Baby Boomers and Addictions

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My Baby Boomer friends drink. All of them. But it’s beer and wine, typically for dinner or occasions like the “19th hole.” I honestly don’t know anyone who consumes hard liquor. A few do smoke marijuana for medical purposes, but no one who I know is into coke or other hard drugs.

However, there apparently are a lot of Boomers who do have drug or alcohol problems, and that number is growing.

As noted recently in the Chicago Tribune:

Researchers see a steady rise in alcohol use and binge drinking – as well as what’s known as Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD), an umbrella term for mild, moderate and severe abuse of alcohol – in the 65-plus demographic. Between 2005 and 2014, the percentage of older Americans who reported engaging in past-month binge drinking (defined as women consuming four or more drinks in about two hours, and men consuming five or more) increased from 12.5 percent to 14.9 percent, according to the NIAAA. The increase in drinking among older Americans is most pronounced among people with greater levels of education and income, and among women.

The situation gets worse when prescription pain killers, such as opioids, are mixed with alcohol. And I have encountered a few people who admit to taking opioids for medical reasons and are afraid they are hooked. Doesn’t stop them from drinking though.

What are the reasons behind Boomer addictions? Research shows it typically stems from retirement, bereavement, change in home situation, infrequent contact with family and friends, and social isolation. And oddly, it is typically occurring among the better-educated and financially fit Baby Boomers.

About 10% of all baby boomers use prescription drugs non-medically. According to government estimates, more than 5.7 million people over the age of 50 will need substance abuse treatment by 2020.

If you or a family member or friend has an alcohol or drug problem, get help! It’s that simple. The Winter of our lives is meant to be a time of personal growth, exploration and deepening love. Don’t waste this precious time. And don’t turn your legacy into an ugly memory.

Alcoholics and druggies are no fun to be around. They are a burden to all. But there are successful programs to help Boomers who have problems. Show your love by extending aid and a helping hand to guide them to recovery.

Learn more about Baby Boomer addiction and treatments by reviewing these websites:

Boomers – Want to Live Longer? Get Involved!

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Time and again, medical reports have shown that a major key to a longer (and more enjoyable) life is to get involved. In what? It doesn’t matter. Just keep physically and mentally active.

I read about three books weekly, run several home-based businesses, am active in a local Toastmaster club, play golf weekly and either go to the gym or do a bike ride every day. And “Yes,” I do have those morning aches when getting out of bed in the morning. But that just comes with age. The important thing is I feel alive. I’m squeezing the most out of every day because life is precious and I don’t intend to waste any of it!

I hope your life is invigorating too. When I see fellow Boomers just letting the days go by, spending their time watching TV while their mental and physical health decline, I want to scream “Wake up! This is it. Live your life to the fullest because the end is on the horizon.”

Not convinced? Take a look at these short articles:

One of my favorite quotes is by Hunter S. Thompson:

“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride!”

Wake up. Have adventures. Try new things. Show love to everyone and witness how it comes back to you. Make your bucket list and commit to fulfilling it. Be alive.

I urge my fellow Baby Boomers to heed this wisdom. Life is short. Die without regrets, my friends.

Should Retired Baby Boomers Homestead Their Homes?

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The other day, someone asked, “Should I homestead my home? Does that gain me anything?” Good question. To tell the truth, I wasn’t up on this subject myself, but wondered if homesteading has some benefit for retired Baby Boomers.

To begin, what is “homesteading?” According to Wikipedia:

The homestead exemption is a legal regime to protect the value of the homes of residents from property taxes, creditors, and circumstances that arise from the death of the homeowner spouse.

Such laws are found in the statutes or the constitution of many of the states in the United States. The homestead exemption in some states of the South has its legal origins in the exemption laws of the Spanish Empire. In other states, they were enacted in response to the effects of 19th-century economy.

Homestead exemption laws typically have four primary features:

  1. Preventing the forced sale of a home to meet the demands of creditors, usually except mortgages, mechanics liens, or sales to pay property taxes
  2. Providing the surviving spouse with shelter
  3. Providing an exemption from property taxes on a home
  4. Allowing a tax-exempt homeowner to vote on property tax increases to homeowners over the threshold, by bond or millage requests

For the purposes of statutes, a homestead is the one primary residence of a person, and no other exemption can be claimed on any other property anywhere, even outside the boundaries of the jurisdiction in which the exemption is claimed.

In some states, homestead protection is automatic. In many states, however, homeowners receive the protections of the law only if they file a claim for homestead exemption with the state. Furthermore, the protection can be lost if the homeowner abandons the protected property by taking up primary residence elsewhere.

That’s a mouthful! Basically, having a homestead filed on the property where you live protects you if creditors try to force a sale to pay during a financial hardship…except for mortgages, mechanic liens and property taxes. And if you die, it prevents creditors from selling your home out from under a surviving spouse.

So How do Boomers Homestead their Residence?

It turns out that in many states, Boomers have automatic “Homestead” rights – you don’t have to do anything. Asset Protection Planners notes:” Some states, such as Florida, Iowa, Kansas, Oklahoma, South Dakota and Texas have provisions, if followed properly, allowing 100% of the equity to be protected. Other states, such as New Jersey and Pennsylvania do not offer any homestead protection.” So the first thing to do is to determine whether you need to do anything in the first place.

What does your state allow? Here’s a chart that will help you quickly determine your homestead rights and amounts.

The states and territories that do have homestead laws typically have online forms that can be completed and recorded. Usually, these must be notarized as well. Google your state to determine the procedures to be followed.

Be advised, however, that lenders will typically require you to eliminate a homestead declaration before refinancing a residence. They don’t like having it clouding the property title.

The Bottom Line for Baby Boomers

Homesteading a residence seems to make the most sense if you are having financial difficulties or are in ill-health. It’s an added layer of protection. Even though your state may have automatic homesteading in place, there are circumstances where having a formal, recorded document adds protection and may even increase the amount covered. Baby Boomers should each determine  what is best for their unique situation.

 

When is the Best Time for Baby Boomers to Sell their Home?

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Baby Boomers who own a residence ultimately face the issue of whether they should sell their home or retire in place. Many decide to downsize in retirement or move closer to their kids. So the question is, “What is the best time to sell your home?”

Historically, the best month for quickly selling a home at the highest price is May (don’t ask me why). Spring is better than Winter, and if you live in a warm climate anytime may be good. Just remember, working families often move during the summer school break to accommodate their children. Other major considerations are:

  • How much can you get for your home? Take a look at the prices for sales of similar properties in your local area by doing  a zip-code search on Zillow or Realtor.com.
  • How long will it take to sell your property? Is it a seller’s or buyer’s market (i.e., you will get a higher price and a faster sale when there are more buyers than sellers)?
  • What are the interest rates? Do buyers have access to attractive financing programs? How much income does a buyer need to qualify to purchase your home after a normal 20 percent down payment?
  • Have you lived in your home for at least two years so you qualify for tax exclusion on the first $500,000 of profit (for a couple)? If you are selling rental property or a vacation home, consult with an accountant first to determine the tax consequences for your income level.
  • What are the anticipated selling costs? Do you have to fix some things up before listing the property? What are local Realtors charging? Will you get enough profit to implement your plans (i.e., the underlying reason you wish to sell your home)?

Selling one’s home is not a decision to be taken lightly. Most Boomers have their major retirement assets tied up in home equity. It pays to be informed. I suggest digesting these quick articles to educate yourself:

The Bottom Line for Baby Boomers

Baby Boomers have many reasons for wanting to sell their homes, vacation properties or rentals. Usually this centers around wanting to downsize, being closer to family or to consolidate finances. It is a process, so be prepared to take time and do your homework. The most important thing is that the sale successfully opens the door to what you want to follow.

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