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Showing posts from December, 2016

End of Year Break

Ready or not, the new year is coming. To give myself time to recharge, I will be taking the week off between Christmas and Near Year's. Look for a fresh post on January 2nd.


Post-Truth - I Feel Like Alice in Wonderland

Nothing is as it seems. What I know to be real, believe to be true built on my reliance on facts is apparently passe. It's official: Truth is dead. 

The latest edition of the Oxford Dictionary has made it official. Post-truth now has an explanation: "objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief." 

Of course, that definition is post-truth, so it may or may not be true. The Oxford Dictionary may be a propaganda tool written by the liberal media, the alt-right, conservative pundits, or some unknown Russian hacker. 
And, therein lies the problem that has me scratching my head. If "truth" or "reality" are no longer what they have always been, how does one separate the wheat from the chaff? How does one construct a rational response to events when rationality is under attack?
Is Mars really populated by little green men (and women)? If enough people on the Internet claim it to be so, then does that m…

To Everything There Is a Season

2016 has been a year when we decimated parts of our budget. As someone who has lived with a strict budget since my first years in college (was that really 49 years ago?), I am a firm believer in knowing what I spend and staying within the lines. 

Last year was when my share of my parents' estate started to find its way to into my accounts. By early this year I was feeling quite flush. With even more money to come over the next 4 years before the estate is closed down for good, additional cash flow was on the horizon.

Betty and I have always lived well beneath our means. One of the reasons we were able to retire 15 years ago was the habit of carrying no debt beyond a mortgage, and saving 20-25% of our income each year. We have played it close to the vest; there have been plenty of splurges for vacations with the kids, but we never ignored the income/outgo realities. Well, this year not so much.

Call it pent up demand, a realization that if not now, then when, or just never having the …

5 Reasons a Vacation Can Disappoint

All of us have probably experienced at least one vacation that didn't live up to expectations. The planning, the anticipation, along with the money and time invested produced a flop. No matter how we sugar-coated the experience, that vacation was disappointing.

Of course, some of the reasons can be purely bad luck: getting sick or being injured can happen. Something goes wrong at home or with family and the vacation must be ended quickly. But, in thinking about vacations my family and I have taken over the years, there are five factors that seem to conspire to lay waste to the best-laid plans. Being reminded of their potential to mess things up may help you avoid a vacation washout. 


Over or Under ScheduledI am a planner. When my family and I take a vacation, the days are often plotted as carefully as a military campaign. If we are going to spend the money and take the time, by golly, we will not waste a minute, we will enjoy everything and at double speed. Luckily, my wife and one …

The Achievements You Are Most Proud Of

We have all experienced disappointments, loss, and troubles both big and small. If you live long enough there will be things you have done you'd probably like to undo. Life is a never-ending challenge that requires us to have hope in ourselves and the future.

All too often, though, we can forget our achievements, those things we have done over our lifetime that make us happy, maybe even a little proud. As we enter the last few weeks of 2016 (Yea!) I thought it might be encouraging to focus on some of the achievements that we are most proud of. I will list a few of mine to get you started. Notice that some of the things on my list seem rather small. But, that is the important thing about achievements: size doesn't matter.

1. I quit smoking (That was a tough one)

2. Raised two well-adjusted, happy daughters who want me in their lives

3. Have been happily married to the same woman for over 40 years 

4. Am loved by my grand kids

5. Rebounded from being fired to forming a successful busi…

Comments and Restrictions

Over the past several weeks the number of comments left on the blog have dropped. I have been notified by one reader that she has encountered problems adding a comment, usually in the form of a a multi-step captcha process.

I have made no change to the comment verification requirement to the blog. For older posts I do review the comment before it is added. But, for newer posts, I find it easier to simply delete the occasional ones that don't fit. Also, Google seems to do a decent job of detecting obviously inappropriate attempts.

So, I have a two part question to my regular readers:

1) Have you had problems adding comments over the last few weeks? If so, please email me at satisfyingretirement@gmail.com to let me know.

2) If you have been commenting less, is it because the posts aren't the type that prompt you to leave your thoughts, or is your schedule just too busy at this time of year to be quite as active?

Your feedback will help me alert Google if there is a problem on their e…

An Outsider Looks At Social Media

Well, not a true outsider. I do have a Satisfying Retirement and personal Facebook page and a Twitter account. Primarily, I use them to promote this blog. I will comment on someone else's postings if I feel particularly engaged by something, but not very often. I don't use LinkedIn or Pinterest. I have heard of Snapchat but know nothing about it. Instagram is not part of my life. Even Google Plus isn't on my radar. So, compared to a lot of folks I am a low level social media participant. 

Interestingly, the demographic with the largest growth in Internet use over the past half dozen years are those in the 65+ age group. Daily Internet use jumped 71%, with an accompanying 34% increase in the use of social media. 

Staying in touch with family, relatives, or reconnecting with friends are key motivators. Social media can help reduce feelings of isolation or being out of step in a world that is increasingly technological in orientation. Recently, I was contacted about my 50th Hig…

A Letter To My 40 Year Old Self

If given the chance I am not sure I would want to go back almost 30 years to give pointers to my 40 year old self. The rule of unintended consequences would might make such time travel a disaster. But, for purposes of this post, let's pretend it would be a good thing.

Dear Bob,Experience is unteachable. It can only be gained by living and learning. If you will allow me to tell you what is to come in the next few decades of your life, I may be able to spare you a lot of wasted time, effort, and heartache. I am not going to detail what happens with your career. If I do you might be tempted to change something and therefore miss both the highs and lows you will experience. So, just trust me, you do well and you will overcome some sizable bumps in the road. And, since you are reading this letter you know you won't die young.I won't tell you what is ahead in America or the world. Nor, will I make you a rich man by alerting you to inventions before they are reality, or tell you i…