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Showing posts from November, 2007

Going Down Swinging

When I was a kid, probably around 7 or 8 years old, I played baseball in “minor league,” or whatever was before Little League. I don’t remember anything about it, except for this one at bat that was near the end of one of the games. As I recall, the game was in the balance, and I think the opposing pitcher was walking a lot of batters. Possibly he had walked the bases loaded, which wouldn’t have been uncommon in that league (which is why T-Ball is a good idea – but I digress)

Anyway, I must have made up my mind that this pitcher was going to walk me as well, because after the count went to 3 and 2, I took a pitch right down the middle for strike three. Now why, you may be asking, do I still remember this, over fifty years later? Because it bothered me. A lot. Enough for my brain to store it in a priority area and still remember it years later.

It bothered me because I didn’t even swing. I took the easy way out. I didn’t even try to hit it. And I think on some level that day, I decided t…

You Gotta Love The Title!

Here's another book recommendation featured at www.platinum years.net. This is the most motivating book I have ever read on any health topic. Read on to see why:Younger Next Year: A Guide to Living Like 50 Until You're 80 and Beyond, by Chris Crowley and Henry S. Lodge, M.D. - When seventy year old Chris Crowley first went to see his new doctor, Harry Lodge, Chris found Harry's approach to the medical issues of aging so compelling, and challenging, that before long they were writing this book together. And this book is the first (after many, believe me!) that actually has me exercising and, I must say, feeling much better, and a little lighter.Basically, Harry's approach is this: There are two things going on in your body - age and decay. Decay you can't do anything about, but it's the more minor of the two - Weaker eyesight, loss of skin tone, frequent trips to the ... need I go on? The big factor is aging, and most of its effects are preventable and even mode…

What is Your Passion?

It's time in our extended family to make out the Christmas lists for the rest of the family. With email this is a lot easier than it used to be. One member of the family, my brother-in-law, started his own tradition a few years back by including a Christmas poem with each year's list.

This year, instead of a Christmas poem, he included this short "Testament of a Fisherman," which I appreciated because, to be honest, I just don't "get" fishing. I've often asked fisherman friends what it is that they love about it, and I really listen, but I still don't get it. Of course, many of them don't "get" the attraction of sailing... How can they be so blind? :-)

Anyway, this post isn't really about either fishing or sailing. It's about passion. Passion is integral to "platinum living." Why do we have passion for some things in life? How do you find your passion(s)? And then how can you live them out?

I will have lots to say on…

When Should I Start Drawing on my IRA, 401(k), or 403(b) Plan?

I just finished this article for the web site. I probably won't post it until tomorrow, when the other two pages that link to it will be ready. But YOU can read it :-).

This question is, in my experience, the hands down winner as the most popular question asked of a financial planner. And it's no wonder, because what it really translates into is, "When can I get at all that money I put away for all those years?" And the answer to that question, "When CAN I..." is really any old time. But the answer to "When SHOULD I ..." is usually age 70 1/2. And here's why...

First of all, let me simplify the terminology a bit by calling all of these plans by their generic name, "qualified plans." They earn that name because they "qualify" under IRS regulations for pretax contributions and tax deferred growth. In other words, the contributions to these plans are made in pretax dollars, either because you can deduct the amount contribute…

My #1 Favorite Book

Within days after beginning the work on Platinum Living, I discovered Chasing Daylight: How My Forthcoming Death Transformed my Life. I was just finishing work on the Introduction for my book. I was making the point that it would be great to prioritize our living in the 15-20 good years that we have left with the perspective of those who don't have as long. As they say, "Nobody on their death bed ever wishes they had spent more time at the office."Shortly after I wrote those very words, I discovered Chasing Daylight, which is the autobiographical story of a man who had to deal with that very issue, having been given a three month "death sentence" by his doctor. For more about this book, the original review is below: Chasing Daylight: How My Forthcoming Death Transformed my Life, by Gene O'Kelly - You must read this book. In April of 2005, at the age of 53 and in the prime of a high powered career as CEO of a “big four” accounting firm, the author Eugene O&#…

Website Update - New "Platinum Finances" Section

When I began tackling the social security issues, I knew it would mean I'd have to get the "Platinum Finances" section of http://www.platinumyears.net/ up and running. So that will be this weekend's project. At a minimum, I'll be writing a welcome/summary/background page, and specific pages on the "when to take social security" decision, and the "when does it make sense to withdraw money from a 401(k), 403(b) or IRA Rollover," because that accessibility occurs even earlier, at age 59 1/2. That's a question I've gotten very frequently over the years, and people are usually surprised by my answer. Stay tuned.

But while I'm busy doing that, I thought I'd post over here some of my book reviews that I wrote when I first opened up the test web site. I doubt thay've been read by many people, and I just began going public with these sites this week. It'll give you something to read while I'm busy with the website. I'm al…

Quick Quiz – What % of Boomers Plan to Work During Retirement?

It was probably Jim Arnold and his great attitude toward career change (see link in previous post) that inspired me. But in any event, I figured I might as well introduce what I consider a key statistic toward the achievement of our mission – Helping you get the best out of the rest of your life.

You see, when I first started studying boomers facing retirement, it was from the perspective of a financial planner. And I have to tell you, it was pretty depressing looking at all the statistics that illustrate how woefully unprepared we are for what I am now calling “the life stage formerly known as retirement.” But then I came across this very heartening little statistic. A full 79% of all boomers expect to work in some capacity during their retirement!

Now this is not entirely great news because these work plans are not all voluntary. Many of us are making these plans because we know we have to. Which is still fine, because I’m convinced that this need is a huge blessing in disguise.…

60? Must be Time for a Career Change

I run across articles like this so often that I'm tempted not to link them. But not everybody has been reading on this topic for months.

So here is another boomer who's ready to take on life's new challenges at 60.

When to Take Social Security – Revisited

I knew this was going to happen. Now that the first boomers are reaching age 62 and can begin to take social security, social security is in the news.

I really don’t want to look like a traditional retirement site, but while it’s in the news, there are lots of good articles on the subject. Here’s the best I’ve seen, and not just because it agrees with me :-)
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21674082/

I think what I’ll do is synthesize these into the first topic of a financial advice section on www.platinumyears.net – I guess it’s appropriate to tackle the first decision about social security that every boomer will have to face.

It Was the Best of Times, It was the Worst of Times

I’m a big football fan. I have been for years. I’ve been a fan of the New England Patriots fan ever since they were formed as the Boston Patriots many moons ago. And I've been a Notre Dame fanever since the 60s, when I attended there. I was the third of three sons who all went to Notre Dame. Both of my daughters later went there in the 80s and 90s, and they both married Notre Dame students. So you can imagine how obnoxious we all are during a “normal” football season.

But this is not a normal football season. As I write this, the Patriots are 10-0, and arguably the greatest pro football team ever. And Notre Dame is having possibly its worst season ever, at 2-9. But this article is not about football. It’s about the need for challenges in our lives. Because I find that I can’t really get into rooting for either of my teams this year. I have yet to watch a full football game this season.

Why? Because the Patriots are so good that they are blowing everyone out in the first half, and th…

The Dream

The previous blog entry, WWTPGD, reminded me of a dream I had in February. It was when I was just testing out the blogging sites. Around that time, I had a very vivid and I think meaningful dream that is very apropos of the general idea of breaking out of your comfort zone. So while we’re on the subject, I thought I’d tell you about the dream. Check it out by clicking February 2007 (There are only two entries during that “test” month.)

WWTPGD (What Would That Platinum Guy Do?)

A few years back, there was a popular movement, especially among Christian teens and 20-somethings, to ask one another, “What Would Jesus Do?” at times of decision. There was even a fad of wearing bracelets with the initials “WWJD?” as a reminder of this standard.

When I started to write Platinum Living, the first words that spilled onto the keyboard were, “I write this book as a challenge. A challenge to you the reader, and to myself as I write this.” That is still my prime motivation as I continue to write, both book and blog.

So I wanted to get this out, in the early stages of blogging, and encourage you that if you take the challenge seriously, you CAN change your life for the better.

On three different occasions this year, I have had situations pop up where I had to make a decision. One of the choices was inside my comfort zone, and the other was outside my comfort zone. And all three times, the thought popped into my head, “What would that Platinum Guy Do?” That may seem strange t…

Don't Do It!

Even though I am a financial planner by trade, I don’t expect that this blog or the Platinum Years Network will spend that much time discussing financial topics. There just isn’t that much of a correlation between wealth and “authentic happiness.” And I’ll give you the stats on that some day. All in due time…
But this recent news item just begs to be commented on:
“At an event hosted by Michael J. Astrue, Commissioner of Social Security, the nation's first Baby Boomer, Kathleen Casey-Kirschling, today filed for her Social Security retirement benefits online at www.socialsecurity.gov. Ms. Casey-Kirschling, who was born one second after midnight on January 1, 1946, will be eligible for benefits beginning January 2008.”
Commissioner Astrue went on to gush about Kathy’s “personal milestone – she has made the transition from the workforce to retirement.”
Now I know a social security commissioner has to say such things as a matter of public relations, but if at the end of my life, I cou…

Let's Roll

Today seems like a good day to officially begin, although I’ve been at it off and on for a couple of years now. I turn 61 today. Over the past two years, I have greatly simplified my life. I sold off some property I had been managing, and transitioned my stock brokerage and financial planning practice so that I am now an independent contractor without the complications and regulations of running a corporate broker/dealer.

A generation ago, I would now be telling you that I’m looking forward to “retirement,” perhaps moving to Florida, where you could find me on the nearest golf course. But that does not have any particular appeal to me. Nor does it have any appeal to about 80% of my “baby boomer” brethren, who have no intention of retiring in the same “drop out of life” fashion that our parents did.

There’s just too much to do! I have a million ideas, and lots of potential adventures on my “Things To Do Before I Die” list (Do you have one of those?) One of those ideas is to create this b…