Every Boomer Needs a Disaster Kit

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In 1989, my girlfriend (now my wife) and I resided in Silicon Valley when the Loma Prieta earthquake (a 6.9!) hit. The initial quake was strong and over the next few days, there were hundreds of aftershocks. Electricity and water were out for several days in the area where we lived. There was no phone service. All the local stores and gas stations were closed; some heavily damaged. Fortunately, we had a full refrigerator, canned food and plenty of wine to see us through. But we were overjoyed when the lights finally came on again after three-to-four days. If the lack of services had continued for much longer, everyone would have been in trouble.

I live in southern California now and a major earthquake is always predicted as just around the corner. Plus, every summer seems to bring devastating fires and evacuations. Not to mention a nearby defunct nuclear facility or the possibility of a tsunami appearing off the coast. It’s the risk we accept for great year-round weather.

Ask yourself, “What would I do if a natural or man-made disaster hit my area?” Could you and your family survive a hurricane Katrina or power grid failure? Does your family have a plan in case you are separated? Do you have enough stored water, non-perishable food and medicine to last a week or two until help can arrive? How about your pets? If mobile phone services die, do you even own a battery-power radio to find out what is going on?

Now that we are older Baby Boomers, we recognize the need to have a home survival kit. It is a simple thing to prepare and maintain. And it can literally mean the difference between survival and death in an emergency situation.

What Every Baby Boomer Needs to do NOW!

How can you get prepared. It’s easy. Others have already done the home for you. Start by taking a few moments to digest these great articles and checklists:

The Bottom Line for Baby Boomers

No one likes to think about the possibility of a disaster hitting their area. But if it does and you are not prepared, the consequences can be devastating. Your survival – and that of your loved ones – can literally depend on the amount of forethought invested in preparing for this possibility. I strongly urge every Boomer to take this issue seriously and prepare accordingly. It takes so little to dramatically enhance your survival odds if the worse happens.

 

 

MoviePass – A Bargain for Retired Baby Boomers?

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It sounds like a great deal for retired Baby Boomers living on a tight budget. For just a $9.95 monthly subscription (no contract required), the MoviePass allows you to see unlimited new movies monthly at nearby theaters. It’s like Netflix for people who enjoy going to theaters and seeing new movies as they come out. Who wouldn’t love that?!

How does it work? According to MoviePass:

Movie Pass for Baby Boomers.

And MoviePass is great….when it works. Yep, there a some flies in the soup:

  • MoviePass claims their card is accepted at 91 percent of theaters, but you better check your local area first (their website will display acceptable theaters by zip code).
  • You need a smartphone to download and use the online MoviePass application.
  • The gears behind MoviePass still have some hiccups. The online application is said to be “buggy,” customers have reported problems getting their card authorized, and customer service is “iffy.”
  • It only works for 2-D movies and just one per day.
  • The card is smartphone-specific. So, if you and your wife or significant other want to go to the movies, each must have a card tied to their individual smartphone.
  • You have to be within 100 yards of a selected theater for the online application to work.
  • You can’t make reservations or purchase tickets in advance, so catching movies on opening day may be difficult!
  • MoviePass and AMC theaters are in a pissing contest, so your pass may not work at AMC theaters.

Suggested Reading Before You Buy

I suggest taking a few minutes to learn from the experience of others. Here’s some recent articles about MoviePass:

Latest News About MoviePass

In the latest business model twist (as of April 13, 2018), the MoviePass website now displays:

MoviePass + iHeartRadio
$29.95 for 3 months (billed quarterly)
See up to 4 movies a month in theaters with MoviePass.
3-month trial of iHeartRadio All Access.

Huh? This is a major revision. The popular “old” plan is now kaput. Apparently, MoviePass is still experimenting to find a profitable business model….kinda scary, my friends.

The Bottom Line for Baby Boomers

There are a lot of good things about the MoviePass. Even under the latest revision, the ability to see 12 movies over three months for $30 works out to just $2.50 per movie. However, there is also a lot of uncertainty about its business model (can it ever be profitable? Will it survive?). Our advice: If you love to watch new movies as they come out, try MoviePass for a quarter ($29.95) to see if it works for you. BUT, only subscribe a quarter at a time – MoviePass may revise their offerings again or simply vanish one day.

Best Mobile Phone Plans for Baby Boomers

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After kicking this subject around with fellow Boomers, we realized that there is no “best mobile phone plan” for everybody. It depends on each person’s unique usage. Most Boomers use smartphones, while others are comfortable with simple flip phones. Many enjoy extra features like texting, web surfing, taking photos or videos, Google Maps, sharing, watching YouTube or catching up on the weather and news. Others just want the security of being reachable in case of an emergency. Some make lots of calls while many hardly use their mobile phone at all.

No matter how Boomers utilize their cell phone, there’s money to be saved by finding a carrier that offers programs best suited to your individual needs. And there are a lot of programs – too many for us to itemize here. So, here are recent articles addressing this subject. If you are looking to cut costs and get a mobile phone plan that is just right for your needs, take a moment to digest these fine overviews:

The Bottom Line for Baby Boomers

There are an abundance of mobile phone plans targeting the 55+ crowd. Boomers should have no trouble finding a plan that bets fits their individual profiles. Why spend money for features you don’t use? And why not get the best deal out there?

Advice for Baby Boomers Living on Social Security

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Because of growing disparities in wealth distribution and increasing medical costs in the U.S., more and more Baby Boomers are finding that Social Security benefits provides the major portion of their retirement income, sometimes all of it.

A 2016 survey from the Insured Retirement Institute finds that 59% of Boomers expect Social Security to be a “major” form of income during their retirements, up from just 43% in 2014. Probably today, that translates to about two-thirds of Baby Boomers.

So what can these Boomers do? Can they still enjoy a comfortable retirement? The answer is “Yes.” But it likely requires a change in lifestyle, maybe a dramatic one.

What do You Have to Work with?

Determining a course of action first requires an accounting of your assets and debts. It doesn’t have to be exact, just good enough to to see what you’re working with. For example, do you have some home equity, a savings account, stocks, cars, etc….anything that could be sold for cash if necessary. In other words, this represents your potential retirement wealth and decision-making flexibility.

What’s Important to You?

Everyone has their priorities. Your retirement vision is likely unique in many aspects. Maybe you want to do more travel or simply spend more time with the family. Giving careful thought to this subject will help Boomers to assess what is important in their lives and what they want their retirement to offer.

What are your Options?

Depending on your net worth and retirement priorities, Baby Boomers retiring primarily on Social Security benefits could consider one or more of these actions:

  • Determine whether your retirement income can be increased, possibly by starting a home-based business, working part-time or delaying taking Social Security benefits as long as possible to maximize monthly payments.
  • Moving to a cheaper area….duh!
  • Cutting expenses. For example, getting rid of standard cable TV packages in favor of streaming TV selections. Or downsizing to just one car and eating out less. Taking off-season vacations. You get the idea.
  • Buying or renting a place with other Boomers on Social security to boost your financial capabilities and leverage a better lifestyle than going it alone.
  • If you own a home, consider a reverse mortgage. It could get rid of your house payment and put some extra cash in your pocket every month too. Boomers can even buy a home using a reverse mortgage!
  • Homeowners can also downsize and buy a smaller place, condo, RV, etc.
  • Consider retiring south of the border where the dollar goes a lot further.

The Bottom Line for Boomers

No matter what cards a Boomer facing retirement has been dealt, there is usually an answer that will allow comfortable retirement. Work the situation to determine what options are available. Every Baby Boomer facing retirement primarily on Social Security can typically find an answer if they expand their thinking to include new possibilities.

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