Tag Archives: Retirement

Florida Next Winter

Note: This post was first published Jan. 8, 2015 on one of my experimental blogs. Now it’s December 2015. The year has come and gone, and a new winter will begin Dec. 21. And I’m not in Florida yet. My excuse is that major life decisions take time. I’m working  on it. 

Baby, it’s cold outside!

Tuesday, we had snow and 26 degrees. Wednesday, it was 17 degrees in late afternoon, and down to 12 degrees by the time I got home from work, around 9:30 p.m. I live in the Mid-Atlantic states. The climate here is supposed to be relatively moderate.

Except when it’s not. Tonight, it’s cold as a witch’s tit.

The heater in my 216-square-foot apartment runs constantly all night. It can’t raise the temperature inside high enough to cut off.

Is it any wonder that every year about this time, my thoughts turn to Florida? I’ve only been there once. I flew into the Tampa airport to help rescue my brother (he was very ill) and drive him back to Maryland. I have very little direct experience of Florida, but I know a lot about it second-hand. (Update: Took a two-week road trip to Florida in June 2015 to research housing options. So I’ve made a little progress.) Continue reading

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Filed under Frugal living, Housing, Life, Social Security

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

What Happens To Social Security Owed To Folks Who Die Young?

Retirement is good. I haven’t felt like going to work a single day this week. I’m thankful that I don’t have to. Been there, done that. Enough!

When I say, hear, or read the words “Social Security” or “Medicare,” my reaction is:

“Thanks to God and the Democratic Party.”

Some say Social Security benefits need to be reduced because people are living longer.

Really?

We’ve always had old folks — eighty years, ninety, one hundred, and even higher. Nothing new under the sun. But are more folks living to advanced ages than ever before? Probably, because the population is larger than ever. But just because nearly everyone knows someone very old, that doesn’t mean that everyone is living deep into old age.

“Are people living much longer in retirement? Or is the truth, now and always, that a few people with good genes and good luck make it to old age?” — From “Me And The Blog”

I personally have known more people in the Boomer generation who died at 60, 62, or 66, to pick a few numbers. Boomers are dying in their forties and fifties. All the folks who die young paid into Social Security every week since they began working. They’re never going to collect a penny. Those who die in their sixties draw benefits only briefly. Who gets the money?

Who gets the uncollected old-age benefits of the masses of people who die young? Seems to me that more Baby Boomers are dying in the fourth, fifth and sixth decades of life, than will make it to the eighth and ninth decades.

Seems to me that the many who die young balance out the few who grow old. I’ll leave it to an enterprising young auditor who understands actuarial data to figure it out.

— John Hayden

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Filed under Aging, Social Security

AARP Online Retirement Livability Index

A new AARP Livability Index can tell you how your city or town (or the place you’re thinking about relocating) ranks as a place to live and grow older. The Livability Index, which can rate practically any neighborhood in the U.S., goes live this week, according to The Washington Post and a host of other mainstream media outlets. You can find it at aarp.org/livabilityindex. (Interestingly, many MSM sources fail to give the url for the new AARP tool.)

AARP describes the new resource as follows:

“The Livability Index is a signature initiative of the Public Policy Institute to measure the quality of life in American communities across multiple dimensions: housing, transportation, neighborhood characteristics, environment, health, opportunity, and civic and social engagement.

An interactive, easily navigated website, the Livability Index allows users to compare communities, adjust scores based on personal preferences and learn how to take action to make their own communities move livable.”

I entered my Maryland zip code into the system and found out in about half a second that my Gaithersburg neighborhood rates 59 on a scale of zero to 100. I also received specific ratings on the following livability measures:

  • Housing (affordability and access)
  • Transportation (safe and convenient options)
  • Environment (clean air and water)
  • Health (prevention, access and quality)
  • Engagement (civic and social involvement)
  • Opportunity (inclusion and possibilities)

Housing in my neighborhood rates a measly 36. Not a surprise to me. I already know that generally speaking, you can’t buy or rent a home in Montgomery County, MD, unless you’re affluent. You need two middle-class incomes or one high income to support a family here. (That’s why I’m researching communities in Florida. The cost of living in many parts of Florida is quite reasonable, compared to the Maryland suburbs. Needless to say, the AARP Livability Index will be a great help in my search.)

On the positive side, my neighborhood rates high in Health (79), and gets pretty good scores of 64 on both Neighborhood and Engagement. (I’m doubtful about the high rating for Engagement. If AARP considered voter turnout in the last election, we would rank much lower.)

Transportation rates 56. Even if you own a car, that’s an optimistic number. The Washington, D.C. area is notorious for rush hour traffic. If you depend on public transportation, I dunno. My part of Montgomery County is past the end of the line for the Metro subway. And Metro overall? I don’t have to ride the subway every day, and I’m glad I don’t. MARC commuter trains are good if both your home and workplace are near a rail station.

The transportation score could go up or way down in the future, depending on whether our leaders and voters are willing to fund plans for the Purple Line in the southern parts of Montgomery and Prince Georges Counties, and Bus Rapid Transit in northern Montgomery.

Take a look at the AARP Livability Index. How does your hometown rate? Are your civic leaders going to be bragging, or running for cover?

— John Hayden

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Filed under Aging, Housing, Life, Maryland

Retired

Let the record show that I’m officially and fully retired from paid work. My final night shift ended at 9 p.m., April 16, 2015.

I first retired in the fall of 2013, after the motel closed for the season. A year later, fall of 2014, I decided to take on a part-time job, four evenings a week. Six-months later, in the spring of 2015, I decided to give up the part-time gig and return to full retirement. I think this time, retirement from paid work will stick.

Retirement. What could possibly go wrong?

Friends and countrymen, retirement is like ice skating. It looks easy, but it is difficult. Like ice skating, retirement requires practice. Also like ice skating, retirement involves risk, even danger, especially if done recklessly.

I’ll have more to say about retirement, probably much more. But not tonight.

— John

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Retirement Ennui

Folks who earn their living in a seasonal beach town get an adrenaline rush during the whirl of summer. Naturally, letdown and loss follow when the music stops. By Christmastime, the “Wait till next year” anticipation sets in. Anticipation is good to have during the dark night and the cold winter.

This October, the music really stopped. For the last time. Retirement. Fin de siecle.

The motel will reopen in May, but it will reopen without me.

The initial experience of retirement is bittersweet for most lifelong workers, I would venture. You don’t know whether to laugh or cry. It’s disorienting, unbalancing. But probably not as bad as quitting smoking cold turkey.

I’m making too many changes, more quickly than is advisable. I’ve been thinking about and planning the changes for a year, at least. And heaven knows, I’ve experienced plenty of other changes along the way.

Equilibrium will return eventually.

— John

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Rethinking Retirement

An incandescent light bulb.

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Nothing that went before prepares you for retirement.  That light bulb has just clicked on in my brain.

From your first day of school through all the years of work, you’re taught to prepare, to strive, to advance, to make money and accumulate stuff. Always pushing on, always goal-oriented. Always another mountain to be climbed.

Nothing prepares you for retirement. (Except maybe golf. Should I have taken golf lessons?)    Continue reading

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Maybe The Sun Will Come Out . . .

Maybe The Sun Will Come Out . . .

Alternating random emotions as retirement comes racing at me.

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July 24, 2013 · 11:17 am

Thinking About Retirement (What To Do With The Rest Of My Life)

retirement

(Photo credit: 401(K) 2013)

The Super Bowl has come and gone, and Groundhog Day as well. And what do I have to show for the winter?

It’s been, first of all, a lazy winter. That would be an objective report.

However, I prefer to look at it as a winter of reading, thinking, planning. I haven’t done as much blogging as I’d like. On the other hand, I’ve finally joined Twitter, and  I’m even beginning to see its usefulness. Feel  free to follow along on Twitter @BJohnHayden.

I’ve  joined the local gym, and I’m showing up on a regular basis. That’s important, because I’m now beyond denial. I recognize that if I want to do any useful work in the years I have remaining, it’s imperative that I exercise and conserve my health.

Mostly, I’ve been thinking about and preparing for retirement,  Continue reading

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Filed under Aging, Frugal living, Life, Simple Living

Raise the Social Security Retirement Age? Huh?

English: Demonstration in Barcelona on January...

Demonstration in Barcelona on January 22 against raising the retirement age (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

People are living longer, therefore the U.S. needs to raise the Social Security retirement age.

The above statement fills me with despair. It can be spoken with a straight face only by a young person or a rich person who doesn’t understand:  a) What it feels like to be sixty-something in the 21st century, and b) The place of the American worker in the market for human labor,  given the new-normal, flat-world economy.

Full disclosure: I come at this retirement age question from a Baby Boomer point of view. I celebrated (?) a 64th birthday in June. For which I’m grateful. It means I’m one of the survivors. I am now enjoying my 65th summer on the planet Earth, which is one of my favorite planets.

Continue reading

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Filed under Aging, Economy, Social Security