Freedom Friday: Transform Your Hobbies Into New Opportunities

Sunflower in the Sunshine

In the Next Avenue article, Transform Your Hobbies Into New Opportunities, author Debbie Swanson suggests that “adding to your skills can help you make money and friends.”:

“If being in a classroom brings back memories of snoozing in a lecture hall, think again. The world of learning has exploded, with online and in-person classes available for many recreational pursuits. Several hobbies have measured levels of skill and proficiency: the martial arts belt system, certifications in scuba diving, achieving a master level in a pursuit such as gardening, beekeeping or — if you live in Wisconsin — cheesemaking. Adding formal training to your hobbies is not only fun, but may create avenues for side income, enhance your volunteer potential or expand your social circle.”

Here’s how one retiree in South Carolina honed his hobby skills into a new business:

“After retiring at 67 from his career managing textile and equipment manufacturing companies, Buddy May, of Greenville, S.C., delved into his interest in beekeeping. He became a Master Beekeeper with the South Carolina Beekeepers Association, as well as the only EAS (Eastern Apicultural Society) Certified Master Beekeeper in his home state. In 2017, May reached the Master Craftsman level, the highest level of the South Carolina program.

May’s farm produces honey, pollen and blueberries, and he’s active with a weekly farmers’ market. But May is especially stung by the chance to meet people and share his knowledge.

‘I lecture locally, and in other states,’ says May, who has also taught classes at Furman University’s OLLI (Osher Lifelong Learning Institute) program. ‘It keeps my mind active, and learning more about the gracious insect.’

He’s also been published; May’s buzzy research appeared in the American Bee Journal in 2017 and he has an article coming out in Bee Culture magazine.”

Read more at Transform Your Hobbies Into New Opportunities.

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DAYNA WILSON: As a real estate agent I have been working with homebuyers and sellers throughout the East Bay communities of Layfayette, Moraga, Orinda and Walnut Creek since 2009. As a Certified Senior Housing Professional (CSHP) , I have special knowledge about everything from reverse mortgages to the importance of universal design. I can tap into my network and put you in touch with my team of qualified home inspectors, movers, attorneys, CPAs, organizers and other experts. I have all the resources and knowledge to simplify the transaction and eliminate the anxiety of selling your home.

Call me today to talk about your real estate concerns. I’m here to listen: 925.788.6582

Transition Thursday: 8 Tips from an 80 Year Old Who Has More Savings Now than When He First Retired

In the article 8 Tips from an 80 Year Old Who Has More Savings Now than When He First Retired , author Henry K. “Bud” Hebeler outlines concepts that helped him not only achieve a secure retirement but also be better off now than when he first retired:

Living Life Based on Lessons from the Great Depression. Being brought up in the Great Depression, followed by the war years where national savings rates were almost five times current levels, taught us to live below our means–something that seems to have escaped many today. Younger generations are truly living beyond their means by relying on debt financing of almost everything they buy in hopes that future wages will be able to cover the debt costs.

Bonds and Bond Ladders Were Particularly Good Strategies. One of the odd things I did that was consistent with the professional retirement advice, but not specifically recommended, was to buy Savings Bonds for much of the bond portion. Back then, the Savings I Bonds were paying around 2% to 3% coupon plus whatever was the annual inflation rate. And unlike other bonds, they benefited from both deferred taxes and inflation adjustments.

After I converted my company’s 401(k) to a Roth IRA, I bought laddered Treasury Inflation-Protected (TIPS) so that our bonds would not have any tax, and the laddering was such that a bond matured every year of our retirement, as do our Savings Bonds.

Watch Inflation. Although the majority of our fixed-income has inflation-adjustments, I still expect that in the long run, stocks should produce better returns than bonds in an inflationary environment, and although dividends will be subject to ordinary income tax rates for the funds in taxable accounts, the growth will benefit from lower capital gains rates. Better yet, on death their cost basis will be marked up to the values at death so there will be no capital gains tax.

At the same time our investments were growing due to compounding and lower tax rates, inflation was compounding too, so our investments are worth only half as much now as they were in the year I retired if measured in dollar values at retirement.

Mom and Pop retirement planning over the kitchen table often fails to recognize that inflation compounds and severely restricts spending capability when aged—a time when dental and medical bills grow much larger.”

Read the rest at 8 Tips from an 80 Year Old Who Has More Savings Now than When He First Retired .

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DAYNA WILSON: As a real estate agent I have been working with homebuyers and sellers throughout the East Bay communities of Layfayette, Moraga, Orinda and Walnut Creek since 2009. As a Certified Senior Housing Professional (CSHP) , I have special knowledge about everything from reverse mortgages to the importance of universal design. I can tap into my network and put you in touch with my team of qualified home inspectors, movers, attorneys, CPAs, organizers and other experts. I have all the resources and knowledge to simplify the transaction and eliminate the anxiety of selling your home.

Call me today to talk about your real estate concerns. I’m here to listen: 925.788.6582

Wellness Wednesday – Serving and Portion Sizes: How Much Should I Eat?

Group of fresh fruits and vegetablesIn the National Institute on Aging article Serving and Portion Sizes: How Much Should I Eat?, emphasizes the importance of eating a variety of foods from each food group that will help you get the nutrients you need. What about portion and serving sizes? Here is an explanation:

“The word ‘serving’ can have different meanings depending on how it is used. A Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension Plan serving is how much of each food you should eat to meet the plan’s daily recommendation. (Learn more about serving sizes on the Nutrition Facts label.)

The term ‘portion’ means how much of a single food is actually on your dish—a portion size can vary from meal to meal. For example, one restaurant might serve larger portions than another.”

EXAMPLES OF PORTION SIZES

One cup cooked vegetables, salad, baked potato = baseball

1 to 1½ ounces cheese = four dice

Three ounces of meat or poultry = palm of hand

Read the rest: Serving and Portion Sizes: How Much Should I Eat?.

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DAYNA WILSON: As a real estate agent I have been working with homebuyers and sellers throughout the East Bay communities of Layfayette, Moraga, Orinda and Walnut Creek since 2009. As a Certified Senior Housing Professional (CSHP) , I have special knowledge about everything from reverse mortgages to the importance of universal design. I can tap into my network and put you in touch with my team of qualified home inspectors, movers, attorneys, CPAs, organizers and other experts. I have all the resources and knowledge to simplify the transaction and eliminate the anxiety of selling your home.

Call me today to talk about your real estate concerns. I’m here to listen: 925.788.6582

Toss It Tuesday – Downsizing Tips for Empty-Nesters

Senior couple packing a miving boxIn The Washington Post article Downsizing tips for empty-nesters, authors Hans Wydler and Steve Wydler offer downsizing advice for folks “stuck with a too-big house that no longer meets their needs or fits their lifestyle. Over the years after helping scores of empty-nesters downsize, we’ve found that folks sometimes lose their way during this phase. Here are tips to help keep everyone on track:”

No one loves your stuff as much as you do. The first three things we tell empty-nesters to do to get their home ready for market is to de-clutter, de-clutter, de-clutter. It’s amazing how many things one can accumulate over a lifetime. As we age, we also tend to hold onto things as they connect us with our past. We know first-hand. We lost our dad almost 20 years ago, and to this day, our mom still refuses to throw out any of his belongings. Unfortunately, things that we think are important to our children may not be, and things that we think are disposable may have tremendous intrinsic value to our loved ones.

De-clutter on the front end. If you get something new, throw something old out. One in, one out. If you have too much stuff, change the ratio. For example, if you buy a new shirt, get rid of two or three old ones.

Move when you can, not when you have to. Don’t stay too long. It’s easy to do. You’ve raised your family in a home, and have a lifetime of memories there. It’s a growing trend for empty-nesters to modify their homes — by installing elevators and creating wide spaces to accommodate wheelchairs, for instance – to meet their needs as elderly people. Unfortunately, not every house can be adequately modified. And modifications can’t erase all the unneeded space in the family home. We’ve seen it happen way too often – elderly homeowners start to lose the ability to maintain the house, whether for financial, physical or other age-related reasons. That’s when bad things start to happen.”

Find more ideas: Downsizing tips for empty-nesters.

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DAYNA WILSON: As a real estate agent I have been working with homebuyers and sellers throughout the East Bay communities of Layfayette, Moraga, Orinda and Walnut Creek since 2009. As a Certified Senior Housing Professional (CSHP) , I have special knowledge about everything from reverse mortgages to the importance of universal design. I can tap into my network and put you in touch with my team of qualified home inspectors, movers, attorneys, CPAs, organizers and other experts. I have all the resources and knowledge to simplify the transaction and eliminate the anxiety of selling your home.

Call me today to talk about your real estate concerns. I’m here to listen: 925.788.6582

Moving Mom Monday: Helping Aging Parents Who Don’t Want Help

In the Forbes article Helping Aging Parents Who Don’t Want Help, author Carolyn L. Rosenblatt, RN, BSN, PHN reports that, “Pride, fear, unwillingness to accept the realities of aging, and extreme discomfort with change are some of the reasons aging parents refuse help when they really need it.”

What can adult children do to convince their parents to accept help? Here are some ideas:

If feasible, we always encourage a family meeting, including not only adult children, but caring others as well. A best friend may hold more sway in convincing a stubborn parent to think about safety than “the kids.” (What do they know anyway?) Clergy, or someone the aging parent looks up to and respects, can be invaluable in persuading a change of heart.

A doctor’s input can be quite helpful. Our elders may trust and believe their doctors and take their direction seriously. We encourage asking the doctor to see the aging parent and to strongly advise a move or other step the parent can take to reduce the risk of living alone.

As responsible adult children, we can check out suitable alternative living situations in advance and ask the aging parent to visit with us. ‘Just have lunch and see the place’ is a first step. Most such facilities will gladly serve you lunch and show you around, introducing an aging parent to other residents.

Marketing directors at assisted living facilities can be useful in helping an aging parent with the often difficult transition. However, beware of the sales pitch. They want to match the facility to the prospect, but there can be tremendous pressure on them to fill empty apartments. It is important to understand the legal limits of assisted living. Know them if you are considering it as an option for your parent.”

Read more at Helping Aging Parents Who Don’t Want Help.

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DAYNA WILSON: As a real estate agent I have been working with homebuyers and sellers throughout the East Bay communities of Layfayette, Moraga, Orinda and Walnut Creek since 2009. As a Certified Senior Housing Professional (CSHP) , I have special knowledge about everything from reverse mortgages to the importance of universal design. I can tap into my network and put you in touch with my team of qualified home inspectors, movers, attorneys, CPAs, organizers and other experts. I have all the resources and knowledge to simplify the transaction and eliminate the anxiety of selling your home.

Call me today to talk about your real estate concerns. I’m here to listen: 925.788.6582

Freedom Friday: How Senior Couples Can Retire Without Drama

Baby Boomer Couple in Retirement

In the U.S. News & World Report article, How Senior Couples Can Retire Without Drama, author Maryalene LaPonsie writes that worlds collide when senior couples retire and are suddenly together 24/7:

“You’ve clocked out of work for the final time and are heading home to your spouse. The kids have left the nest, which means it will be just the two of you. Sounds like the beginning of a second honeymoon, right?

However, the reality can be much different. A 2017 report from the Pew Research Center found gray divorce – that is, divorce after age 50 – increased 109 percent from 1990 to 2015. Even couples who stay together may find their remaining years marked by conflict.”

Fortunately, spousal conflict after retirement is not a given. Couples can head off trouble by being proactive and open-minded about their next stage of life.

Start the discussion early. Spouses can become resentful if they have plans for retirement that don’t align with those of their husband or wife. Clear communication is essential to creating realistic expectations about what life will be like post-work. Unfortunately, many couples wait too long to have these talks.

Have a purpose for retirement. Exploring new interests before retirement can help couples determine the goals or pursuits they will have after leaving the workforce. Jared Snider, senior wealth advisor at Exencial Wealth Advisors in Oklahoma City, says his most successful retired couples have clearly defined purposes for both themselves and their relationship. ‘They have thought it out ahead of time,’ he says.

Have a budget for retirement. Money issues can be the cause of significant strife in some marriages. ‘You’ll have one spouse that lives for the moment, and the other that doesn’t want to throw a nickel around,’ says Chris Heerlein, investment advisor representative and partner at REAP Financial in Austin, Texas.”

Read more tips at How Senior Couples Can Retire Without Drama.

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DAYNA WILSON: As a real estate agent I have been working with homebuyers and sellers throughout the East Bay communities of Layfayette, Moraga, Orinda and Walnut Creek since 2009. As a Certified Senior Housing Professional (CSHP) , I have special knowledge about everything from reverse mortgages to the importance of universal design. I can tap into my network and put you in touch with my team of qualified home inspectors, movers, attorneys, CPAs, organizers and other experts. I have all the resources and knowledge to simplify the transaction and eliminate the anxiety of selling your home.

Call me today to talk about your real estate concerns. I’m here to listen: 925.788.6582

Transition Thursday: The Joys of Volunteering With Your Grandchild

Multi-Color Heart Illustration

In the Next Avenue article The Joys of Volunteering With Your Grandchild, author Ellen Ryan writes that helping others together delivers benefits for both generations:

“Want to build character and avoid entitlement in a grandchild? Studies suggest volunteering together. Nudging a child positively can be just the beginning for both of you.”

How Grandparents and Grandchildren Benefit

“Just ask Cheryl Falcone. She get lots of one-on-one time with her grandchildren when they bag groceries for needy families at the Arlington Food Assistance Center (AFAC) in Arlington, Va. They typically catch up first over dinner out, then talk about the evening’s work on the way home to Fort Washington, Md.

Granddaughter TimMyiah, 10, has developed an urge to help others as a result of the bagging assistance. ‘She knows when we’re volunteering with AFAC that it’s going to somebody who needs it,’ said Falcone, who volunteers there through a church group.

Falcone’s grandson Daymon, 15, looks forward to food-bagging night, too. There’s good conversation, the adults treat him like a grownup, ‘and he gets to be the muscle. I think he likes that,’ said Falcone.

None of this would surprise researchers. Studies have shown that doing good for others gooses self-esteem, provides a social outlet and even boosts happiness. A sense of purpose is part of the reason. Volunteering also reduces stress levels and lowers blood pressure for people later in life.”

Read the rest at The Joys of Volunteering With Your Grandchild.

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DAYNA WILSON: As a real estate agent I have been working with homebuyers and sellers throughout the East Bay communities of Layfayette, Moraga, Orinda and Walnut Creek since 2009. As a Certified Senior Housing Professional (CSHP) , I have special knowledge about everything from reverse mortgages to the importance of universal design. I can tap into my network and put you in touch with my team of qualified home inspectors, movers, attorneys, CPAs, organizers and other experts. I have all the resources and knowledge to simplify the transaction and eliminate the anxiety of selling your home.

Call me today to talk about your real estate concerns. I’m here to listen: 925.788.6582

Wellness Wednesday – How to Use Exercise As Medicine

Baby Boomer Couple on BicyclesIn the article Exercise As Medicine, author Jennifer Van Pelt, MA recommends fitness programs to boomers for their preventive qualities against disease, as well as socialization opportunities:

“According to U.S. Census data, there are currently more than 78 million baby boomers, and 58 million will still be alive in 2030. Such numbers indicate that current trends in older adult fitness driven by boomers will continue to evolve. While the size of the boomer population contributes to older adult fitness trends, recently published studies reporting the health and cost benefits of regular exercise for older adults are also spurring the development of new programs by care providers and reimbursement for exercise activities offered by insurance companies. And new technologies are providing new options to make older adult exercise both fun and functional.

‘There are many trends occurring in older adult fitness; however, probably the most significant one is the repackaging of exercise as a disease solution,’ says Colin Milner, CEO of the International Council on Active Aging (ICAA). Viewing exercise as medicine, as a tool to not only manage but also to prevent the health issues elders face, is becoming a commonplace way to promote regular exercise. The ICAA believes health plans will continue to pay for prevention because the fear of rising healthcare costs has forced health insurance companies to investigate the dollar value of exercise for prevention.

‘Many eyes opened when HealthPartners Research Foundation announced their study that showed adults aged 50-plus years who started exercising just 90 minutes a week saved, on average, $2,200 per year in medical costs,’ Milner says. According to Tricia Grayson, director of communications for Healthways’ SilverSneakers Fitness Program, Medicare claims costs in this study for SilverSneakers members were 30% lower than for nonparticipants.

Another study recently released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that Medicare recipients who participated for two years in the SilverSneakers health club exercise program had significantly lower healthcare costs overall, and older adults who visited health clubs at least twice per week had $1,252 less in healthcare costs than those who visited less than once per week. Combining those cost savings with baby boomers’ knowledge of the benefits of physical activity, health insurers take notice, Milner says.

In another nationwide study of more than 9,000 SilverSneakers members, 41% of members with diabetes reported having improved health after one or more years of participation and 46% reported improved body weight. High-risk sedentary behavior was reduced by 59% with SilverSneakers participation, Grayson notes.”

Read the rest: Exercise As Medicine.

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DAYNA WILSON: As a real estate agent I have been working with homebuyers and sellers throughout the East Bay communities of Layfayette, Moraga, Orinda and Walnut Creek since 2009. As a Certified Senior Housing Professional (CSHP) , I have special knowledge about everything from reverse mortgages to the importance of universal design. I can tap into my network and put you in touch with my team of qualified home inspectors, movers, attorneys, CPAs, organizers and other experts. I have all the resources and knowledge to simplify the transaction and eliminate the anxiety of selling your home.

Call me today to talk about your real estate concerns. I’m here to listen: 925.788.6582

Toss It Tuesday – 10 Moving and Downsizing Tips for Boomers and Seniors

Senior couple packing a miving boxIn the article 10 Moving and Downsizing Tips for Senior Citizens, the Gentle Giant Moving Company offers helpful downsizing and moving tips for boomers and seniors:

1. Start with a floor plan of your new space. A floor plan may be the single most important thing you can have. It will tell you how much furniture you can fit and help you decide where everything will go before you step foot into your new home.

2. Reduce the amount of belongings you have to move. Downsizing can be physically exhausting and emotionally draining. Take some time to sort through your belongings and give special items to friends and family. You can also have a yard sale or donate some items to charity. For certain items you’re not ready to part with but cannot bring to your new place, consider using a storage facility.

3. Begin in areas of the house no longer in use. This strategy will be least disruptive to normal life and will help develop some momentum to carry you through other areas of the home.

4. Have a sorting system. Use colored stickers to identify which items you want to donate, which you want to give to family and which ones you need to keep. Make a list of potential recipients and match up the items, instead of coming up with different recipients as you sort through items one by one.

5. Start with large items and work toward smaller ones. Sorting through large furniture first will create a sense of progress for senior citizens. This will make it easier to sort smaller items later on, as it will be clear what storage will be available in the new home.

Find more ideas: 10 Moving and Downsizing Tips for Senior Citizens.

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DAYNA WILSON: As a real estate agent I have been working with homebuyers and sellers throughout the East Bay communities of Layfayette, Moraga, Orinda and Walnut Creek since 2009. As a Certified Senior Housing Professional (CSHP) , I have special knowledge about everything from reverse mortgages to the importance of universal design. I can tap into my network and put you in touch with my team of qualified home inspectors, movers, attorneys, CPAs, organizers and other experts. I have all the resources and knowledge to simplify the transaction and eliminate the anxiety of selling your home.

Call me today to talk about your real estate concerns. I’m here to listen: 925.788.6582

Moving Mom Monday: Benefits of Living Smaller

Senior Couple with Moving Box

In the article Downsizing Tips For Seniors & Boomers, author Jeff LaBombard offers advice on some of the recent housing trends as well as general guidelines for beginning the downsizing process:

“Some retirees still opt for Senior Living Communities or smaller spaces like apartments and condos. No matter what form downsizing takes, there are some key points to consider. Jeff Reeves outlined these points in an article for USA Today. He encourages the following:

Consider the taxes. Income and property taxes vary widely depending on where you live. Do some research before moving. For those on a budget, it is wise to choose an area with lower tax rates.

Public Transportation. Is there housing available in an area that also provides public transportation? This can eliminate the need for multiple – or even any – car payments and maintenance services.

Health Care. It is important to choose an area that offers access to doctors and other health services within the network of your insurance.

Overhead. When choosing a smaller place to live, consider the overhead. While this new place mows the grass and shovels the snow for you, is the cost of those services budget friendly?

Look Beyond the Price Tag. While cost is a major factor for those on a reduced or limited income, it’s not the only factor. It is important to maintain social and community ties – be it friends and family, familiar stores, or a regular doctor.

Check With A Local Realtor. One of the road blocks today is the housing market itself. The Baby Boomer generation matured in a time when building equity in a home came easily and they “traded-up” from their starter homes to something bigger and better. However, the current housing market might not be in their favor if they choose to sell. Forbes.com reports that the Gen-Xers are not ‘trading up’ like their predecessors. Changes to the financial landscape created a plateau in their careers, forcing them to shoulder the brunt of the recent economic downturn. They are working to maintain what they have, not invest in something bigger. As for the Millennials, home ownership in general a possibility, but not a probability. Burdened with school loan debt and a poor job market, they don’t want or can’t afford home ownership. This ripple effect through the generations can have a direct impact on Seniors and Baby Boomers as they hope to sell their large home for top dollar while searching for an affordable smaller home.”

Read more at Downsizing Tips For Seniors & Boomers.

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DAYNA WILSON: As a real estate agent I have been working with homebuyers and sellers throughout the East Bay communities of Layfayette, Moraga, Orinda and Walnut Creek since 2009. As a Certified Senior Housing Professional (CSHP) , I have special knowledge about everything from reverse mortgages to the importance of universal design. I can tap into my network and put you in touch with my team of qualified home inspectors, movers, attorneys, CPAs, organizers and other experts. I have all the resources and knowledge to simplify the transaction and eliminate the anxiety of selling your home.

Call me today to talk about your real estate concerns. I’m here to listen: 925.788.6582