"I imagine a man must have a good deal of vanity who believes that all the doctrines he holds are true, and all he rejects are false." -- Benjamin Franklin

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Short Takes for September

     Some small items and news tidbits . . . and follow-up on previous posts.

     1)  I recently did a post called Baby Boomers are the Most Selfish . . . and it turns out I'm not the only one bashing Baby Boomers or Gen Xers or any other generation. Get a load of If Millennials Are Jerks, Blame the Baby Boomers.

     The thing is, to me it seems as if all the narcissistic qualities sometimes attributed to Millennials were once leveled against us Baby Boomers -- that we were overeducated, underachieving, spoiled brats who took our freedoms and our prosperity for granted. I'm beginning to think it's just a case of older people misunderstanding and criticizing the younger generation -- in the vein of "what's the matter with kids today."

     2)  Meanwhile, you've probably heard all the sturm und drang about voting rights, and -- depending on your point of view -- how horrible it is, or how reasonable it is, to ask people to produce some identification before they're allowed to vote. Okay . . . then how does that square with the figure I saw last week:  Only 23 percent of eligible voters turned out to vote in last year's mayor's race in Los Angeles.

     Local officials are disturbed enough about it that they're talking about offering cash prizes to bring more people to the polls. When you vote, you get a lottery ticket for the chance to win megamillions! I'm not sure what to make of all this, but one thing seems obvious:  The people producing all the hot air about voting suppression, or voting fraud, are not the voters themselves, but political operatives on both the left and right who are trying to get us all excited about a relative non-issue in order to gain advantage for their own side.

     3)  In a recent comment, Judy C noticed that I had been quoted in the latest issue of the Kiplinger Retirement Report. The Kiplinger editor, Susan Garland, wanted to get beyond the usual financial aspects of retirement and talk about some of the other issues involved in making retirement a fulfilling time of life. She quotes both me and also Sydney Lagier of Retirement: A Full-Time Job; so if you're interested go over and take a look (my apologies, you have to skip past the ads) at Create a Plan for a Meaningful Retirement.

     4)  Remember when we used to receive a Social Security summary statement in the mail? In a cost-saving effort, the SSA stopped sending out statements a few years ago. However, as Michelle Singletary reminds us in the Washington Post, you can now check your Social Security statement online at the Social Security website where you can create and/or sign in to your account. If you're already receiving benefits, you can check to make sure all the information is correct, and also change your address and phone number, and input or change direct deposit information.

     There's also a reminder that you should contact Social Security three months before your 65th birthday to enroll in Medicare. "If [you] don’t sign up for Medicare Part B (the part for doctor visits and outpatient services), there’s a late penalty," Singletary reminds us.. "And it’s not cheap. You are assessed 10 percent for each year past 65 that you don’t sign up."
     5)  On another financial note, have you seen this map showing how much $100 is worth in your state? I'm sorry to say I live in a state where $100 is only worth $86.66. So every time I spend $100, I'm only getting about $86 worth of goods or services.

     B and I were thinking we might like to retire to the Jersey Shore -- Cape May is a beautiful place -- but at $87.64 we wouldn't be improving our financial situation very much. We've thought about Delaware, at $97.75, or Pennsylvania at $101.32 (where we'd finally be getting our money's worth!) or South Carolina at $110.25 (where B's son now lives and where we could live on Easy Street). I guess that's how you give yourself a raise in retirement -- move to a place where the dollar is worth more.

     We were also thinking of spending a year abroad, maybe in London. But it didn't take much research to find out that London is out of our price range. Then we thought, maybe a year in California, which -- at $88.57 -- would be just about all the time we could afford.


Douglas said...

You could spend at least the winter down here in Florida (I would not recommend the summers) but avoid the southeast coast and Orlando area. The rest is tolerable. Though California is a good choice, I recommend only San Diego and my bet is that the $100 is worth somewhere close to $75 there.

Anonymous said...

San Diego??? Are you kidding me I was born there lived there in the 60's got my college education there and a tiny town called Ventura and up near San Francisco, it is the most expensive state to live now..Nice to visit but spendy in San Diego and San Francisco and crime and poverty get ready..we live in Washington state, we love it but one has to get used to over 200 days of inclement weather and humidity and the ensuing coldness and dampness and food costs and taxes but NO state income tax but plenty of other high costing items like Gasoline and I don't think food is so reasonable, homes are shooting up for what reason no jobs in our county, tons of homelessness, hunger and domestic and animal abuse, you cannot eat the beauty here but for retirees they flock to the environs but like the King county, Pierce County and Spokane valley better..I would never live in San Diego again, nor Northern California food is atrocious and the people are all fighting for minimum wage jobs they pay over $10.00 an hour in Washington state the highest in the nation and in Seattle they want $15.00 and hour and just might get it for minimum wage jobs, no California has lost it's luster and glamour!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Is the plethora of blogs about boomers an indication of narcissism? Money seems to be the biggest topic of conversation among boomers. Is this an indication of having one's priorities misplaced.? Don't know the answers, but it's got me wondering.

Anonymous said...

It may be expensive, but I enjoy living in Hawaii.

Denise said...

I think I'll stay in OHIO!!!!

stephen Hayes said...

I could handle the cost of living here in Oregon, but the gloomy weather is getting to me after thirty-five years. The tropics are calling, but I need to take care of Mom and she keeps running like the Energizer Bunny.

Barb said...

Just remember individual states have expensive and non expensive area. Roanoke Virginia is not alexandria virgina and columbia sc is not hilton head or beaufort.

I moved from a higher dollar area to a lower, in theory.

DJan said...

In Washington state, we are almost at parity. I love this area, and I'm glad I discovered it. But please don't tell others about how beautiful it is. I tend to emphasize the long winters and rain. :-)

Pam said...

As a baby boomer, I must confess that I was critical of my parents when they agonized about whether or not they could afford to retire. Several decades later, I find I am in the same spot. It's an awesome responsibility to try to determine how many years you might have left, then figure out how much your life will cost you. Most of us want to live well and independently. I sure don't want to be a burden on my kids. Now I know what the fuss is all about...if we're honest, we're glad to finally be able to retire, but it's scary, and most of us are simply trying to do the right thing.

Janette said...

We are moving to Delaware.
Low property taxes.
Amish- so food is available :)
Reasonable climate.
Close to good health care.
Don't start looking for a while, we need to buy our house before anyone else gets there!

My "kids" hate that some are calling them Generation Z. :) Life does circle around, doesn't it?

Kirk said...

If you like San Diego weather but not the prices, consider the Pacific coast of Nicaragua. Second homes with US amenities are quite reasonable, and Nicaragua has very generous retirement visa provisions.