Free eBook – Navigating the Retirement Jungle

Email lovebeingretired@hotmail.com for your free copy

While writing LoveBeingRetired, I have discovered and shared what I believe is some very useful information to be help us better navigate the jungle that is retirement planning.

To summarize the journey so far, I have put together a short book covering the most important lessons learned.

Your free eBook will help you better understand:

* How to evaluate when you can afford to retire

* What is the real cost of building that nest egg beyond what you need

* Guidelines to living a frugal yet enjoyable retirement

* How to identify and pursue what is really important as you approach retirement

* Pointers on staying healthy so you can enjoy your retirement life

* How to identify and pursue your passion

To receive a free copy of “Navigating the Retirement Jungle”:

Send an email to lovebeingretired@hotmail.com.

In the subject line put Navigating the Retirement Jungle.

Let me know what you think – comments are encouraged.

It’s all about sharing what works to give us a little helpful guidance along the way and your input is greatly appreciated!

Enjoy the book and enjoy the journey.

Dave Bernard

lovebeingretired@hotmail.com

How you can afford to travel in retirement – and why you can’t afford NOT to

Getting out of Dodge and experiencing new surroundings, new people and mouth-watering local cuisine is always refreshing, and I think even more so during retirement. New places keep us excited with the unknown possibilities around each corner. Planning a new travel adventure stimulates your mind and senses as you research historically significant sites to see, get familiar with the local language (at least the key phrases), and generally put yourself into the mindset of a local. And after dedicating the majority of our earlier years to building our retirement nest egg, few retired couple’s list of retirement to-dos overlooks travel. This is what we have been waiting for!

I want to with you share my fortunate current state of affairs. At this moment, I am sitting in a hotel on Boulevard de Sebastapol in downtown Paris, looking out my fourth floor window onto the café across the street as the sun shines into my room. This is my first time to Paris, a place I have always wanted to visit but have been a little intimidated by my lack of French (as in ANY) and some scattered rumors about possible rudeness targeting non-French-speaking-Americans (I am what I am). But it has been a wonderful time. We have seen the important sites and at a perfect pace that included spending half a day at the Luxembourg Park just reading in the sun (we really lucked out with the weather), listening to the brass band playing an unexpected concert, and sipping a café. We did a lot but not too much.

Travel is not cheap or always easy. But we love to travel and plan on doing a lot of it once fully retired. How can we afford to travel at a time when money is no longer flowing in yet we finally have the time to do so?

Affording travel

If you decide that travel is important in your retired life, you may need to make a few trade-offs. Is Paris more important than the new dining room furniture? Can the kitchen remodel be delayed or scaled down a bit to finance a Polynesian escape? Is the cruise through the Panama Canal worth cutting back somewhere else? You make up your mind on the big things, but here are a few other considerations:

Getting there and staying there – I pointed out a few good places to look for more reasonable flights and hotels in my senior citizens discount blog. We find staying at a well-known, reliable hotel works out fine and with fewer surprises. The Best Western is working out just fine for our Paris trip.

Affordable lifestyle once you land – eating out every meal will kill your budget. Instead: Once you get situated, find a nearby grocery store to stock up on basics like water, bread, salami, milk, cereal, apples – whatever are your basic needs.

o Pick up a few good bottles (or more) of wine for your happy hour. We try to find a $15 bottle of a local vintage and have had some decent success. And if it turns out to be really BAD, no tears are shed disposing of it. Life is too short to drink bad wine! Of course it is still fun to try a glass of something new when dining out but you will pay the price.

o Carry a snack with you while venturing out – a granola bar or a bag of nuts does wonders to curb your appetite and spare your wallet.

o Bring your grocery-store-bought bottle of water – much cheaper than what you will find on the road.

o Dining out – early bird deals are available at some local restaurants; ordering a selection of hors d’oeuvres with a glass of wine each is a good way to sample a variety of treats and generally fills you up; one that works for us is sharing one complete dinner and one salad. For lunch, in my opinion, nothing beats a French roll with some meat and cheese.

o Happy hour(s) – every place offers these and the drink selection is across the board but much more affordable.

o Public transportation – especially in Europe, this is the way to go. Trains and buses will get you to most places on the map. The Metro in Paris is $1.20 per destination and no dealing with crazed taxi drivers or brake-challenged Vespa fanatics.

o Purchase tickets in advance for local sites of interest – generally slightly cheaper and helps avoid long lines.

Retirement is your time to finally do what you have always wanted to do, those special things that kept you going when work and life sometimes became unbearable. If travel is a part of what you want to do, what you are passionate about, then you need to do it. You may ask can I afford it? With the right trade-offs and saving and planning, you can figure out a way. If travelling is your love and keeps you excited with each new adventure posted on your calendar and gives you a reason to get out there, the better question is can you afford NOT to do it?

Don’t forget to pick up a free copy of my Navigating the Retirement Jungle, available upon request by mailing to lovebeingretired@hotmail.com.


Senior Citizen Discounts – Get Your Money Worth

Everyone loves a deal and one benefit of getting up in age is the discounts you now qualify for. Get ready for travel deals, vacation packages, weekend getaways, and discounts across the board. And with the 75 million baby boomers starting to enter retirement, get ready to let the good times roll! Join me on a journey through some of the deals out there for retired folks – some are just too good to pass up.

Before we set sail, I discovered a service today called Groupon which sends you special deals daily for everything from restaurants to spas to leisure events in your local area. If you like the offer, you sign up and if enough others sign up to justify the special price being offered (businesses have to make money too and if enough people sign up, they do) you get it. For example, today my special offer is from a local Mediterranean restaurant offering $15 worth of food for $7 if I buy the Groupon. Put your collective buying power to good use.

Where the deals are

Travel – A good place to start your travel planning is http://expedia-aarp.com/ , a powerful partnership between our friends at AARP and Expedia. A familiar Expedia front end with AARP driven senior discounts.

  • Hotel dealsHyatt Hotels & Resorts – 62 and over receive up to 50% discount in Continental US and Canada; Choice Hotels International – 60+ earns you a 10% discount with advanced reservations http://www.choicehotels.com/en/deals/senior-rates?sid=tSoy._Oaj0g06L.1 ; Marriott Hotels offers 15% for 62+ seven days a week; Best Western – minimum 10% discount for 55+.
  • Airlines – so I ran down the usual suspects and visited their websites in search of senior citizen specials on airfares. My challenge was finding any specifics as no senior discounts were specifically mentioned. I recommend you work directly with the airline or through an aggregator like Expedia or Travelocity. But here are a few helpful details from www.cheapflights.com :
    • American Eagle and American Connection may offer senior fares in some domestic markets for seniors age 65 or older.
    • United Airlines – Travelers age 55 and older can enjoy savings on travel and other travel partners – as much as 50 per cent off at luxury hotels and resorts – by joining Silver Wings Plus.
    • Northwest offers senior discount fares in select markets.
    • Continental offers senior fares to select travel destinations for passengers who are 65 and older.
    • Delta Shuttle offers senior fares for travelers age 62 and above.
  • Amtrak – 15% discount on adult rail fare with some exclusion for ages 62+.

Entertainment

  • Restaurants – kind of challenging as we have different restaurants in our neighborhoods. But here are a few: IHOP offers 10% discount for 55+; Mrs. Fields 10% for 60+ (mmmm); AppleBees offers a Golden Apple Card for 55+ patrons with discounts and deals.
    • If you are willing to buy a coupon at a discount to sample a local restaurant, take a gander at Restaurant Discount Center www.restaurant.com. Enter your zip code and view the options in your own backyard. And remember Groupon that I mentioned earlier.
    • Fast food places have a wide variety of different offers for seniors from coffee to fries.
  • Movie discount dealsAMC Theatres – guests 60 and over receive 20-30% discount on general admission
  • National Parks – with $10 purchase of America the Beautiful Senior pass – valid for the lifetime of the owner – free entrance. http://store.usgs.gov/pass/senior.html

Shopping Kohl’s offers 15% discount for 62+ on Wednesdays (day may vary by store, you can find Kohl’s coupons and promo codes at http://www.couponsherpa.com/kohls/); Ross has 10% off Tuesdays for 55+

Health and WellnessKmart – Gold K prescription discount program offers up to 20% discount on prescription medication for ages 50+.

As I said, this is but a sample of many discounts available to senior adventurers. If you want to do some additional research, here are some  good links to investigate:
http://www.seniordiscounts.com – register for access to discounts on pretty much everything. The only requirement is that you are over 50.

http://www.shopathome.com/Free-Coupons.aspx – free coupons for just about everything based on your location.

And don’t forget our tried and true friends at AARP. Visit their site http://www.aarp.org/benefits-discounts/services_discounts/ for a long list of available discounts. For the annual membership fee of $16, it is hard to go wrong.

If you have a favorite link or insight into good senior citizen discounts, feel free to comment or send an email my way.

Don’t forget to pick up a free copy of my Navigating the Retirement Jungle, available upon request by mailing to lovebeingretired@hotmail.com.