By Jane Brown
To adults and millennials, California’s high cost of living makes it less than an ideal place to reside. But for senior citizens, luckily, it’s an attractive place to retire and reside in. According to the California Department of Aging, the population of the elderly is expected to grow at twice the speed as total population, which means the western US state will be taking measures to accommodate the needs of the elderly.
The aging population is bringing about a wave of lifestyle changes and shifts in nationwide prices such as real estate costs. Here’s how California is accommodating the needs of senior citizens:
Legal assistance: Individuals 60 and above may be eligible for free legal assistance. With qualified social needs, applicants can receive this valuable service as a partnership between the California State Bar, Area Agency on Aging, and attorneys. Seniors can attend legal education seminars and disabled individuals confined to their residencies can receive low-cost or free in-home consultations. Issues such as consumer fraud, debt, and terminations (illegal) can be addressed.
Nutrition program: Elderly nutrition program in the state can help seniors live an independent life by providing high quality food and nutrition. Programs can be geared towards reducing isolation with supportive services; coordinated programs can include lunch and dinner at senior centers, but can also be delivered to homes. Home-delivered food, hot meals and groceries may be provided to individuals 60 year or older suffering disabilities.
Healthcare assistance: Initiatives like PACE are providing services to seniors who would otherwise live in nursing facilities. Such healthcare models are helping seniors to remain in their homes and independent in the community as long as possible. Then there are also Medi-Cal and Medicare programs that help provide medical benefits to low-income seniors (65 or above) with certain disabilities.
Supplemental Security Income: This is provided to elderly with low income and disabilities. Single seniors may quality for $850-$900 per month, while couples may quality for $1400-$1500 per month. Single seniors can’t have more than $2000 and couples can’t have more than $3000 in countable assets to be eligible for the program. Seniors with countable assets of more than these figures can qualify for Social Security Retirement benefits.
What can seniors do outside government provided programs?
Seniors can also take measures to live a happy, healthy life in California outside of the government provided benefits. This also helps them avoid a long list of paperwork and queues. Elderly patients can save on medical costs by self-treating health issues that may arise. For example, they can:
By combining government available benefits with their own measures, seniors can live a healthy life in the state of California.
Whether it’s for drinking and cooking purposes, or for showering and laundry, the quality of water in your home is important.
If you or your family members are complaining of dry skin, or if your clothes and towels look grey and stiff, then you may want to look into the benefits that a water softener might bring.
Water Heater Indianapolis offers dozens of water softener brands that they service and repair. They all use the super efficient Clack Digital Smart System control valve that works based on water used.
Maybe what you are most concerned about is the quality of drinking water that your home provides and would like to try out a reverse osmosis drinking water system.
If you would like dirt, sand, silt, unpleasant odors, chlorine, chemicals, metals, pharmaceuticals, and many other impurities to be taken out of your drinking water, then this is the system for you. You might even check into the ultraviolet water sterilizer which removes bacteria and viruses up to 99.99%. It is a safe and eco-friendly solution to cleaning up well water or city water for drinking.
Some homes have a problem with too much iron or manganese in their water. In this case, you may be looking at purchasing an iron water filter system. This will remove iron/rust, reddish-colored water, iron staining on toilets, sinks, and bathtubs and you won’t have to worry about the rotten egg smell that accompanies heavy iron in water. If you have a problem with slimy black staining, this filter will also remove the manganese which causes it.
All in all, it may be time for you to upgrade your water system and if you do so, you will enjoy the difference it makes in the quality of your daily life.
By Charlie Brown
Let’s say you want to purchase a property in Stowe, Vermont because you have heard such great things about the place. You think that the weather suits you perfectly, the town is just as quiet as you like and there are enough activities to occupy you for a life time. What would your next move be before you own the property?
One thing you would probably do is to go to Stowe and start looking for ‘Stowe condos for sale’ signs so that you can arrange for a mortgage. If you do this, you wouldn’t be unlike the many people who buy houses or properties in this way. However, with a little more consideration and patience you will be able to own the property and save a lot of cash at the same time. You can do so by buying the property in cash.
Advantages of buying property in cash
In today’s real estate market, buying a property on a cash basis has very many advantages. Apart from the obvious advantage where the buyer stands to save a lot of money from a cash purchase as opposed to buying the property on credit or through a mortgage, you can also realize the following advantages through a cash purchase:
1) Property sellers often favor buyers who buy in cash,
2) Cash buyers immediately get full equity on the property,
3) The buyer attains stress free property ownership because there are no worries about losing the property during hard economic times.
4) It’s easier to negotiate for a lower purchase price on the property simply because you are paying a full amount up front.
5) A cash basis transaction reduces paper work, closing costs, bank appraisals, title insurance, mortgage applications and fees, as well as the processing time before the buyer fully owns the property.
6) Cash purchases reduce the risk of losing a property to another buyer let alone the chances of otherwise having a loan rejected.
7) It can be emotionally uplifting for the buyer to know that he or she has no major financial obligations with regards to his or her home.
Ways to afford property purchase in cash
At this point, you are probably thinking that you like the advantages of a cash purchase but you may still be worried if you can afford the property. If this is the case, here are a few suggestions on how you can afford to pay for the property you want on a cash basis.
1) If you get a bonus at work or an inheritance or you suddenly come across an unexpected windfall, set it aside for this purpose.
2) Start setting aside whatever little cash you have for the sole purpose of buying the house in cash
3) Lock the money that you save in a long term fixed deposit account, so that you can earn interest from the savings.
4) Have the discipline to tell others that you have the sole goal of saving to own property of your own. This will help you avoid wasting money.
5) Once you have saved as much as you want, don’t be tempted to buy a property that costs more than you have by taking a loan.
Your story is very inspirational.
My husband and I have traveled to many parts of the world. I am 62 and he just turned 65. We are real estate brokers but lost all of our assets in the real estate crash. From reading your stories it seems like you have always had some good assets to fall back on if necessary. Have you addressed situations like ours in any of your books, i.e., how to retire/live/travel, etc. with only social security and say $50,000 in savings?
Thank you for taking the time to write, we appreciate it.
Sorry to learn of your misfortune, but don’t give up hope for a satisfying retirement. We know many people who live only on their Social Security. You could do well living in Mexico, Guatemala, Thailand, Ecuador, or the Dominican Republic, for starters.
It might require some mental or emotional flexibility on your part to adjust to cultural differences, but if you have already traveled to other countries, then you are probably familiar with what cultural challenges you might face.
I would recommend a couple of things from our website. Take a look at our video, Adventures in Financial Independence. We share some personal financial information and it might be useful to you in terms of modeling your retirement.
You might also be interested in our book, The Adventurer’s Guide to Destination Choices. In this book we compare these destinations and it could give you some insight into these locations for retirement.
Our book, Your Retirement Dream IS Possible gives an interactive spending spreadsheet which we utilize ourselves to track and monitor spending on a daily basis. If you are watching your money, this spreadsheet is invaluable.
Our Retirement Relocation Page might be useful to you also. You will find lots of links to Expat forums there along with cost of living sites.
Another page that might be helpful is our Retirement Jobs Page. If becoming a digital nomad or making money online for extra income appeals to you, you could be a tutor, for instance.
Take heart, and we wish you the best. Please feel free to write to us any time with your questions.
Christopher Amoroso has been traveling and living abroad for fifteen years. He has lived in El Salvador, South Korea, and Guatemala (where he currently resides), and has visited many other countries with countless adventures and experiences to write about. His present hobbies include boxing, learning Korean, and finding the path to complete peace, joy and happiness, if it exists.
I met Billy in Panajachel, Guatemala, sitting on the patio at the Kitsch Bakery wearing his trademark “RetireEarlyLifestyle.com” T-shirt. Maybe not the prettiest item in his wardrobe, but it definitely caught my attention. I asked him about it because, quite frankly, financially speaking, I’m screwed! (and I’m trying to get myself un-screwed!)
The situation? I’ve got myself stuck in a third-world country with no money!
Billy’s site is all about preparing your finances AHEAD OF TIME so that early retirement and travel is PAINLESS. Ignore his advice at your own peril! Or, failing that, visit my future blog to figure out how to dig yourself out!
“So Billy,” I asked, “I’d like to ask you a few questions about that t-shirt of yours.”
“Of course,” he said. He was very open to the idea. Why else would he be wearing it?
The gist of the conversation that followed was that I, a very new digital nomad, was looking for a mentor to guide me in improving my financial situation. More on that, later.
A digital nomad is, briefly, a person who makes his (or her) living online and uses that freedom to travel the world. In my case, I’ll call it “Digital Madness.”
My current situation
I recently became a digital nomad, and having done so, refuse to look back. I have freedom to move anywhere in Guatemala I choose, not being tied down to one location to earn money. Only problem is, I’m not earning enough. I need more – not as in “Keeping up with the Joneses,” but, “If I can’t pay my visa late fees, I’ll never be able to leave this country!” Of course, I could always sneak across the border late at night, but the risk of ending up in a Mexican prison like Andrew Tahmooressi keeps me on the straight and narrow.
Here’s my story
I’ve been living in Guatemala for some time, but recently my cash started running out. Bank accounts empty; credit cards full, and an enormous visa fee I must pay if I try to leave the country, I had to do something, and fast! I don’t know about bar tending and wouldn’t make a good waiter, which left me with Teaching English. With flyers in hand, I promoted my services and soon began earning some cash!
I also found a job working at a local English Academy. I made enough to get by and even starting saving up a little for my Big Escape! Things were looking up!
Several months later, however, it all came crashing down!
First I lost my rent-free room. They needed it for storage. Storage??!! Of all the things!
Then, I lost my job at the Academy. The Director’s new boyfriend needed work, so he got all my classes and I got the boot.
So the prospects of having to pay for rent and meals with no cash flow brought me near to panic.
My online work rescue
Fortunately, I had begun teaching a few English courses online, and there was my salvation. Moving quickly, I contacted a friend in Korea who helped to promote my services, and soon I was teaching 16-20 hours a week to eager Korean kids who, in the words of one young student, “Didn’t want to be poor” for lack of English skills. Soon I was earning more than enough for my basic needs, and the crisis was averted!
So I’m getting ready for my 6:00 am class, bleary-eyed and in need of some strong coffee in a town that I had grown bored of, and it occurs to me that, now that I’m working completely online, I could be doing this from anywhere!
And that’s how I became a digital nomad!
My first stop as a digital nomad was the famous black-sand beaches of Monterrico. Three weeks of sun, sand and surf was a nice treat after a brush with poverty and homelessness. A 30 minute walk separated my beach bungalow from the nearest wi-fi zone, and that early-morning walk on the breezy, ocean-sprayed beach refreshed my soul each day.
But three weeks in that hot, humid Guatemalan paradise was enough for me, so I decided to relocate to Lake Atitlan, one of the most beautiful lakes in the world.
Learning about financial independence
That’s where I met Billy.
Wanting to help a poor fellow out, Billy suggested I start a blog – people would want to read about my experiences, he said. Then, eventually I could turn my writing into a money-maker and that I should check out how on his website (See Retirement Jobs ).
I just might start that blog. I’ve already written my first posting. You’re reading it right now! And there’s plenty more adventures to share!
So stay tuned to see how I get myself out of this jam that I’ve created for myself. I’ve got some ideas cooking, and it shouldn’t be long before I have some results that will give me the true financial freedom that I desire to continue my life as a digital nomad.
By Kate Summers
Sure, Florida is best known for being one of North America’s premiere destinations for surf, sand, and sun, that much can be gathered from its official nickname, The Sunshine State. But there is plenty more on offer in this gem of the South, whether you’re looking to get out and explore the natural world or roam through historical sites. Here are six must see spots to visit in Florida.
St. Augustine is oldest continuously occupied European settlement in the United States, founded in 1565 by Spanish explorer Pedro Menendez. Today the city is home to many of that eras relics, such as the Castillo de San Marcos, a castle built in 1672 after a raid from an English privateer destroyed much of the old settlement. Nearby sits the famous Fountain of Youth, a natural spring that has been flocked to for its healing powers since it was said to be rejuvenating by the conquistador Ponce de Leon.
This massive reserve at the southern tip of Florida is home to many endangered and threatened animals, including the American crocodile, the Florida panther, and the snail kite. This park provides visitors with a wonderful opportunity to explore some of the most unique environments in the United States. The Everglades National Park has also been named as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Getting down to the Florida Keys will provide you with a completely different Florida experience. This region features the beautiful Dry Tortuga’s National Park, which is home to great bird watching, camping, scuba diving, saltwater fishing, and kayaking. Key West is also home to the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum, where you walk through the hallowed halls of the famous writer’s old house.
Situated within sight of downtown Miami, the waters of Biscayne Bay Aquatic Preserve and National Park are home to beautiful marine life and coral, which can be viewed through the glass bottom boats that ferry visitors around the bay on tours.
If you’re after a little culture from your trip to the sun, then try visiting the Salvador Dali Museum in St. Petersburg. This beautiful and intricately designed building is host to the largest collection of works by the famous Spanish artist outside of Europe.
Truly, there are too many great Florida beaches to name, but whether you’re after the isolation of a site like Anna Maria Beach, or the hopping scenes of Miami’s long stretches of hotel-backed sands, you won’t be disappointed by heading out for some surf side sun in Florida.
So if you’re thinking of booking your Florida flights, it’s plain to see that this great state has plenty to offer all of its visitors.
Ann Hoffman-Ruffner founded Wayfinding Women, LLC after a 30 year career as a therapist and administrator for inpatient psychiatry. A lifelong advocate for women & girls, Ann is a certified Martha Beck coach and a Certified Daring Way™ Facilitator-Candidate.
I don’t’ know about you, but lately I find myself peacefully browsing through Facebook, replaying those videos of precious puppies falling over themselves in a plump pile of puppy exhaustion. They are so darn cute.
Then, with no warning, the next post bolts me out of my happy place like lightning through my core with some traumatic picture or tragic news. You know the kind. Today it was a picture from China’s Yulin dog meat festival where 10,000 dogs are being slaughtered marking the summer solstice. The picture of a man holding a puppy by the neck breaks my heart and makes me sick inside. I know it’s a different culture but that doesn’t ease my anguish. I look at my loving and sweet Marvin Hamlisch (my fur-child, the basset hound…not the Broadway composer) sleeping next to me and tears well in my eyes.
And it’s not just Facebook…you know, you get that call about a friend who has just learned they have Stage 4 Cancer. Or you get an email that your friend’s spouse died suddenly. Oftentimes it’s the evening news where we learn about a group of people on the other side of the world that are hurting, scared and in need.
Today I learned of the death of a friend in Pakistan due to power cuts and extreme heat. More than 700 have died from the heat so far. If I could, I’d bring every one into my house that has air conditioning; I’d take them fans, I’d bring them ice water. But I can’t. I feel helpless.
These are times when we need to have a way to not feel helpless. We need a way of DOING, of making it better, even when we can’t change the outcome.
When we feel helpless, we are not without power. We have incredible power…energy within each of us, toward love and compassion. We see it when we are with someone we care for and our loving energy provides calm and comfort. What’s best is that we don’t have to be in the same location for the other being to feel this. You KNOW what I’m talking about. That’s why there are prayer chains and peace vigils. Our energy makes a difference. We may not be able to stop bad things from happening, but we can change the energy for those involved.
The practice is called LOVING KINDNESS MEDITATION. There are many excellent articles describing the practice and the science behind it, but this is the meditation that I used today for those animals in China and all people who are suffering in this world right now.
While you may not be able to stop what is happening, you can change the experience for those involved and yourself, allowing yourself to be freed from helplessness in order to use your energy for the higher good.
Ready? Let’s do it….
Find a moment of quiet in yourself and be still. Focus first on the loving kindness for yourself (remember, airplane oxygen masks-put it on yourself first) And quietly and slowly say:
May I be happy.
May I be well.
May I be safe.
May I be peaceful and at ease.
While you say these phrases, allow yourself to sink into the intentions they express. If feelings of warmth, or love arise in your body or mind, connect to them, allowing them to grow as you repeat the phrases. To aid the meditation, you might hold an image of yourself in your mind’s eye. This helps reinforce the intentions expressed in the phrases.
Then when you are ready, connect to the visual of those in need of peace and freedom from suffering. Focusing on the peace instead of the pain, say the following-
I care about this pain;
I care about the pain in the world.
May all beings be free of suffering and all the causes of suffering.
May all beings feel comforted, supported, and cared for,
May all beings be surrounded with peace,
May all feel only peace.
May we all feel only peace.
Other articles by this author:
Maree’s specific advice to Peter about Getting Out of the Rat Race really hit me.
Billy and Akaisha, I’ve written you before about my retirement thoughts being similar to yours (although my “early” retirement was at 55). But Maree’s comments were spot on — if you can retire, just do it.
Ten years after I retired, the unexpected hit — the heart attack. But first I had ten great years of retirement (low budget, tracking expenses, and so on…) The amazing thing is that I lived — triple bypass. The widow-maker artery and another major artery were totally (100%) blocked. There was also more blockage.
Two years later, I’ve recovered, I’m fine. I have more years and will continue to enjoy my retirement. As my cardiologist recently told me, “just keep doing whatever you’re doing”.
If I had not retired, I fully expect the attack would have been much earlier and that I would probably not have lived. But I got out of the Rat Race.
If you can retire but just can’t make the decision, you might want to consider my story.
Thanks for sharing your story with us. Congratulations on your good health and for enjoying your retirement!
Steve and Lynn Miller built a software company and retired 10 years later at 50 years old. They travel extensively and chronicle those travels on their blog. Steve also develops mobile apps in his spare time.
It’s been 3 years since I said goodbye to the corporate life and a twice monthly paycheck. My wife and I had a dream. We wanted to retire by the time our kids went off to college so that we could travel and enjoy life while we were still young and energized.
So how did we do it?
We built a software business with personal savings of $10,000 and sold it 10 years later. It wasn’t easy. It had its ups and downs. Months when we didn’t know how we would make payroll and flying high after landing a large account that could sustain us for months in the future.
In the end, we exceeded our own expectations. 3 years prior to our kids graduating high school, we got the call from a larger company that saw value in acquiring our product line. Shortly after, I said sayonara to the daily grind.
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After 3 years of retirement, it’s time to reflect and share with you lessons I’ve learned.
Literally the month after we retired, we saw our boys off to college and began traveling. Starting in Canada, we visited the maritime provinces of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edwards Island.
We then made our way to the Galapagos Islands, Machu Picchu and the Bahamas. We saw extraordinary things. We watched a tortoise painstakingly dig a hole for her eggs.
We saw the handiwork of the Incas, appreciating the architecture and incredible surroundings of a civilization that’s now long gone.
And we watched professional divers ascend into Dean’s Blue Hole not to come up again for 5 minutes.
After returning from this incredible 3 month trip, something weird happened. We started settling into our retired life and I began to feel sad. Before I retired, my employees and peers needed me. They were constantly asking for advice, calling and texting for help and now the phone was silent.
I began to mope around and waste my days fretting about what was next in life. Had I made a huge mistake by retiring early?
After a few weeks of licking my wounds, I read about this phenomenon known as “retirement depression”. It is common for new retirees to go through this because they are left with lots of time to reminisce about the days when their schedules were full and others depended on them.
After a bit of self-reflection, I came to realize that these feelings were driven by boredom. After working really hard all those years to retire early, I needed to get out and enjoy hobbies that I never had time for before.
I found all kinds of new hobbies. I began golfing, working on photography, cycling, hiking, boating, fishing, and blogging. A few weeks later, I couldn’t figure out how I ever worked because my days were so full with things I enjoyed. Depression was fleeting, I was now enjoying life more than ever.
Since retiring, we’ve enjoyed some incredible travels. After our first 3 month trip, we spent an entire summer traveling the western United States. We started in the Grand Tetons and went on to visit California, Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia. We capped that summer trip off with an Alaskan cruise.
Last summer, we took our youngest (college aged) son to Europe. We built our itinerary around the Running of the Bulls in Pamplona, Spain and capped off the trip in the Italian Riviera. We also visited Paris and Portugal.
Even though I retired early, I truly loved building my last company. It never really felt like work — it was fun, intellectually stimulating and invigorating. You don’t have to give up that feeling when you retire. You can choose to challenge yourself by starting a new business, a blog or working on pet projects.
I’ve recently done just that. I wanted to learn more about mobile app development so I started a project to develop an iPhone app. Since I love to travel, I built an app to provide peace of mind when traveling. It tracks things that are easy to forget (passwords, passport numbers, banking information, software licenses, etc.). I called the app aMemoryJog because it does just that – it securely tracks things that are easy to forget.
Developing this app was not about making money. It was about doing something that stimulates me intellectually and provides an outlet for my entrepreneurial spirit. I’ve enjoyed it so much, I’m working on my next app. It will be called Count Us Down and will allow you to count down the days to your next big event (like a vacation or even retirement).
My wife motivated me to begin volunteering. She has volunteered for many years and genuinely enjoys helping others. Based on her example, I started volunteering last year with Habitat for Humanity (HFH). HFH builds homes for low income families and each family must contribute a significant number of hours helping to build their home or help build one for another family.
I belong to the Walton County Florida chapter and last year we renovated 1 home for a family and built 2 homes from scratch. Not only is volunteering incredibly satisfying, you get to know the family you are building for and you understand the how important it is for them.
Retirement is just another phase of life. Don’t over analyze it. Embrace new hobbies, travel to new places, experience other cultures, stimulate your intellect and enjoy life — you’ve earned it!