Category Archives: Retirement

Master Class Book Review and 1st Ever Oops50 Contest


I’ve got two things to tell you about – First, we’re having our first ever blog contest and because we’ve never done this before, (and in case we screw up) we’re offering two options to win a new book hot off the press.   Master Class: Living Longer, Stronger and Happier, by Peter Spiers is a book written especially for us baby boomers.   Master Class is a road map for active and creative retirement, and one day, I know I’ll be needing it because I will be officially retired.

First, I’ll tell you about the book, and then about the contest.

What makes this book interesting is that it is supported by scientific research in psychology and neuroscience (and we boomers love research).  Spiers is highly qualified to write this book with a long list of credentials starting with Harvard University, and currently Senior VP at Road Scholar, a non-profit dedicated to adult learning.

Have you figured out when you can retire?  A school teacher friend of mine was over last week and told me she could retire at 65, and that meant 5 more years.  She explained to me how much she loves teaching but is so burned out, she didn’t think she could do it for much longer.  Well, after looking at the age chart on the social security website, she found out, much to her horror, she can’t retire until 66.  How about you?  Retirement is going to be longer for us boomers than it was for our parents.  How long is it?  Well, that depends on you.  In fact, in 1985 there were only about 5500 centenarians in the U.S., but in 2010, that grew to 70,000.  And, by the year 2050 there will be about a million centenarians, and I hope I’m one of them.

To age well requires a plan, but not just any plan, a Master Plan.  We can’t just leave it to happenstance like our parents.  That master plan will help us achieve a rich, brain healthy, and active life.  Spier’s book outlines four requirements for positive aging:  Socializing, Thinking, Moving, and Creating.  For those of you who like systems and charts to track your progress, you will love this approach.  The goal is to generate 100 credits a week.  Here’s a brief shot at calculating points.

Activity Socializing Moving Creating Thinking
Learning an instrument 1 1 2 3
Bicycling with friends 2 3 0 1
Studying a foreign language 2 1 2 3

Too bad, I’m not retired, because I’m generating way more than 100 credits a week, but unlike hard cash or calories,  we can’t bank credits for our future.  I’d love for you to read the book yourself and tell us what you think.

So here’s the contest:  Since the publisher has graciously offered us two book give-aways for our Oops50 contest – we’re offering two ways to win a prize:

1)    Do you have a retirement plan?  Send us your retirement plan in 250 words or less, and we will post the winning entry and send you the book.

2)    Second option, have you written a poem or essay about ageing?  What about a painting or photograph with ageing as the theme?  If so, send it to us and we will post the winner on our blog.

Entry Deadline:  September 26, 2012.  Send all entries to:   Please link the contest to your Facebook page, send a tweet, and help us promote the contest.   Winners will be notified By Oct. 1 and prizes shipped directly by publisher.


Why A Nice Jewish Girl From Brooklyn Joined a Gospel Choir


Meet my friend Marjorie. I met her in Washington, D.C. back in 1982 or 1983 at our local gym on M St.  We were sitting in the steam room, and she remarked how she hadn’t see me with my friend lately and wondered what happened.   I told her she moved to Boston to go to back to school, and how much I missed her.  She immediately reached out, and we became best friends after that.  Neither Marjorie nor I are in D.C. anymore, and I wish we were closer.  She has always inspired me to look for joy wherever it is.  Here she is singing in a gospel choir, and here is her story.


I have always wanted to sing in a gospel choir.  The energy and music is so uplifting.  You can be in the biggest funk…tired, depressed, or overwhelmed with your day and your life, but when you start singing it’s as though you’ve been totally transported to another place and time.

When I lived in San Francisco I sang in two choruses.  I never had a great voice, but good enough to be part of the choral group.  One of my “gigs” was in the San Francisco Gay Men and Women’s Chorus.  My next door neighbor at the time knocked on my door one evening and asked me if I liked to sing.  Well, “yes” I said, but I’m not good.  He said not to worry that it was just a fun group and they sang show tunes.  It turned out to be a little more professional than I was, but I still enjoyed it, and realized what a high I got from singing.  Then my “voice” went downhill (literally).  I was really distressed over it, but the ENT guy I went to said it “wasn’t cancer,” but I would have to give up my operatic career.  I fell over laughing.

So years went by without a song in my heart and last December, right before Christmas, my friend Nancy and I went to a local cafe here in Petaluma, (CA) for breakfast and the Wings of Glory was singing.  I checked it out and low and behold they are here practically right in my backyard!  The best things about this group are 1) you don’t have to audition 2) you don’t have to have a great voice and 3) there is no commitment to show up for rehearsals every week or attend the performances.

Wings of Glory

I haven’t missed a rehearsal yet!  The members are some of the most welcoming people I’ve ever met.  Last weekend we sang with the Oakland Interfaith Choir.  You want to hear great voices….that’s the ticket.  Any one of them could go on American Idol and win!  There was also a Jewish A Capella group there called Vocolat and they were singing Hebrew and Yiddish songs…I  felt more at home.

We are the token white gospel choir, but we have the spirit and the “moves.”  We are invited to perform at a number of different venues.  Churches, of course, but also wineries and other events around the area.

So, how is it, you ask, to be singing about Jesus for a nice Jewish girl from Brooklyn?  Well after all, Jesus was a nice Jewish boy from Bethlehem.  And at least they both start with a “B”, right!?  And, if you’re ever in my neck of the woods please come and hear us sing.  You will be looking for a gospel choir in your area instead of a therapist!

“You Only Live Once, But If You Do it Right, Once Is Enough.” Mae West


I need a new job.  Sitting at a desk and being indoors on most days is hazardous to your health, and my body knows it.  I have days where I sit in front of clients listening to them talk about their business and then after they leave, I have to type up my notes and enter them in a database.  Sitting too long gives me a royal pain in the butt, so much that I dream of being a mail carrier or a conductor.  I just finished a quarterly report yesterday, so I’ve been sitting at my desk far too long, so now I have a mild case of sciatica.  The pain begins in the lower back and runs through the buttock.   Lucky for me, it’s not traveling down the lower leg because if you’ve ever had a full blown case of sciatica, you know it’s is a killer.

Of course, if I entered the data a little bit every month in a more timely fashion, I wouldn’t have to be computer chair bound, but when clients call, I give in to their needs and put my admin work on hold even though I’ve designated that time for ME.

Too much sitting and not enough movement  is unhealthy.  It’s an occupational hazard for sure, so why can’t I collect worker’s comp and get a massage?  I want a job where I move.  Have you ever seen a slouching, fat mail carrier or conductor?  Did you know they live a long healthy life thanks to all that aerobic activity?

Let me be clear, I’m not just looking for longevity, but healthy longevity.  Many of the world’s famous conductors lived well into their 80’s and 90’s during a time when the average life expectancy was 50 years old.  Evidently, flapping your arms around for hours provides a great cardiovascular workout with a steady stream of blood flowing to the brain – all that, while listening to beautiful music, creating an inner peace.  That’s what I want – a life-enhancing job.  

There is another way.  If I were brilliant, I could expect a long life, say the longevity experts.  Winners of the Nobel Prize live longer than most people.  It seems like the act of winning a Nobel Prize increases longevity and life expectancy by 1.5 years.  They also say Minnesotans live longer than most as well as those who are married.  And who knew that the more money you make, the longer you live?  So, I guess a wealthy married orchestra conductor living in Minnesota who has won a Nobel Prize can expect an uber long AND healthy life.

Mae West

Mae West got it right, and she was 87 when she died.

“You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.”

Thank you, Mae.

Changing Cultures & Taking on Elder Care

Totsie Marine

Our Friend, Totsie, disappeared from Asheville, but we found her in Panama.  Here is her story.

Part 1: Making the Decision

“Wanda fell and broke her (other) arm. She is doing better but can’t remember why she has a cast on her arm.” This email came after we made the decision to move to Boquete, Panama and help take care of my 83 year-old mother-in-law, Wanda. It sealed the deal for us. We said we would come to Panama for a year.

How it came to be:  

My husband, Winn, and I had toyed with the idea of moving to Boquete after visiting there in January 2011. Winn’s brother, Kevin, and his wife, Tammy, had been taking care of Wanda for three years and had moved their whole family, including three school aged children, to Boquete about a year before our visit. Their decision to relocate there was based on Tammy’s parents, who had retired there, and their own research on cost of living, quality of medical care and the desire to scale down their expensive lifestyle in the states.

Family in Boquete

Winn and I have a web development business. I started the business in 1996 and he joined me in 2006. We re-branded the company in 2011 from to Webonobo and positioned it to be “Local Global Mobile Web Solutions”. We also had our site translated into Spanish to attract clients who needed multilingual sites. We had always been told “Oh, you could do your business from anywhere in the world.”, so now seemed to be the right time to see if that was true.

Our original thought was that we could move to Boquete, live near Kevin and Tammy and help take care of Wanda while continuing our business. We knew we would have a cable internet connection and with modern conveniences like Skype, we could still have personal connections to our clients.

The deciding factors:

One factor in our decision to move was that our business had slowed, like most businesses in the states, and while we still had a stable roster of 60+ clients which we host and support, the requests for new sites had slowed to a trickle. Even though we had re-branded and felt positive about the new direction, we were still in the early stages of marketing our new global potential.

Another important factor came when I had a reading with an intuitive in Asheville who helped me admit the fact that I was personally burned out. Being entirely self-taught, self-motivated, self-marketed, I had been working long days for 16 years and even though I thought I had a few good business years left in me, the truth came out in the reading and I had to admit that I was just plain tired, that I had become one-dimensional in giving all my energy to the business and what I really wanted was a big change in lifestyle.  

When I told Winn about my true feelings he immediately said “Absolutely, no problem, I can take over the business. I want you to rest and find yourself.” His next thought was that HE wanted to meet with the intuitive. In truth, he had been wanting to change the hectic lifestyle we had created but hadn’t figured out how to make that happen. So now he was motivated to not only take over the helm but also to do it in his style and at his pace.

And yet a third factor is the fact that I turn 62 on March 6, 2012. Yes, I’m a baby boomer. It seemed unreal to me that people really used to retire at 62 but here I was actually considering it! Of course I would have to give up the CEO position in the company and work less hours to qualify for Social Security but that quickly became a no-brainer. Winn, being 5 years younger than me, still felt excited about our rebranding efforts and could see himself running the business with me as co-pilot.

Running the numbers:

Winn loves spreadsheets so he spread us out in all the ways he could think of to evaluate the wisdom of our move. No matter how you sliced it, it looked like a really good idea!

Based on Kevin and Tammy’s experiences and cost of living, he decided that (as the new CEO) we could offer our services at a lower rate to our clients since our cost of living would be lower in Panama and that would create a win-win for our clients, who had smaller marketing budgets because of the downturn in the economy, and us who had lower living expenses. We could continue running the business, just on a smaller more sustainable pace. We would be living internationally which could eventually meet one of our rebranding goals which was to produce multilingual sites for international clients. We both got excited about the positive possibilities of this move and after we found a great renter for our house-someone I already had an acquaintance with who is in our industry-we felt like the light was green to go.

Part II – Next Monday!  In the meantime, Happy Birthday Totsie. 


Oops50: Do You Know About the Discounts for Baby Boomers?


A friend of mine at was waiting in line behind an older gentleman at Wendy’s recently, and heard him ask for a senior discount. The young woman at the register apologized and charged him less for his meal. When my friend asked the man what the discount was, he told her seniors over 55 gets 10% off everything on the menu, every day. This incident prompted her to do some research, (thanks Va) and she discovered a list of restaurants, supermarkets, department stores, travel deals, and other types of offers giving various discounts with different age requirements. Below, you’ll find a long  list of discounts for us baby boomers, and it’s surprising just how many of them start at the young age of 50.

Just think, when you get that craving for pancakes IHOP is ready with your discount, or on the day you’re having a real ice cream emergency, Ben and Jerry’s will add a 10% discount to that rich creamy cone, and  all you have to do is ask. 

Hmmmm, it seems to me if Dunkin Donuts is willing to give free coffee to us boomers and you’re paying for a cup every day, you might want to start getting it for free. Oh, and my very favorite is the savings you get with our National Parks – I’m just saying…

Here’s the list ladies. It’s long. Enjoy!

Applebees: 15% off with Golden Apple Card (60+)
Arbys: 10% off (55+)
Ben & Jerrys: 10% off (60+)
Boston Market: 10% off (65+)
Burger King: 10% off (60+)
Captain Ds Seafood: discount varies on location (62+)
Chick-Fil-A: 10% off or free small drink or coffee (55+)
Chilis: 10% off (55+)
Culvers: 10% off (60+)
Dennys: 10% off, 20% off for AARP members (55+)
Dunkin Donuts: 10% off or free coffee (55+)  
Einsteins Bagels: 10% off bakers dozen of bagels (60+)
Golden Corral: 10% off (60+)
Hardees: $0.33 beverages everyday (65+)
IHOP: 10% off (55+)
Jack in the Box: up to 20% off (55+)
KFC: free small drink with any meal (55+)
Krispy Kreme: 10% off (50+)
Long John Silvers: various discounts at participating locations (55+)
McDonalds: discounts on coffee everyday (55+)
Shoneys: 10% off
Sonic: 10% off or free beverage (60+)
Steak n Shake: 10% off every Monday & Tuesday (50+)
Subway: 10% off (60+)
Taco Bell: 5% off; free beverages for seniors (65+)
TCBY: 10% off (55+)
Waffle House: 10% off every Monday (60+)
Wendys: 10% off (55+)
White Castle: 10% off (62+)

Retail And Apparel
Banana Republic: 10% off (50+)
Bealls: 20% off first Tuesday of each month (50+)
Belks: 15% off first Tuesday of every month (55+)
Big Lots: 10% off
Bon-Ton Department Stores: 15% off on senior discount days (55+)
C.J. Banks: 10% off every Wednesday (60+)
Clarks: 10% off (62+)
Dress Barn: 10% off (55+)
Goodwill: 10% off one day a week (date varies by location)
Hallmark: 10% off one day a week (date varies by location)
 Kohls: 15% off (60+)
Modells Sporting Goods: 10% off
Rite Aid: 10% off on Tuesdays & 10% off prescriptions
Ross Stores: 10% off every Tuesday (55+)
The Salvation Army Thrift Stores: up to 50% off (55+)
Stein Mart: 20% off red dot / clearance items first Monday of every month


Albertsons: 10% off first Wednesday of each month (55+)
American Discount Stores: 10% off every Monday (50+)
Compare Foods Supermarket: 10% off every Wednesday (60+)
DeCicco Family Markets: 5% off every Wednesday (60+)
Food Lion: 6% off every Monday (60+)
Frys Supermarket: free Frys VIP Club Membership & 10% off every
Monday (55+)
Great Valu Food Store: 5% off every Tuesday (60+)
Gristedes Supermarket: 10% off every Tuesday (60+)
Harris Teeter: 5% off every Tuesday (60+)
Hy-Vee: 5% off one day a week (date varies by location)
Kroger: 10% off (date varies by location)
Morton Williams Supermarket: 5% off every Tuesday (60+)
The Plant Shed: 10% off every Tuesday (50+)
Publix: 5% off every Wednesday (55+)
Rogers Marketplace: 5% off every Thursday (60+)
Uncle Guiseppes Marketplace: 5% off (62+)


Alaska Airlines: 10% off (65+)
Alamo: up to 25% off for AARP members
American Airlines: various discounts for 65 and up (call before booking
for discount)
Amtrak: 15% off (62+)
Avis: up to 25% off for AARP members
Best Western: 10% off (55+)
Budget Rental Cars: 10% off; up to 20% off for AARP members (50+)
Cambria Suites: 20%-30% off (60+)
Clarion: 20%-30% off (60+)
Comfort Inn: 20%-30% off (60+)
Comfort Suites: 20%-30% off (60+)
Continental Airlines: no initiation fee for Continental Presidents Club
& special fares for select destinations
Dollar Rent-A-Car: 10% off (50+)
Econo Lodge: 20%-30% off (60+)
Enterprise Rent-A-Car: 5% off for AARP members
Greyhound: 5% off (62+)
Hampton Inns & Suites: 10% off when booked 72 hours in advance
Hertz: up to 25% off for AARP members
Holiday Inn: 10%-30% off depending on location (62+)
Hyatt Hotels: 25%-50% off (62+)
InterContinental Hotels Group: various discounts at all hotels (65+)
Mainstay Suites: 10% off with Mature Travelers Discount (50+); 20%-30%
off (60+)
Marriott Hotels: 15% off (62+)
Motel 6: 10% off (60+)
Myrtle Beach Resort: 10% off (55+)
National Rent-A-Car: up to 30% off for AARP members
Quality Inn: 20%-30% off (60+)
Rodeway Inn: 20%-30% off (60+)
Sleep Inn: 20%-30% off (60+)
Southwest Airlines: various discounts for ages 65 and up (call before
booking for discount)
Trailways Transportation System: various discounts for ages 50 and up
United Airlines: various discounts for ages 65 and up (call before
booking for discount)
U.S. Airways: various discounts for ages 65 and up (call before booking
for discount)

Activities And Entertainment

AMC Theaters: up to 30% off (55+)
Bally Total Fitness: up to $100 off memberships (62+)
Busch Gardens Tampa: $3 off one-day tickets (50+)
Carmike Cinemas: 35% off (65+)
Cinemark / Century Theaters: up to 35% off
U.S. National Parks: $10 lifetime pass; 50% off additional services
including camping (62+)
Regal Cinemas: 30% off
Ripleys Believe it or Not: @ off one-day ticket (55+)
SeaWorld Orlando: $3 off one-day tickets (50+)

Cell Phone Discounts

AT&T: Special Senior Nation 200 Plan $29.99 / month (65+)
Jitterbug: $10 / month cell phone service (50+)
Verizon Wireless: Verizon Nationwide 65 Plus Plan $29.99 / month (65+).

Great Clips: $3 off hair cuts (60+)
Super Cuts: $2 off haircuts (60+)