Yearly Archives:2009

Baby Gloomers

In the United States we call those people 50-65 Baby Boomers. In England they call them Baby  Gloomers. The term has arisen as more and more British have found themselves taking care of dependent parents while they are taking care of dependent children. Now you may think these parents are in there 80’s and the children in their teens or twenties; but that would not really be possible. Instead they find themselves taking care of parents in their late 60’s who did not retire financially secure, and their children in their 30’s who have lost jobs, marriages, or whose poor spending habits have led them to return to their parent’s home To add to the gloom, some parents are returning with new spouses and step-children; and children are returning with kids of their own.
So for the Boomers who managed to prepare for their retirement and saw a happy and prosperous life down the road, their goals have been undermined by their need to be responsible for…………….well, everyone!

And here is a scary statistic that I read in September 2009 MORE magazine…..Donna Jackson  Nakazawa is quoted as saying that although some statistic say that over 50% of marriages will ultimately end in divorce, 75% of marriages will end in divorce if one spouse develops a chronic
illness…………WOW! So who will take care of that parent when their own spouse chooses to walk away?

If your financial plan does not encompass the possibility of you being a “Sandwich” parent, if you have not gotten a handle on how your situation will need to change if parents and kids return to depending on you; if you have not had the end of life discussion with your children; or if you have not sat down with your children and explained what your retirement plans are, and how financially they may not include them…..there is no time like the present.

We see people retire comfortably only to see this change the minute the “kids” need a new TV, a few dollars, education money for the grandchildren. We see people pulling principal from their income producing assets to help the parents, to buy cars for the kids, to pay the grandchildren’s college loans.
It is enough that some takers have no concept of what that means for the givers down the road (and sadly we see some who do not care), but it is even harder for the givers to accept the consequences to their lifestyles because of what they have give to the takers. All financial decisions have

So what can you do? Develop a sound plan for financial independence. Just say “no” to requests for money you cannot afford to give. Prepare a solid Estate Plan. Build contingency planning into your retirement plans. Set and reset your priorities. Know what you can afford to give….and what you
can’t afford to give. Have adequate life and Long Term Care Insurance, and see that those who may become dependent on you have done the same. If you “lend” money, get a repayment agreement in writing; have them pledge assets or insurances. Just like a good umbrella can shelter you from the gloom of a rainy day, a good financial and estate plan can shelter you from a financial rainy day. Then you can continue to be a “baby boomer” instead
of a “baby gloomer”.

I Love My Dog…And Other Living Things

With the current state of the financial world, people often ask me if there are segments of the economy that are still doing well. Seems that one area that continues to prosper is pets and pet supplies. No matter what happens in our world we still love those little creatures that add unconditional love to our lives. But with that in mind, I wanted to share with you an article I wrote a few years ago as a reminder of that special love, but also as a call to remember how
we need to care, now more than ever, for all the other living things in our lives.

I love my dog. I know this, because I am one of those millions of Americans who have made going to the pet store a momentous event. I take my dog along…of course. I buy gourmet doggy biscuits, and the best in collars and accessories. My beagle, Duncan, has ceramic feeding dishes and a wagon filled with toys. He has a sweater for when it is chilly, and a coat for when it snows.

And although I am a little over the edge when it comes to Duncan, I know that as much as I love him, I love others more…my family, my significant other, my friends. However, I have had “paws” to wonder if there are some people whose sole love relationship exists between them and their pets.

On a trip to PETCO, Duncan and I were followed into the store by a very large man in his late 50’s. He was carrying a small terrier. In a quiet voice he whispered; “Daddy loves his little baby. And because you are a good puppy, we are going into the store to buy you dog food and a toy. Would you like a new ball? Yes, you would. And when we get home, we will play and play.”

As hysterically funny as I thought this was, I dared not to laugh, as how many times have I been guilty of having that same kind of conversation with Duncan? But I couldn’t help but wonder if this same man had little talks like that with his kids, his wife, or other humans in his life.

Then, because life has a way of teaching us through mere contrast of events; the next day I found myself walking into Giant Eagle, followed again by a rather large, but younger man. This one had a very fidgety, pouty-looking 5 year old boy in tow. And the dad’s conversation went something like this, “I am telling you right now, don’t ask for a thing. I just have to pick up a couple things; and then we are out of here. Your mother always does this to me. When I a tired and on my way home she thinks of something for me to do that she could have done herself. All I want to do is get in and out of here. Do you understand me?”

Of course it was not necessary for the little boy to answer him. It was obvious that he understood very well.

So I wondered if this man had a dog. And what kind of conversations he had with his dog when he went to PETCO? And did he talk like this to his wife or other humans he knows. And I wondered if the conversation that the man at the PETCO store had with his dog, had been the one the father had with his son, how differently the little boy may have reacted. “Come on, son, we need to get a few things in the store. And because you are such a good
boy, how about while we are here, we find something you would like, too. And, although I am tired from working today, I missed you; and when we get home maybe we can play ball for a little while after dinner. I love you, son, and I am glad we can spend this little bit of time together.”
But why do we go to these extremes for our dogs? Maybe it is because they love us unconditionally. Maybe because when we walk in the door, they jump up and down, wag their tails and treat us as though life was not worth living while we were away; even if that was 5 minutes or 5 hours.

They don’t care less for us if we are tired, or having a bad hair day. They are ready to play when we want to play; and they will come to our defense against anything they perceive to be a threat. They instinctively know when we are sad; and they respond to the mere sound of our voice. Who else in our lives does all of this, all the time?

But maybe that’s because we don’t tell the humans in our lives all those little things we tell our pets? Should we say more often, “Daddy loves you and we are going to play and play”? Should we run to the door when our spouse walks in after 5 minutes or 5 hours? Should we defend our friends against anything we perceive to be a threat in their lives? And should we approach each person we meet with the love and affection we show our dogs?

I love my dog…and I have told him that and showed him that today. I must remember today to do the same for all the other living things in my life. And maybe in return they will do the same for me.

20 Strategies For Saving Money

With the current state of the economy, everyone is looking for ways to save money and improve their
financial picture. Here are 20 simple ideas that can help you find extra money and reduce daily

1. Send free email cards instead of snail mail cards. You will save the cost of the card and the

2. Use the internet to do comparison shopping. But buy the items locally; or look for sites with
free shipping.

3. Use the local library for checking out movies instead of renting or buying, or paying to view
movies on cable

4. Buy clothes that can be laundered and ironed at home, instead of “dry clean only.”

5. Use only ATM’s where you will not be charged a service fee

6. Pay cash for groceries, gasoline, clothes, most purchase when possible; as people who use
cash spend less overall than those who charge.

7. If you bought a house and did not put at least 20% down, you are probably paying private
mortgage insurance. As soon as you have at least 20% equity in your home, contact your
lender to cancel this insurance.

8. Take advantage of free health screenings and testing at health fairs or local pharmacies and
save the deductible on your medical insurance that you would have paid to have similar test
done by your physician

9. Don’t allow any insurance policy to just renew without getting multiple quotes. It pays to
shop around

10. Go to the National Association of Unclaimed Property website to see if the state of federal
government owes you money you may not have claimed

11. Go to to find the best rates on credit cards

12. Shop at resale shops in upscale neighborhoods. You may even find clothes that were never

13. Be your own handyman. Save the cost of professional help. Lowes and Home Depot
employees can walk you through what you need to know 4. Track your spending. Write it down and you will spend less

15. Sign up for a Upromise Credit card. A portion of every purchase will go into a special
college fund for your child or grandchild

16. If you are eligible, use your senior citizens discounts

17. Before you throw anything away, decide if you can sell the things you don’t need or don’t
use on Ebay, through a resale shop, or at a garage sale. Or donate items to a charity and take
a tax deduction, if possible.

18. When going out to dinner, lower the bill by having cocktails and dessert at home.

19. Plan your purchases. Never impulse buy. If you see something you would like to have, write
down the description, or take a picture of it. Then go home, wait a few days, and then decide
if you still really want it. The desire to own it could pass. If not, search on line for
opportunities for paying less for it. See if you can buy it with rewards card from your charge
card companies. Or ask friends or family to make it your birthday or Christmas gift.

20. Plan a Stay-cation instead of a Vacation. See and do the things you have always wanted to
do around your own hometown. Save the cost of hotels and transportation.

Some creativity and a little forethought can certainly make “cents”.