Retirement Made Simple, A Brave New Blog

Here’s a new blog of interest to readers who are retired or dreaming of one day being retired.

Retirement Made Simple

Aging gracefully and enjoying retirement on a limited income

Here’s a sample of posts that made a hit with readers at the new blog:

  1. Social Security Cost-Of-Living Increase For 2016 In Danger
  2. AARP Says More Work And Less Retirement Is Good News
  3. Erica Jong on Fear Of Dying
  4. Colorful Cuba On My Travel List, Because I’ve Already Seen Florida
  5. Retirement Offers Freedom, If We Can Seize It

The new blog has a narrow focus. It’s about Retirement, Simplicity, and Aging Gracefully on a fixed income, with a little bit of travel in the mix. If you have an interest in any of those subjects, Retirement Made Simple might be for you. Its target audience is retired folks and workers who are nearing retirement or thinking about it. But surprisingly, many of the readers have been younger adults. Seems that people of all ages are curious about retirement.

I hope you find something informative or interesting on the new blog. Let me know what you think.

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Filed under Aging, Blogging

Jon Taplin On The Brave New Technology Revolution

If you have 45 minutes and you’d like to know what’s happening in the worldwide technological revolution, I recommend “Sleeping Through A Revolution,” a lecture by Jon Taplin of the Annenberg Innovation Lab. Watch and listen to the lecture here.

The Internet economy is destroying jobs. Taplin cites the ruins of the music, newspaper, book, film, and television industries. The Internet economy has transferred a wealth of income  from the “creative class” (the makers of content) to monopolistic Internet platforms, such as Google and Facebook, Taplin says. And Amazon.

But wait! Musicians, editors, printers, authors and workers in the TV and film industries are not the only losers in this Brave New World of technology monopoly. Taplin predicts:

“The technological revolution is about to come for everybody else’s job too.”

Do you doubt it? The number of robots in the world is doubling every 30 months, Taplin reports. The lecture covers a lot of ground. Past, present, future. I’m not going to report the whole lecture. I urge you to watch it for yourself. I plan to listen to the lecture at least one more time.

— John Hayden

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Filed under Economy, Future

Camping Taken To A Whole Other Level

Editor (Retired):

Some fascinating photos for my readers who fancy small houses. This one is a vacation house. — John

Originally posted on Above And Beyond Travel:


View original


Filed under Housing, Photos

Promising Books By Ta-Nehisi Coates, Thomas Piketty, And Anne Tyler

NEHISI COATES (via Wikipedia)

TA-NEHISI COATES (via Wikipedia)

The world is full of troubles, no doubt about it. I cannot sugarcoat the facts to turn bad news into good. I think nearly every great religion holds to a basic premise that good will triumph over evil in the end. What we can do is point out some of the positive thoughts and actions along the way. With luck, the accretion of positive thoughts and actions will lead us in the right direction.

Good books are harbingers of hope and progress. My reading list never lacks for worthy books, and more are published constantly. I’ll never catch up. Here are three that I urgently need to read.

I   “Between The World And Me,” by Ta-Nehisi Coates, is the most recent addition to the reading list, thanks to a review by Carlos Lozada in the Outlook section of Sunday’s Washington Post. Coates is America’s “foremost intellectual,” and also “liberal America’s conscience on race,” according to Lozada. If you’re interested in understanding America’s struggles with “racism, white privilege, institutional violence and structural inequality,” this would appear to be the book to read. The Washington Post book review is here.

II   “Capital In The Twenty-First Century,” by Thomas Piketty, the renowned French economist. It’s a treatise on wealth concentration and distribution over the past 250 years. The author proposes a progressive global tax on wealth, according to Wikipedia. The Economist review in four paragraphs.

III   “A Spool Of Blue Thread,” by Anne Tyler, the Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist. “Blue Thread” is a study of a fictional Baltimore family. I think I can promise that this one will be easier going and more comforting than Piketty’s “Capital,” but it’s sure to be a good read. I’ve read all of Tyler’s previous novels, and they all provide more psychological insight than your average novel. Tyler is one of America’s greatest contemporary novelists. The NPR book review is here.

By coincidence, for my Maryland readers, both Coates and Tyler are Baltimoreans.

I can’t personally recommend books that I haven’t yet read. I’m trusting that all three will live up to their advance press. If anyone here has read one of the books, your thoughts are welcome. If you haven’t read a book this year, your thoughts are still welcome.

(Note: Ta-Nehisi Coates is the correct spelling of the author’s name. I apologize for getting it wrong in the original posting.)

— John Hayden


Filed under Books, Good News

Good News From Iran, Greece And Cuba

The demand for Good News far exceeds the supply. That’s the finding of an unscientific sampling of opinion from readers of this blog.

So I was surprised to see that newspapers and other mainstream media have recently reported several cases of honest-to-goodness, big-time, Good News among nations. Two Good News breakthroughs this week alone!

  1. After years and years of tedious negotiations, the U.S. and six other nations reached a historic agreement with Iran to prevent that country from developing a nuclear weapon. In return, the U.S. and other nations will lift economic sanctions against Iran, sanctions that have caused real hardship for the Iranian people.
  2. After months of brinkmanship, Greece has given in to a deal with Germany and the rest of Europe that will keep Greece in the Euro zone and avert immediate financial default and economic chaos in Greece. Europe’s largest economies will provide yet another billion-dollar rescue to keep Greece afloat. In return, Greece has agreed to fast-track a new round of painful tax increases, budget cuts, and other austerity measures.

And more good news right here in the Western hemisphere! President Barack Obama recently decided to normalize  relations with the island nation of Cuba. The U.S. and Cuba have been estranged from each other for nearly my entire lifetime (and I’m 67). Now, suddenly, unexpectedly, the two nations have reconciled, at least to the point of “normalizing relations.” They’re looking for embassy sites in Washington and Havana. Trade and tourism and family visits will be allowed, even encouraged. Economic benefits will flow to both countries, but most especially to Cuba.

To be sure, these breakthroughs have NOT been universally hailed as GOOD. It is quite possible that any of these forward movements could be knocked off the rails by opponents. Or they could have disastrous unintended consequences. There are no guarantees; only good reason for HOPE.

Recalcitrants and nay-sayers are everywhere; many have legitimate objections. But I’ll not enumerate them all because that might take the winds of Good New of out my sails. I believe that the great majority of the people in all nations involved see these world events as positive, qualifying to be cheered as Good News. It’s OK to have misgivings and still cheer for Good News. To accept Good News requires a measure of Hope and Trust.

In the case of these three steps forward among the family of nations, I confidently declare Good News based on a simple presumption. All the people of the world agree as follows:



The agreements between U.S and Iran, Europe and Greece, U.S. and Cuba, all turn in the direction of friendship and peace. Some will disagree. Some will openly prefer enmity and even war. I will ignore them unless they present persuasive facts.

Case closed. Good news for Iran, Greece, Cuba. 

What do you think? I tolerate differing opinions.

— John Hayden


Filed under Good News, News

Blogging From My iPhone

Notice how brief the previous post about the Fitbit was? I was out-of-town and experimenting with remote posting using the WordPress IOS application for my new iPhone. I’m not what you call an “early adaptor.”

It’s clear the IOS app doesn’t  give you nearly all the functionality of WordPress on a desktop. For one thing, I couldn’t figure out how to add categories and tags. I went ahead and posted without tags. Now that I’m home, I’ve gone back and added the tags. I guess that works.

I had some trouble posting comments from the iPhone, and a few comments were lost. I suspect it was mostly due to operator error.

I was also experimenting with the dictation function on the iPhone. After a lifetime of typing stories, and more recently posts, I have a bit of a learning curve to master dictation. But the iPhone dictation program is amazing. It correctly transcribes most of my words. I believe the software becomes familiar with the individual’s voice and word usage over time, and keeps improving.

Obviously, using dictation will make it easier and faster to write posts. But I’ll be sure to edit closely before posting, because the program doesn’t get every word right, much less the punctuation.

Meanwhile, posting remotely from an iPhone will encourage me to keep posts brief. Typing words and whole sentences on the iPhone is tedious and slower than using a full keyboard. Even if you dictate the post, you still have to edit it on the small screen and make corrections by tapping away on the iPhone. I’ve taken some photos with the iPhone, but haven’t yet posted a photo from the phone to my blog.

I suppose the blogosphere will migrate more and more to smart phones, and perhaps tablets. Any chance the desktop and laptop will fade into history?  I hope the quality of blogs will not deteriorate because of smart phones. Technology brings us news and information faster and faster, and in ever increasing volume. It’s like a giant firehose.  But faster is not always better, as seen by some of the reporting on cable TV.

— John Hayden


Filed under Blogging, Product review

Thirteen-thousand Steps On The Fitbit

On Monday, I clocked more than 13,000 steps on the Fitbit. A new Personal Record. The goal is 10,000 steps a day. The Fitbit is a good motivating tool for people like me, who are short on self-motivation.

Lots of exercise was a frequent recommendation by the folks responding to my post about depression. So success at walking,  for at least one day, is my first, humble effort to write “good news.”

Stand by for more good news.


Filed under Health