October 29, 2022 — The sad fact is, many men don’t do so well in retirement. After a lifetime of working, the loss of purpose can lead to depression and inactivity. So when our guide in Scotland last month started telling us about the Shed movement, and the Shedders who use them, we got pretty excited. “The Shed What?”, we said. Then, as she told us how men’s sheds have been proliferating in the British Isles because of the enjoyment, as well as improvement to their mental and social health, they provide to retired men (mostly) and women. The movement seems to have a lot of potential here in the U.S. Here is what the Shed movement is all about.
Men’s sheds or community sheds are non-profit local organizations that provide a space for craftwork and social interaction. Think of it in some ways as a YMCA for retirees, without the gym. Precursors to the movement originated in Australia around the 1980s as a way to improve the health and wellbeing of older men. Since then many sheds have expanded to anyone regardless of age or gender, with similar aims and functions to hackerspaces. There are over 900 shed located across Australia, with thousands of active members. Men’s sheds can also be found in the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland, United States, Canada, Finland, New Zealand, and Greece. Objectives of Men’s Sheds include advancing the health and well-being of the participating men and creating opportunities for the men to contribute to their local communities.
October 26, 2022 – The topic of spousal compatibility around retirement planning is an intriguing topic. We are not talking about how you and your spouse or partner get along day to day, but more specifically about retirement planning. Did you/do you have the same ideas about when and where to retire, what to do everyday, climate, real estate…. everything to do with retirement decisions. To that end we have prepared this one question poll, asking you to rate your spousal compatibility on retirement planning. If you are not married or don’t have a significant other, answer the quiz if there is a close friend or relative you are considering retiring with or near.
Just click the box that best describes your answer.
Please feel free to enter your own answer, and add Comments below. There is nothing better than the actual experiences of our Members, so please contribute your experiences below. In the next weeks we will provide a summary and additional comments from previous articles. Thanks!
Our thanks to the NY TImes best-selling author HALLIE EPHRON for allowing us to reprint this amazing story from JungleRedWriters.com. Decluttering, ridding out, downsizing, whatever you want to call it, is hard. This is a wonderful and touching tribute, thank you! Note: Jerry, with whom I share a birthday, was one of the most interesting people I have ever met.
HALLIE EPHRON: My husband and I reached a detente early in our marriage. He could go to all the yard sales and buy whatever he wanted (mostly books), and I wouldn’t nag him about it, as long as I didn’t have to look at his piles of stuff.
He celebrated this arrangement in one of the anniversary (our 30th) cards he drew for me.
When Jerry died, with my daughters’ help I gave away his clothes. I enlisted a used book dealer (of Antiques Roadshow fame, Ken Gloss) to take his sizeable and variable book collection.
October 20, 2022 — Our retired friend EZ loves a great train trip, and hates everything about flying. He resents getting to the airport hours early, parking in a remote lot, shuffling through security lines, worrying that some delay will make him miss your flight – all to have the airline delay or cancel it anyway. So when he visits his grandchildren in Colorado, he takes the EZ way. He took the Shoreline Express to New Haven, where he switched to the Acela to Washington. From there it was the Capitol Limited (with roomette) to Chicago. There he picked up the California Zephyr. He enjoyed everything about that train trip too – resting in his roomette, eating in the dining car, chatting up interesting passengers, and enjoying the view from the observation cars. It takes a little longer, but is so much more pleasurable. BTW, his wife flies out to Colorado!
Many people in retirement are looking for an adventure, and a train ride makes for an exciting one. From around the world, here are 10 of the best train rides you might want to try in retirement. Some are fairly short and not that expensive, while others can go for days and can be quite costly. One advantage that most train rides offer is that you can get off and spend a day or more at as many stops as you would like.
October 17, 2022 – Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period just started on the 15th, and runs through Dec. 7. In case you forgot to enroll in Medicare when you first became eligible, now is when you can sign up for it, and either avoid a penalty, or minimize it, if you waited too long. This period is also your opportunity to evaluate if the plan you have is still the best one for you, and change if not.
To help with that we have updated our popular article comparing traditional Medicare + Medigap vs. Medicare Advantage plans. There is a lot to consider, and we think the Q and A format will help give you enough information to make an informed decision. Check it out, along with the over 70 Comments made to the original!
October 13, 2022 — Retirement communities can be interesting and intriguing places. Although a lot of people think there is only one kind of active adult community: places that offer cookie cutter homes, a clubhouse, golf course, swimming pool, tennis and maybe pickleball. Commonly these retirement communities are restricted to 55+, are located a car ride away from town, and all provide the identical lifestyle. Yes, that does describe many active adult communities (where millions of retirees are actually having the time of their lives), but it is not the whole picture. There are many intriguing communities for active adults that break the mold; offering features, amenities – even an attitude – that can make for an interesting, unusual retirement. They might not be the most popular, but here are 11 of the most interesting communities we came across recently. (Note: Use the Further Reading links at bottom for ideas on many more).
October 13, 2022 — It has been four decades since the Social Security COLA (Cost of Living Adjustment) was this high. The government announced the increase today, which came in as widely expected at 8.7%. The rate was calculated on a formula based on current rates of inflation. For a person who gets the average 2022 benefit of $1614/month, that amounts to a $144 monthly increase, or $365 per month for someone earning the maximum benefit at age 70. Last year the COLA was 5.9%
The increased payments will begin this January and are expected to help retirees cope with the high inflation we have seen since the start of the pandemic. While the increases will be appreciated, the Elder Index shows that Social Security benefits only cover about 68% of expenses for a single person who rents their home. So retirees need to have either saved or keep working to maintain their standard of living.
The current estimate is that Social Security’s Trust Funds will be extinguished by 2035, a target which keeps changing based on employment levels and the impact of COLAs. At that time only about 70% of expected benefits will be paid, unless Congress acts, which they show no sign of doing.
On the good news front, the standard monthly Part B premium will drop by $5.20, to $164.90. Since those premiums are deducted from Social Security benefits, that is another small raise in the offing for next year!
October 5, 2022 — The Open Enrollment Period for Medicare starts soon, October 15, and runs through December 7. During this time you can join, switch, or drop a plan. Your coverage will begin on January 1 (as long as the plan gets your request by December 7). The Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment period runs from January 1 – March 31 each year. That’s when if you’re enrolled in a Medicare Advantage Plan, you can switch to a different Medicare Advantage Plan or switch to Original Medicare.
By now you should have received materials from your supplemental medical insurance company announcing changes for 2023. So this is the time to start thinking about what to do. If you are eligible for Medicare but not enrolled, do so now to avoid penalties and/or no coverage. Or, get ready to sign up for a Medicare Advantage plan. Next week we will provide our helpful article on Medicare vs. Medicare Advantage plans, which always sparks a helpful debate among our Members.
October 4, 2022 — The loss of human life and billions of dollars in property damage from last week’s Hurricane is tragic. The storm also brought concerns for snowbirds – will their rentals still be available, or were their homes seriously damaged? Folks have been calling their friends and scouring the news for reports about what was damaged, and trying to estimate how soon life can return to normal. In many cases, they have not been able to get answers. Thousands will probably find that their plans for spending part of the winter in southeastern climes might have just floated away. This article reports on some of the affected areas, and what your possible reactions might be. Mainly, we would like to hear what you know – was your home or snowbird rental damaged, have your plans changed, or is all well? Plus, what kind of coping strategies can you put in place if your winter plans have been upended? Please add your thoughts in the Comments section at end. We should add that problems for snowbirds are definitely first world problems. We feel for all of the full time residents who have lost their homes or who have been forced to find temporary shelter. There are many accredited charities such as the Red Cross that would appreciate our support.