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.
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.