Happy New Year!

I want to take a moment to thank the 300+ visitors to Living Life Retired (LLR) who keep me writing. I appreciate you and wish you all a very Happy New Year!

happy new year
321happynewyear.com

This site was launched on August 22, 2016, and through the end of 2016 it has received visitors from the following countries:

  • United States
  • Austria
  • Italy
  • Germany
  • UK
  • Netherlands
  • Russia
  • India
  • Brazil
  • Canada
  • Kazakhstan
  • Philippines
  • Australia

I appreciate those of you who have joined the LLR community by subscribing or by commenting on various posts.  I would love to hear from all of you during 2017.  Please let me know what topics you are interested in or any concerns you may have as a fellow solo retiree.  Just fill out the comment section below and I will consider your concerns and ideas for future posts.

Let’s get this community going and start talking to each other!  We all know it gets lonely out here at times.  I’ll start by wishing you all a very healthy, productive, joyous, and activity-rich new year!  May God bless you all in this new year!

Billy Graham, 98, offers hope to the grieving and lonely

lonliness
pinterest.com

Are you experiencing grief or loneliness during this holiday season?  The article below and Billy Graham’s advice may offer some hope.  Click on the Bowling Green Daily News link to see the original column and Graham’s three suggestions for dealing with the “overwhelmed with sorrow” feeling during the holidays.

Billy Graham says death is not the end for terminally ill Christians

by Jardine Malado, The Christian Times

December 28, 2016

“Famed evangelist Billy Graham encouraged terminally ill Christians not to give up on life and look at their situation from God’s point of view so that they may realize that death is not the end for them.

In his advice column in the Bowling Green Daily News on Dec. 20, a terminally-ill woman told Graham that the doctors have predicted that this year’s Christmas might be her last due to an inoperable tumor. She said that she is having a hard time trying to pretend like she’s enjoying the holidays.

‘How can anyone in my situation be cheerful at Christmas?’ the woman who is known only as Mrs. L.L asked.

Graham encouraged the woman to try to change her attitude and look at her own life from God’s point of view.

‘How does God see you? He sees you first of all as someone He deeply loves. You are not insignificant; you aren’t something for whom death is the end,’ the evangelist wrote.

‘Listen: God loves you! He loves you so much that 2,000 years ago He came into this world in the person of His Son, so you could have your sins forgiven and go to be with Him in Heaven forever,’ he continued.”

Read more

Is retiring abroad right for you?

retiring abroad
Joseph Roginski via AP

Growing Number of Americans are Retiring Outside the US

Maria Zamudio, For The Associated Press

December 29, 2016

“Newly widowed, Kay McCowen quit her job, sold her house, applied for Social Security and retired to Mexico. It was a move she and her husband, Mel, had discussed before he passed away in 2012.

‘I wanted to find a place where I could afford to live off my Social Security,’ she said. ‘The weather here is so perfect, and it’s a beautiful place.’

She is among a growing number of Americans who are retiring outside the United States. The number grew 17 percent between 2010 and 2015 and is expected to increase over the next 10 years as more baby boomers retire.”

Japan experienced the biggest growth of American retirees — at 42 percent

“Just under 400,000 American retirees are now living abroad, according to the Social Security Administration. The countries they have chosen most often: Canada, Japan, Mexico, Germany and the United Kingdom.

Retirees most often cite the cost of living as the reason for moving elsewhere, said Olivia S. Mitchell, director of the Pension Research Council at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School.

‘I think that many people retire when they are in good health and they are interested in stretching their dollars and seeing the world,’ Mitchell said.”

Read more about retiring abroad

 

Is the financial advice you receive in your best interest?

financial advice
BOBAA22/DREAMSTIME

Money Management

Keep these things in mind when you’re looking for a financial adviser

by Alina Tugend

October 8, 2016

“When my family moved to New York from London in 2000, we had two small children and were buying a house in the U.S. for the first time. We needed some financial advice.

A friend recommended her investment adviser, who at the time worked at a big bank. We hit it off, and we soon decided to put him in charge of managing our retirement savings.

I’ve been mostly satisfied with our choice, but now I realize it was more luck than skill. At the time, I had no idea what questions to ask to make sure this adviser would really handle our money responsibly.

So if you’re thinking about hiring someone to help you plan your retirement or improve your personal finances, here’s what I’ve learned in the past 16 years.

First, some definitions of what can be overwhelming jargon: Financial adviser and financial planner are generic terms, often used interchangeably. But certified financial planner (CFP) refers to someone who has passed exams on topics like taxes and retirement planning and is required to adhere to an ethical code. Meanwhile, a registered investment adviser (RIA) describes someone (or a firm) regulated by government securities agencies who gives advice about stocks, bonds and mutual funds. Many such consultants are both RIAs and CFPs.

Second, the most important word you need to know when looking for financial help is fiduciary. That means the person you hire must put your interests before her own, instead of recommending investments that might increase her fees at your expense.”

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On April 10, (2017), the Department of Labor, the federal agency that oversees retirement plans, will put into effect its fiduciary regulation.

Starting on that date, broker dealers and financial advisers will be required to provide advice that is in their clients’ best interest.

Studies show an increase in senior drug use

senior drug use
news.ufl.edu

Aging baby boomers increasingly embrace marijuana, heavy alcohol use

By Christopher Ingraham, The Washington Post

December 18, 2016

“…two recent studies suggest there’s another high-risk population we should be worried about: our kids’ grandparents.

The first study found that, since 2006, marijuana use has increased significantly among adults age 50 and up. A decade ago, roughly 4.5 percent of people ages 50 to 64, and 0.4 percent of seniors age 65 and up, had used marijuana in the past year. By 2013, those numbers had increased to 7.1 percent and 1.4 percent, respectively.

In percentage terms, marijuana use among 50- to 64-year-olds increased by 57.8 percent, while among seniors ages 65 and up, it ballooned by a whopping 250 percent.

The study, based on over 45,000 responses to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, isn’t the first to note that marijuana use is increasing rapidly among older adults. But it digs more deeply into the demographics of older Americans’ marijuana use, uncovering some interesting findings.

Among the 50 and older set, white (5.1 percent) and black (5.1 percent) Americans are more likely to smoke pot than Hispanics (2.6 percent). Older adults with less than a high school education (5.1 percent) or with less than $20,000 in income (5.4 percent) use marijuana more than average (4.8 percent).

Older folks who are married (4.0 percent) are much more likely to indulge in the occasional toke than those who are divorced or separated (1.6 percent). But those who are single (8.1 percent) or widowed (8.5 percent) outsmoke all the others.

One area of potential concern is the correlation between marijuana use and mental health issues among older adults. Among those 50 and older, people who have had depression (11.4 percent) or anxiety in the past year (9.0 percent) are much more likely to smoke marijuana than average. A number of studies have shown a link between marijuana use and mental disorders.”

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Childhood Christmas traditions

Christmas is my favorite holiday.  It was a big deal and a special time in my childhood home on our farm in Iowa.  Our family Christmas traditions were sacred.

  • My family always had a real Christmas tree.  Sometimes we bought one and sometimes my Dad trudged out in the deep snow and cold to find a suitable cedar tree for the honor of being propped up in a metal stand in our living room.  It was prominently placed typically in front of the south-facing picture window so everyone driving on the gravel road past our home could see it.
  • All seven of us kids decorated the Christmas tree.  We loved it when our Mom brought out the old Christmas ornaments and we fought over who would carefully place the most special glass ones on the tree.  We also had several hand-made ornaments.
  • I think all of my sisters and my brother have stories about trying to find hidden Christmas presents.  I know I always tried to peek when my Mom wasn’t around.  If she found us peeking we were punished by having to stand in a corner.  Sometimes all four corners of the living room had a kid in it facing punishment.

    Christmas traditions
    slc
  • My Mom baked year ’round but Christmas was an extra special time for baking.  Decorating Christmas cookies cut out with the old silver cookie cutters was a delightful time.  She also always made the most delectable pies.  The crust was so flaky which was possibly due to using the bacon drippings she saved in a can next to the stove.
  • For weeks, my siblings and I practiced for the Christmas Eve program at church.  This was an annual tradition and the center stage of our celebration.
  • Just hours before this church program I fondly remember receiving one gift from our Mother.  The gift was new clothes which we would wear to the church program.  As the fourth-born child whom nearly always wore hand-me-downs, a beautiful new dress was a dream come true.

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Christmas cards and letters–a thing of the past?

Christmas cards
slc

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas!  Last week I wrote and mailed my annual Christmas cards and letters.  I have sent cards and letters almost every year since the early 80’s.  Back then I probably sent out 40-50 cards and received about 20-25 from family and friends.  Now, I send about 20-25 and receive about 5-10.

Facebook is probably one reason most people don’t send out cards or letters.  It seems most people find it easier and cheaper (no cost for cards and stamps) to send out invitations, birthday and holiday greetings through social media.  Also, we know more about everyone’s lives because of Twitter and Facebook so there isn’t the need for the annual update.  However, I still enjoy receiving and sending cards and letters.  I guess that makes me “old school” or old-fashioned.

When I stopped by Walgreens to pick up the photos I ordered to send with my annual letter, the clerk said, “Oh, you are old school,” when I told her the photos were for my annual Christmas letters.  I proudly replied, “Yes, I guess I am.”

How about you?  Do you still send or receive Christmas cards?  Are you “old school?”

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