Celebrate America the Beautiful!

Celebrating America
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“Of all the nations in the world, of all the social experiments that have been tried down through the centuries, there is no country I’d rather be a citizen of and call home than America.  Where else but in this land of opportunity are people given so much freedom to pursue their dreams, with the potential to bring out the best in everyone?

There are few places in the world where people enjoy the level of freedom we have in America.

Why do we enjoy all of these and many more blessings?  It is largely because we have a representative government that respects the rights of its citizens, and because we have a military powerful enough to defend us against intruders.  It is because we have a free market economy that, when unfettered, acts as an economic engine more powerful than any the world has ever seen.  Most importantly, we have a nation of faith so bold that we are willing to proclaim ‘In God We Trust’ on every coin in our pockets and every bill in our wallets.

There never has been and probably never will be again another place like America the Beautiful.”

Excerpt from Ben Carson, M.D., America the Beautiful: Rediscovering What Made This Nation Great, Zondervan, 2012.

Shedding your work identity

shedding work identity
clausa.com

The trick to navigating the road of retirement?  Figure out who your post-work self wants to be

by Eric Sebo, The Dallas Morning News

June 22, 2017

“Something is missing in my life after retirement. I feel as though I am on vacation, going down a scenic country road with windows open, music playing, hair (what’s left of it) blowing in the wind. At the same time, I’m anxious because I don’t know which exit to take and realize that my time and energy are inevitably winding down.

The problem is not financial. I worked longer, saved more and delayed Social Security payments. Nor is it medical or social, as I work out regularly, eat the right foods and maintain great relationships.

What is wrong is that my work identity has vanished, and I have no ready replacement.

Seeking a retirement identity is not a topic often covered. Radio shows provide advice on investments, real estate and the stock market. In the print media, each ‘new retirement idea’ seems to be a repackaged article on financial, familial, health or social challenges. While all are important, so too is preparing for who you will be after your final day at work.”

Read more about shedding work identity

“Real men wear sunscreen”

sunscreenUse these helpful tips to protect yourself from the sun’s harmful rays

Healthy Living Made Simple, May/June 2017

“To no one’s surprise, sun exposure is the leading cause of skin cancer. Statistics from the Skin Cancer Foundation show that 65 percent of all melanoma cases are associated with exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays. That same research also shows men over the age of 40 have the highest annual exposure to UV radiation. Men over the age of 50 comprise the majority of people diagnosed with melanoma, and it’s also one of only three cancers with an increasing mortality rate for men.

Here are a few things to remember before tackling the yard, hitting the links or casting a line:  (Note:  Not just for men!)

Recreational precautions

  • Apply sunscreen before you play, reapply every two hours or at the ninth hole. Don’t forget to apply on exposed scalp, the backs of hands, neck and ears.
  • Try to tee off at sunrise or late in the afternoon to avoid the sun when it’s most intense (10 am – 4 pm).”

For more tips

Do you enjoy traveling alone?

While the author of the following article isn’t a retired, she does paint a positive picture of the world of traveling alone:traveling alone

The unexpected benefits of traveling alone

By Andrea Sachs, The Washington Post

June 25, 2017

“On a May vacation in Nicaragua, Alison Peters often visited several panaderias after dinner, sampling not one but many desserts. She spent days wearing the same bathing suit coverup. And near the town of Granada, she lingered at Masaya, snapping selfie after selfie with the active volcano.

During her two-week journey abroad, she never once had to defend her decisions or discuss her choices. Because what the solo traveler wants, the solo traveler gets.

‘Traveling alone is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself,’ said the Washington-area law student. ‘You don’t have to be rational when you’re by yourself.’

Call it the All About Me trip.

These days, more travelers are venturing out into the world alone. According to the Visa Travel Intentions Study, which surveyed 13,603 adults in 25 countries, the number of people traveling solo doubled between 2013 and 2015.”

Read more

Protect your retirement annuity

Companies Offering To Buy Your Annuity, Be careful!

by

“Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has recently learned of an aggressive marketing push targeting Federal annuitants. Companies are offering a cash payment in exchange for a portion, or all, of your future annuity payments generally much less than their long-term worth, and typically charging high interest rates and fees. We have specifically received numerous phone calls from one company in particular asking us to not just verify annuity amounts, but also banking information, including routing numbers and account numbers. Our suspicions were confirmed by our Inspector General’s office who discovered this company is currently under investigation by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).

CFPB lists three things you can do to protect your retirement annuity:

  1. Avoid loans with high fees and interest. Pension advance companies may not always advertise their fees and interest rates, but you will certainly feel them in your bottom line. Before you sign anything, learn what you are getting and how much you are giving up.
  2. Don’t sign over control of your benefits. Companies sometimes arrange for monthly payments to be automatically deposited in a newly created bank account so the company can withdraw payments, fees and interest charges from the account. This leaves you with little control.
  3. Don’t buy life insurance that you don’t want or need. Pension advance companies sometimes require consumers to sign up for life insurance with the company as the consumer’s beneficiary. If you sign up for life insurance with the pension advance company as your beneficiary, you could end up footing the bill, whether you know it or not. Go to https://www.consumerfinance.gov/about-us/blog/consumer-advisory-3-pension-advance-traps-to-avoid/ for more information.”

For where to report a possible scam or to file a complaint

Improve your digestion

Improve your digestionStomach Trouble? 5 Steps Help Prevent Digestive Problems as You Age

Medications, inactivity, poor diet may all play a role

By Digestion Health Team at the Cleveland Clinic, June 13, 2017

“The ‘tummy aches’ you may have had as a child can evolve into a long list of digestive problems as you age. They’re annoying, but the good news is that things like acid reflux and constipation are irritations that you can treat. Often, simple lifestyle changes will do the trick.

‘Many older adults fixate on their gastrointestinal problems,’ says gastroenterologist Maged Rizk, MD. ‘The gastrointestinal tract ages with the rest of us. I tell patients not to get too upset by it.’

Older adults and digestive ailments

Medicine, inactivity and even gravity all can take their toll and contribute to digestive troubles as you get older, Dr. Rizk says.

Here, according to Dr. Rizk, are the main culprits and the symptoms they cause:

  • Multiple medications — These may cause a variety of gastrointestinal issues, including constipation, diarrhea, abdominal pain, nausea and bleeding ulcers.
  • Inactivity and dehydration — These issues are more common as you age and they can make constipation worse.
  • Gravity — Over time the diaphragm can sink, causing decreased support where the esophagus joins the stomach (a hiatal hernia). And it typically causes heartburn and reflux. Medication often helps, but surgery is sometimes needed.
  • A weakened sphincter muscle, sedentary lifestyle and chronic constipation — These all may contribute to cause hemorrhoids, which are swollen veins in the lower gastrointestinal tract. Hemorrhoids are common in older adults.”

Read 5 steps to improve your digestion and more

Note:  I never thought I would be putting a picture of a toilet on this webpage. 🙂

Social Security for exes

Social Security for Exes
Social Security Admin. Poster, 1956

Social Security’s Legacy to Ex-Wives, Kids

By Kim Blanton, SquaredAwayBlog.bc.edu

June 13, 2017

“Many women are fuzzy on how Social Security benefits for widows work and even more unclear about the program’s spousal benefits.

I know two of these women. Their situations nicely illustrate how this federal program promotes the well-being of older women and families.

One is my divorced aunt. She was surprised to learn, after my uncle died a few years ago, that her widow’s – or survivor’s – benefit, based on his decades of work as a housing developer, would be double the spousal benefit she’d received while he was alive. Divorced spouses are eligible for the same spousal and survivor’s benefits as still-married spouses, though only if the marriage lasted more than 10 years.”

Read more about Social Security for exes

 

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