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SMARTMOVERS = Connecting “Dots”

Hey… if you’ve arrived here chances are you were hangin’ out with us at the SMARTMOVERS launch event this past Friday the 13th (Yea… “scary”!).  Good guys like Pat Cashman, Martin and Monte from Sozo Wine, Rajiv, Chef Gabe and Jerry Kingen, owner of Salty’s, all pulled together to make for good food, good wine, good times and the good cause of providing meals through the Federal Way Foodbank.

Or…. maybe you’d like to be hangin’ with these SMARTMOVERS  down the road, at one of the next events we pull off. (Sorry to those that we had to turn away this time…don’t you hate it when its a “Sold Out” scenario?)

Or… you ‘ve got a business in mind that you think SMARTMOVERS should shine its light on for exposure.

Or… maybe you’d like to launch your own “home version” of connecting the dots; of “good-guy” businesses + good food and drink +  good cause. We can help with that.  It’s actually pretty dang easy to launch your very own SMARTMOVERS Club. Martin and Monte at Sozo Friends will show you how.

Anywho… let me know what’s on your mind. Seriously, I like to know what you’re thinking about these days, especially when it comes to helping Boomers navigate life with more good waypoints on their map. Leave me a comment below… I’ll have my “people” get with your “people” (I guess the proper term is “peeps”, according to my teen-aged daughter.)

Best!

Mike

 

 

Approaching Your Aging Parents 101

What can you give an aging parent who has everything this Holiday Season? Try the gift of paying attention”. At no cost to you, this simple and invaluable gift can bring much peace and joy to entire families. As your parents age it is inevitable that we’ll see changes in their health, their ability to care for themselves, and their cognition. For those of who see our parents infrequently, the holidays are an excellent time to pay attention and look for some of the changes that I, as a Geriatric Care Manager, often see in the aging population.  Here are some light-hearted, but practical perspectives to adopt that I often find myself “coaching” children of aging parents on:

Alternatives to AARP

This past Saturday on the AgingOptions Radio Show a listener by the name of Tricia called in to inquire as to whether there might be some good alernatives to the AARP (American Association of Retired Persons)… similar organizations that could offer the same benefits associated with AARP’s vast membership “clout” in  procuring savings on things like insurance products and discounts on services and products.

Turns out that there are!  Membership groups that build upon the AARP model of  “purchasing strength in numbers” include groups such as the Association of Mature American Citizens (AMAC) ,which bills itself as a “Conservative alternative to the AARP” and the American Seniors Organization  being two such examples.

Here’s what it really comes down to… in all these membership groups there’s the “Products” side of the coin and the “Politics” side… and its up to the leanings  and leading of each individual to come to an informed decision about which channel they want their $$$ to flow into and through.

Here’s the knock on AARP. They lobbied hard and heavy for “Obamacare”, but not without, shall we say, ‘mixed motives’. How so? Obamacare is slated to pull over $500 billion (Yes, that’s billion with a “B”) out of Medicare over the next 10 years to help foot the bill for itself. And what will seniors do who then have to go out and purchase more insurance coverage on their own to make up for that little “redistribution of wealth”? Yup, that’s right… turn to AARP to purchase such coverage from them. Can you say “Conflict of interest”?

This is precisely why alternatives to AARP have sprung up. Americans love freedom of association, but conversely, we hate being strong-armed into supporting political positions that we don’t agree with. Ask 66% of any and all union members how they feel about having their dues going to support Democrat politicians and policies and you’ll see why groups like AMAC and ASO now exist.

For those of you who want to dig a little deeper into the decision of what you want your membership dues going toward here’s an interesting interview done by radio show host Bill Bennett with the founder of AMAC.

Why Do Individuals Retire When They Do…

… And What Does It Mean For Their Retirement Security?

Prudential Financial sponsored research by the University of Missouri to identify the key factors
that impact when individuals choose to retire. This research identified several factors that make
individuals more likely to retire in any given year, including strong equity markets performance,
the retirement status of a spouse, and participation in a DB plan.2 Some of these factors heighten
the retirement risks to which individuals are exposed.

For example, based on historical stock market data, retiring after periods of strong equity market performance increases the likelihood of experiencing negative equity returns just after retiring, which have a much more detrimental impact on an individual’s retirement security than negative returns experienced later in retirement. This article outlines the findings from the University of Missouri’s research, highlights the investment risks associated with individuals’ elective retirement decisions.

Road Map to a Housing Rebound

Yes, as we all know… just as with politics, and Tip O’neil’s famous mantra, “All politics is local”… so, with real estate, “All real estate is local”. Having said that, this article in US News and World Report is instructive in that it lays out 5 general factors that we can, and should, pay attention to when it comes to making any buying, selling, increasing or decreasing decisions relative to our own, local housing situation.

THE big key to be aware of in the housing arena in today’s economy is this: Housing will most likely FOLLOW, not lead, the rest of the economy out of a slump. It has become a ‘following indicator’, where in the past housing was a major part of economic expansion.

Got a “Seniorville”?… I Wanna Know About It

Happy Couple in FallLast Sunday’s Seattle Times Real Estate Section put a spotlight on the area of Riverside Drive / Bothell, a fine berg just north of Seattle,  touting it’s attraction as a “Seniorville”.  This put me in mind of an important concept that I counsel Boomers and Beyonders on when the issue on the table is…

“Where’s the best place for us to live out our ‘final 1/3 of life’ with a high level of  health and happiness”?

401(k) and IRA Changes Coming in 2012

Workers will be eligible to contribute an extra $500 to their 401(k)s next year, the Internal Revenue Service announced this week. Employees with higher incomes will also be eligible to get a tax break for saving in a traditional IRA, contribute to a Roth IRA, and qualify for the saver’s credit. Here’s a look at how 401(k) and IRA rules will change in 2012. http://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/planning-to-retire/2011/10/21/401k-and-ira-changes-coming-in-2012

Medicare cuts payment rates for Home Health Services.

Medicare will cut payment rates to home health agencies by 2.3 percent in 2012 — the sixth consecutive annual decrease in fees to the industry. The decision, which will lop off an estimated $430 million from the program next year, follows concerns by a congressional advisory panel that the agencies are overpaid.  http://seniorjournal.com/NEWS/Medicare/2011/20111102-MedicareCutsPayments.htm

How to Calculate Your Retirement Number

It’s difficult to determine exactly how much money is enough to retire comfortably. Households earning $50,000 or more will need about 80 percent of their pre-retirement earnings to maintain their current standard of living in retirement, according to a new Center for Retirement Research at Boston College report.

Aging In Place: Stuck Without Options

Only a small percentage of Americans move after they reach retirement age, according to demographic researchers, meaning most will “age in place” in neighborhoods where daily activities require frequent car trips. With rising life expectancies, America’s largest generation will also be the oldest ever. Inevitably, aging experts note, a large share
will find that their ability to navigate by vehicle diminishes or disappears over time. These millions of older adults will need affordable alternatives to driving in order to maintain their independence as long as possible. Read the full AARP report here…