Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Health Plans - Open Season

November is usually Open Season to change your health plan coverage.

Plan explanations are often lengthy, confusing and written so technically that it's hard to determine just what is the best plan to meet your needs at the least cost.
I spent a lot of time last week reviewing the plans offered to me.
My current plan premiums went up over 33% so I decided to switch plans for the first time in more than 20 years.

If your company is offering an Open Season, take the
time to closely review the plans offered to you especially in light of several key factors:

1. Will you turn 65 next year? If so, you'll probably be eligible for Medicare and may not need as much coverage?

2. How does the health care reform program impact you?

3. Do you have an adult child under age 26 living with you who might be covered or needs coverage?

4. If you change plans, can you still use the same doctors?

That was very important to me as I didn't want to start over having to find doctors that I like and can trust, so I called each doctor's office to confirm that they will take my new plan. Do this, rather than rely on the medical plan's website as sometimes it's not current.

Check out this website:

The key is to make an informed decision about what's best for you at this point in your life, not just hang on to the plan that you've always used

Monday, November 22, 2010

Born Free

It seems like this year the holiday season is starting earlier than ever as I was shocked to see Christmas decorations up even before Halloween.

It's almost as if we're skipping Thanksgiving. But this week when you're celebrating with your family, remember to give thanks for your FREEDOM.

It's something we Americans take for granted everyday; yet, it's a precious gift that people from other countries have died for.

November 9th was the 21st anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. I was living in Germany at the time and visited Berlin shortly before the wall fell. Many people had already escaped to West Berlin and I'll never forget the joy on their faces in knowing that they were finally free.

Now, what does that have to do with Kid Rock?

While I can't say that I'm a fan of all his songs, this one just makes me want to jump up and dance! If you're a Boomer like me, who loved to go to concerts in the '60s and hates most of the new music; just listen to this song and you'll know what I mean!! It's such a feel good song.

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

American Heart Assn. Raffle

Wouldn't you love to start off 2011 with a new Mercedes while helping out the American Heart Association?
The Mercedes-Benz Dealership of Columbus, GA is holding a raffle to win a free 2011 C 300 or 2011 GLK 350. All proceeds will benefit the Greater Columbus AHA. Each ticket is just $100.00 (fully deductible) and no more than 750 tickets will be sold!

It doesn't matter where you live, to purchase a ticket, just give my friend Nadie Martin a call at 1-866-626-9336.
I buy tickets every year to help support the Heart Assn. Last year I even flew to Columbus and while I didn't win, it was still a fun-filled event and so exciting when they called the winner. She couldn't believe she actually won as she had just purchased 1 ticket.

Thursday, July 15, 2010


WANTED: A quiet senior-citizen roommate, good cook, likes to clean house, do repairs, run errands, walk the dog and pay a lot of rent to me!
In these tough economic times, many BOOMERS are looking for ways to cut their monthly expenses, so ads like the above are becoming more commonplace in senior community newsletters and on roommate websites.

It could be tough finding an agreeable roommate because other than spouses, most of us haven't roomed with anyone since our college days. And let's face it.......as we age, we definitely become more set in our ways.

If you decide taking in a roommate is the panacea for your monthly financial shortfall, then it's critical to set guidelines upfront or you could end up in a situation like the "Odd Couple".
Some basic topics that should be covered in writing are:

1. Defined quiet time, such as 10 pm to 7 am.

2. Night owl versus a morning person - how will you accommodate each other?

3. House temperature – hot or cold?

4. Kitchen privileges --Who cooks? Who pays for the food?

5. What does the rent cover?

6. Garage space?

7. Dinner and/or overnight guests?
The last might be the most difficult. Sure, it was fine when we were young and your roommate had her boyfriend spend the night.
But, seriously.......at this age would you really want to see some strange old geezer in his underwear sitting at your kitchen table with your morning newspaper, drinking your coffee? Not me!

But if you decide that a roommate is the way to go......then the website http://www.roommates.com/
can help you whether you're looking for a roommate or want to rent a room in someone else's home.

Your Second Act

Many BOOMERS seek out a new career after retirement.

Not necessarily for the money, but just for fun of it or the challenge of trying something completely new.

My long-time friend Don Schuerman did just that ---he was elected a Judge.

He takes his role very seriously and is continually striving to improve himself to better serve his constituents.

Judge Schuerman was certified recently by the Texas Justice Training Center in Austin, Texas.
This additional training covered topics from family violence, rules of evidence, enforcement of judgements, mediations, contracts to judicial ethics.

So, what's your 'second-act' dream career?

If you're sitting back thinking you're too old --- then check out the book, "What's in an Age?" by Andrew Postman. He cites many examples of stellar achievements by people all the way up to 95.....so no excuses for you!

Whether it's tap dancing with the Sun City Seniors or writing an advice column, just go for it!


Since I retired over 5 years ago, I've read more than 20 books on retirement. One of the best out there is "Retirementology"!

I loved it -- especially since Dr. Salsbury's advice on how to ensure your financial future is easy to follow. In the past, many Boomers had banked on the unrealistic increases in their home equity to help finance their retirements. We know that's not going to happen in today's economy!

In fact, many Boomers are hanging on for dear life, hoping that they don't end up with negative equity when they retire.

I especially liked the original definitions such as:
  • Retirementology - a new way of thinking about retirement planning that considers both psychology and finance against a backdrop of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.
  • Hellthcare - Hellthcare is what Medicare has become for many.
  • Golden Cowboy - one who fears a collapsing government and economy and begins hoarding gold and guns.

Whether retired or just thinking about it, this book will significantly help you formulate a financial plan so that you can enjoy those Golden Years instead of slinging hamburgers just to make ends meet!

For additional info, check out the website: https://www.retirementology.org/retirementology

Wednesday, May 5, 2010


Twenty-something adults had all the fun with reality shows like the Real World, American Idol, The Apprentice and the Bachelorette. We Boomers had nothing, so I wrote to ABC and asked them to create a show called "Baby Boomer Bachelorette". I volunteered to be the first "Baby Boomer Bachelorette". But, I never heard anything back from them!

Finally, we have our own show - "Sunset Daze", which follows a group of fun-loving boomers who are living in Sun City in Arizona.

Think "Real World" with wrinkles, grey hair and Viagra! I just watched an episode and it's a riot with the Boomers acting like Spring Breakers on a perpetual break. They're boozing it up at happy hour, talking about sex, trying to find a date and lounging by the pool.

Check it out on WE tv. http://www.wetv.com/

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Heart Attack??

Have you ever thought you were having a heart attack, but then felt like it probably was nothing more than indigestion?

What most people don't realize is that actually having a heart attack often feels very different that what's depicted in the movies and on TV. It's not always that feeling like there's a ton of bricks sitting on your chest.

As per the American Heart Association, some of the warning signs can be as simple as:

  • Chest discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes or that goes away and comes back.

  • Discomfort in other areas of the upper body such as pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.

  • Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort, including breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.

Last week my brother Joe had a heart attack. Like most men, he thought "Oh, it's nothing more than indigestion". Luckily, his wife pushed him to go to the hospital. Even there he told the Doctors "Give me some Tums; I've just got an upset stomach."

Little did he know that he was having a full-blown heart attack and that his right carotid artery was 90% blocked. It was a very frightening situation; he flat-lined, had CPR, and had to be air-evacuated to a larger hospital for immediately surgery. Thank God he survived!

So please check out the info at the website below and never hesitate to call 911. Get to the hospital immediately if there's any chance that you're having a heart attack! There's no shame in being wrong -- in fact, you might just live to tell someone about your ambulance ride!!


Jeans'n Classics

Like most Boomers, I LOVE concerts!

Nothings beats live music and it's such fun nowadays with the revival of many of my favorite groups.

Last night I went to the Sgt. Pepper/Beatles Concert put on by the Colorado Symphony. I wasn't quite sure what to expect as Beatles and Symphony sounded contradictory, but what a great concert. A group called Jeans'n Classics headlined and sang the Beatles' songs.

The lead singer, Jean Meilleur, is a phenomenal entertainer. I was shocked that I hadn't heard of him before as to me he's just as good as Rod Stewart.

Classics performs with symphonies throughout the States.

For a fun-filled evening, check out their schedule below:

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Wish of a Lifetime

Jeremy Bloom, two-time Olympic Skier and former NFL football player, founded Wish of a Lifetime in honor of his grandmother, Donna Wheeler, who at 83 still works in a bank.

He launched this charitable organization with a vision to initiate a cultural change by granting the wish of a lifetime to deserving, low-income seniors throughout the United States. In Europe, older people are more-respected with many families building apartments in their homes so they can take care of their family members as they age.

But here in the States, we Boomers are often pushed aside by a youth-obsessed media and society. So, it was very refreshing last night to work the 2nd annual fund-raising dinner with so many young volunteers.

Award recipients ranging from a Pearl Harbor survivor to your everyday grandmother were honored. Currently, the organization is active in Colorado and a chapter is being sponsored by Google in California.

If you know a worthy senior or would like to volunteer or donate, check it out at:

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Enjoy Life!

One of my favorite books is "Life is Uncertain, Eat Dessert First". It's an oldie, but goodie having been first published 20 years ago.

I've had my copy for 17 years and still pick it up during life's trying times like when a friend recently died unexpectedly.

It's a simple reminder to enjoy life before it's too late -- something we hard-working Boomers need to do on a daily basis!

Monday, April 12, 2010

The Retiring Mind

It's not all about the money!

Have you saved $2,000,000?

Is your IRA protected?

Do you have enough money to live another 30 years?

Most of the books about retirement planning deal with the financial aspects of transitioning to retirement and totally ignore the critical psychological and emotional problems that we face as we leave our professional life.

Don't get me wrong
-- you've got to have the money to cover your basic needs as having financial peace of mind is wonderful in retirement. But, many of us have trouble dealing with the psychological let down of not working and not having to deal on a daily basis with the 'thrill' of working....that addictive charge we got when we met a deadline or created a new product.

Yes, I'm one of those weird retirees.......a highly-charged Type A, achievement junkie who freely admits that sometimes I still miss working. What makes it even more difficult to discuss our emotions regarding our loss, is that most workers are envious of us having escaped the daily 9 to 5 prison.

I liked this book "The Retiring Mind" because Dr. Delamontagne highlights several examples which helped me better understand the loss I've felt since not working. His discussion of personality type and achievement addiction really hit home with me. There's a short quiz which helps you determine which E-personality you are.

While it's a little heavier reading than retirement books which suggest more golf or volunteer work to fill that hole left by not working, it's definitely worth your time.

For additional info: http://www.theretiringmind.com/

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Why are you still smoking?

As we age, the two most important things we can do to improve our health are lose weight and quit smoking. I'm working on the weight and luckily, I've never smoked....never even tried one.

I won't allow smoking in my home. In my foyer is a sign "If you're smoking, we will take appropriate action and put out the fire."

It's always been a pet peeve of mine as I grew up in a household with 6 smokers! It was disgusting. Even though I didn't smoke, everything I owned still smelled like I did. The worse part was that my body and hair stunk. I hated it.

Smoking took my father at an early age - 58. Not cancer, but heart disease. Yet, 4 of my 5 brothers continued to smoke. Now, one of my brothers has been diagnosed with Buerger's Disease which is directly caused by smoking. He is going to lose the tips of 6 fingers. So, while he's finally forced to give it up 3 of my brothers continue to smoke even though they have seen the illness firsthand

So, what about you?
What has to happen to you personally before you quit? If you can't do it for yourself, please think about your loved ones. I would've loved to have had my father around longer.

Just check out this link for more info on yet another disease that is directly caused by smoking. It literally occurs overnight without warning and by that time it's too late to do anything other than surgery. http://vasculitis.med.jhu.edu/typesof/buergers.html

P.S. Yes, his fingers look as bad as on the link.

Call to Action

Are you as tired as I am of the Federal Government taking so much of your money?

It's never more evident than now during "tax time".

And what irks me every year is that I have more than $60,000 of stock loss carryforward of which I get to deduct only $3,000 a year!

What a joke
-- because if I made $60,000 from stock sales in one year, then I would have to report all of it and pay income taxes on my gain. I'll have to live at least 20 more years just to take those losses.

If you too have excessive stock losses, how about writing to President Obama and let's see if we can't start a movement to increase the annual stock loss deduction on our Federal Tax Return to $10,000.
If you agree, please send an email to President Obama and forward this info to all your friends who have suffered stock losses.

Below is an outline you can use.
Just fill in your dollar amount & # of years it will take you to use your deduction (your $ loss/$3,000).
You can cut it out below, go to the website and then just paste.

I would like the maximum stock loss deduction per year of $3000 increased to $10,000 per year in light of all the losses that we citizens have incurred over the past few years. Also that $3,000 maximum stock loss has not been increased for many years.

I still have a loss carryover of over ________________(fill in your amount) from previous stock market crashes. That loss amount coupled with my current losses means I will have to live for more than _______ years just to take my losses. How is that fair when I have had to declare the full amount of gains in one year and pay tax. If we could at least take a deduction of $10,000 per year that certainly would help us retirees.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Calling all TEXANS!!

You Texans have the opportunity to make a difference by supporting and voting for my long-time good friend, Don Schuerman, who’s running for Justice of the Peace in pct 2 in Milam County. I’ve known Don for over 45 years (yes, I know that makes us sound old, but we’re both quite fit).

Due to his excellent reputation and expertise, Judge Schuerman easily won his primary election back in March but faces a strong opponent in the upcoming Nov 2010 general election.

Having spoken to Don numerous times since he was appointed I am acutely aware of the great job he’s done for his constituents. The biggest change Don has made to the Justice Court is making sure that everyone feels heard and is treated with respect; so regardless of whether they win or lose, that person will at least feel that they’ve been treated fairly and with compassion.

While Judge Schuerman’s efforts directly impact only the citizens of Milam County, he’ll gladly accept donations from anyone who’s’ willing to support an honest politician (yes, I know that’s an oxymoron), but in this case it’s true!!

So if you’ve got a few bucks to spare, how about helping out my friend!
Every buck counts – so even if you can send $5 or $10, do it!!
Send your checks to:


It’ll be fun to follow Don’s campaign through Nov……so look for updates on this BLOG!

Monday, April 5, 2010


Since I'm a Boomer and live in an Active Adult Community, my mom recommended that I read the book "Boomsday" by Christopher Buckley. It's a humorous look at how the younger generation proposes to solve the impending social security crisis.

It's a quick read and just a riot as it starts out with them storming a retirement community and demonstrating on the golf course. Poking fun at, while bringing this serious issue to the forefront is a difficult task, but Buckley adeptly opens the door for discussion of one of the most critical issues facing both generations.

Check out other reviews at:


I had gotten into the habit of "blogging" almost daily and I loved it! I received some great feedback, had many followers....but then my computer broke, I went skiing, saw a movie, etc, etc. Oh, I've got even more excuses, but the bottom line is that I just got out of the habit of doing it....but I'm back!

And in the last few months, I've developed some really good habits that I'd like to share with you because Spring's here and we're all trying to get into shape.

While I'll never, ever again wear an itsy teeny, weeny yellow polka dot bikini, I still want to look good at the pool. So, I was determined this year to lose weight and I'm thrilled to say I'm doing quite well at it. I've lost 10 pounds since early January and I attribute it all to 2 things....my IPOD touch and the MAYO Clinic Diet Book.

You might wonder what an IPOD Touch is, let alone how it helped me lose weight, but seriously, I give most of the credit to my IPOD Touch and the free "Lose It!" application . Using that application, I set weekly weight loss goals, but most importantly it forced me to write down everything....every bite, every M&M, every coke....that I consumed daily. I became religious about it (my best habit) and once I hit the magic number of around 1150 calories a day I knew I couldn't eat any more.

Then the MAYO Clinic Diet Book forced me to become more aware of "portion control" and measure everything I eat. It also introduced me to 5 new habits and showed me how to break some of my bad eating habits. Just go to any restaurant and you can see that we Americans are out of control when it comes to how much food is put on our plate and what we end up eating. I've become a fanatic when it comes to measuring. I'm not done yet as I'm going use my new found habits to lose that last 5 pounds.

............and how about you? What new habits would you like to form?
Just remember that it takes at least 21 days for a habit to take effect.
For additional tips on how to form good habits go to: