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Older Workers and Job Changes

One of my previous articles made the point that younger workers will change jobs- often as many as ten job changes during their career. (see article titled: Employee Retention and Small Business – March 2017)

These job changes are not only expected, but data show that the changes that younger workers make are either lateral moves or jobs with higher pay; with better benefits or offer more ‘family’ time.

For older workers the pattern is different. Job changes that happen later in life, often are moves into a ‘lesser’ job.  According to a recent * Squared Away research article: Older Workers’ Job Changes a Step Down (March 30, 2017)  “…older workers who switch jobs often take a hit on their earnings and benefits.”

However, on the positive side, these later career job changes are often into less stressful and demanding positions.  And they are positions where an older worker can continue a meaningful career; continue to build social security benefits and delay taking their social security benefits for a longer period.

For more interesting data on late life career changes:   access the Abstract:

Occupational Transitions at Older Ages: What Moves are People Making?By Amanda Sonnega, Brooke Helppie McFall and Robert J. Willis #WP 2016-352

on the Michigan Retirement Research Canter , University of Michigan website (


* Squared Away is published by The Center for Retirement Research at Boston College

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Best and Worst Retirement States

For those of you following my posts, you know I often write about retirement issues. (See my website archived articles under Retirement Planning and Retirement Savings)

So when Wallet Hub published their “best and worst” list, I sat up and took notice.

The article: 2017’s Best and Worst States to Retire by Richie Bernardo-Senior Writer (Jan. 23, 2017) not only lists the states, but also explains the methodology used to rank the states.

For example the states were ranked by Affordability, Quality of Life and Healthcare. Within Quality of Life were parameters like weather and air quality, under Healthcare were other parameters like – number of General Practitioners (M.D.) per capita.

Thus Wallet Hub derived a list of retirement- friendly (and not-so-friendly)states. Among the top ten “friendlies” I was glad to see Colorado ranked number 5!

Here is a partial listing:   top of the list for best states to retire is Florida- ranked #1, followed by Wyoming #2, South Dakota came in #3, Iowa was #4  and Colorado #5.

According to Wallet Hub research – At the bottom of the list – states that ranked the lowest: Rhode Island ranked #51; Alaska was #50; District of Columbia #49; followed by Connecticut #48 and Hawaii ranked a surprising #47.

For the entire listing – go to the Wallet Hub website.  You will also find interesting data on states with the best life expectancy and lowest property crime rates.

You might not be prepared to make the decision about when to retire, but when you do – you may want to consider where you will be spending your golden years.

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Retiring With Debt

Recently, I came across a gem of an article from one of my many on line sources. The article is titled – Estate Planning, Taking Debt into Retirement by Mike Mahoney.

The article appeared in the on-line version of Columbus CEO magazine*.  The succinct article explores the rationale of some baby boomers choosing to continue or acquire new debt into their retirement years.

Mr. Mahoney’s well-written article is  worth the short time it takes to read it. He poses the question: What are some reasons for older Americans to take on debt during retirement?

According to the article: “They may be borrowing to pay for a child’s education, to manage the expense of divorce or the loss of a spouse, or to make ends meet after a late-career job loss.”

I look forward to more articles from the ColumbusCEO and Mr. Mahoney.

* The Columbus CEO magazine explores financial, business related and local trends relevant to the business community in the Ohio region and beyond.

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Tips For Caregivers and Elder Leave

Our friends at Wiser Women (Womens’ Institute for a Secure Retirement) have offered up another basket of interesting articles.

By the way, Wiser Women is celebrating its 20th Anniversary!  As their website proclaimed: “Together we have helped women across the country access the information, tools and resources they need to achieve greater financial independence, security and dignity in retirement.”

One of the many articles from the website that may interest my readers:  The Real Life Golden Girls Scenario: Over 65 and Working (via Market Watch). According to some statistics – Over 15% of women 65 plus were working in 2015…” – a dramatic increase from prior generations’”

Another article: 7 Money Tips for Caregivers (via WiserPiggy) offers advice to help families who are caring for a loved one.

There is also an article about innovative “elder care leave” programs as part of the more traditional “family leave” programs. According to the article: Deloitte is one of the companies to incorporate elder leave (family leave for those taking care of an aging loved one) as part of its family leave programs.

Will this trend catch on and offer relief to the “sandwich generation”?

You can subscribe to the Wiser Women newsletter. It is free.

Keep in mind that the articles are not only for women! (


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Mixing Up The Generations

Recently, an interesting headline caught my eye about the “Senior” class of Arizona State University Tempe, Arizona campus. No, I am not writing about those students who are ready to graduate.

There is a movement to build apartments for SENIORS (yes, the older generation) on the campus of the university.

“Arizona State University is looking to put a new twist on senior living in Arizona by opening a retirement community on a college campus.”*

*New kind of senior living: ASU wants retirement community on Tempe campus By Mike Sackley | April 13, 2016 @ 5:15 am KTAR news

Yep, it would be a campus for and of retirees! The proposed ‘senior’ development would consist of 230 units for independent living retirees and 60 units for those retirees requiring assisted living.

The upside: proximity to vibrant young community; promised benefits: ability to audit classes; dining, health club and game room on premises; student i.d. for library use;  concierge services;  possibly even a doctor on call. It will remain to be seen whether all or most of these benefits are achieved by the developers.  Things are currently in the planning stages for the project.

The downside – proximity to community of ‘youth’ with possibly different ideology/values from your own; costs/fees (although these have not been established; the costs of all of the above could be outside the reach of many retirees…time will tell.)

The concept: Although intergenerational developments are not unique, the concept of having such a development as part of a college campus definitely is unique.

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We Can’t Get No Satisfaction

That refrain seems to be playing for retirees in America today. According to our friends at Squared Away blog* more retirees are less satisfied than previously, when comparing surveys from the late 1990’s to recent surveys. A few of the reasons for this ‘unhappiness scale’ proposed in the article** are Health, Age, and Money.

Age is a surprising factor since, according to the article, older retirees are happier than the youngest retirees. One reason proposed is that younger retirees had been forced out of the workplace due to ill health (but there are other reasons noted in the full article).

It is no surprise that healthier retirees are happier retirees. I propose that one reason that retirees feel that health might be an issue is the rising costs of maintaining that health and the concern that savings might not keep pace with future healthcare costs.  (This opinion is my own and not part of the article).  Health is linked with happiness and good health means that one can play golf, travel, volunteer, etc.  All that activity leads to a more satisfying retirement. But of course enjoying these activities takes MONEY.

No surprise is that Money is a contributing factor to a happier retirement. Those who have planned early for their retirement years and were able to solidify their retirement income are happier than those who did not.  Compare that with those retirees who retired prematurely due to loss of employment and job stress.

Those retirees who had to retire ‘prematurely’ ( before they planned to) may not be in a good economic position to deal with their extended years of retirement. There is a big difference between leaving a job that you love when you are 68 and being forced out of work at 63.  Those five years can be critical in the development of a financial plan for one’s retirement.

But, as the article suggests – the news is not all bad – since those retirees expressing that they are “moderately satisfied” in their retirement years have increased. And being ‘moderately satisfied’ is better than being totally unhappy!

Whatever life throws at you before or during retirement, a well-constructed Estate Plan can respond to your constantly changing world.

* Squared Away is the blog of the Center for Retirement Research. Surveys based in part on the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI)

** To read more about Retirement and Satisfaction read the entire Squared Away article of June 14, 2016 article titled: More Retirees Get Less Satisfaction

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Off The Tracks

Our friends at the Squared Away Blog recently published another thought-provoking article about retirement – their article details the research surrounding the three major reasons why retirement plans can be derailed.

According to the research the three front-runners for why a person’s retirement plan can change are:

* Health issues,

* Layoffs and

* Early retirement of a spouse

Although people are living longer and healthier lives, older Americans can still fall prey to medical issues that force a premature retirement. Other research showed that life events often affected retirement decisions and the reality is that many Americans are retiring before they had planned to or wanted to.

Interestingly, the Squared Away article states “an increase in wealth had very little to do with earlier-than-planned retirement.” Apparently even when older people get a ‘windfall’ of money there is little actual impact on their retirement plans, i.e. They do not opt for earlier retirement even when they have more money!

Since no one can plan exactly for issues of health, the economy (and lay-offs) or circumstances surrounding a spouse’s retirement; then alternative planning and strategies might be the best solution to unexpected changes.

As John Lennon was quoted: “Life is something that happens when you are making other plans.”

Since December 8 was the anniversary of the death of the singer/songwriter – that might be a quote to take to heart when planning a retirement future.

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Veterans and Retirement

As you know from reading my blogs and postings, part of my practice is in Colorado Springs, where there are many military families.

What caught my eye was a recent MONEY magazine article titled: The Veteran’s Guide to Financial Success by Cybele Weisser (November, 2015)

The article offers good advice and several bios of military people (from 8 years to 28 years in the military) who faced the financial challenges of life outside the service.  The general question posed was: were they prepared for retirement?

Helpful hints of the article included making use of your health care while you are still in the service, since “co-pays will almost certainly be higher…” ; checking with your veterans affairs benefits for eligibility (you should not assume that you do not qualify) and deciding if you want to join the reserves (which could offer you some Tri-Care insurance advantages.)

The article also mentions that the first civilian paycheck can be a shock and if you want to estimate how much you need as a civilian to match your military pay, there is a calculator for that –

I checked the website and there was also an interesting offering – 2015 Top 20 Hot Jobs for Veterans– a compilation of hot jobs from the 189 Military Friendly Employers.  Worthwhile to check it out!

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Social Security 2016; Retirement Planning and the CPI-E Act

I was about to post a short article about the lack of social security increases for 2016. The thrust of the article was that often the ‘best’ retirement planning strategies are often thrown off track by the vagaries of the (worldwide) economy and the interpretation of economic indices.  To paraphrase one television wit – with the world wide economy more tightly entwined:  “When China sneezes; America catches a cold”.

As I was completing my Social Security post, an article arrived in my inbox-  a cogent article from our friends at the Center for Retirement Research – CRR titled:  “Do We Need a Price Index for the Elderly?” Perfect timing!

Whether older Americans receive a “boost” (Cost of Living Adjustment-COLA) to their Social Security is based largely on the interpretation/analysis of the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W). But there is another “experimental” index – the CPI-E (Consumer Price Index for the Elderly)

In a press release of July 31, 2015, Washington, D.C.–

“This week, Congressman Mike Honda (D-Silicon Valley) introduced the CPI-E Act of 2015, or H.R. 3351. The CPI-E Act will require Social Security programs and many federal retirement programs to use the Consumer Price Index for the Elderly (CPI-E) to calculate cost of living adjustments and thus ensure seniors’ benefits are not diminished over time.”

You can read the entire press release

One of the key findings of the CRR brief by Alicia H. Munnell and Anqi Chen was stated: “If health cost growth stays modest, the two indexes (CPI-W and CPI-E) may remain similar. But if it surges again, it may be time to use an index designed specifically for the elderly.”

Simply put, “the spending patterns of older Americans are different from wage earners. Or – Stating it yet another way, the elderly spend more on healthcare costs (much less on tuition and childcare) and the costs of that medical care has been on the rise.

The CRR brief took the year 2007 as an example: “the elderly spent more than twice as much on medical care (2007) – relative to their total expenditures –than the population as a whole.”

If you enjoy statistical calculations, delve into the entire brief, available at  Then, determine if you agree or disagree with the analysis and its conclusions.  But, in general, we can assume that the lack of a Social Security increase next year has thrown a monkey wrench into many people’s retirement planning calculations.

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Estate Planning – the Ongoing Process

We all dream of a life well- lived and an idyllic retirement. But there are challenges surrounding the decisions of when to retire, where to retire, and how best to maximize the golden years. If you are one of the lucky ones who have had a plan in place for a decade or more about your approaching retirement, you can congratulate yourself…you are one of the few who do. Let’s hope that over the years you have “tweaked” that plan, to compensate for possible economic downturns and the eventuality of a “forced” retirement or other life event.

According to many statistics, too few Americans are planning or saving enough toward their retirement goals and fewer than half have made a Will or considered developing an Estate Plan. Many believe that estate planning is something that is done near the end of a productive life, but nothing could be further from the truth. Estate Planning is an ongoing process, sometimes difficult to begin, but once the groundwork is developed the reviews/changes/alterations to the Estate Plan become as ‘second nature’.

Adults with children are one of the groups at greatest risk when they do not have an Estate Plan. The court system is a poor alternative to parents’ well-conceived plans for the welfare of their own children. That is not to say that courts do a poor job of trying to create a safe environment for minor children if the parents are no longer able to do so. However the system is not a substitute for having legal documents in place where the wishes of parents are clearly defined.

If you do not decide, the courts will do it for you!

Working to Preserve Your Future and Protect Your Future…in a Constantly Changing World

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