Freedom Friday: 7 Simple Ways Baby Boomers Can Catch Up on Retirement Savings

Retirement Savings Jar

In the article 7 Simple Ways Baby Boomers Can Catch Up on Retirement Savings, author Cameron Huddleston writes:

“Listen up, baby boomers. More than half of adults 55 and older have less than $50,000 in retirement savings, and about one-third haven’t even started saving for retirement. That means many of you have a lot of catching up to do before you punch the clock for the last time.

Some boomers are fortunate to have a job with a pension. Those without that guaranteed source of income or any savings will be forced to survive on Social Security benefits or the support of their children. In some cases, baby boomers simply might not be able to retire at all.”

Here are some tips that can help you catch up on retirement savings:

Downsize Before You Retire. Don’t wait to downsize to a smaller home in retirement. Of course, selling your house isn’t the simplest way to catch up on retirement savings, but it can have a big impact on the amount you set aside over the next several years. You might even find that life actually gets simpler after moving.

Limit the Impact of Taxes on Your Retirement Savings Another way to catch up on retirement savings is to spread your money across different types of accounts to reduce the tax hit when you withdraw it. Withdrawals from various types of accounts are taxed at different rates. “Why throw that money away in taxes if you don’t have to?” asked Neal Ringquist, executive vice president of Retirement Clearinghouse, a provider of retirement savings services in Charlotte, N.C.

Delay Your Retirement. Some boomers will find there is only so much catching up they can do. The better option for these folks might be to work a few more years. Delaying retirement offers two benefits. For starters, it gives you more time to build a nest egg. It also reduces the period of time you’ll need to rely on retirement savings.

Find more tips at 7 Simple Ways Baby Boomers Can Catch Up on Retirement Savings.

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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: How to Make a Smooth Transition to Retirement

Smiling Baby Boomer Couple

In the USA Today article Ways to make a smooth transition to retirement, author Nanci Hellmich writes that the transition from working life to retirement can be difficult for many:

“About two-thirds of retired Baby Boomers say they had challenges adapting to this change in their lives, one survey showed. Among the toughest parts: Missing the day-to-day social connections with colleagues, getting used to a new and different routine and finding ways to give meaning and purpose in their days.”

Hellmich interviewed several retirement experts for their best advice for making the transition to retirement and making the most of this period of life:

Realize that retirement may be your best opportunity to maximize time spent doing what you really like to do, says psychologist Mary Languirand, 57, co-author of “How to Age in Place,” written with her husband, Robert Bornstein. ‘Some people know exactly what they want to do, and where, and with whom. Others — often those who had to devote a lot of time and effort to responsibilities and duties that didn’t necessarily make them happy — need time and ‘permission’ to break old habits and create new patterns.’

Plan to get out and be with others. Research consistently shows that people who spend time with others are healthier and happier than those who are isolated, Languirand says. ‘Don’t be a hermit. Connecting with others can take many different forms, and it works best if you do it in a way that fits your style.’

Stay as healthy as you can. There are factors you cannot control that can have a huge impact on your life, Languirand says. ‘You get the genetic cards you’re dealt, and some ailments cannot yet be fixed or cured. That said, you do have some control over your lifestyle choices. Be the healthiest person you can be, in spite of any medical issues you have. It’ll enhance your quality of life, no matter what you opt to do.’

Read more advice at Ways to make a smooth transition to retirement.

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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 – Ways to Age Well

Baby Boomer Couple on BicyclesIn the US News & World Report article Boomers, You Can Do Better Managing Your Health, author Samantha Costa writes that when it comes to health, Boomers shouldn’t wait until something goes wrong:

“The chronic conditions that pose the greatest risk for death among baby boomers are stroke, lung disease, Alzheimer’s disease and diabetes, according to the CDC. And many of those cases could be prevented: ‘Ninety percent of health is not what happens in the doctor’s office,’ says Jim Firman, president and CEO of the National Council on Aging. ‘It’s what people do or don’t do in their everyday life.'”

Here are some ways to age well:

Regular checkups. ‘It can be discomforting to go to the doctor,’ says Dr. Bernard Kaminetsky, medical director and founding physician for MDVIP. ‘People often don’t want to confront a problem until it’s obvious and hitting them in the face. Ignorance is bliss. Who wants to deal with the responsibility of having a chronic illness?’ Kaminetsky says this element of denial affects many boomers who have otherwise been healthy their entire lives. But it’s still important to make that appointment, says Dr. Marie A. Bernard, deputy director of the National Institute on Aging at the National Institutes of Health. ‘You should certainly see a health care practitioner on a regular basis to get preventive health interventions,’ she adds.

2. Exercise every day. Exercising is almost always a barrier for older adults, especially if they haven’t been exercising their entire lives. The idea of starting in your 50s and 60s can be difficult. ‘We all know what we should do. We know that we should exercise more. However, what we learned about exercise in high school isn’t appropriate now,’ Firman says.

The National Council on Aging’s Go4Life program offers older adults ways to safely exercise – from the most basic stretches to jogging. The group encourages four basic categories of exercise: endurance, strength, balance and flexibility. Endurance activities include brisk walking or jogging, yard work such as mowing or raking the lawn and dancing. Strengthening exercises such as lifting weights, using a resistance band and using body weight to make muscles stronger are outlined in easy how-to guides. For better balance, try standing on one foot, walking heel-to-toe or practicing tai chi. Between these exercises, make sure to stretch the shoulders, upper arms and calves. Aim to spend at least 30 minutes doing moderate exercise five days a week, Firman says.”

Discover more advice at Boomers, You Can Do Better Managing Your Health.

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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 – Sorry, Nobody Wants Your Parents’ Stuff

Heirloom teacup on black backgroundIn the Next Avenue article Sorry, Nobody Wants Your Parents’ Stuff, author Richard Eisenberg writes about the reality of dealing with his father’s possessions after his father passed away:

“After my father died at 94 in September, leaving my sister and me to empty his one-bedroom, independent living New Jersey apartment, we learned the hard truth that others in their 50s and 60s need to know: Nobody wants the prized possessions of your parents — not even you or your kids.

So please forgive the morbidity, but if you’re lucky enough to still have one or more parents or stepparents alive, it would be wise to start figuring out what you’ll do with their furniture, china, crystal, flatware, jewelry, artwork and tchotchkes when the mournful time comes. (I wish I had. My sister and I, forced to act quickly to avoid owing an extra months’ rent on dad’s apartment, hired a hauler to cart away nearly everything we didn’t want or wouldn’t be donating, some of which he said he’d give to charity.)”

Eisenberg offers eight tips for home unfurnishing:

1. Start mobilizing while your parents are around. ‘Every single person, if their parents are still alive, needs to go back and collect the stories of their stuff,’ says financial adviser Holly Kylen. ‘That will help sell the stuff.’ Or it might help you decide to hold onto it. One of Kylen’s clients inherited a set of beautiful gold-trimmed teacups, saucers and plates. Her mother had told her she’d received them as a gift from the DuPonts because she had nursed for the legendary wealthy family. Turns out, the plates were made for the DuPonts. The client decided to keep them due to the fantastic story.

2. Give yourself plenty of time to find takers, if you can. ‘We tell people: The longer you have to sell something, the more money you’re going to make,’ says Chris Fultz, co-owner of Nova Liquidation. Of course, this could mean cluttering up your basement, attic or living room with tables, lamps and the like until you finally locate interested parties.

3. Do an online search to see whether there’s a market for your parents’ art, furniture, china or crystal. If there is, see if an auction house might be interested in trying to sell things for you on consignment. ‘It’s a little bit of a wing and a prayer,’ says Mary Kay Buysse, executive director of the National Association of Senior Move Managers (NASMM).

That’s true. But you might get lucky. I did. My sister and I were pleasantly surprised — no, flabbergasted — when the auctioneer we hired sold our parents’ enormous, turn-of-the-20th-century portrait of an unknown woman by an obscure painter to a Florida art dealer for a tidy sum. (We expected to get a dim sum, if anything.) Apparently, the Newcomb-Macklin frame was part of the attraction. Go figure. Our parents’ tabletop marble bust went bust at the auction, however, and now sits in my den, owing to the kindness of my wife.”

Read more tips: Sorry, Nobody Wants Your Parents’ Stuff.

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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: Why More Baby Boomers Are Moving Back to the Cities

In the article Reverse Migration: How Baby Boomers Are Transforming City Living, author Clare Trapasso writes about how baby boomers are choosing to move back to city living:

“Instead of migrating south en masse to retirement communities in the Sunshine State or the wilds of Arizona, more and more baby boomers—a particularly urban-savvy group of Americans—are moving back to the metro areas they abandoned when they began raising families. And in leaving their suburban homesteads, these empty nesters are redefining the urban centers they now call home. Again.”

Reasons why boomers are choosing city living include:

  • Sick of the suburbs. Tired of maintaining a big house in the boonies.
  • Want convenient transportation
  • Want to be in close proximity to health care providers
  • Want condos with concierge services
  • Want to be close to restaurants, shops, and cultural venues such as museums and theaters

Read the rest at Reverse Migration: How Baby Boomers Are Transforming City Living.

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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: Senior Discounts Aren’t Just for Seniors Anymore

Piggy Bank Sitting on Stack of Money

In the New York Times article Senior Discounts Aren’t Just for Seniors Anymore, author Tammy La Gorce writes:

“Maybe they are embarrassed about their age. Or unaware of the many discount programs for seniors. Or simply thinking about something else.

All are reasons that seniors may not ask for or receive the discounts they qualify for at myriad retailers. After all, a Walgreens cashier can’t be expected to automatically deduct the 20 percent senior discount the chain offers on certain Tuesdays. And many shoppers — particularly those who are just in their 50s, for whom there are fewer offers — aren’t in the habit of asking if a discount is an option.”

Check out:

The Senior List: Find dozens of restaurants where older people can qualify for discounts of 10 percent or more. This includes major chain eateries such as Applebee’s, Ben & Jerry’s, Burger King and Chili’s.

Retired Brains offers more categories of discounts, like apparel, travel, groceries and entertainment. Who knew that baby boomers and others over 62 could get 10 percent off clothing at Banana Republic and 5 percent off at Greyhound? Or that a 55th birthday qualifies purchasers for 10 percent off Best Western hotels and Midas auto services? (Discounts and deals may vary by the individual store or franchise.)

Find additional discount opportunities by reading the rest of Senior Discounts Aren’t Just for Seniors Anymore.

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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: Time to Think About Your Psychological Portfolio

Smiling Baby Boomer Couple

The more than 70 million baby boomers that will begin to retire in the next decade will transform the notion of retirement. Their very numbers will force a rethinking of what retirement means and how people will live their lives. These numbers force us to identify those critical factors that will define a “healthy” retirement.

In the American Psychological Association article Thinking About Retirement? Time to Think About Your Psychological Portfolio, counseling psychologist Nancy K. Schlossberg , EdDh writes that “retirement is not one, but many transitions, that coping with these transitions depends on the following: the role of work and family in the life of the individual, the timing of retirement, the degree to which work has been satisfying, the degree to which retirement is planned for, the expectations one has about retirement, the degree to which a meaningful life is established and, of course one’s health and sense of financial security.”

Based on her study with retirees, Dr. Schlossberg identified the following ways in which people approach retirement:

  • Continuers who continued using existing skills and interests;
  • Adventurers who start entirely new endeavors;
  • Searchers who explore new options through trial and error;
  • Easy Gliders who enjoy unscheduled time letting each day unfold;
  • Involved Spectators who care deeply about the world, but engage in less active ways;
  • Retreaters who take time out or disengage from life.”

Read more about the factors that contribute to helping people negotiate the retirement transition at Thinking About Retirement? Time to Think About Your Psychological Portfolio.

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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 – 9 Tips For Getting a Better Night’s Sleep

Older Man Having Trouble Falling Asleep

We’ve all been there: you’re lying in bed at night, wishing you could fall asleep, but you’re wide awake. Or you wake up in the middle of the night and lie there for hours tossing and turning, wondering why sleep eludes you.

An occasional sleepless night is one thing. But chronic insomnia is a serious issue that can impact your quality of life and even put you in danger. After all, when you’re tired you’re much more likely to make a careless mistake that could lead to a fall or accident.

Insomnia can strike at any age, but seniors are more likely to have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep all night. Why is that?

In the article Elderly Insomnia: Causes and Treatment Tips, you will discover the common causes of insomnia in the elderly, along with nine tips to help you get a better night’s sleep.

These tips include:

1. Stick to a regular routine. Try to go to bed and get up at approximately the same time every day. This will help tell your body when it’s time to sleep.

2. Set the stage at bedtime. When you’re getting ready to wind down for the night, lower the lights a little, play some soft music, take a relaxing warm bath or shower, or do something else that will relax you. Establish a regular, calming bedtime ritual that works for you. This way, when it’s time for lights out, your relaxed state will make it easier to fall asleep.

3. Turn off the TV. Avoid watching television or spending time on the computer later in the evening. These can stimulate your brain and make it more difficult to get to sleep.

4. Create the right sleeping environment. A dark, quiet, cool bedroom will help you get to sleep and stay that way.

5. Cut out the caffeine. You may enjoy having a cup of coffee or two in the morning to start your day, but if you continue drinking coffee or other caffeinated drinks later in the day, they can keep you wired well into the night. A good rule of thumb is to avoid caffeine for at least three hours before you plan to go to bed. The same goes for other stimulants like nicotine.

6. Limit alcohol. Sure a glass of wine or a cocktail may make you feel drowsy at first. But alcohol can actually interfere with your sleep cycles, making it more likely that you’ll wake up during the night.”

Discover more tips at Elderly Insomnia: Causes and Treatment Tips.

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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 – Should I Downsize My Home?

Large Home Downsized to Small HomeHow do you know when it is time to transition to a smaller living space?

Discover the questions to ask yourself in the HGTV article Should I Downsize My Home?:

Does size matter to me?
Think about how much your identity is wrapped up in your house.
“For most of us, where we live not only fulfills our needs for shelter but also tells the world who we are. “More than any other possession, a house is used by our family, friends and neighbors as a barometer of our status and importance within the community,” says Genevieve Ferraro, who knows what it’s like to move from a large home to a smaller one: her 1,800-square-foot house in Chicago is next to one twice that size and the only one in her neighborhood that hasn’t added additional rooms.
“Moving to a smaller home goes against ingrained conventional thinking that ‘bigger is better,'” she says.
Meaning that your psyche may feel like ‘smaller is worse.’
Will I miss some important things about a more spacious home? 

Ask yourself: Will moving into smaller digs feel like a step forward, because I’m living more environmentally friendly and simplifying my life? Or will it feel like a step backward?
Kerri Fivecoat-Campbell, 45, blogs about her experiences after moving from a 1,100-square-foot house in Kansas City, Kansas, to a 480-square-foot home in the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas.
She says there are some things she misses about her larger house (it was more centrally located, for example), and she kind of wishes her small house had cathedral-style ceilings to make the rooms look a little more spacious. But she loves that it takes her only two hours to clean her entire house. “And that includes cleaning out the refrigerator,” she says.
Karen Scott, 55, echoes the sentiment, saying that moving into a smaller house can be “amazingly freeing.” She and her husband moved from a large house in southern Florida to a smaller one in Stuart, on the Treasure Coast. With her other, bigger house, says Scott, “Every weekend, I spent from four to eight hours a weekend, just doing yard work in the summer. Plus, the house was twice as large, and even though I had help, it was still a lot of responsibility. My husband doesn’t have to worry about cleaning the pool and mowing the grass, either. It’s great how much more time you have to do what you want to do. I loved puttering in my yard, and I still do, but on my terms now.”

Read the rest: Should I Downsize My Home?.

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DAYNA WILSON: 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: Should Your Parents Consider Moving to Independent Living?

Some seniors feel that moving out of a home they’ve lived in for decades automatically means they’re losing their independence.

But independent living is almost the opposite of that. It’s about making it easier and more fun to live on their own.

What is independent living?

Independent living is housing that’s designed exclusively for people over age 55. It can range from apartments to houses, but they’re all designed to be senior-friendly. This usually means they’re smaller, easier to get around in, and don’t require maintenance or yard work.

Many independent living communities also offer extras, like:

  • Group meals
  • Transportation
  • Housekeeping and laundry service
  • Security and staff available 24/7
  • Recreational centers or clubhouses
  • Organized activities like arts & crafts, holiday parties, classes, movie nights
  • Facilities like a pool, fitness center, tennis court, golf course

Who is independent living right for?

Independent living is a good choice for active, healthy older adults who can get around on their own and don’t need help with activities of daily living.

Most people living in independent living still drive, may be employed, have active lifestyles, and participate in the greater city community.

Seniors might consider independent living because they:

  • Feel that maintaining their house is getting more and more difficult.
  • Have shrinking social circles and are getting lonely.
  • Are having a more difficult time with driving, which limits activities.
  • Have lost a spouse and feel that joining a community of people their own age would help them stay engaged in life and prevent loneliness.
  • Want to move to be closer to their kids, but don’t want to live with them, don’t want the upkeep of a house, and do want to make new friends in their new city.

Read more about the advantages of independent living at DailyCaring.com.

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DAYNA WILSON: 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