Tuesday, June 30, 2015

The "file and suspend" technique that married couples use to increase social security benefits can help same-sex couples too


One of the biggest benefits to same-sex couples from recognition of marriage equality comes from social security survivorship benefits.
  
  
Couples have the ability to play with the retirement age, which single people don’t.  The technique is called “file and suspend” and is explained well in this Reuters article by Mark Miller, link.   Of course, as a personal matter, this works for older people inclined to get into and keep intimate relationships, a moral irony. 


Monday, June 29, 2015

Greece, Puerto Rico imminent defaults come together, maybe leading to a financial Hurricane Sandy, like Porter Stansberry predicts


There is a lot of talk today about the drop in financial markets because of the default in Greece. But there’s more, because Puerto Rico, as a US territory, is simultaneously getting attention because the likelihood of default, and, like a state, it cannot declare bankruptcy. The Puerto Rican situation could prove more dangerous to most US retirees living like  parasitic Piketty “rentiers” (like me). I did cover the situation in Greece earlier today on the International Issues blog.
  
Robert J. Samuelson has a sobering article on p. A15 of the Washington Post Monday, June 29, 2015, “The next financial crisis?” link here.  It considers developing countries like China as most likely to cause instability.  Some right-wing economists have suggested that China, though, could call in US debt and undermine the dollar as reserve currency (the Porter Stansberry theory, supported now by Ron Paul, as discussed June 25 on my “cf” blog).  The Washington Times often runs Stansberry’s material.  Actually, Donald Trump may well believe this theory. “China is not our friend”.  Neither was the tiger Richard Parker.


Yahoo Finance has two important articles today, one on whether US markets have enough “distance” from Greece, and another on Puerto Rico.

 

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Maryland governor's lymphoma treatable for older people only when there is a good social support network


Republican governor Larry Hogan of Maryland has been diagnosed with Stage 3 Non-Hodgkins B-cell lymphoma at age 59.  This was an aggressive type. He says he noticed a golf-ball-sized lump on his neck shaving in early June.  The development of tumor seems to be pretty sudden, and the quantity of tumors found by MRI’s was shocking.  Brian Witte of the Associated Press has a story here. Surprisingly, he had few symptoms in how he felt.
  
He expects a few days of intense chemotherapy and then 18 weeks of intermittent treatment and to keep working. He says he was told the rebound from side effects will be great. His chances for complete remission are said to be good.
  
  
Older people can get many non-Hodgkins lymphomas.  Many are slow growing, as is multiple myeloma.  Some may have viral causes.  Agreeing to aggressive treatment when one doesn’t have many symptoms is problematic unless one has a strong social support network.  Childless and never married or divorced older adults may have weak support networks and little incentive to go through this when they don’t have symptoms yet.

 

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Intergenerational Learning Centers bring small children, elderly together


The St. Vincent Nursing Home in Seattle has opened a pre-school on its premises, promising to provide more intergenerational contact.  The story is here.    It is called the Intergenerational Learning Center.  It’s more likely that this concept would work well with an assisted living center as opposed to a true nursing home. 
  
  
The appear to be Intergenerational Learning Centers in other cities, such as the one above near Minneapolis.
   

The news story appeared alongside another item about education on the same site tweeted today by Jack Andraka. 

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Is self-publishing a good second career for retirees? The solitary lifestyle is not so good for longevity, resilience


Here’s an article I just found through twitter, “Self-publishing in retirement”, by Derek Haines, link here.  There’s a secondary link, how to promote your book but keep your friends.  The basic advice is to be aggressive with blogging, including guest blogging.
    
The basic tone of the piece is to convert a previous hobby into something that provides some retirement income.

Keeping your friends is important, however, as other stories report that people with strong social connections live longer.  That stands to reason because social connections (expanded from marriage and children) give one resilience after sudden adversity.  It takes social capital to put a lot into giving people transplants or bypass surgeries, past a certain age.
  
Blogging is usually a solitary activity.  It hardly fits into the social life of most retirement homes.  It may take time away from developing the ability to sustain a major health issue or other challenge from aggression or natural disaster.  That seems like a disappointing reason for intimate relationships, but people seem to need them for that.

 

Monday, June 08, 2015

"Inherit the Wind", or maybe, expropriate all inherited wealth


I found an old Atlantic article, June 11, 2011, “Why do we allow inheritance at all?”, by Megan McCradle, link here.  So, go ahead and make the inheritance tax 100%? 

That would get rid of Thomas Piketty's "rentier class". 

I used to hear this when spying on “The People’s Party if New Jersey” back at the end of 1972.  The idea that people should reach out to strangers more and depend less on family may be socially suspect.  (Ask some conservatives, like those who talk about “The Natural Family”.
  
What happens to homes in inherited estates?  Are they turned over to charities to house the homeless, or maybe even political asylees?  Imagine the possibilities. One idea would be to make beneficiaries return all Medicare benefits paid for the deceased before anything could be inherited (maybe selling the house to pay). 
    
I like the idea that the “dead” have no rights. Actually, they’re alive, in another world or universe, waiting for where karma sends them next.  “You are where you are”, according to the Monroe Institute. Your expired life is a memory like a fading dream.
  
But don’t “Inherit the Wind”.

Sunday, June 07, 2015

Some retirement communities go green


The New York Times has a valuable “Business Day” story June 5 about “green” retirement communities, using as an example one in Vermont, using solar panels, lots of green space, and careful engineering to reduce carbon footprint, link here
   
Greenspace and trees are important – just not to close to homes where they could fall during storms.  And hopefully not too low toward a flood source. 
   
I get a lot of mailers for retirement communities.  Most are 40-50 miles away from major cities, and make a big deal of internal social programs.  I saw a lot of these when hunting for my mother a few years ago, but she never did move out (before passing in 2010). 
   
But for me, my own work and life is too “important”.  Informal social activities don’t do a lot for me.
But most assisted living and retirement communities invite performers to come.  This can be a source of income for musicians (like pianists).

By the way, I also get mailers from CCRC's, where it costs $200000 to even get in.  The option is that you get assisted living once you need it.  Too much now. (I do have a long-term care single premium policy in the Trust.) 
  
Picture: I think that's Tilton NH, my trip (2011, and 1961 in high school).  I'll have to check.