About LoveBeingRetired

Dave Bernard is a California born and raised author and blogger with an extensive 30 year career in Silicon Valley. He has written more than 300 blogs for US News & World On Retirement and his personal blog Retirement – Only the Beginning. He has authored three books: "Are you just existing and calling it a life?"; "I want to retire! Essential Considerations for the Retiree to Be"; and " Navigating the Retirement Jungle". Dave was also a contributing writer for the books 65 Things to do when you Retire (“Positive Aging – Old is the New Young”) as well as 65 Things to do when you Retire – TRAVEL (“Travel to Discover your Family Heritage”). He lives in sunny California with his wife, his Boston Terrier "Frank" and a passion for the San Jose Sharks.

Retirement Advice I Would Give the Twenty Year Old Me

If I only knew then what I know now. Way back when I was 20 thoughts of retirement never crossed my mind. There were plenty other distractions. I could not even imagine being retirement age. But funny thing – here I am.

I have learned a thing or two over the years whether through my personal experience or those of friends and family. If I could share with the 20-year-old-Dave any words of wisdom to prepare for the road ahead, it would go something like this:

Prepare for the non-financial side of retirement

Everyone knows it is critical to save enough to subsidize the retirement lifestyle you hope to live. But too few consider the importance of preparing beyond finances. What will you do to find meaning in your day? Who will you become once you are no longer defined by the person you were on the job? How does your spouse envision retirement? It is too easy to waltz into retirement without preparing for the coming 10 or 20 or more years ahead. Without genuine preparation you risk boredom and dissatisfaction during a time of life that should be anything but.

Hands off retirement savings accounts

Over my 30 year career I moved from job to job quite a bit. One consequence was repeatedly facing the option to cash out 401k accounts. In most cases the temptation proved too great. Too often I withdrew the funds, paid the 10% additional tax fine and had money to do as I wanted. The only good thing is I did not use the money to splurge but rather to pay off bills that had accumulated. Still I sacrificed potential growth over multiple years that could have added to my ultimate retirement nest egg. “Leave it alone and let I grow” would be my suggestion to the younger me.

Don’t count on staying at the same company

In my career as a sales manager focused on start-up companies there was not much latitude when it came to hitting target goals. If quota was not achieved, no matter how unreasonable or inflated the number, your job was on the line. I had a pretty good batting average over all but there were times when missing a quarterly target cost my job.

Message to younger self: be prepared to work at many different companies over your working years. The days of spending an entire career at one place are gone.

Understand the financial realities of retirement

Retirement will not be cheap. According to Fidelity healthcare costs for the average couple retiring in 2016 will ring in at $260,000. Healthcare insurance rates are sky rocketing with double digit yearly increases becoming the accepted norm. Everything is getting more expensive while your income remains fixed.

No one knows what unplanned health event their future may hold. My parents experienced this recently when my dad had a stroke. Initial hospital charges were huge and the bills keep coming. Thankfully they have a Medigap plan which helps pay healthcare costs not covered by Medicare including co-payments and deductibles.

In retirement you want to do those things you have dreamed of. Realizing those dreams will generally not be cheap either. When budgeting don’t forget to account for those things you have been waiting all your life to do.

Note to 20-year-self: put those dollars aside now so you can do all you dream of when you finally have the time to do it.

Getting retirement right takes practice

Since this will be our first time at it, none of us has any real experience being retired. It is possible you may not get everything exactly right from the get go. Be prepared to be dynamic, to go with the flow. Make changes where necessary, try new things, and don’t be too hard on yourself. There is no deadline to get everything right. So long as you continue to learn as you go you are making progress.

Keep exercising

When I was around twenty I began a life-long commitment to good health setting aside time for regular exercise and attempting to eat a decent diet. I would remind the younger me that good habits now will continue to be good habits later in life. Exercise is an important part of any happy retirement. Keep weight training for muscle and bone strength. Continue yoga and stretching for balance and flexibility. Get some cardio to keep the heart healthy. And don’t neglect exercise for your brain one very important “muscle” to keep in shape. The retirement journey will be that much more enjoyable when you are healthy in mind and body.

It might have been helpful to hear these words of wisdom when I was younger. But I cannot complain. I am retired with my wonderful wife in a beautiful part of the world. We are healthy and happy. And I just started a part time job pouring wine at a wonderful little winery walking distance from where we live. All in all, retirement has turned out a-okay for us.

LoveBeingRetired.com

When Working In Retirement Is The Way To Go

Back when I was working full time I occasionally fantasized of that day in the not-to-distant future when I would no longer be chained to “the job”. It’s not that I hated what I was doing. Far from it – over my working years I met wonderful people, some who have become lifelong friends. I was fortunate enough to play an important part in the growth of numerous small companies where the camaraderie and esprit de corps were as important as making money, sometimes even more. I was inspired by talented bosses who took the time to guide my development. My memories of the working world are for the most part positive.

But never working again – that sounds pretty darn good.

Start your day when you want. Spend time doing what truly interests you. Live at a pace that fits your mood. Read…walk…nap…rinse and repeat. Having control over what you do when you do it is something I could get used to.

My plan was to retire somewhere close to 65, maybe 62 if I was lucky. At the moment that was more than a decade off but at least I could see light at the end of the tunnel. Then at the tender age of 53 I became what I call “technically retired”. The company I worked for was purchased, my role was no longer required, and despite scrambling madly for the next year I was unable to find a position anywhere. Welcome to retirement!

Fortunately my wonderful wife continued working which covered our medical insurance and paid the bills. At least we would not be destitute.

I believe retirement is something you need to create. Since you are free to do as you choose it’s ultimately up to you to make it happen. We all have different interests, passions and dreams. What works for your retirement may not be close to what I want. And that is a great thing – we have the ability to create our own retirement custom made to fit who we are.

When I first exited the working world I knew for a fact I would not go back to work – ever. My dues were paid now onward to bigger and better things. On the other hand I never faulted those who choose to include work as part of their happy retirement. If it makes you happy why not add it to the equation?

Who could be more surprised when one day after five years retired, old hardcore never-work-again-me found the perfect part time gig. Our favorite winery – Mercy Vineyards – needed some help in their tasting room. Two days a week sharing with happy visitors wonderful Pinot Noir and Chardonnays lovingly crafted from grapes sourced solely from unique local vineyards – not too shabby. My wife and I felt the owners were great people from the first day we met. Visitors to the tasting room are invariably happy and having a good time. And I can walk to the job site in about 15 minutes.

When the owners Mike and Mark proposed I join their team they did not have to ask twice! I have been at it a few weeks now and love it. The job adds variety to my days, I meet and socialize with fellow humans, plus I get out of the house and continue to learn more about a passion I have had for decades – wine.

If a part time gig in retirement sounds intriguing, here are a few considerations to help make it a good experience:

  • Do something you are interested in better yet passionate about
  • Work with people you like
  • Don’t do it if it stresses you out – you did enough of that before retiring
  • Remember part time is part time – don’t take work home with you (unless you really love it!)
  • Try to minimize your commute ideally traveling during non-rush hours
  • As long as you do not need the job remember you can call it quits if it does not work out

There are plenty of options out there when it comes to part time work. My wife signed on with a temp agency that finds her short term gigs at a variety of local companies. She gets to meet new people, learn new things, keep her mind engaged and leave the stress behind. Her biggest challenge is since she is so good at what she does companies quickly end up offering her full time employment which is not the plan.

I have come to believe there is no reason your retirement cannot include some sort of work. The trick is to enjoy what you are doing. It may take a bit of trial and error to find the right fit. But what is the hurry? After all you are retired.

And should you ever find yourself in the neighborhood, stop in for a taste of some truly wonderful wines. As our tasting glass so appropriately says “Have Mercy”. Cheers.

LoveBeingRetired.com

Beyond 2017: Medical Technology for Seniors

Written by Sally Perkins

In recent years medical technology has been advancing at a swift speed and fortunately it has not left the seniors amongst us behind. In this digital age there are in fact a variety of technological medical devices available to seniors that many people are not even aware of.

According to Laurie M. Orlov, a technology industry veteran, writer, speaker and elder care advocate, ‘Aging in Place’ is the ability to live in one’s own home – wherever that might be – for as long, as confidently and as comfortably as possible. This livability can be extended through the incorporation of universal principles, telecare and other assistive medical technologies. In addition to renowned services like Life Alert and surgical advancements such as spinal fusions using titanium wire, there is a wide selection of ingenious products available to seniors to make their day-to-day lives easier, healthier and happier.

Popular Medical Advancements For Seniors

Let us take a moment to step away from the cold and clinical medical advances and have a look at the creative and innovative medical devices available to aid the elderly in the comfort of their own homes.

Here are 6 stand-out medical products that seniors and their families should be using today:

TabSafe

The TabSafe device stores multiple days’ worth of pills ahead of time in rows of cartridges behind a secure container. These cartridges are each fit into modules that are electronically controlled by a timer that will remind the user every time he/she has to take one or more medications. By the simple press of a button the pills are dispensed out of the device. Each cartridge is able to dispense up to 13 medications per day. The best thing about TabSafe? It is protected by a PIN which allows you to control who has access to the medication.

BeClose Wellness Alarm

Have you ever wished that you could keep an eye on your elderly loved ones from afar? Well you can with the innovative technology of the Wellness Alarm. The system comes complete with motion detectors that can be placed around your loved one’s home in order to monitor their movement. This will enable you to check that they are mobile and not spending too much time in one area. The sensors report to an application on your smartphone and can track patterns to alert you of odd movements within the house and also whether someone enters or leaves the house at odd hours. The system can be integrated with electronic pendants to alert the authorities in case of break-in, fire or fall etc.

Bellman & Symfon Clock Pro

By revolutionizing the normal alarm clock, Bellman & Symfon have designed a lustrous device that is a perfect fit for a senior’s lifestyle. The capsule-like device sits on the nightstand or bookshelf and offers a large digital display for easy reading. The bright LED lights will also make it easy to navigate the bedroom at night thus minimizing bumps and falls. The alarm operates at over 100 decibels spanning various frequencies making it a must-have device for people with hearing problems. In addition to all of this the adapter allows the connection of a home phone, amplifying its ring across the premises.

Jawbone UP System

This device is similar to a Fitbit and tracks the movement and sleeping patterns of the wearer. It connects to a mobile app allowing the user/caregiver to input exercise, eating and hydration information pertaining to the wearer. Data will be compared to healthy patterns recommended by experts according to the wearer’s age group. The aim of the device is to help individuals make subtle lifestyle changes to best benefit the wearer in terms of comfort and health.

Life Alert

The original, “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” device has been modified over the years to become compatible not only with home systems, but with smart mobile devices as well. The Life Alert system can be worn as either a wristband or a pendant that is connected to a receiver. With the simple push of a button, the system automatically speed-dials through the user’s phone carrier to alert the authorities and selected loved ones of any medical emergencies and home-related crises like fires.

Connect America

The Connect America system acts as a database that can be placed in a senior’s home. The computerized device will allow caregivers to input a lot of information pertaining to the patient. This information can range from birth dates, medical conditions, allergies, current medications being taken, and much more. As soon as an emergency occurs, the device can be accessed by EMTs to gather vital information on the patient and help them in taking appropriate courses of action regarding the patient. An added advantage is that it is mobile, and it can be used outside of the home.

When selecting medical technologies to assist you in retirement it is important to consider cost, usefulness and your abilities. New technologies are created just about every day to help seniors stay in touch, keep track of health and remain safe at home. Choose the ones that will be most beneficial to yourself or those you love!