Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Financial Considerations for Unretirement - Working After Retirement


Millions of retirees have decided to return to work within just a few years after retiring.  There are many reasons for this, including the high cost of living, inflation, and sometimes simple boredom.  They may return to the job they did before, or try something new.  They may go to work for someone else, or try their hand at self-employment.  Whatever they decide to do, there are some important financial considerations you need to think about anytime you increase your income during retirement.

According to a 2022 report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, roughly 500,000 people over the age of 55 have re-entered the workforce in  the previous six months.  This represents a significant increase over similar periods of time in the past. A 2018 survey by the Rand Corporation revealed that about 40 percent of American workers over the age of 65, who were still employed, had previously retired at least once in the past!  Returning to work after retirement is a trend which has been increasing for some time.

The decision to return to work late in life can have an impact on your Social Security benefits, pension and tax-deferred retirement accounts and, possibly, your Medicare coverage.  What do you need to consider?

Benefits of Returning to Work after Retirement

There are, of course, a number of benefits to returning to work in your 60s and 70s.  The most obvious one is the increase in income, which can also help you stretch your retirement savings and make them last years longer.  In acknowledgement of this benefit, Congress passed the SECURE Act in 2019 which allowed seniors to push back the age when they must begin taking mandatory withdrawals from their tax deferred 401(k) and IRA plans.  Prior to the SECURE Act, retirees had to begin the required withdrawals at age 70 1/2.  Now they do not have to make the withdrawals until age 72.  This allows their savings to grow a little longer.

Working after retirement also has mental and emotional benefits.  Seniors who work later in life report that they feel a sense of purpose and are more socially connected.  There is also some evidence that working may also help improve their cognitive health.

If you are wondering what types of jobs work best for retirement, you may want to read "What Jobs To Do After Retirement."  (Ad) It is full of great suggestions to help you find the best retirement job for you. 

Cost of Starting Your Own Business 

As I discuss later in this post, you may also want to start your own business. Depending on your background, you might do some tutoring, become a bookkeeper for a local business, write a book, or get paid to coach a local children's soccer team. 

If you are creative, you might also want to sell your products online, including opening your own shop on a site like Etsy.  It will take some effort and computer skills but, if you are patient and willing to put in the time and initial investment in your products, it could be worthwhile for some retirees.  You will have some expenses if you decide to start a business, and you will have to be good at keeping tract of all your expenses, because many of them will be tax deductible. However, if you have some money to get started, and you are good at keeping records, this could be a good option for you. 

If you want to see an example of an Etsy store and get more ideas of what you could sell, check out my Etsy store at:

There are many ways you can earn money after retirement, either through paid employment, or by starting your own business. If you do, though, how could it affect you financially?

A Retirement Job Can Affect your Social Security Benefits

Depending on the age when you return to work, and the amount you earn, your post-retirement job could either increase or decrease the amount you receive in Social Security benefits.  

If your job enables you to postpone collecting your Social Security benefits for a few years, your benefits will be higher when you do begin to collect them.

On the other hand, if you are already receiving benefits when you go back to work and you are younger than your full retirement age of about 67, your benefits will be reduced by $1 for every $2 you earn over 18,960. The year you reach your full retirement age, the government will deduct $1 in benefits for every $3 you earn over $50,520.  These limits are increased regularly, so the actual limit you have could be a little higher.  

Fortunately, once you reach your full retirement age, your earnings will not reduce your benefits, and you can earn as much as you want.  This issue only affects people who begin to collect Social Security in the years before they are eligible for full Social Security.  If you plan to keep working after retirement, this is a good reason NOT to collect your Social Security too soon.

Working Can Affect your Medicare Benefits

If your new job provides health coverage which is approved as your primary healthcare coverage, you can drop your Medicare plan and re-enroll at a future date without a penalty.  However, if you drop your Medicare plan and do not have acceptable employer coverage, you will have a financial penalty when you re-enroll in Medicare, and that penalty will last the rest of your life.  Make sure your new company plan is approved as an alternative to Medicare. Talk to the HR office at your firm, or discuss your situation with a Medicare broker.

In addition, if you drop your current Medigap supplemental insurance plan and later develop a preexisting condition, you may find it difficult to find an affordable Medigap plan later in life.  As a result, some people keep their Medicare plan, even when they are covered under an employer plan.  As I mentioned, it is advisable to speak with a licensed Medicare broker before you make any changes, so you protect yourself now and in the future.

A Retirement Job Can Affect your Pensions and 401(k) Plans

If you are collecting a pension from a former employer and go to work for a different employer, you can usually continue to collect your pension. However, if you receive a pension from a former employer and go back to work for the same employer, there could be some restrictions on working and receiving a pension at the same time.  You could have a waiting period, or might only be allowed to return to your former job part-time, if you want to continue to collect a pension while working. The employer may also suspend your pension temporarily while you work for them. You need to check these concerns out before making a decision to return to your old job. 

Despite these issues, the benefit of returning to work with a former employer is that you may be able to continue to add more contributions to your IRA or 401(k) plan, which will eventually increase what you receive in payments when you finally stop working for good.  

Ultimately, the decision to return to work is up to you.  There are definite benefits to working later in life, both mentally and socially, although you do have to be careful to avoid the pitfalls.  Discuss them with your financial advisors and make sure you take all the necessary precautions before making a final decision about returning to work.  

You may also want to get some ideas from the book "Working After Retirement: 69 Post-retirement Jobs That Can Change Your Life."  (Ad) You may discover some jobs you never even considered before, which could enable you to improve your retirement both financially and socially. 

Examples of Ways to Start Your Own Business

As many of you know, if you follow this Baby-Boomer-Retirement, I have written this blog as a "side-gig" since before I retired nine years ago, and I continue to earn a small income from the advertisements you see here.

However, I have also added a newer business which nearly anyone could do to enhance their income.  I have started an Etsy store, called DeborahDianGifts, with products I personally design, but have professionally manufactured and drop shipped to people who make a purchase. 

If you like to make or design things, whether it is jewelry or wooden cutting boards, you could also list you own creations for sale on Etsy.  

If making or designing products is not for you, some people prefer to resell items from their homes or local thrift stores on Ebay or Shopify. Others provide various services on Fiver, by offering to do things like create a webpage or design logos for you.  Having your own business comes with some responsibilities, but it also has the advantage of allowing you to work your own hours, while still supplementing your retirement income.

Details on this lovely Dolphin Tote Bag

This is an example of just one of well over 100 items I sell on my Etsy store. It is a tote bag I designed using an underwater photo of a mother dolphin with her baby.  There are many ways that people are earning money online but, as mentioned above, you have to run it like a business and keep track of your expenses and tax deductions.

You may discover that opening your own little shop is something you can do, too.  Whatever you decide to do, I wish you luck in finding a retirement job or starting your own business. Just make sure you check out the financial impact as you embark on this new adventure. 

You can find more examples of tote bags, t-shirts, jewelry, framed photos, coffee mugs, gifts for retirees, LGBTQ clothing, and other products on my Etsy Store, DeborahDianGifts. 

Check it out at:

Enjoyed this post? Never miss out on future posts by following us.  You will receive a weekly email with the most current post. 

If you are interested in learning more about saving money, financial planning, Social Security, Medicare, where to retire, common medical issues as you age, travel and more, use the tabs or pull down menu at the top of the page to find links to hundreds of additional helpful articles.

Disclosure: This blog may contain affiliate links. If you decide to make a purchase from an Amazon ad, I'll make a small commission at no extra cost to you.

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Photo credits: Pixabay and Amazon book covers and DeborahDianGifts on Etsy

Sunday, July 17, 2022

Slow Cognitive Decline with Lifestyle Changes from the Researchers at UCI

What activities could help postpone dementia?

 One of the advantages of living near the University of California in Irvine is the amount of research they do on healthy aging, and their generosity in sharing it with people who live in the area.  In June, 2022, Brian Hitt, MD, PhD from the UCI Department of Neurology shared some of what his department has discovered about the lifestyle factors which may protect your brain from excessive cognitive aging.  It was a fascinating discussion, and I took photos of his slides so I could share what he had to say.

They Have NOT Found a Successful Dementia Treatment

First, is the disappointing news that despite the research that has gone into a number of different medications, UCI researchers have NOT found any over-the-counter or prescription medication that successfully reverses, stops or even slows down dementia, despite all the products we see advertised on television.  UCI researchers have not found any that actually treat dementia, as of July, 2022.  Hopefully this will change in the future, but this is their stance at the current time.

They HAVE Found Risk Factors Which Increase Your Chances of Getting Dementia

If you don't take care of your heart, your risk of dementia is higher.  As a result, the activities you want to avoid include:

Cigarette smoking

Untreated high blood pressure

Untreated blood lipids (cholesterol)

Untreated diabetes

Genetics can also play a role, including the ApoE gene, as well as hundreds of other minor genes.  While not all causes of dementia can be completely controlled, UCI has found that lifestyle factors play a significant role in whether or not some of the troublesome genes are activated.  In other words, even if your genes are working against you, it is still possible to avoid or reduce your risk of dementia if you take care of yourself!

Lifestyle Factors Which are Protective

The higher your educational level and/or the higher your occupational attainment, the less likely you are to develop early dementia ... although it can still happen, just less frequently.

In addition, here are four other lifestyle factors which seem to help people delay cognitive decline:

Physical Activity such as walking, running, cycling, swimming, resistance training, yoga, Pilates, Tai Chi and similar activities.  Surprisingly, they found that no particular physical activity seemed better than others. It was simply important that the person enjoyed them and was willing to do them regularly

Cognitive Activity included interacting regularly with friends and family, belonging to groups, and having a robust social support network.  Social isolation is a strong and consistent predictor of faster cognitive decline.  They found that the Covid pandemic was a particularly difficult time for many of their research subjects, because they isolated more and socialized less. 

 In addition, it MIGHT help you if you do brain training games.  However, these games do not seem to generalize to improvements in overall cognitive function.  People only tend to get better at doing the particular type of puzzle or game they have been working with.  In fact, the website Lumosity has been sued for false advertising because of the ads they promoted which suggested that their brain games could prevent dementia.  

Activities which DID seem to have a more generalized effect in slowing cognitive decline were reading, hobbies, learning a new language and learning music, the items in the slide at the top of this article.  The key to benefiting from these cognitive activities is, like exercise, that you need to enjoy what you are doing and be willing to try to learn new things.  Choosing activities you enjoy makes you more likely to engage in them consistently, and more likely to be willing to share them with other people, which can also benefit you.  Trying something new challenges your brain and helps it make new connections.

Good sleep quality
 helps people in two ways.  It had the short-term benefit of promoting a better mood, and more effective attention and concentration.  The long-term effects of good quality sleep were even more significant.  They included a reduction in" neurotoxicity and neuroinflammation, and slower neurodegeneration."  In other words, a good night's sleep gets rid of toxins and inflammation in the brain and causes it to degenerate more slowly.  Who wouldn't want to be in a better mood, while also getting rid of the toxins and inflammation in their brains?  Try to get around 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night.

If you have sleep problems such as sleep apnea, snoring, gasping, or insomnia, you should talk to your doctor, get a sleep study done, and get your issues treated.  You should also adopt habits which will improve your sleep quality such as having a regular bedtime, avoiding evening caffeine, avoiding computer and phone screens before bed, and relaxing in the evening.

Although most sleep medications are not generally recommended by the UCI team, taking 2 to 5 mg of Melatonin seemed effective in helping people sleep and did not appear to have the side effects associated with other drugs.

Reducing your stress and anxiety is also essential.  In the short term, these negative emotions can cause you to have poor attention, as well as problems with memory and concentration.  In the long term, they can damage your general brain health and speed cognitive decline.  You may want to try talk therapy or take anxiety medications, as prescribed by your physician.  You could also benefit from lifestyle interventions such as meditation, mindfulness, breathing exercises and guided relaxation, including those which use phone aps.

Diet can have a significant effect on the brain.  The researchers found that people got the most benefit when they followed the Mediterranean Diet, the MIND Diet or the DASH Diet.  They are all similar and effective at slowing cognitive decline.  If you are not familiar with the MIND diet, you will find it helpful to check out this link to the book:  "The MIND Diet: A Scientific Approach to Enhancing Brain Function and Helping Prevent Alzheimer's and Dementia."  (Ad) It is an interesting book and could add years to the functional usefulness of your brain.  What is the point in living longer if we lose our brain function along the way?

No supplements, including widely advertised ones like Prevagen, were found to have cognitive benefits.  However, Dr. Hitt suggested that it was OK to take supplements which would not harm you, were inexpensive, and which make you feel better.  These included Vitamin D3, B12, Omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil, and Turmeric.  However, he said that the commercially prepared special brain formulations did not have any particular benefit in preventing or postponing dementia in the testing they did on the products.

While enjoying physical activities during retirement, don't forget the benefits of gardening.  You can grow your own food, get exercise, get a natural source of Vitamin D, and benefit in other ways.  

If you know someone who gardens, you can get them this lovely t-shirt or the matching coffee mug at my Etsy store.  They are both made with photos of hydrangeas from a neighbor's garden! Opening an etsy shop is one way I have tried to stretch my brain, because it has required me to learn how to do many new things online. 

You can find gifts for retirees and others at my Etsy Store, DeborahDianGifts.  Many of the gifts are made with photos I have taken and had turned into a variety of products.  Check my shop out here:

Enjoyed this post? Never miss out on future posts by following us.  You will receive a weekly email with the most current post. 

If you are interested in learning more about saving money, financial planning, Social Security, Medicare, where to retire, common medical issues as you age, travel and more, use the tabs or pull down menu at the top of the page to find links to hundreds of additional helpful articles.

Disclosure: This blog may contain affiliate links. If you decide to make a purchase from an Amazon ad, I'll make a small commission at no extra cost to you.

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Photo credits: UCI slides by Dr. Brian Hitt, and Amazon book cover

Thursday, July 7, 2022

Fake Government Scams - Do Not Fall for Fraud

Most of us are afraid to simply hang up on someone who says they are a government official, especially if they insist they are contacting us on behalf of some state or federal agency.  Sadly, scammers are now taking advantage of this fear by impersonating IRS agents, Medicare officials, Social Security officers, FBI agents and other government officials.  They may also call and say they are with your local police or Sheriff's department, the fire department or any other government agency you can think of ... and some you may never of heard of!  

These people have no limitations on what they will threaten, if they believe they will be able to get you to either give them personal information (like your Social Security or Medicare number) or get you to pay them for some "fine" which they insist you owe.  Far too many people fall for these scams. 

What are the scams which are currently making the rounds?

Medicare Scams - An official sounding scammer may call you and say they are sending you a new Medicare card, but they need to confirm your Medicare number before sending it out.  Never give out your Medicare number to anyone other than your medical provider, during your first in-person visit to their office.  No one should ever ask you for that number over the phone.  No one from Medicare will ever call to ask you that information.

Grant Fraud - If you are a small business owner or the victim of a natural disaster, you may be eligible to file for a grant to get financial assistance.  However, you will never be asked to send in money as part of any government application process.  If you are eligible to apply for a federal grant, your should make sure you are absolutely certain that you are applying through the website of the actual applicable government agency.  Double-check the URL on the site.  In most cases, it will end with .gov.  If you have any questions, try to call the agency and make sure you are not putting your personal information on a fraudulent site.  

Social Security Scams - There are many ways that scammers try to get people to reveal their Social Security numbers.  However, a fairly recent scam is one where someone calls and tells you that your Social Security number and bank account number have been compromised and you should transfer your money, sometimes in the form of Bitcoin, into a new secure account the official has supposedly set up for you.  Do not do it!  Never transfer your money to a new account because someone has called you.  If someone contacts you and you are uncertain what to do, go in person to your local branch of Social Security or your bank and talk to an employee there.  Never give out information over the phone, even if you feel pressured. Bank and Social Security employees have been trained to help people avoid these types of scams, but they can only help if you tell them what is going on.

Student Loan Tricksters - Some people have been called and told that an agent was processing their student loan forgiveness application.  The agent says he just needs to get their Social Security numbers and bank information to complete the process. Once again, never reveal this information over the phone to anyone.  The real student loan processing companies have web sites where you enter any necessary information.  Again, make sure you are on the legitimate website of your loan processor. If the URL does not look right, call them and make sure you are using the correct one.  Also, compare the URL of the website to the information printed on your original loan documents.  

FBI Scam - Do not believe it if a supposed "FBI agent" calls to tell you that you need to send money to the government, whether it is to cover the fees for winning a sweepstakes, or for any other reason.  The FBI does not make "surprise" calls and ask for money.  In fact, neither does the IRS or other government agencies.  Any time a government agency needs to contact you, they will do so first by U.S. mail.

What You Should Know About the Government Contacting You 

The government will not call and ask for personal information.  They already know it.

Important documents from the U.S. government are sent by U.S. Mail

The government will also not contact you through social media, text messages or email.

The government does not randomly offer to send you grant money.  You have to apply through the appropriate agency for a specific reason.

The government will not ask you to send them money up-front before they will pay you a benefit, a grant, or give you a refund.  

The government does not call and threaten to suspend benefits or bully you into revealing personal information.  As stated before, if there is ever a question about something, they will contact you by U.S. Mail and you can follow up with the appropriate agency. 

The government will NEVER ask you to send them money using prepaid gift cards, wire transfers, or cryptocurrency, such as Bitcoin. 

If you keep the above warnings in mind, you should be able to avoid most of the scams that are going around.  Hang up immediately on anyone who calls and pretends to be from the government, unless you have a reason to expect the phone call ... for example, when you have already contacted a government agency by mail or phone and they are returning your call.  Even when this happens, government representatives will not demand payments over the phone, put pressure on you to make an immediate payment, ask you to reveal personal information, or ask you to make payments using gift cards or Bitcoin. 

You can find gifts at my Etsy Store, DeborahDianGifts:

Enjoyed this post? Never miss out on future posts by following us.  You will receive one weekly email containing the most current post. 

If you are interested in learning more about financial planning, Social Security, Medicare, where to retire, common medical issues as you age, travel and more, use the tabs or pull down menu at the top of the page to find links to hundreds of additional helpful articles.

Disclosure: This blog may contain affiliate links. If you decide to make a purchase from an Amazon ad, I'll make a small commission at no extra cost to you.

You are reading from the blog:

Photo credits:  Morguefile