How Boomers Will Choose a Retirement Locale: Weather? Taxes? Or One Other Key Factor…

retireesWhen our parents got down to choosing where to live out their years of retirement bliss, they based that decision, generally, on the following criteria:

  • warm climate
  • lower taxes (particularly for those in the Northeast)
  • affordable, senior-friendly communities
  • golf (or other favorite sport like boating)

Not in that order particularly; perhaps even equal in importance.

Then came Boomers’ turn to choose retirement Eden, and I predict – or hope, or both – we will include one key factor; for some of us, it may even trump one or two of the others on our list:

  • political & cultural climate

That portion of our youth, activism and strong political/social views, just might influence where we finally settle down to live out our last 30+ years.  After all, that’s almost 1/3 of our life, so we’re wanting more than early-bird specials and Jai-Alai.

As the country becomes ever more polarized (thanks to us…we started out polarized and remain so in our current dual roles as powerful voting block/generation in charge both legislatively & industrially), we will want to live in a place that shares our views governmentally & socially, from gun rights to health care.  Boomers who lean left politically will choose states like New Mexico and California. Boomers who lean right to far-right will love places like Arizona & Florida run by the Tea Party and the NRA, where their views are embraced by the populace and the leaders they choose.

The importance of these factors as we determine our retirement move is driven by the role cultural & political comfort plays for us (far more than it did for our parents): Culturally we care greatly about such things as quality elder care for our parents and then us, a supportive environment for mid-age & older workers/entrepreneurs as we pursue our “second act,” affordable health-care options (as we live longer and more active lives than our parents did), and 55+ communities’ emphasis on healthy lifestyles; politically we are not comfortable in a place where we would be surrounded & governed by those whose world view is the opposite of ours – and if we can’t move to a state that meets the criteria, we will at minimum find safe haven in a city/county that does.

So, states wanting to woo us, play this socio-political ace in your deck to attract our lucrative generation to your shores.

Boomers, pay close attention to this key ingredient when you make this very important decision.  I can tell you from personal experience; living in a state far removed from your cultural/political sensibilities is very painful indeed.

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Do You Have the Courage of Your “Repeal HCL” Convictions?

The newly elected Republicans say that one of their goals is to repeal the Health Care Legislation.  It’s easy to be against it from such a safe distance…so far removed from those who so desperately need this reform.  Consider these Congressional stats:

  • 16%: the collective annual increase in wealth for member of Congress, 2009 over 2008
  • $2.38M: median income for Senators
  • $765K: median income for House Reps

So, for those of you who agree with this stance…who want to see the health care legislation repealed…I hope you have the courage to say that, face to face, to her:

The Real Issues for Health Care Reform

Boomers face the highest levels of unemployment since our post college days, which, of course, includes loss of medical benefits – none of us yet qualify for Medicare.

So, reform is crucial for us, particularly at our age (we need insurance more to stay healthy).

Yet some of us remain vehemently opposed to this legislation, purportedly because it unacceptably adds to the federal deficit, and/or does too little to impact change that is significant enough to matter.

Both objections are founded in specious reasoning (or for some, no reasoning at all, unfortunate for the most educated generation our nation has ever had…).  According to the CBO, the bill will reduce the deficit, and the elements of the bill clearly provide long overdue protections, some immediate.

The issues, it seems, are not those on which Boomer objectors have based their lack of support.

They are:

  • How the insurance companies will respond to the legislation… Will they increase their prices as soon and often as possible?  And what protections exist for that scenario?
  • What else is needed to ensure consumer protection in a capitalist system where businesses, designed to make an impressive profit for their shareholders, are key players in our health care.  And, in the case of health insurance companies, they can do so without regard for their impact on the lives of those they “serve”

So I ask my fellow Boomers to concentrate on all the ways we can make this legislation better, and more cost efficient – including Medicare Advantage plans which pay for member perks by charging all Medicare recipients – meaning the majority who don’t use/get those perks (since in as little as one year, this will impact us)

We know this process is far from over, so let’s make sure that by 2014 we have something really excellent.

We Americans, all of us (particularly our children and grandchildren), deserve it.

Follow-up to "Vaccines Aren’t the Problem"

In an earlier post, I gave a shot of realism to dispel the myth that vaccines are the root of the problem of increased levels of ADD/Autism (from mercury) – that instead we must look to our foods, air, and water if we want to actually decrease the incidence of these disorders, plus cancers and lesser but still severly problematic medical conditions like asthma and allergies.

That’s scarier, I know, because we can avoid a vaccine but cannot stop eating, breathing, and drinking water.  But if we want to stop the problem, we have to address its real cause.

To further illuminate the dangers associated with in this case our food sources – how they have been tainted or packaged in a way that does us harm, for the purpose of increased profitability for the provider – here is a well written compilation piece by Dr. Joseph Mercola (www.mercola.com), and an excellent list of things to avoid.

Avoid These 7 Foods and You’re Off To A Healthier New Year

1. Canned Tomatoes

The expert: Fredrick vom Saal, PhD, an endocrinologist at the University of Missouri who studies bisphenol-A

The resin linings of tin cans contain bisphenol-A, a synthetic estrogen that has been linked to ailments ranging from reproductive problems to heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. Acidity — a prominent characteristic of tomatoes — causes BPA to leach into your food.

2. Corn-Fed Beef

The expert: Joel Salatin, co-owner of Polyface Farms and author of books on sustainable farming

Cattle were designed to eat grass, not grains. But farmers today feed their animals corn and soybeans, which fatten up the animals faster for slaughter. A recent comprehensive study found that compared with corn-fed beef, grass-fed beef is higher in beta-carotene, vitamin E, omega-3s, conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), calcium, magnesium, and potassium.

3. Microwave Popcorn

The expert: Olga Naidenko, PhD, a senior scientist for the Environmental Working Group

Chemicals, including perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), in the lining of the bag, are part of a class of compounds that may be linked to infertility in humans. In animal testing, the chemicals cause liver, testicular, and pancreatic cancer. Studies show that microwaving causes the chemicals to vaporize — and migrate into your popcorn.

4. Nonorganic Potatoes

The expert: Jeffrey Moyer, chair of the National Organic Standards Board

Root vegetables absorb herbicides, pesticides, and fungicides that wind up in soil. In the case of potatoes they’re treated with fungicides during the growing season, then sprayed with herbicides to kill off the fibrous vines before harvesting. After they’re dug up, the potatoes are treated yet again to prevent them from sprouting.

5. Farmed Salmon

The expert: David Carpenter, MD, director of the Institute for Health and the Environment at the University at Albany

Nature didn’t intend for salmon to be crammed into pens and fed soy, poultry litter, and hydrolyzed chicken feathers. As a result, farmed salmon is lower in vitamin D and higher in contaminants, including carcinogens, PCBs, brominated flame retardants, and pesticides such as dioxin and DDT.

6. Milk Produced with Artificial Hormones

The expert: Rick North, project director of the Campaign for Safe Food at the Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility

Milk producers treat their dairy cattle with recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH or rBST, as it is also known) to boost milk production. But rBGH also increases udder infections and even pus in the milk. It also leads to higher levels of a hormone called insulin-like growth factor in milk. In people, high levels of IGF-1 may contribute to breast, prostate, and colon cancers.

7. Conventional Apples

The expert: Mark Kastel, codirector of the Cornucopia Institute

If fall fruits held a “most doused in pesticides contest,” apples would win. And increasing numbers of studies are starting to link a higher body burden of pesticides with Parkinson’s disease.

Medicare for Younger Boomers…

…a great idea, or an expansion of a program that has gone beyond it’s effectiveness?
Well, by the response of those Boomers chanting “keep your hands off my Medicare” it would seem the answer is clear.
I wrote the White House & a number of Senators around 2 months ago, recommending that an expansion of Medicare be the alternative to a “public option” – i.e. why reinvent the wheel; just fix the wheel you have (Medicare does need some overhauling to keep it solvent and make it far more efficient) and use it, I opined.
Although my thinking was to use it for all age groups, to start by offering it to most of we AARP types makes more sense.  If that works, it can be further expanded from there.
Given that a whopping 12% of Boomers 55-64 (4.3M) are uninsured according to a Kaiser Family Foundation study, coupled with a huge number 55 & up being forced to retire early and as a result losing the healthcare coverage that goes with their job, we represent a large portion of the population in need of coverage, at a time in our lives when such coverage is essential.
Expanding Medicare is the most palatable way to do this, with far less resistance to it than any other “public” option.  And certainly those citizens who are oh so happy with their Medicare coverage but don’t want the uninsured to have the same security if that means everyone must give a little for more to get, this may calm their fears.
And the time-frame prior to any healthcare reform legislation kicking in will give the Feds the time to clean up Medicare prior to expanding it.
My fellow Boomers, many of our generational colleagues need relief, now.  It is up to all of us to ensure they get it.
Expanding Medicare is the most efficacious way to do just that.