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Showing posts from April, 2017

A Different Way To Think About Politics?

Would you like to start a fight, or at least a heated discussion? Would you like to anger half the people in a crowd while mollifying the other 50%? Then talk about politics. Along with religion, there is no way to trigger emotion and passion faster than this subject. 

Applying the usual definition, politics are "the activities associated with the governance of a country or other area, especially the debate or conflict among individuals or parties having or hoping to achieve power." Today, in our society, politics is about the conflict,  staking out turf and defending it to the verbal death, or something even more literally. It is usually loaded with sarcasm, fixed belief systems, and distortion of the opposition's position.

Can I suggest a different way to think about politics? Can I offer an alternative that allows us to engage instead of enrage? Can I propose a way forward that may have more positive results?

Yes? Then, please think of the subject of politics at its most…

Delayed Retirement Maintenance Has a Cost

For the majority of us the last effects of the 2008-09 recession are in our rear view mirror.  Unemployment rates are low and inflation seems to be under control. Interest rates on investments remain miserable, but decent returns are available with a little bit of risk.

Housing prices have rebounded in most part of the country. That allowed Betty and me to move just about two years ago to be closer to our grandkids. We have been in the new house just long enough that my thoughts to turn to what maintenance should be considered, now and in the future. Owning a house means owning the problems that come with that property. 

Unfortunately, over the years I have become the master of delayed maintenance. If something isn't dangerous, leaking, or unusable, I find it much too easy to wait.  We know that something will require fixing but decide it can wait a while longer.

That toilet is more difficult to flush, but it still works. The front door is showing wear and the wood is starting to cra…

Moving To Be Near Family After Retirement: A Good Idea?

I am among retirement writers who suggest that moving right after retirement is a step that should be taken with caution. Leaving friends and familiarity is never easy. The adjustment after leaving work generates enough stress. Adding a move and all that implies just puts more pressure on you. Moving after retirement is an important decision; it takes time and planning. 

Over the six plus years of this blog I have shared several stories of newly retired folks who have left both a job and a long time home in short order, and regretted that move more often than not. Usually, the difficulty in establishing new friendships and missing ties at home lead the list. In short, home sickness can strike at any age. Others found the weather not as ideal as it seemed after watching the Weather Channel. Housing prices may be so different that affording a place to call home is too difficult.

That being said, for some of us a move soon after retirement is the right step to take. If your job kept you in…

5 lessons I've Learned About Relationships

After 40 years of marriage I have learned a few things along the way that have proven helpful. Actually, there are a lot more than five lessons, but I know your time is limited, so I will stick with a few of the biggies. You are welcome to try them out. If you don't, you can't say I didn't warn you!

1. You can't change another person, only how you react and relate to that person. One of the myths of marriage that engaged and newlywed folks fall for every time is that you can change the person you are planning on spending the rest of your life with. He or she may have some habits that annoy you, or character traits that aren't all that warm and fuzzy. Given enough time and energy, you can remake that person into the model spouse you want. 

Reality check: that is not going to happen. Assuming you are a functioning adult, there are traits and habits that you have brought with you into a new relationship. Sure, you can learn to put the toilet seat down, or not chew with …

Saying Goodbye to the RV Lifestyle

*19,000 miles driven
 *32 states visited
 *107 different RV parks
The last four and half years have been busy ones. After buying a used 30 foot RV in September, 2012 from the rental company, Cruise America, Betty, Bailey, and I have done everything we hoped to in our motorhome. We have seen the country in a way that only comes from driving miles and miles of Interstate and back roads. 

We have battled high winds that wanted to shove us in a ditch. We have suffered through the failure of an air conditioner in late summer, in Texas. We have had a side mirror fall off in Alabama that had to be ducted taped to the window so we could drive home. We have learned how to tow a car behind a 6 ton RV and not have an accident. 

We have learned to pack for two months away from home. We have learned to live together in 200 square feet and stay happily married.  We have learned how to feed ourselves with a minimal amount of mess to clean up afterwards. We have collected memories and experiences that wil…

I Couldn't Blog Without

Closing in on 2.5 million views, Satisfying Retirement appears to have filled a need in the crowded retirement preparation field. June will mark our 7th anniversary, probably 5 or 6 years longer than I expected when I first started.

Writing 650 words every 3 or 4 days is actually not as difficult as I thought it might be. Just keeping my eyes open, writing about life as I live it, and having the best blog readers in the world to keep me honest and on target means I rarely struggle to find something to write about.

That said, there are five things I couldn't blog without. I haven't put them in order of importance, just trust me that each one keeps me here.

A good spellchecker. If I am not the worst speller you have ever met, I am certainly on the team. My hidden secret? Every sentence contains at least one mistake. Typing is a two finger hunt and peck, though after all this time I am pretty quick. But accuracy is not my strong suit. Most readers would have given up long ago if it …

Eliminate These 3 Retirement Stumbling Blocks

A successful satisfying retirement can be upended by any number of problems, some of which you determine and some of which you don't. Your lifestyle and genes will play a large part in your health. Financial planning will be a crucial factor in how comfortable your life is after retirement. Your relationships can help make daily life happy or miserable. 

There are three additional stumbling blocks to success that are completely under your control. None of them has to upend your journey. But, any one of them can, if you don't pay attention to their potential for problems.

The number one stumbling block is lack of self confidence
In previous posts I have stressed the importance of attitude in how satisfying your retirement will be. To steal an overused political phrase, I am doubling down on that belief by making this the most important stumbling block. You have made it this far in life by making more good decisions than bad, correcting mistakes, and maturing in your decision makin…

A Patagonia Escape

A little over a week ago Betty and I loaded up the RV and our dog, Bailey, and headed to the southern Arizona area around Patagonia. About 3 hours from our home, it is the perfect spot for a 4 day getaway. Patagonia Lake State Park is about 10 minutes south of the small (920 residents) town, and 20 minutes north of the border with Mexico. 

Yes, there is already a wall there. It runs right through the middle of Nogales, dividing the town into American and Mexican communities. Border patrol check points are common on the major roads in and out of the area. Seeing a white and green Border Patrol truck perched on a ridge line is par for the course.

The American side is lined with massive warehouses, trucks coming and going at all hours with produce and products bound for one side of the border or the other. I imagine a tightening of the border or a change in NAFTA would hit this part of the state pretty hard.

But, all that politics aside, we came to relax, give Bailey the chance to explore a…