Wednesday, February 20, 2013


 Are you one of us Boomers who willingly spent the last 40 years working a 40-hour work week in exchange for the dream of a carefree retirement? 
So, let's say that your dream came true and now you and your spouse are enjoying the fun-filled days of retirement, traveling, visiting friends, grand kids and overall, very satisfied with your golden years.
BUT, you are depending on your spouse's pension to make your dreams come true, so what happens when one of you die?   ARE YOU PROTECTED?
I felt compelled to write about this as I recently met 2 ladies who I feel are representative of the surviving spouses (mostly women)  who up until the day their spouse died thought they had covered all bases in retirement planning.   Little did they know that when he died, they might be forced to visit free food kitchen like the poor little, old lady shown above.
One lady had knowingly agreed to and accepted that her husband's pension would run out when he died and had hoped that she would still be young enough to find work.  Unfortunately, she's been looking 2 years for a job.
The other assumed that she was covered by her husband's pension and would receive 55% of his base pension upon his death only to find out that he had never changed his beneficiary from WIFE #1.   I can only imagine her shock when she found out.
LADIES -   it's in your best interests to ensure that your husband has totally protected your financial security. 
PAY ATTENTION:  Many companies now require your signature on his retirement papers if he is waiving your right to a partial pension upon his death.    Thoroughly read those retirement papers and know what you're signing before you accidentally forfeit your rights to any or all of his pension.  I say "LADIES" because most of you will outlive your husband.

7 Deadly Sins!

That's definitely the number one concern of anyone facing retirement.      We all like to think that we have adequately planned for our retirement, but for most Boomers, it's frightening to think that I might outlive my money.  A new book, "The 7 Deadly Retirement Sins" by Ryan Zacharczyk, CFP offers some excellent tips to ensure your money doesn't expire before you do.    The first part of the book is a fictional account of a compilation of many retirees who have faced several of the same issues we all do in retirement.   It's just to give you a little insight into what others are facing.
The 7 Sins according to Mr. Zacharczyk are:
1.  Retiring too early or living above your means.
2.  Improper Investment Asset Allocation.
3.  Collecting Social Security at the wrong time
4.  Working with the Wrong Advisor or No Advisor
5.  Paying too much in Fees and Expenses
6.  Trying to Time the Market
7.  Lack of Health Insurance
Overall, I felt he made some excellent points regarding retirement planning and the only one I disagree with is # 3.   He advocates holding off as long as possible to take Social Security (SS).  I disagree as in most cases it will take a person 7 to 8 years to recoup what they could have gained in taking SS as soon as possible.   My thoughts on taking it early are:
1.  You may not live until full retirement age.
2.  SS may no longer be available.
3.  The present value of money.
Obviously, if SS is going to be your only retirement income, you may want to postpone it as long as possible.
BOTTOM LINE:   You can never over plan for your financial security in retirement; so, why not take a few hours and read his book.   It's an easy read with some very insightful tips.
For additional info go to:

Friday, February 8, 2013

OMG!! I'm on Medicare

As Boomers, we've all experienced catalyst numbers that we just couldn't wait for like sweet 16 when our parents finally let us date and 21 when we could legally drink. We didn't like 30 because then we became part of the establishment.

But 65! Well, that's the magic number for Medicare and whether you want to or not you have to sign up for it. You can enroll 90 days prior to your birthday and become eligible on the 1st day of your birthday month. For me, that was February 1st as I soon turn 65.

You know, there's just some things that make me feel old and using my Medicare card for the first time last Friday sure did. I kept my health insurance, but I still had to name Medicare as the primary.

Parts A, B, C,'s like alphabet soup and hard to understand so you need to do a lot of research to determine which parts to enroll in as that will determine your monthly payment.
For additional info on the enrollment process and Medicare, go to

Also, AARP has some excellent options for additional health insurance coverage so check them out at

At this stage in our lives, we definitely don't want to be underinsured!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

On the Mountain

Most of you know my #1 passion is skiing. Nothing excites me more than flying down the slopes on a clear, sunny Colorado day. So, I'm just thrilled because I'm back in Summit County, CO for several weeks.

In my younger days, I did it all -- tree skiing, the bumps and double-black diamond runs -- with my brothers, sisters and friends. We'd be the first ones on the lifts at 8:30 a.m., the last ones off the mountain, then rush home, clean up, and off to hit the bars and dance all night. I have so many wonderful memories of skiing in Colorado, Wyoming, Utah and all over Europe with them.

This year has been a little tougher on me after having had my left knee operated on a year ago and not skiing at all last season. My left knee just hasn't felt quite right nor stable enough for the past year, but I just had to figure out a way to get back on the mountain. So, now I'm skiing with a brace on my left leg. That first run was nerve racking as I was so scared to make the first turn down the slope as it had been 2 years since I skied and I'm dealing with a brace and breaking in new boots! I survived not only the first run but on day 2 I took my first fall of the season and suffered only a jammed thumb.

I'm just so happy to be back on the mountain, though now I arrive about 10:30 and am lucky to last 4 hours. And while I might hit a Happy Hour, no more all night partying for me.

What did you love doing?

Have you given it up just because you've gotten older?


Maybe it's time to dust off those tap shoes or start playing tennis again.

I guarantee you that once the passion returns you'll feel much younger!

Below is one of my favorite mountain shots taken in Bachelor Gulch.

Before It's Too Late!

Most of us feel that we have enough time to visit love ones and reconnect with old friends before one of us dies.

Recently, I reconnected with an old friend Steve through FB. We'd met when I lived in Germany and he was a great, fun-loving guy. We had spent many fun-filled Sunday afternoons together drinking and dancing in our local German hangout, Dr. Flotte's and had taken several ski trips together. I had planned to visit him in Sarasota in the spring.

What a shock to learn this morning through an email that he had recently died of a heart attack.
It was like a slap on the face reminder as to just how short life is for us Boomers!
It really upset me and I wanted to just mope around all day. But instead, in his honor I hit the slopes and did a few runs as he loved skiing too!

DON'T DELAY! Who have you been thinking about from your past that you'd like to see at least one more time? Call them immediately as the clock's ticking away.

Remember - at this age we have fewer tomorrows than yesterday's!