Freedom Friday: More Advice in 2018 for the Nearly Retired

Four colored price stickers on the worn wooden backgroundIn the Market Watch article, 9 New Year’s Resolutions for the Nearly Retired, author Alessandra Malito suggests that if you are planning to retire in 2018, there are some important resolutions you should make now:

Get the important documents settled. Even at your healthiest, or when you’re struggling to save money, wills and other life documents, such as a power of attorney, are important, especially if you want your wishes to be followed. ‘Don’t leave your family with difficult decisions and scrambling to piece together your finances,’ said James White, a financial adviser and founder of J.H. White Financial in Pottstown, Penn. Know who you want to make the medical decisions, who should be executor of your estate and how to divide your assets. And, though it seems morbid, write out a safely stored document with all the important information you know that your family may need, such as all financial accounts, passwords to social media and other websites and even family recipes they may want, to keep your family’s legacy alive.

Declutter. Getting rid of possessions can be a tedious process, but it frees up space in your home — and could do the same in your mind. ‘By simplifying your life early in retirement, you’re not only freeing up space in your home, but you’re able to take your time to examine what’s most meaningful to you and release anything that no longer serves you,’ said Penny Gordon, senior vice president and private wealth adviser at Gibraltar Private Bank & Trust in East Berlin, Penn. Having a clean slate is just as important as getting your financial house in order, she said (and it could make downsizing homes in the future easier, too). The items that no longer mean much to you may mean a great deal to a family member, friend or charity organization, Gordon added. Some may want to follow Marie Kondo’s method of decluttering, where she puts everything of one category (such as clothes, books or linens) on the floor and picks them up one by one to see which “spark joy” and which don’t. When something is no longer important, you’re supposed to thank the item for its time and find a new place for it (outside of your life).

Know your benefits. Educate yourself on what your company gives you in retirement, including how your retirement accounts are invested and if you get any health benefits. About a quarter of employers who provide health insurance also offer some sort of financial help with medical needs (though that share of employers used to be a lot higher — 60% in the 1980s). Along with what employers offer, it’s important to know what the government will give you. Social Security benefit checks are expected to shrink in a few decades, because there are more people currently retiring than there are people entering the workforce. If you haven’t already, create an account with the Social Security Administration at My Social Security to ensure work history and personal information is current, view Social Security benefit statements or see what you should expect to receive in the future.”

Read more at 9 New Year’s Resolutions for the Nearly 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 – Six Secrets to a Long Life from Ancestral Greek Islanders

Greek Island SantoriniIn the Next Avenue article Secrets From the Island Where People Forget to Die, author Laine Bergeson writes about the remarkable longevity of the residents of the Greek island of Ikaria:

“On the Greek island of Ikaria, people forget to die.

For the most part, they also forget to get sick – the island’s many nonagenarians experience relatively little cancer, cardiovascular disease or dementia.

This small island in the north Aegean Sea has been the subject of much study by researchers across the world. Every outsider wonders: What is the secret to a long and healthy life?

In her cookbook Ikaria: Lessons on Food, Life, and Longevity from the Greek Island Where People Forget to Die, ancestral Ikarian and part-time resident of the island, Diane Kochilas, offers an insider’s perspective on why this far-flung Greek community lives so long and so well.”

Here are some of Kochilas’ longevity tips:

1. Eat locally, seasonally and sparingly. The octagenarians, nonagenarians and centenarians I spoke with on Ikaria all described the eating habits of their early years — years of dire poverty, dearth and isolation — not so much in terms of what they ate but of how little they ate, because there simply wasn’t that much food.

Meat was rare, for some as rare as two to three times a year on the big holidays. For others who may have had animals (mainly chickens), they could afford to slaughter a few times a month. Fish was accessible if one fished; gardens were carved into terraces along Ikaria’s steep slopes and watered sparingly.

The 100-year-olds ate what they found in nature, from snails to mushrooms to wild greens, as well as what their gardens provided. There was and is still virtually no processed food on the island, except in some restaurants.

2. Live deliberately and don’t rush. The pace with which people move on Ikaria (including my own family!) never ceases to amaze me: slow, deliberate, unhurried, but with enough time to observe and live in every moment.

3. Enjoy sleep. We sleep so much when we are on Ikaria. It’s a godsend. I don’t know if it’s the atmosphere or the clean air, but I can sleep there totally soundly for 10 hours, even with daylight pouring into the room. Ikarians nap. All older Greeks nap.

4. Let things go. The Greeks say, ‘Don’t hold the bad in.’ There is so much truth and wisdom in that. Ikaria is a place where people tend to be easygoing, forgiving and unstressed. It’s also a place where the local culture allows for a very liberal interpretation of what it means to be uninhibited. The panygyria, local feasts of wine and dancing that are usually in celebration of a saint’s name day, are the place to witness how we let loose and enjoy it. Dancing has a lot to do with it. So does the strength of the local wine.

Read the rest of the tips: Secrets From the Island Where People Forget to Die.

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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: 12 Tips for Baby Boomers to Achieve Optimal Health

Baby Boomer Couple on BicyclesIn the article 12 Tips for Baby Boomers to Achieve Optimal Health, author Rebecca Forstadt-Olkowski suggests that as we age, we all need to be “self-preserving.”

Here are some tips that can help:

Drink water as your main source of hydration. Sip it throughout the day. Fresh spring water is best, but if it’s not available, filter it using an inexpensive pitcher with a filter. If you’re worried about acidity, squeeze a little lemon or lime into it. It will alkalize your water and you won’t have to spend a fortune on a fancy water machine.

Always keep your body moving. There’s no need to go to extremes when it comes to exercise, especially if you’re over 50. A knee or hip replacement from running too hard isn’t something you want to deal with. Walking’ is the best exercise for most people. People who live to 100 or more have stayed active and in motion most of their lives. Swimming is easy on the bones and good for those who have difficulty walking. If you’re sensitive to chlorine, swim in salt water instead. Too much chlorine can be toxic. Stretching is essential for flexibility and strength training will keep your bones strong. You can add exercise to your life without having to join a gym. Gardening, house cleaning, walking the dog, dancing, and other routine activities are all good forms of exercise. The main thing is to stay off your duff as much as possible. If you work in front of a computer all day, get up every 20 minutes to move. Sitting for long periods of time can be hazardous to your health. The same goes for flying long distances in a plane. Try to book an aisle seat and move around the cabin as often as possible. If your feet start to swell after flying, see a doctor immediately to make sure you don’t have a pulmonary embolism.

Your willpower is powerful. If you have a strong will to live you’ll have a better chance of making it to a healthy old age. What you think about, you bring about. Train your mind to visualize positive outcomes, rather than dwell on the negative. It’s amazing what you can accomplish if you truly believe you can.”

Read the rest of the tips at: 12 Tips for Baby Boomers to Achieve Optimal 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

Freedom Friday: Can Your Vacation Make You Happier?

Baby Boomer Couple in CityIn the Next Avenue article, Can Your Vacation Make You Happier?, author Lisa Fields offers advice on how to get the most out of your trip before, during and after it:

Before You Go. The moment that you purchase airline tickets, reserve a hotel room or book a guided tour, you’re in vacation mode, even if your trip is months away. The more time you spend eagerly anticipating your future getaway, the happier you can become.

‘People get more happiness and enjoyment from planning and anticipating a vacation than from remembering and reliving a vacation,’ said Leaf Van Boven, professor of psychology and neuroscience at the University of Colorado Boulder. ‘The trick is to make it fun, not like work.’

While You Are There.​ When you’re on vacation, appreciate the scenery, the company, the change of pace from the ordinary. Enjoy yourself in the moment, even if your actual experiences are different than you imagined they would be.

‘Truly enjoyable vacations aren’t ruined by failing to meet expectations,’ Van Boven said. ‘Any life event could be undermined by great expectations. We really need to enjoy experiences for what they are, not for what they are not.’

Once You Return Home. After you’ve done the laundry and restocked the fridge, don’t revert to life as usual: Spend time poring over your vacation photos and thinking about the fun you had.

According to happiness researcher Jaime Kurtz,  you should, ‘Go back through photos and start the process of reflecting. Think about what you liked about yourself and your family dynamic while traveling. If you felt happier or more energized and if your family got along better than usual, ask yourself why. Can any of the potential causes of your happiness be incorporated into daily life?'”

Read the rest at Can Your Vacation Make You Happier?.

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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: Want to Be Happy? Think Like an Old Person

Registered nurse comforts elderly woman patientIn the New York Times article Want to Be Happy? Think Like an Old Person, author John Leland reports on the lives of six New Yorkers over the age of 85, one of the fastest-growing age groups in America. He discovered that older people report higher levels of contentment or well-being than teenagers and young adults:

“If they were not always gleeful, they were resilient and not paralyzed by the challenges that came their way. All had known loss and survived. None went to a job he did not like, coveted stuff she could not afford, brooded over a slight on the subway or lost sleep over events in the distant future. They set realistic goals. Only one said he was afraid to die.

For three years, visiting them has been a lesson in living, and a rejoinder to the myth that youth is life’s glory, after which everything is downhill. Their muscles weakened, their sight grew dim, their friends and peers gradually disappeared. But each showed a matter-of-fact resilience that would shame most 25-year-olds.”

Read more about these six elders: Want to Be Happy? Think Like an Old Person.

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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: 9 New Year’s Resolutions for the Nearly Retired

Four colored price stickers on the worn wooden backgroundIn the Market Watch article, 9 New Year’s Resolutions for the Nearly Retired, author Alessandra Malito suggests that if you are planning to retire in 2018, there are some important resolutions you should make now:

Make a plan for what to do with your free time before you retire. To avoid boredom in retirement, start planning seriously for what all that newfound time will mean for you. Consider devoting more time to a hobby, joining a social club, or taking on volunteer work, for example. Liz Revenko, senior financial planner at Mosaic Financial Planning in Berkeley, Calif., suggests mapping out a standard week in retirement – write out what your seven days, morning through night, will look like, adding activities you enjoy and people you like being with. ‘Resolve to plant seeds now to step into a vibrant retirement, rich with purpose and choice,’ she said.

Practice that lifestyle before retiring. If you’re still working and can’t take a few months off to pretend you’re in retirement, use accumulated vacation or sick time to do nothing but stay in your town, said Andrew Houte, director of retirement planning at Next Level Planning and Wealth Management in Brookfield, Wis. Don’t go on vacation or travel. ‘Get a sense of how retirement might look and feel,’ he said. ‘If you’re married, what’s that dynamic like when you’re both home for extended periods of time together?’ Alternatively, if you plan to move in retirement, you may want to take that vacation – but go to your potential new city during its off-season, such as a beach town during its less busy season or ski area in the summer.

Add a ‘just-in-case’ bucket to your budget. When planning for regular expenses, such as groceries, gas and utilities, rent or mortgage payments, and an emergency fund, don’t forget to include an extra bucket specifically for ‘just-in-case’ situations, said Todd Minear, a financial adviser and founder of Open Road Wealth in Kansas City, Mo. It should be about 10% to 20% above all other planned expenses, and would include unexpected desires, such as a bathroom remodel, new carpet or ‘bucket list’ items.”

Read more at 9 New Year’s Resolutions for the Nearly 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: I Decided To Finally Get In Shape In My 50s – Here’s How I Did It

Baby Boomer Woman ExercisingIn the Prevention article I Decided To Finally Get In Shape In My 50s—Here’s How I Did It, Lisa Klitz tells author K. Aleisha Fetters why she decided to get fit in her 50s:

“As women, so much of what we do revolves around taking care of others. We strive to keep our kids healthy, our bosses happy, and our homes running like well-oiled machines. It wasn’t until I retired three years ago, at the age of 50, that I realized that in all of that craziness, I had missed out on one essential thing: taking care of myself.”

Here are some of the things Lisa learned as she got in better shape:

One benefit of getting started with exercise in my 50s is that every accomplishment of mine was a first. There was no comparing my run times to those from my 20s, 30s, or 40s. Every workout was a personal best, which was extremely encouraging and has kept me motivated.

Don’t be afraid of a fitness challenge when you are ready. However, a few months later in October 2016, my local Orangetheory held a six-week fitness challenge that involved going to three classes per week—which to me, seemed like a lot! My instructor encouraged me to go for it and reminded me that even if I had to work at less than 100% during each class, I’d be working more and getting greater benefits than I would by sticking with my one weekly class. The challenge also put a focus on fueling right and emphasized eating whole, unprocessed foods. Truth be told, I had never really worked to eliminate processed foods from my diet before. As a crazy-busy working mom, they had long been a staple in my eating routine. I decided eating healthier and working out more could only help me, so I took a leap of faith and signed up for the challenge. Six weeks later, I had lost an entire inch off of my hips and felt my body changing even more than it had before. I was carrying muscle in places I didn’t even know you could have muscle, and I had a perky butt for the first time in my life!”

Read more: I Decided To Finally Get In Shape In My 50s—Here’s How I Did It.

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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: More Ways to Pursue Your Passions

Row of Lightbulbs on blue backgroundIn the Next Avenue article, 6 Ways to Pursue Your Passions, author Rob Pascale suggests boomers come up with a list of the activities and pursuits that are personally meaningful, then go after them. But he advises that you take a close look at the real value of each activity you’re considering:

Establish a Routine. Structure and direction come from setting up schedules and routines. One way is to keep a calendar and the ever popular “to do” list. In this way, you’ll treat your activity like your job: a list outlines the tasks ahead of you and the calendar keeps you focused on a schedule.

Each morning should start off with a review of your calendar and list so you will know what the day holds. If should never be full of nothing, unless you’ve given yourself a day off.

Just Do It. ​Apologies for stealing someone else’s tag, but another crucial aspect of planning and goal-setting is seemingly self-evident, but often not done: follow through on the plans you make.

Without follow-through, planning is just a waste of time. Never fall too far behind your list or calendar, because the further back you fall, the harder it will be to get back on track.

Some activities don’t add to quality of life. They can’t feel like chores, now or down the road. For an activity to be worth anything, you have to look forward to doing it and be emotionally invested. This is really key — you can’t spend your time in low-grade activities and expect them to make you feel good about yourself.

6. Aim for Balance. You should also pursue more than one passion. Not all personally meaningful and emotionally investable activities produce the same psychological benefits. Activities that are simple yet fun work differently than those that are more serious and have problem solving components. And those that you do alone are different from those you do with others.

Only doing solo activities may lead you to feel isolated and disconnected, and that’s never good for emotional well-being. Activities you do with others, such as sports or joining clubs, promote psychological and physical health, because you’re socially connected. Even social activities can be broken down further —  some, like club membership, are more entertaining; others are work-like. Both provide connectedness, but the second type also lets you feel productive and valued. Both social and solo activities have at least two classes — some require thinking and others are physical.

Aim for balance — have a mix of social and solo, physical and mental, activities. Not to trivialize things, but variety is truly the spice of life. And besides, doing all types will certainly fill up your day.”

Read the rest at 6 Ways to Pursue Your Passions.

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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 – Healthy Snack Suggestions

Group of fresh fruits and vegetablesIn the National Institute on Aging article Serving and Portion Sizes: How Much Should I Eat?, NIH suggests that snacks are okay, as long as they are smart food choices. Here are some examples:

“If you want an afternoon pick-me-up or after-dinner snack, have a piece of fruit, or spread peanut butter or low-fat cream cheese on whole wheat toast.

Don’t forget to include snacks in your daily food count. For example, one tablespoon of peanut butter spread on a slice of whole wheat toast counts toward the grains group and the protein foods group. Some ideas for healthy snacking include:

– Have an ounce of cheese with some whole-grain crackers, a container of low-fat or fat-free yogurt, or some low-fat popcorn.

– Put fruit instead of candy in the bowl on your coffee table.

– Keep a container of cleaned, raw vegetables in the fridge.

– If you want some chips or nuts, don’t eat from the bag. Count out a serving, and put the bag away.

Read more suggestions: 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

Freedom Friday: Travel Trends for 2018

Baby Boomer Couple in Retirement

In the latest AARP Travel Research Report, R&R, Family Visits, and Bucket Lists: Travel Trends for 2018, author Vicki Gelfeld writes that, “in 2018, 49% of Baby Boomers say they will travel to relax and rejuvenate (up from 38% in 2017). Baby Boomers expect to take four or five leisure trips next year, spending almost $6,400 on travel expenses―the same or more than they spent in 2017, according to a national survey of adult travelers conducted by AARP, 2018 Travel Trends.”

“Highlights from the study:

  • About half (49%) of respondents only expect to travel domestically. Florida and California are the most popular U.S. destinations.
  • The other half (47%) plan to travel domestically and internationally. Top choices for those going abroad: the Caribbean/Latin America and Europe.
  • Just 23% of international trips and 13% of domestic travel have been booked for 2018. Of those still planning, 75% have chosen their destination abroad and 72% of those traveling in the U.S. know where they want to go.

For those who travel in the U.S., trips are mostly summer vacations, multi-generational travel or weekend getaways. About 66% of Boomers travel domestically by plane and 60% by car.”

Read the rest of the study 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