Northfield, Minnesota - $172,500
    Asheville, N.C. - $200,000
    Lexington, Kentucky - $142,000
    Athens, Georgia - $128,000

    Best Retirement Towns for Waterfront Living

    Bluffton, South Carolina - $230,000
    Traverse City, Michigan - $161,250
    Cape Coral, Florida - $144,900
    Loveland, Colorado - $225,000

    Diversity on the Money Magazine List

    As you will see, this list includes nineteen different states from most of the regions in the United States.  I was disappointed to note that it did not include any communities in California, Oregon, or in the Northeast above Delaware.  Those regions all include populated areas where many people would like to retire.  With that thought in mind, I would like to mention that this blog also includes articles on other popular retirement areas, including California coastal towns, and the retirement communities around the charming town of Lancaster, Pennsylvania. 

    In addition, if you already have an that interests you, I assure you that there are retirement communities in nearly every region of the United States.

    If you are looking for more ideas about where to retire, use the tabs or pull down menu at the top of this article to find links to hundreds of additional articles about where to retire in the United States or overseas, health issues, financial considerations, and other retirement concerns.


    "Best Places to Retire 2015," Money Magazine, July 2015.

    Other articles that may interest you:




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

    Photo credit:  morguefile.com

    Thursday, October 15, 2015

    No Social Security COLA in 2016 - Medicare Rates Rise for Millions

    UPDATED with new figures as of 10/30/15:  Millions of Social Security and government pension beneficiaries will be disappointed to learn that there will be no Social Security increase in 2016.  As compensation, approximately 6 out of 7 Medicare beneficiaries will also see no increase in Medicare premiums, either.  However, there are exceptions.  In fact, approximately 14 percent or 1 out of 7 people will have a premium increase.  However, as part of the October, 2015 budget agreement, the size of the premium increase was decreased from 52 percent to approximately 14 percent over what they are currently paying.

    Why There Will be No Increase in Social Security Benefits

    In the past 40 years, there have only been two other times in which Social Security beneficiaries did not receive a COLA or cost-of-living adjustment.  The years in which this occurred were 2010 and 2011.  Now it has been announced that this will happen once again in 2016.

    The COLA is based on the consumer price index rate of inflation.  Primarily because of lower oil prices, inflation was deemed to be too low to trigger a cost-of-living increase.  For millions of retirees who have seen their rent, property taxes, medicine or other expenses rise, this will come as a hard blow.  The majority of retirees are less impacted by changes in the price of gasoline than they are by changes in their medical and other living costs.

    Most Medicare Beneficiaries Will Continue to Pay the Same Part B Premiums

    The only good news in this situation is that Medicare premiums will not go up for most beneficiaries because of a "hold harmless" clause in the Medicare law.  The hold harmless clause is intended to protect most Medicare beneficiaries during years in which there is no increase in Social Security benefits.  This means that the majority of people will continue to pay the current rate of $104.90 a month during the coming year.

    People who will not have a Medicare premium increase must meet these requirements:

    *  They are currently paying the standard Part B premium of $104.90 and they have the premiums automatically deducted from their Social Security checks.

    *  They qualify as low-income beneficiaries and their Part B premiums are paid by the state in which they live.

    Millions of Medicare Beneficiaries Will See an Increase in Their Part B Premiums

    While most Medicare beneficiaries will fit into one of the above categories, approximately 1 in 7 will see an increase in their premiums.  This increase will be 14 percents (down from 52 percent) because Congress passed legislation that would reduce the size of the increase.

    People who will have a Medicare premium increase fall into these categories:

    *  You have an above-average income that requires you to pay more than $104.90 for your Part B premiums.  You will see an additional increase, even if you also receive Social Security benefits and your premiums are deducted from it.

    *  You are enrolled in Part B and receive Social Security, but you pay your premiums directly to Medicare, rather than having them automatically deducted.

    *  You are paying permanent penalties for Part B, because you were late to sign up for the program.

    *  You are not currently enrolled in Part B, but will sign up in 2016.  New members to the program will be paying the higher premiums.

    What is Medicare Part B and How Much Will The New Premiums Be?

    Medicare Part B is the program that pays for doctor visits and outpatient care.  These are the benefits that are covered by our Medicare premiums.

    If you fall into one of the groups that will be paying more, most people can expect to pay $120 a month, plus a $3 surcharge, for a total of $123.  In order to reduce the size of the premium increase (which originally was going to be 52 percent), the Medicare trust fund had to take out a loan from the U.S. Treasury.  The loan will be paid back over a period of five years, using the $3 surcharge. Premiums will continue to go up over the next few years, but at a slower rate.

    However, some people will pay far more than that.  Those who already pay the highest premiums because they are in the top income groups could see their premiums rise from the current level of $335.70 a month to approximately $386 a month (an additional 14 percent, plus the $3 surcharge).

    Are These Rate Increases Set in Stone?

    While the formula for determining who pays the higher rate and how much it will be is set by law, Medicare administrators do have the ability to intervene and "soften the impact" on those who will face the highest rate increases.

    Fortunately, Congress did take action this year as part of the 2015 budget compromise and chose to soften the blow.  While millions of people will still be paying higher premiums, they will not be as bad as were originally projected.

    If you are retired or facing retirement and you want more information on financial planning, where to retire, healthcare 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.




    Source:  http://www.aarp.org/health/medicare-insurance/info-2015/medicare-part-b-premiums-could-spike.html

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

    Photo credit:  morguefile.com

    Wednesday, October 7, 2015

    When Will You Have Your Heart Attack?

    Heart disease is the most common cause of death in the United States, despite gains that have been made in fighting this disease over the past few decades.    Even though the number of deaths from heart disease have been cut in half since 1960, about 30% of Americans will still die as a result of cardiovascular disease.  According to Harvard Health, at least one-half of all heart disease deaths could be prevented, if people would control the risk factors that are modifiable: smoking, obesity, diabetes, blood pressure and cholesterol.  In some cases, you may also have risk factors that are much harder or impossible to control:  your age, genes, and air pollution in your area, for example.

    Since so many of us are likely to suffer from heart disease as we age, we need to know when we are most likely to have a heart attack.  In that way, we can be more vigilant about watching for symptoms in ourselves and our loved ones.

    What are Common Heart Attack Symptoms?

    Before we learn the times when we are most likely to have a heart attack, we need to know what symptoms we should watch for.  Briefly, they are:  

    Unusual indigestion or nausea
    Chest pain
    Pain in the arm, back, shoulders or jaw
    Unexplained sweating
    Shortness of breath
    Light headedness or dizziness
    Irregular heartbeat or an intense heartbeat
    A feeling of anxiety or impending doom

    When Do Heart Attacks Happen?

    If you, your spouse or your parents are experiencing any of the events listed below, you need to be aware that there are certain times when a person is most likely to experience a heart attack.  They are not the only times when you could have a heart attack, but you need to be especially aware if any of these things are going on in your life. There are six types of situations when researchers have noticed clusters of heart events:

    The death of someone close to you - The heightened risk is strongest during the first week of grief; however, according to Swedish researchers, the elevated risk can actually last for several years!  If you are grieving the loss of someone you cared about, pay extra attention if you also seem to be experiencing any of the signs of a heart attack.

    Catching the Flu - For the next three days after developing the flu, you are four times more likely to have a heart attack.  Be sure to contact your doctor if you are feeling exceptionally ill following the flu.

    Experiencing a natural disaster - Isn't it awful enough to have to go through a natural disaster?  To make matters worse, survivors are three times as likely to have a heart attack over the following three weeks.

    An exciting sporting event - We have all seen the movies in which someone gets so excited about a special event that they have a heart attack.  This is not so far-fetched.  Heart attack risk goes up for sports fans who get particularly emotional about their favorite sporting events.

    Mondays - Yes, the first day we go back to work after being off for a few days can make us more prone to a heart attack.  Of course, we all have to go back to work sooner or later, so the best way to lesson your risk of a heart attack on Mondays is to try to start the week off as calmly as possible ... with yoga, a walk or meditation.

    Shoveling snow - This is a chore that should probably be left to people who are young, healthy and in good physical shape.  The combination of cold weather and hard labor can make people more prone to a heart attack.  Take it easy.  It isn't worth the risk.

    When Are You Most Like to Die of a Heart Attack?

    Above you learned about the times when you are most likely to have a heart attack.  However, do you know there are certain times when you are more likely to actually die of a heart attack?  What are those days and why are they more lethal than others?

    December 25, December 26 and New Year's Day are the days when you are most likely to die of a heart attack.  The cardiac event may have been triggered by drinking too much, cold weather, stress over money spent on gifts, or difficulty coping with family issues during the holidays.

    Why are people more likely to actually die when a heart attack occurs on those days?

    *  After over-eating a large holiday meal, the patient may mistake a heart attack for indigestion.

    *  Some people may not want to disrupt the holiday festivities with a trip to the hospital, especially if they think it is just indigestion.  They don't want to interrupt the fun their family members are having.

    *  By the time the patient wakes up the next day and realizes they still feel bad, it could be too late.  Patients should not wait more than 12 hours after the onset of symptoms before they seek treatment.

    For the same reasons that people die on December 25, December 26 and New Year's Day,  people can sometimes be more prone to death during Hanukkah, while enjoying birthday celebrations or other special days.

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

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

    Photo credit:  morguefile.com



    "The Most Dangerous Times for Your Heart," Reader's Digest Magazine, October 2014




    Wednesday, September 30, 2015

    Trilogy Retirement Communities in California

    In the past year, four couples my husband and I know have purchased homes in Trilogy Retirement Communities scattered throughout California.  We have visited several of our friends in their new homes and looked at photos of the others.  All of them are proud and pleased with their new homes and communities.

    All the homes are beautiful, modern, well-designed for an aging population and surprisingly affordable.  My friends paid an average of about $280,000 to $320,000 for homes that include a wide variety of amenities and upgrades.  All of them had solar panels included in their purchase price and now pay less than $10 a month for electricity.

    Trilogy at Rio Vista

    Our friends all love their Trilogy communities, but there is one community that I have personally visited.  That is because three of the couples we know purchased homes in the community of Trilogy at Rio Vista.  This Northern California community has a golf course and is also located on the Sacramento River Delta, which makes it possible for people to enjoy fishing and boating close to home.  There is a beautiful 27,000 square foot clubhouse, indoor lap pool with spa, outdoor pool, exercise facilities, indoor track, tennis courts, community restaurants, billiards room, learning center and more.

    The indoor facilities are especially appealing because the area along the Sacramento River can get quite hot in the summer and very chilly and rainy in the winter.  However, there are also many beautiful days with temperate weather when people can enjoy outdoor activities.  Sailing or fishing along the nearby river are popular activities.

    Our friends' homes are also very attractive, one-story, comfortable homes.  We have enjoyed dinner with one of the couples in their home, barbecuing on the patio and enjoying a pleasant summer evening outside.

    After listening to their enthusiastic descriptions of their new lifestyles, I decided it was time to do a little more research and share my findings about other Trilogy Communities in California.

    Discover the Trilogy Communities in California

    Trilogy at Rio Vista
    Rio Vista, California
    (near the Sacramento River between Napa and Sacramento)
    (Home prices start in the mid $200's)
    (707) 374-1100

    Trilogy at the Vineyards
    Brentwood, California
    (Contra Costa county east of the San Francisco Bay Area)
    (Home prices start in the mid $400's)
    (800) 685-6494

    Trilogy at Monarch Dunes
    Arroyo Grande, California
    (near Nipomo, along the Central California coast)
    (Home prices start in the mid $500's)
    (800) 685-6494

    Trilogy at Glen Ivy
    Corona, California
    (Home prices start in the high $300's; development fully built out)
    (951) 808-5131

    Trilogy at the Polo Club
    Indio, California
    (Home prices starting from the high $200's)
    (in the Coachella Valley east of Palm Springs)

    Trilogy Enclave at Rice Ranch
    Orcutt, California
    (Home prices start in the mid $400's)
    (Santa Barbara County)

    What People Like About Trilogy Retirement Communities

    My husband and I considered purchasing a home at the Trilogy retirement community in Glen Ivy about ten years ago.  We loved the development, but we were still in our 50's and it was too far from where my husband worked at the time.  The community has a golf course and an indoor swimming pool, surrounded by an indoor track, an outdoor pool, tennis courts, exercise facilities, walking trails and more.  With the large, attractive clubhouse and well-designed homes, nestled next to the Cleveland National Forest, we found the community and the homes very appealing.

    Since then, Trilogy has improved their home designs with new options that include solar systems that will dramatically reduce your electricity expenses.  The solar systems are rolled into your purchase price.  You can also customize your home with your choice of kitchen counters and cabinets, flooring, lighting and optional design features in the floor plans. All the new communities offer swimming pools, well designed homes, gorgeous club houses and a wide variety of amenities that are sure to appeal to the over 55 age group, including classes, gyms, tennis courts and, in some cases, golf courses.

    There are additional Trilogy retirement communities in the states of Washington, Nevada, Florida, North Carolina, Virginia and Arizona.  This gives retirees a wide variety of options on both coasts.

    If you are interested in additional ideas about where to retire in the United States or overseas, financial planning, common medical issues as we age, 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 are reading from the blog:  http://www.baby-boomer-retirement.com

    Photo credit:  Photo of golf course taken by author, Deborah-Diane; all rights reserved.

    Wednesday, September 23, 2015

    Senior Discounts You Will Love!

    Let's be honest ... there aren't a whole lot of benefits to getting older.  However, one benefit we should all take advantage of are the senior discounts.  Starting at age 50, you will start to be eligible for certain senior price breaks at a number of businesses.  More special deals kick in at age 60 and there are an even larger range of discounts available by the time you are 65.

    In addition to the ones listed below, make sure you are aware of any special discounts in your area ... free classes, reduced price meals at local restaurants, special days at museums, etc.

    It is important to know, however, that in general you must ASK in order to get your senior discount.  The businesses are happy to forget about them, unless you ask.

    Senior Discounts You Can Use


    AARP Discounts - Once you turn 50, be sure to sign up for AARP.  Your membership will only cost about $16 a year, and it will make you eligible for a whole range of discounts including hotels deals, especially at Best Western and La Quinta, as well as other travel packages.  Restaurant discounts at Landry's, McCormick & Schmick, Rainforest Cafe, Outback Steakhouse, Denny's, and other places.  Sears Department Stores offer a discount on their Road Handler tires.  You can also get reduced prices on prescription drugs that are not covered by your medical insurance.  The AARP magazine and website will provide you with more information about the deals that are available.  However, my husband and I simply ask about AARP discounts everywhere we go, especially when we are traveling, going into museums, or visiting tourist attractions.

    Restaurant Discounts - In addition to the restaurants that offer a discount through AARP, there are other restaurants that offer a price reduction on their own, including Arby's, Boston Market, Chili's, Subway and Wendy's.  However, as mentioned earlier, you have to ask for them.  Some businesses will require you to register for the discounts before you can get them.

    Special Deals on Travel - Southwest Airlines, American Airlines, and US Airways all offer discounts for people over the age of 65.  However, my husband has pointed out that it is smart to see if you are able to get an even lower fare by using discount ticket sites.  He has found that often the senior prices are not the best deals.  Dollar Rent-a-Car offers discounts to seniors, whether they are members of AARP or not. Amtrak also offers a 15% price reduction on the lowest available rail fare for people over the age of 62. Bus service discounts are also available in many cities.  Lower prices on cruises are also available.  Make sure you check out Royal Caribbean and Carnival Cruise Lines for their special offers.

    Department Store Price Breaks - Many stores offer senior discounts, but again you have to ask for them.  Sometimes the deals are only available on certain days.  For example, Kohl's has lower prices on Wednesdays for customers who are 55 and over.  Ross has the same deal on Tuesday's.  Belk offers 15% off on the first Tuesday of each month.  Banana Republic offers 10% off all the time for customers over the age of 50.

    Lower Prices at Drug Store  - Rite Aid offers 20% off your entire purchase on the first Wednesday of every month, if you are over the age of 65.  I keep a list of items I buy regularly, such as vitamins and shampoo, and pick those items up on that day each month.  You have to register your Rite Aid card in order to get the price break, and then it is automatically entered when you check out on that day of the month.  In addition, I qualify for Plenti points for purchases that I make at Rite Aid and Macy's, as well as for my AT&T phone bill.  These points add up quickly and can easily be converted to cash that I can spend in those stores.  Every little bit counts!

    Movie Theater Discounts - Most movie chains offer a special price for seniors.  Our local theater not only has a normal senior discount that is available all the time, but on Wednesdays and Thursdays the price is even lower. 

    More Price Reductions for Seniors - The senior discounts that are available are constantly changing.  For a current list, be sure to check out The Senior List website for a current list.  Look for the tab at the top of the page.  You might be surprised what you will find.

    You will also get more helpful ideas from this this list of Senior Discounts for People Over 50 that was listed on the Mogul website.

    Looking for more helpful retirement information?  Use the tabs or pull down list at the top of this article to find links to hundreds of additional helpful articles on where to retire, financial planning, medical issues, and changing family values.

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

    Photo credit:  www.morguefile.com