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Showing posts from October, 2017

Saving for Retirement: Why Is It A Struggle?

This isn't going to be a post where I pull out all sorts of scary statistics about our lack of savings and the problems ahead as millions of Boomers join the already-retired. I'm not going to give you a detailed plan for having a financially comfortable, satisfying retirement. There are thousands of web sites, blogs, and books that can help you with financial planning if that is what you decide you need. 

What I would like to do is offer some reasons why we simply can't seem to do what we know we must do: save enough for our post-working life. If we recognize what the obstacles are there is a chance that these problems can be minimized.

I ran across an article by Jennifer Derrick from several years ago on her web site, SavingsAdvice.com. She offered an interesting explanation of what may be part of the problem:


"It’s only been in the last two hundred years or so that technology and medical care have evolved to the point where we now have the luxury to think about the fut…

When Retirement Becomes Less Than You Dreamed

Most of my posts stress the positive nature of retirement. After all, this blog is Satisfying Retirement, not Unhappy Retirement. I am a firm believer in our ability to work toward making a bad situation better. Attitude and a willingness to change can often work wonders.

Even so, there are times when your retirement doesn't live up to your dreams or expectations. Despite your best efforts, fate has dealt you a difficult hand. Try as you might, things seem to have gone off track.

It may be a health problem that doctors can't seem to solve. Whatever you have tried doesn't seem to have worked well. Maybe your relationships have taken a turn for the worse. Sometimes being close to someone 24/7 reveals cracks in the foundation that weren't noticeable  before. 

Your dreams of travel have bumped up against the reality of your resources. A trip to the South Pacific has to be replaced by a three day trip south of your hometown. The idea of seeing the country through the windshiel…

Helping Your Aging Parents: What To Expect

One of the toughest things many of us face is dealing with our parents as they age. Watching someone you love decline is not pleasant. I will tell you my parents' story because it is probably rather typical, and the one I know best.

As my mom and dad started struggling with older age issues I had to learn as I went along. Since I lived within 35 minutes of their home, I became the primary caregiver. My brothers lived quite far away. They did what they could with occasional visits, but the bulk of the responsibility fell on my wife and me. We were just fine with that role and enjoyed a strong loving relationship with mom and dad.

In 2006, my parents had the foresight to move into a retirement community. Dad was 82 and mom was 79. At that point, both were in good physical and mental shape, certainly well enough to be allowed into the community. It offered independent and assisted living options as well as a nursing care center. They wanted to avoid the situation where one or both beca…

Two Quick Getaways Make Memories

Since we sold our RV last spring, we have been staying rather close to home, enduring another blistering Phoenix summer.  There was a 4 day trip to Disneyland with the family in August. Otherwise, it has been a time of swimming  pools and family dinners with movies and games.

As the temperatures began to cool off in northern Arizona, we took two trips within the last few weeks, just for a change of pace. In six days we managed to enjoy the beautiful red rocks of Sedona, the former ghost town, now artist community of Jerome, and the cool green of Flagstaff. 

Actually, the Flagstaff trip was quite a family gathering. There was a fun run/walk to help raise money and awareness of Parkinson's disease. My son-in-law's father suffers from this progressive affliction, so the cause is very personal.

We decided that twelve of us would go north, spend some time together, and then participate in the 5k run or 2k walk. With the help of a walking stick, even Papa was able to complete the 2k wa…

Retirement: Feeling Fulfilled Is a Personal Path

A month ago I had a post about working after retirement.  Then, there was one about volunteering. There have been posts about financial investing after retirement, moving, developing your passions....kind of a laundry list of topics that retirees have said are important.

But, still stuck in my mind was a comment from earlier in the summer from a reader that took me to task for what may have been a bit of a contrarian view. He wrote that being busy, traveling, volunteering, or engaging with others isn't really the only way to took at retirement. His point was that not everyone wants to do those things to feel fulfilled. Not every satisfying retirement journey involves all sorts of activities. 

His comment wasn't health-related. It was not that he can't do these things, it's that he chooses not to. His view is that he worked hard all his life to get to a point where he could stop, disengage, unconnect. Being alone with his thoughts, reading when he wanted to, sitting on a …

A Wife's Perspective: Betty's View of Retirement

Over the past few months I have received several requests to share some of my wife's thoughts about retirement. This post was written about almost 5 years ago but not much that is important has changed,except we have been retired for that much longer. I have left it the way she answered the questions in January 2013. I will plan on a full update sometime in the coming months.



Over the past 30 months of writing for Satisfying Retirement  there have been lots of posts that have included information about my wife, Betty, and our journey together. Probably two or three dozen e-mails over that time have asked to hear more from her and what she thinks about the retirement from her perspective.

So, I took the bait and posed some questions for her to answer. Wow! Her insight and responses were so interesting and important that I am turning this into a two part post. This time, you can read her answers to the first four questions. Next week I'll have part two with her answers to the last…

Knowing Your Family History: Is It Important To You?

I will admit that I am not terribly interested in my family's history. I come from a small family, not a lot of nieces and nephews, aunts, or uncles. I'm not excited about tracing my family tree back through many generations. Even when we lived in Salt Lake City, home of the nation's largest genealogical research library, I wasn't moved. 

My wife is more involved than I. Her family is large, with lots of branches on her family tree. A few notebooks are crammed with the kinds of details that serious seekers of family history love. At one point, I remember a distant relative did visit us to share letters, birth certificates, and other official-looking pieces of paper with Betty. She joined one of the on-line sites to help her with her explorations. While the interest is still there, her family searches have been relegated to a back burner for now.

In doing a little research for this post, I ran across Genealogy In Time Magazine. One of its articles presented answers as to …

Retirement & Volunteering Our Time

When this post was first written almost six years ago, it generated a lot of comments and follow up emails. The subject of volunteering is an important one for many retirees.  I thought it was worth a revisit, with some fresh thoughts from me. 

As the triple digit temperatures slowly leave Phoenix, my thoughts turn to more outside activities and involvement. Long time readers know I was involved with prison ministry for several years. It was challenging and satisfying work. I have worked as a tour guide at Frank Lloyd Wight's Arizona home, Taliesin West. For the last two years I have spent time on a United Way Steering Committee attempting to find new ways to help retirees find a good match volunteer opportunities.

Starting in two weeks I will begin teaching a Junior Achievement class to a group of 5th graders. I must have some of my mom's genes since teaching seems to agree with me.


I Need You

I know many of you are active volunteers in all sorts of ways. So, I would deeply appre…

Our Preconceptions: Any Worth A Revisit?

A few weeks ago I asked you to think about some of your preconceptions in a few areas to decide if any needed to be changed or adjusted. One of the best features of retirement is the ability to reshape how you approach your life. We have the time and freedom to do so. I promised to give each area from the original list the same consideration and report on my thoughts about attitudes that have changed, and those where I struggle. here are my responses to some of them.
Aging
Getting older doesn't really bother me. There is nothing I can do about it anyway. I do dislike intensely the erosion of my physical self. I do what I can to minimize the problems. But, to complain how unfair it is and insist my 68 year old body be the same as my 38 or 48 year old body is a waste of energy. 

I think society's view of older people is improving. Maybe it is because there are so many of us! I hope the stereotype of the grumpy old man or woman can be relegated to the history books. 

I don't fear…

Getting Rid of Your Stuff: When Is The Best Time?

Accumulation of stuff. Big stuff, small stuff, worthless stuff, we all have lots of stuff. As George Carlin once noted, a house is just a place to store our stuff. Even if you believe in living a more minimalist lifestyle, you have stuff.

A few weeks ago, a reader asked a good question: "When is the best time to get rid of your stuff?" If I remember, his comment was triggered by a rocking chair, one that his grown children could have used while raising their own kids. Instead, mom and dad held onto it until the need for the chair was passed. They didn't purposely not give it away, rather it just never crossed their minds.

This question is much like the one many of us wrestle with: when is it time to start giving away your financial inheritance? Should you start to distribute it now, when the need among your relatives might be greater? Or, should you hold onto to your investments until your death, insuring you won't have given away money you end up needing or worked a l…