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

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

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

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

Transition Thursday: Senior Boomers – A Great Time to Be “The Older Old”

Elderly Lady with Nurse at Assisted Living Facility

In the Worcester Telegram article Caregiving Challenges, Opportunities Loom as Baby Boomers Age, author Susan Spencer writes that “The generation that created fast food, cellphones and Google – the baby boom generation – is about to hit another cultural milestone: becoming ‘the older old.”

So what does this mean for caretakers of senior baby boomers?

“‘Being 75 now is a great time to be old,’ Kate Salmon-Robinson, director of marketing communications and community relations at SALMON Health and Retirement, said one senior woman told her.

Advances in telemedicine and consumer-focused services such as MinuteClinics have improved how people who aren’t as mobile as they used to be get care.

She encouraged people caring for a senior to get that person an iPad that will allow them to connect to health monitoring apps with their physician, as well as communicate with far-flung family through Skype and Facebook, and keep up on the news.”

Read more advice at Caregiving Challenges, Opportunities Loom as Baby Boomers Age.

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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 – Time for You to Get Rid of All That Extra Stuff

Senior couple packing a miving boxIn her article 20 Tips to Help You Get Rid of Junk, author Paula Spencer Scott knows how difficult it can be to help a parent downsize for a move. “Where you see a houseful of stuff to sort and toss, your parent is apt to see treasures, essentials, and a lifetime of memories,” she writes.

Here are some expert-tested ideas to avoid the ‘junk wars’ and make downsizing less stressful — for all of you.

1. Avoid tackling the whole house in one go. Though it’s more efficient for you to plow full steam ahead, your parent is apt to be stressed emotionally, if not also physically. When organizing a parent’s move, it’s better to think in terms of months, not days. Tackle one room or area at a time. About two hours at a stretch is ideal for many older adults, says Margit Novack, president of MovingSolutions in Philadelphia and founding president of the National Association of Senior Move Managers.

2. Frame decisions as yes-no questions. Open-ended choices put a reluctant mover on the spot, raising stress. Avoid asking, ‘Which pots and pans do you want to keep?’ Winnow them down yourself first, then present a more manageable yes-no option: ‘I’ve got your best frying pan, a large pot, and a small sauce pot. Does that sound good?’ ‘Couching questions for yes-no answers provides the opportunity for the parent to feel successful so you can move on to the next thing,’ Novack says. Items that exist in abundance work especially well to presort: clothing, kitchenware, tools, and anything else you know the person has way more of than he or she will have space for.

3. Use the new space as a guide. Measure exactly how much closet or cabinet space the new place has (assisted living communities will provide this information if you ask), and fill an equivalent amount of space as you sort. Mark off the comparable space so your parent has a visual guide. Beware of excessive multiples. In assisted living, your parent only needs one frying pan, one or two sets of sheets, one coffeemaker, one or two coats, and so on.

4. Banish the “maybe” pile. Relocation experts call it the OHIO rule: Only handle it once. The less decisive you are about what to do with an item, the more attached you (or your parent) risk becoming to it, Hayes says. Moving things in and out of ‘maybe’ piles is also takes time. Tempting as it is to set aside tough sorts for later, unless there’s room to ‘hold’ them at a relative’s house, it’s not generally worth paying storage-rental fees (unless it’s a very large estate and time is tight). That’s because once they’re boxed, your parent isn’t likely to look at the items ever again. (Out of sight, out of mind.) Exception: Save time by boxing piles of paperwork, which doesn’t take much room. Papers are time-consuming to go through and present an unpleasant task for many disorganized people, casting a pall on your packing.”

Find more ideas: 20 Tips to Help You Get Rid of Junk.

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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

Transition Thursday: Helping Boomer Women Survive Financial Transitions

Elderly Lady

In the article Inheriting the Family’s Finances: Helping Boomer Women Survive Financial Transitions, author Rhonda Ducote writes about the fact that women outliving their husbands is a financial reality for the boomer generation:

“You’re having a regular day with your husband. You revel in the 30-50 years of work you and your husband put into building your life together. That’s when the news hits: an accident, a health scare…something disrupts your simple day and, before you know it, you lose your partner.

The dramatic change sets you on an uncharted path. There is so much to process — emotionally and otherwise.

As part of the transition, you’re left in charge of the family finances. Fortunately, you can mitigate the financial stress by following these guidelines:

Financial Transition: The Immediate Aftermath Immediately after a tragic loss, life can be overwhelming and terrifying. There is no exact way to set up an emergency or rainy day fund. Some basic guidelines include:

  • available liquidity to cover six to 12 months of expenses, and
  • ability to access funds without limitations or confusion.

Widows don’t receive most benefits until someone produces an official death certificate. Issuing death certificates takes about 30 days. Distributing those certificates to the necessary entities can take weeks longer.

Navigating Your New Financial Life. Political and financial changes are inevitable. Navigating these changes can be overwhelming and confusing for those less experienced. Clients and advisors should have an annual review to go over the client’s entire portfolio and goals.”

Read more advice at Inheriting the Family’s Finances: Helping Boomer Women Survive Financial Transitions.

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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

Transition Thursday: Baby Boomers in Job Transition – Get Real…and You’ll Get Back to Work Soon

Baby Boomer Entrepreneur

In the article Baby Boomers in Job Transition: Get Real…and You’ll Get Back to Work Soon, author Rick Gray writes about how seemingly out of touch many Baby Boomers are with today’s job market reality.

Here’s some of Rick’s no-holds-barred view and advice:

1. Park the career ego now. That means not pushing compensation requirements, title, reporting structure or common senior-level ‘perk’ considerations such as signing bonus, extra vacation days or severance package. These types of demands are likely to swiftly convince a prospective employer to go in another candidate direction, and leads me to my second point.

2. Your singular focus should be to get the job OFFER. It’s less about the specific job terms and more about seizing greater control of your situation to get back into the workforce. And at this stage of your career, you have very little of that until someone formally commits to hiring you. From there you may be able to negotiate some aspects of the offer package and, in the end, you always have the option of turning it down. But better to be employed in a less-than-ideal situation while you continue to search for a more attractive gig — your marketability is infinitely better if you’re already employed, particularly now.

3. Stay engaged. This advice may sound obvious, but I’m talking about a thoughtful, multi-dimensional strategy.

(a) First and foremost, secure a freelance consulting project or busy yourself with volunteer work that highlights competencies relevant to your job search. Though it’s clearly not a full-time job, you will leave a stronger impression by showing your skills are in demand if you can refer to existing projects. What if you’re not good at selling or marketing your capabilities for freelance projects? There are a growing number of online marketplaces like Upwork that make it remarkably simple to present, promote, price, procure and administratively process such work, both cross-function and industry.

(b) Second, stay regularly connected with your network of relationships: personal and professional, and any professional affiliations/memberships you may have. And while some email, LinkedIn and other social media exchange is efficient and necessary, the personal, face-to-face contact and exchange is strongest, and a better way to develop new relationships that may help you.

(c) Third, don’t dismiss networking events and organizations specifically targeting those in transition because everybody else there is unemployed and looking for a job just like you. Good ones, such as NSENG in the greater Chicago metro area, provide an incredible support group and platform for sharing experiences and expert tips about the job search process, exchanging senior-level contacts, and securing introductions to job leads from prior employer relationships of others. ”

Read more advice of Rick’s advice at Baby Boomers in Job Transition: Get Real…and You’ll Get Back to Work Soon.

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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 – From Downsizing Boomers, a Flood of Donated Art

Abstract Fine Art PaintingGot art? According to the New York Times article From Downsizing Boomers, a Flood of Donated Art, author John Hance writes about the upsurge in art donations, due to baby boomers downsizing:

“According to Brian Szott, head of collections and curator of art for the Minnesota Historical Society, there has been ‘a striking surge in the number of works that have been donated to the society over the last five years, from 22 in fiscal 2012 to 77 in the fiscal year that ended in June.’ Why the big increase? Mr. Szott says that works donated over the last five years have tended to come from older adults in the process of downsizing or decluttering. ‘It’s a huge shift in possession going on, and it’s going to affect the whole art world,’ he said.”

According to David J. Ekerdt, a sociologist and gerontologist at the University of Kansas, the trend is real.

“‘It makes perfect sense,’ said Dr. Ekerdt, who has studied the downsizing movement. ‘Baby boomers are offloading all kinds of things.’

While only 4 to 5 percent of people over 60 move to a smaller dwelling in a given year, about a third of the over-60 population will move over a 10-year interval, Dr. Ekerdt said. And that number is expected to increase over the next decade as the rest of the baby boom cohort moves into prime retirement age — now a quintessential time for decluttering and giving things away.

Donating to an institution is one of the easiest offloading strategies for possessions, he said. ‘You can, No. 1, give it to a family member or friend; 2, sell it; No. 3, donate; or No. 4 or 5, store it or trash it,” he said.'”

Read more here: From Downsizing Boomers, a Flood of Donated Art.

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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