State of the Union? For Boomers, its spelled “A-N_X_I_E_T_Y”

Tonite, President Obama will give his State of the Union address. While the focus will supposedly be on “jobs” and “the economy,” both topics strangely absent from the liberal manifesto given at inauguration, I wonder if he will hit the hot buttons for Boomers.
Just when we thought it was safe to head towards retirement, the stock market and economy collapsed, sending most of us into high anxiety. The plan to sell the big house and use the proceeds for that cute condo in Sun City when out the window with the housing crash. As adult children, well-educated yet un- or under employed, moved back home with their college debt in tow, it added to our stress.
We all know this. So what’s the plan? We need a strategy for this country that puts us back on a growth track now. A strategy is a choice, and provides clear goals for setting the agenda. It is not vague, it is not partisan, it is not high- minded. Unfortunately, those adjectives seem to apply to the president’s messaging. No, Boomers across both parties should listen up tonight. If there is a growth strategy that is well articulated, we can all take a chill pill. I fear that is not in the plan.


Something every Boomer should know about READING

From Lumosity, a brain-training APP/online tool: “Researchers from the Stanford Center for Cognitive and Neurobiological Imaging took brain scans of several literary PhD students as they read a chapter from Mansfield Park. First, the PhD students were asked to read the book casually, for fun. Then students were asked to switch to a critical reading mode similar to how they might analyze it in a literature classroom

This switch in reading modes created a significant shift in brain activity patternson fMRI scans. Casual reading activated pleasure centers while critical reading increased activity in the prefrontal cortex, which is responsible for the executive functions heavily involved in attending to tasks like reading.

Executive function is responsible for more than just attentive reading: this brain function helps moderate how you divide your attention, use your working memory, and generally direct your brainpower. It plays a powerful role in decision-making.

While the findings of the Stanford study are preliminary, they make a good case for further research on the impact of reading on cognition. Philips posits that critical reading could serve as a type of training, “teaching us to modulate our concentration.”

There is other evidence that reading can be good for your brain. A 2007 study from the Center for Occupational and Environmental Neurology found that avid readers benefited from an increased cognitive reserve. Cognitive reserve is the concept that challenging intellectual activity — like reading or brain training — can protect the brain against negative cognitive impacts later in life.

The studies on reading indicate that investing in intellectually challenging habits as early as possible can benefit your brain over the long term.”

I think every Boomer can agree. And every parent should get their kids reading!!!

Another Thing: The Feds say EVERY BOOMER should get tested for Hep C!

Apparently, one in every 30 Boomers has Hep C and doesn’t even know it. It doesn’t show up on a normal blood test–you have to ask for it. It can cause liver cancer, and other fatal problems. I guess there is a treatment, or they wouldn’t bother nagging us about this. This is from the CDC, so I would take it seriously.
So do it.

The Most Poorly Named Investment Product– that Every Boomer Needs

They are called DEATH PUTS!!  But do not be put off by this term! See this excerpt from Saturday’s Wall Street Journal:

“A growing number of financial advisers are pointing to a little-known strategy that can help solve this problem [of low returns on investments]: “death puts.” Formally known as estate-feature puts, they are available on a handful of high-grade corporate bonds as well as most CDs sold through brokerages.

Death puts guarantee that when the owner of the bond or CD dies, the heirs can redeem it at face value, meaning they get back all the money that originally was invested. The fees usually amount to about 0.125% a year, and come out of the interest payments.

Meantime, buyers collect yields significantly higher than they can get on shorter-term investments. A typical investment-grade 10-year corporate bond currently yields about 3.5%, roughly double the yield of a similar five-year bond. A 10-year CD yields about 2.85%, more than a percentage point better than a five-year CD.

Those yields are far better than can be gotten from longer-term government bonds. A 10-year Treasury note now yields only about 2%, while a German bund yields only about 1.75%.”

I am no financial guru. Like many in my generation, I have lived for today, and never trusted anyone over 30. (I still can’t accept that that group now includes me.) Saving for tomorrow was boring, old school, and the future would take care of itself.

So imagine my surprise when my little “never-grow-old” Boomer brain actually got interested in finding out more about something called a “DEATH PUT!” You see, this is perfect for Boomers: we live off the higher yields NOW, and our heirs get to cash in the face value. It should be renamed. Write me and tell me your suggestions!

This fits perfectly in my “live for today” mindset!!! I can’t wait to find out what the real story is here….like the risks and all that other boring stuff. Fellow Boomer: there’s also a risk to doing nothing.

I suggest you join me in checking it out.

“OUR TIME” Ads hit, and miss, the mark

These ads for this on line 50+ dating site pass the cringe test, but that’s about all. I wouldn’t want to be these people! If you are single, and 50+, you are probably looking to find interesting things to do, and interesting people to share them with. You get it that the romantic part of love has to be there eventually, but the fun part–the part where you are interested in each other because you are interested in the same things…becomes more important. After all, most of these folks have been here before.

I was almost expecting one of those joint bathtub shots at the end and a Cialis plug. That would have made me cringe, for sure.

Working Longer Helps Younger Workers! What a concept!

A recent Opinion piece in the Sunday NYT quotes a surprising fact: “recent studies in Britain and Germany find a positive correlation between labor force participation among the elderly and youth employment.”  As they earn more, they spend more first of all. (Boomers will second that.)

And older workers may be more likely to be entrepreneurs, imparting valuable skills to the young. Older folks ( I still deny that I am one of those…) are very often the MOST ENTREPRENEURIAL!  The example given is Palm Beach, which has the highest self employment rate in the country. Listen carefully, AARP: Don’t think of Florida as “retirees”….think of them as “re-inventers” with the ideas, skills, energy, and yes sometimes, the NEED to keep working well past the so-called golden age of 65.

I personally never thought it was going to be too “golden” anyway. At least not in that sense.

Like most Boomers, what keeps me going is that I still think I can make an impact on the world, somehow, and that people will care to listen if I have something to say, no matter what the “clock age” says. Those experiences will be my new definition of “the golden years.”

WSJ says Number of 90+ People Surged in Past 30 Years. They Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet.

The WSJ today says that the number of people 90+ has nearly tripled since 1980 to 1.9 Million. They go on to say that “this group is projected to increase to 8.7 million by mid century. A century ago, fewer than 100,000 people reached 90. ” They say that better nutrition and medical care have driven down the number of strokes and deaths from heart disease. Here are the states with the highest share over 90: North Dakota, Connecticut, Iowa, South Dakota. In terms of absolute numbers: California, Florida and Texas lead the nation in the 90+ group.
Baby Boomers are going to upend these numbers. Who is thinking and planning and preparing for that. Maybe not the Boomers themselves. Many are still in denial, since the average is 55 years old…and they’re still working.

Wait till we make 90 the coolest age to be! Count on it…