Considering downsizing or a reverse mortgage for retirement income?

Planning for retirement income can be complicated by choices like downsizing or reverse mortgages.  The Center for Retirement Research has published a useful booklet, Using Your House for Income in Retirement, to assist you with this important financial decision.Housing Booklet image

“Using Your House reviews the two most common ways to use your house to boost your income in retirement – downsizing and a reverse mortgage – with clear examples, a discussion of the pros and cons of each approach, and links to tools on the web where you can get estimates of what downsizing or a reverse mortgage can do for you.”

PDF of booklet

© 2014, by Trustees of Boston College, Center for Retirement Research. All rights reserved.

Fearless solo road trip through the midwest

Roseman Bridge

My sister Sue and her husband Tom are retired and vacationing this week in Hawaii.  When I asked which island they were going to visit, Sue replied, “All of them.”  They are on a cruise which docks at each island.


The issue I wrestle with the most as a solo retiree is the fact that if I want to travel, which I do, then I must get comfortable with travelling alone.  I always dreamed of taking a long trip abroad once I retired, but fear of traveling solo lead me to settle for a few days in Crested Butte, Colorado (about six hours away from my home) last summer.  Crested Butte is one of my favorite places to visit in the summer and the Wildflower Festival was extraordinary, but it wasn’t the travel I had dreamed of.

Late this summer I decided to stretch myself and overcome my fear of solo travel.  I renewed my AAA account, serviced and gassed up the car, called to see if my friends would be around when I arrived, reserved a hotel home for me, and boarding for my dog.  I was planning a solo road trip, this time venturing out-of-state.

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How is your mental health and fitness?

Older individuals who remain mentally active and who take advantage of opportunities to learn new information seem to be significantly less likely to show signs of mental decline.

How to Keep Your Brain Limber

From Massachusetts General Hospital’s Mind, Mood & Memory

“Here’s some good news for older adults!  A new study suggests that regular mental workouts can do for your gray cells what heart-pounding exercise routines do for your body: increase fitness and restore the vigor of youth.

To determine whether engaging in activities that make demands on the brain can help preserve cognitive vitality, scientists recruited a group of older adults and randomly assigned them to one of two groups.  One group engaged in mentally stimulating, high-challenging activities, spending 15 hours per week for 14 weeks learning quilting or digital photography.  The other group spent an equal amount of time engaged in low-challenge pursuits, such as playing simple games, watching movies or listening to music.  All participants underwent cognitive testing and brain scans to measure brain activity at the beginning and end of the study, and a smaller number of participants were tested again a year later.

According to a paper published October 20, 2015 in Restorative Neurology and Neuroscience, the high-challenge group showed improved brain performance after participating in the study and upon retesting a year later, scoring higher on measures of memory and increasing in efficiency in brain regions responsible for attention and language processing.”  Read more

Key items to help make a widow’s life a little easier

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The Ultimate Survival Guide for New Widows

These 10 items will make your transition easier

by Laurie Burrows Grad

August 24, 2016

“Sorry widowers, this one’s for the ladies.

When Peter died, I had to face the practical aspects of living alone. I had to change light bulbs, hang pictures and open jars by myself. So I devised a list of key items for widows to keep on hand to make their lives easier.  Here are 10 of them:

1. A secure step ladder: A woman who lives alone surely needs a secure step ladder. Invest wisely and use your coupons at Bed Bath & Beyond to get the top-of-the-line ladder. Be honest. How many times have you stepped on a chair instead of a step ladder and almost taken a nose dive? More than one I bet! Be safe please!

2.  Tap lights: I live in Los Angeles where earthquakes are common so I always keep a tap light in every room of the house in case of a power outage. They also double as great toddler toys.

3. A screw driver: This item is a must for every household but particularly helpful for single women. Color me so proud. I just put my new license plates on my car by myself with this nifty little sucker.

4. EZ Moves Furniture Moving System: When you have to move heavy furniture, simply lift, place, and slide the item. It’s a dolly that doesn’t take up space and can be used for a variety of household chores. OK, it doesn’t help with my bad back, but just think how you can keep your chiropractor in business? (In the interest of truth, I have never used it, but it does look great in my garage).”

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“Who is going to get what you leave behind?”

“The Best Bequest”Lutheran Hour Ministries

Presented on The Lutheran Hour on October 30, 2016
By Rev. Dr. Ken Klaus, Speaker Emeritus of The Lutheran Hour
Copyright 2016 Lutheran Hour Ministries

“Although it is not strictly mandatory from a legal point of view, novels and films have taught us that a person’s last Will and Testament really ought to begin with the words, “I (and then you insert your whole name) being of sound mind and body, do hereby bequeath to (and then you list who gets what). Now that phrase has always caused me a problem. Since many wills are written when a person’s physical condition has deteriorated to the point where they expect the grim reaper to come calling any minute, how can they say they are in ‘sound body.’ So, rather than wondering, I went to one of my lawyer friends and asked him. He laughed and told me that the expression is not a medical one; it is merely a statement that the individual is capable of making the decisions which follow in the rest of the document.

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Rockers prove you’re never “Too Old to Rock ‘N’ Roll”

Rolling Stones perform Desert Trip

On October 7th, legendary rockers Mick Jagger (73) with the Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan (75) kicked off a three-day music festival, The Desert Trip, in California. Saturday featured Paul McCartney (74) and Neil Young (70).  Roger Waters (73) from Pink Floyd and The Who (Roger Daltrey, 72 and Pete Townsend, 71) played on Sunday. Rolling Stone magazine writer Steve Appleford reported the “festival’s unprecedented musical summit…is a gathering of historic headliners with rich catalogs of hits and groundbreaking work that has influenced several generations of music-makers. All the players at Desert Trip remain among the top live acts, despite time and age that have left many of their contemporaries behind.”  Read more

“‘Tonight we’re not going to do any age jokes or anything, OK? Welcome to the Palm Springs retirement home for gentle English musicians,’ Jagger joked early on of the fest that has been called ‘Oldchella’ and worse. He was prepared to prove otherwise.”

Read moreRockers prove you’re never “Too Old to Rock ‘N’ Roll”

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