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Thanksgiving Note: Call it Praise, Validation or Affirmation, Have You Ever Tried Consistently Greeting Everyone You Meet With a Genuine Message of Appreciation?

November 27, 2008 by  
Filed under Anne Holmes, Blog, Spirit & Faith

Thanksgiving: Validating Abundance

“When you are grateful, fear disappears and abundance appears” ~ Tony Robbins

It’s Almost Thanksgiving Day Here in the US, So It Seems Appropriate to Start By Thanking You For Being a Regular Reader of This Blog…

Besides being grateful for you, and offering you our thanks, we also say “Happy Thanksgiving” – which probably means more if you’re reading this post in the United States. If you live elsewhere, our thanks for your support are still genuine, of course, even if it’s not your “official” day for giving thanks!

We’re truly appreciative that so many of you have discovered and shared our BoomerLifestyle blog in the past few months – and clearly enjoy reading it. More than that, thanks to all of you for your participation, including the many comments you post. We love hearing from you!

By the Way, Speaking of Being Grateful, Have You Ever Noticed How Persistent God – or the Universe – Can Be?

Have you ever ignored or – just plain failed to recognize – a message sent to you…  Yet the message keeps coming at you – in different guises or from different sources – until you just have to pay attention?

Then, when you finally GET the message, you feel like you ought to knock yourself on the head, a la Homer Simpson? (“Doh!”)

Well, That Happened to Me Recently.

In the space of two days, the same message came to me from at least three different sources. But it wasn’t until the third message that I finally got the hint… When I did, the message was so timely and powerful, I just had to share it with you.

Actually the message is in the form of a sixteen-minute video. In fact, the length of the video is why I ignored it so long… Hopefully you won’t make the same mistake!

  • First, my RSS feed notified me that my friend Ken McArthur had posted a new message on his fantastic Impact Factor blog. I opened it up, but didn’t read it right away, as the headline indicated I’d need to be watching a video for 16 minutes and 23 seconds. Sadly, I felt I didn’t have that amount of time available just then. “Catch it later,” I thought, as I filed the message in my reading folder. (Ken’s stuff is always too good to delete!)
  • The  second tap on my shoulder came next day, when another good friend, John Cussons, picked up on  Ken’s post and wrote about the “The Validation Movie,” in his blog, IMovator in Internet Marketing. Well, I’d just talked to John for about an hour the night before; so, pleading press of work, I mentally said, “Thanks, John, I’ll have to catch this later,” and once more filed the post without viewing it…
  • The Universe finally got through to me yesterday morning, when a third friend, Carrie Tucker, sent me an email, mentioning how impactful she’d found John’s post, and advising me to take a look if I hadn’t already. “OK, OK. Thanks, Carrie.”  
  • The thing is,  Carrie’s an extremely busy woman, so a nagging little thought took root in my brain: “If Carrie thinks this post is so worthy of immediate attention that she’s sent me a personal email… Hmmm. Maybe I ought to clear the decks and watch it.” So I did.

 Bingo!

Here’s the video my three friends – and the Universe – were trying to send me. Please do take the time to watch it; it’s my Thanksgiving gift to you. Ken and John say it might make you cry. I don’t know about that. But I do know it will make you think, make you smile, and it just might change your life:

“Validation” Is Truly Validating 

Give this short movie a chance, and you’ll see that it is about more than “a fable about a guy who spends his life validating parking tickets.” It’s actually an inspirational story about the life-changing value of: 

  • Always looking for the good in people and situations, and showcasing the impact that has on the people you meet every day
  • Smiling at the world and giving off positive energy – which is huge, when you take the teachings of the Law of Attraction into consideration
  • Persistence in the face of thwarted love
  • Acting with abundance and living without fear

Since watching the movie, I’ve realized that the main character, Hugh Newman, is played by an actor named TJ Thyne, who’s appeared in several movies and dozens of current-day TV shows, including CSI, CSI: New York, Boston Legal, Nip/Tuck, Bones and NCIS. You’ll probably recognize him. Actually, he and his production company, Theatre Junkies, produced the movie, which has rightfully won over 20 awards at various film festivals. 

Clearly this is no fly-by-night, quickie homemade video; it’s a work of art.

It has what those in the film marketing business call good production values.  In fact, you’ll probably agree that it’s truly a message from the Universe, created for the benefit of all humankind.

So Here’s Your Charge: Enjoy the Video – And Take a Lesson From It!

That’s right: Give some thought to offering praise, appreciation, validation, kudos or compliments – whatever you want to call it – to everyone you meet for at least a month. (Hopefully by then this will become a habit.)

Just think what far-reaching impact that might have on our world.

And, in the process, just think of all the positive energy and abundance you’ll be creating merely by pausing a moment, to notice and give thanks for the small things – and the big ones – that come your way?

Appreciating everyone is actually pretty easy to do, once you put your mind to it:

For example, at Wal-Mart yesterday, my frustrated checker was attempting to cajole her balky hand-scanner into processing my case of caffeine-free Diet Pepsi. I’d already courteously left it in the cart so she wouldn’t have to haul it. (Grocery store cashiers get a daily workout just moving all those cases of beer, soda pop – and now, huge frozen Thanksgiving turkeys, off the counters and into our shopping carts.) 

Finally, she groaned as she hauled my case of soda up onto the conveyor, resorting to the belt-based scanner. As she did, she moaned about how sore this job makes her muscles at the end of the day.

Cognizant of my new goal to spread positive vibes everywhere I go, I happily acknowledged my recognition of the amazing and efficient job she and all the other checkers do as they process all us shoppers’ purchases.  And I followed that by pointing out how lucky she is, since the “free workout” her job offers her means she has no need to spend money on a gym membership!

She actually chuckled appreciatively and flexed her biceps!

What an easy way to brighten her day.

Really, it’s such a small thing to pause to say “thank you” to people you meet during the day and acknowledge them. Yet you’ll find your results are big. Not to mention that you’ll feel better, too!

Not Sure How Challenging it Might Be to Start Giving Thanks and Boosting Attitudes on a Daily Basis?

Even the most dedicated curmudgeon can learn to change her stripes and become consciously appreciative. I speak from personal experience. Sadly, there was a time in my life – somewhere in the early teens as I recall – when I actually taught myself to think negatively, because I loved the attention I received whenever I voiced cynical, jaded thoughts. Yikes! What is it about our society that would affirm that sort of negative behavior?

Thankfully I have reformed to the point where, a few years ago, one of my business associates labeled me “the most disgustingly positive person” he knew.  “Tell Anne the worst news,” he opined, “and she can find something good about it!” Woo Hoo! I’m delighted with that verdict!

Need some help learning how to turn your mental energies to the positive side?

My friend Scott Armstrong, one of America’s top success coaches, can help you. Recently he and his partner, Dr. Patricia A. Ross, PhD., created a fantastic book, Best Affirmations Workbook,” which is actually a 30-day “how-to” guide to actively creating the life you want through the active use of affirmations. It’s available as a PDF download as well as in audio format, which makes it really easy for you to use. I highly recommend it.  

In addition, they have created 21 sets of affirmations on crucial topics, such as:

  • Relationships
  • Parenting
  • Weight management and exercise
  • Self confidence
  • Mindset
  • Manifesting miracles
  • Health and wellness
  • Taking quantum leaps in achieving your personal goals

Best of all, with an eye toward helping you recession-proof your mind, they’re currently offering a special right now: You can “test-drive” the workbook for free. Or benefit from their monthly special offer.  

Hey – What have you got to lose? Nothing but those negative thoughts that are dragging you down, right?

Since Baby Boomers Are Also Known As the “Sandwich Generation” Is It Any Wonder You Are Feeling Like A Panini? You Know, Hot, Overloaded and Grilled Under Pressure?

Sandwich Generation Choices Squeezing You?

Yesterday’s post in the New York Times blog New Old Age, and a conversation with my friend “Lisa,” who’s just uprooted herself and her family – moving halfway across the country to assist her in-laws – got me to thinking once again about the challenges of Sandwich Generation Boomers.

It Also Reminded Me That It’s Been Just Over a Year Since My Sister-in-Law Died of Breast Cancer.

Which means our family is finally gotten past the first year of significant post-Joanna anniversaries.

You know what I mean:

  • “This is the first Thanksgiving since Joanna died.”
  • “It’s my first birthday where Mom won’t be baking me my favorite birthday cake.” 
  • “The first Christmas where she isn’t running around wearing those funny reindeer antlers on her head, and incessently playing holiday music, while she creates unique hand-made cards and effortlessly puts her personal stamp of approval on the entire holiday celebration.” 
  • “Too bad Joanna will never get to see her granddaughter get married or hold her first great-grandchild.”

And this thought process got me to thinking about how hard caring for a loved one during a prolonged illness – or assisting them through their slide into eventual death  – really is for everyone involved:

  • Being there for “Joanna’s” last few months and eventual death and watching her decline was heart-wrenching. 
  • But just as painful was watching her three adult daughters – each already juggling two jobs apiece, plus school-age kids and spouses – deal with the challenges of trying to be there – physically and emotionally – for their mother as well as their families and their jobs.
  • If you’ve lived through it, you know how emotionally draining this is. How you get to a point where you desperately wish you could actually clone yourself so that you can be in two – or more – places at once.  Because you know that since you can’t – someone or something you care about is going to be slighted.
  • What an emotional “lose-lose” proposition this often is for everyone involved.

No wonder the Times blog post, Adult Children, Aging Parents and the Law attracted 81 reader comments before it was even 24 hours old. You know dealing with multi-generational needs is the primary challenge of the sandwich generation.

So clearly discovering that 30 states have laws on their books governing adult children’s fiscal responsibility to their aging parents is an issue that really strikes home. 

I recall sitting in the visitors lounge at the hospital, joining the conversation as Joanna’s daughters talked options with the hospital social worker.

It had became clear that Joannna would no longer be able to care for herself at home, and that her husband wasn’t physically up to the challenges either. So her loving but time-challenged daughters worked to quickly come to decisions for her welfare while continuing to juggle their family responsibilities. Meanwhile they were also:

  • Trying not to stress out too much over what was going un-done at home and work
  • Watching their vacation and sick days get eaten up
  • Encouraging their kids to “Stop by and visit Grandma” before after-school activities or after work – so they’d have a chance to see them, too!

Thankfully, there are options, in most cases.

Which is a good thing, since according to Pew Research Center reports, there are roughly 10 million Sandwich Generation Boomers in the world: adults who are raising kids or supporting an adult child while giving a financial hand to an aging parent.  

The Good News Is, There’s Plenty of Help Available  – Once You Know Where to Look:

  • From local programs to national organizations, from books to Web sites, a veritable cottage industry has sprung up to assist sandwich generation Boomers in juggling the demands of raising kids while also caring for your aging parents.
  • Some of these services are a direct response by the government to meet the needs of the country’s burgeoning senior ranks – with you, the taxpayer, footing the bill.
  • Others are the work of smart entrepreneurs who’ve seen a business opportunity.
  • Still others come from fellow boomers wanting to share what they’ve learned as they’ve personally grappled with these issues.

Lisa mentioned that she’s been working with a “housing advisor counselor” who was very helpful.

This resource has been a boon as Lisa and her husband devotedly seek a new home for her mother-in-law, who is recovering well from her stroke – thankfully – and her father-in-law, who has Alzheimer’s. Lisa’s challenge is made tougher by the fact that her father-in-law can’t figure out why they keep taking him along while visiting nursing homes!

To start with, her mother-in-law will move from the hospital into a board and care facility: a place that offers residential care for seniors in need of assistance. The goal in these homes is to provide long-term care for seniors who seek independent living in a safe, comfortable and dignified environment. Amazingly, the resident to staff ratio is about 2-to-1.

Not all of these homes can handle Alzheimer’s patients, however. That’s presenting Lisa with an extra challenge.

Even Though Lisa and Her Family Have Been Successfully Finding Resources, She Still Expects it Will Be at Least Three Months Before They Are Able to Move Back Home.  

Three months living out of a suitcase, away from the comforts of home!

That made the challenges my neices experienced seem easy. After all, at least they had the benefit of living in the same major metropolitan area. Clearly the challenges of  long-distance assistance magnify the difficulties in these situations – perhaps as much as tenfold.

According to the US Department of Labor, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides certain employees with up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave per year. It also requires that their group health benefits be maintained during the leave.

But while this act protects you from losing your job, and maintains your healthcare benefits – you have no income coming in during this time! And the FMLA only applies if you work for certain types of employers. (Specifically businesses employing over 50 people.)

Yikes!

Here’s Exactly What the FMLA Website Says:

  • FMLA is designed to help employees balance their work and family responsibilities by allowing them to take reasonable unpaid leave for certain family and medical reasons. It also seeks to accommodate the legitimate interests of employers and promote equal employment opportunity for men and women.
  • FMLA applies to all public agencies, all public and private elementary and secondary schools, and companies with 50 or more employees. These employers must provide an eligible employee with up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave each year for any of the following reasons:
    • For the birth and care of the newborn child of an employee;
    • For placement with the employee of a child for adoption or foster care;
    • To care for an immediate family member (spouse, child, or parent) with a serious health condition; or
    • To take medical leave when the employee is unable to work because of a serious health condition.
  • Employees are eligible for leave if they have worked for their employer at least 12 months, at least 1,250 hours over the past 12 months, and work at a location where the company employs 50 or more employees within 75 miles. Whether an employee has worked the minimum 1,250 hours of service is determined according to FLSA principles for determining compensable hours or work.

So Where Does the Money Come From? How Do You Pay Your Mortgage, Buy Food, Cover Your Day-to-Day Expenses During Times When You’re Involved in These Crucial Family Events?

With – Or Without – FMLA Benefits, You’ve Still Got to Cover Day-to-Day Living Expenses, Right? With – Probably – Not Too Much In Savings?

Lisa’s a bit luckier than most when it comes to this aspect: She’s an author who has mastered the art of generating residual income online.

Which means she knows her income will continue to find its way into her bank account, even though she’ll most likely be forced to take a break from generating new literary products for the duration. That is: She knows money will continue to flow into her bank account while she’s on the other side of the country assisting her in-laws – even though she has no plans to “show up for work” for the next three months!

Even Better, From a Financial Standpoint: 

  • As long as Lisa has a laptop and a functional Internet connection she can be in communication with her publisher and her clients, whenever she has time: Even if that’s 2 AM on Thanksgiving morning! 
  • So if the muse strikes and she chooses to toss off a couple of chapters for her current novel, or a write a post to her blog – she’s only a “mouse click” away from taking these actions. Even if she’ finds herself sitting in the waiting room at the hospital waiting for her mother-in-law to finish a procedure when the muse shows up!
  • Since she’s also an advocate of online banking, Lisa can handle her finances froma distace as well! After all, the income she’s generating is depositing automatically, so she always has available funds.

Whether You’re Living Out of a Suitcase or Not, Having a Reliable Portable Income Sounds Incredibly Wonderful, Doesn’t It?

Sort of like enjoying the lush life of a movie star who lives off her residuals?

Living off income that comes in from work she did in the past? It’s entirely possible for you to enjoy this lifestyle, too, as you know. We’ve talked about this before, actually.

You see, Lisa is one of Gina Gaudio-Graves’s apprentices.

She took Gina up on one of her first “30-Day IM Challenge” contests. And though Lisa didn’t win the challenge, she was hooked on the many benefits she discovered in the process.     

Lisa Didn’t Decide to Start Building Her Online Business BECAUSE of the Potential That Her In-laws Might Become Ill.

Of course not! 

But the fact that she did take the entrepreneurial plunge, and learned how to effortlessly generate residual income online DOES MEAN that she’s not financially stressed while helping her mother-in-law recover.

And that’s a wonderful ancillary benefit.

The latest 30-Day IM Challenge started this past Sunday!

It’s not too late to sign up and start learning how to build your own totally portable cash machine.

Go check it out now! It takes time to start this sort of a business into motion.

It’s sort of like pushing a flywheel.

  • At first you expend effort, but nothing happens.
  • But you keep the pressure on, and finally the flywheel moves almost imperceptably.
  • But you keep pushing, keep the pressure on.
  • And suddenly that heavy flywheel is moving effortlessly.
  • In fact, it takes on a life of it’s own!

What are you waiting for?

As a Baby Boomer, you’re automatically part of the Sandwich Generation. If you haven’t had to take time away from work to help a family member yet, chances are that opportunity still awaits you somewhere in the future.   

You owe it to yourself to check out the 30-Day IM Challenge.

After all, it’s free.

And talk about over-delivery!

Gay Marriage: What Can Our Society Possibly Gain From California’s Revising/Amending Their State Constitution Via the Passage of Proposition 8?

November 14, 2008 by  
Filed under Anne Holmes, Blog, Politics, Relationships & Family

Will Our Society Truly Benefit By Banning Gay Marriage?

I didn’t catch Keith Olbermann Countdown show this past Monday, when he delivered a rousing and eloquent six-minute editorial on California voters’ decision to pass Proposition 8 – the amendment to their state constitution, which would ban same sex, or gay marriage . Frankly, I wish I had.

Have You, Like Me, Been Struggling Since Election Day, Trying to Figure Out Just What California Voters Were Thinking?

As Baby Boomers, after all, you helped birth the women’s rights movement, the civil rights movement, and the fight for migrant rights. You’ve helped save trees and forests, whales and wolves. Why stop now?

  • Personally, since California Governor Schwarzenegger’s comments, I have been wondering just where this clear issue of denied rights is going next…
  • Having been raised a Christian (actually very proper Episcopalian, thank you very much) I can’t believe God wants us to remove basic human rights from anyone! That would be against the very basic core of religious philosophy!
  • If you think about it, same-sex marriage is really an equal protection issue. That is, as a Baby Boomer – someone who realizes good health can be very transient – don’t you want all of your fellow humans to have the same rights to transfer property, visit loved ones in the hospital, and be present in times of trauma and trouble – even in death?

Olbermann’s video clip has been widely posted online.

Hopefully you’ve had a chance to view it. If not, take the time to watch it via the link provided above. Keith speaks quite passionately from a philosophical and sociological point of view, and what he says makes sense.

It seems that when we look back to the foundations this country was built upon, bedrock concepts like Thomas Jefferson’s declaration that “all men are created equal…” we took two steps forward with the election of Obama, our first African-American president, and then about 20 steps back with the passage of this law, whose intent is to rescind the right of same-sex couples to marry.

As Olbermann notes, this decision “tilted the balance on this issue from coast to coast.”

I Don’t Have A Personal Axe to Grind: Like Olbermann, I’m Not Gay. But Realistically, This Is An Issue That Touches Us All.

  • Thankfully, I’ve been happily married to my second husband for over 20 years, and have personally enjoyed the wonderful experience of parenthood for three decades now.
  • But this issue still touches me, as it touches us all. As you do, I have family members and good friends who are gay, and perhaps it’s through my participation in their lives and stories that I have developed my strong opinions on this subject
  • Don’t be so naive as to think you don’t know any gay people: While statistics vary, we can agree that somewhere between one in ten and one in 20 people currently identifies themselves as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. In other words: of every twenty people you know, at least one was not born heterosexual.
  • You, I  – and everyone you know – have gay friends and/or family members – or at least work with someone – who was not born heterosexual.
  • If you think you don’t know anyone who’s not heterosexual, understand this is statistically unlikely. Instead, it’s much more probable that within the social world you live in, people are still forced to closet their sexual orientation in order to get along in this world. You know, as in “don’t ask, don’t tell.”

Here’s a Part of Olbermann’s Commentary:

This is about the… human heart, and if that sounds corny, so be it.

If you voted for this Proposition or support those who did or the sentiment they expressed, I have some questions, because, truly, I do not… understand. Why does this matter to you? What is it to you? In a time of impermanence and fly-by-night relationships, these people over here want the same chance at permanence and happiness that is your option. They don’t want to deny you yours. They don’t want to take anything away from you. They want what you want — a chance to be a little less alone in the world.

Only now you are saying to them — no. You can’t have it on these terms. Maybe something similar. If they behave. If they don’t cause too much trouble. You’ll even give them all the same legal rights — even as you’re taking away the legal right, which they already had. A world around them, still anchored in love and marriage, and you are saying, no, you can’t marry. What if somebody passed a law that said you couldn’t marry?

I keep hearing this term “re-defining” marriage.

If this country hadn’t re-defined marriage, black people still couldn’t marry white people. Sixteen states had laws on the books which made that illegal… in 1967. 1967.

The parents of the President-Elect of the United States couldn’t have married in nearly one third of the states of the country their son grew up to lead. But it’s worse than that. If this country had not “re-defined” marriage, some black people still couldn’t marry…black people. It is one of the most overlooked and cruelest parts of our sad story of slavery. Marriages were not legally recognized, if the people were slaves. Since slaves were property, they could not legally be husband and wife, or mother and child. Their marriage vows were different: not “Until Death, Do You Part,” but “Until Death or Distance, Do You Part.” Marriages among slaves were not legally recognized.

You know, just like marriages today in California are not legally recognized, if the people are… gay.

And uncountable in our history are the number of men and women, forced by society into marrying the opposite sex, in sham marriages, or marriages of convenience, or just marriages of not knowing — centuries of men and women who have lived their lives in shame and unhappiness, and who have, through a lie to themselves or others, broken countless other lives, of spouses and children… All because we said a man couldn’t marry another man, or a woman couldn’t marry another woman. The sanctity of marriage. How many marriages like that have there been and how on earth do they increase the “sanctity” of marriage rather than render the term, meaningless?

What is this, to you? Nobody is asking you to embrace their expression of love. But don’t you, as human beings, have to embrace… that love? The world is barren enough.

It is stacked against love, and against hope, and against those very few and precious emotions that enable us to go forward. Your marriage only stands a 50-50 chance of lasting, no matter how much you feel and how hard you work.

And here are people overjoyed at the prospect of just that chance, and that work, just for the hope of having that feeling. With so much hate in the world, with so much meaningless division, and people pitted against people for no good reason, this is what your religion tells you to do? With your experience of life and this world and all its sadnesses, this is what your conscience tells you to do?

With your knowledge that life, with endless vigor, seems to tilt the playing field on which we all live, in favor of unhappiness and hate… this is what your heart tells you to do? You want to sanctify marriage? You want to honor your God and the universal love you believe he represents? Then Spread happiness — this tiny, symbolic, semantical grain of happiness — share it with all those who seek it. Quote me anything from your religious leader or book of choice telling you to stand against this. And then tell me how you can believe both that statement and another statement, another one which reads only “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

The Impact Goes Beyond California – It Is Massive

  • Perhaps it’s the fact that we’re talking about rescinding people’s rights that has caused so many people to speak out, realizing that this is not just a California issue, it’s a nationwide issue
  • Or maybe it’s because the November election also saw bans on gay marriage pass in Florida and Arizona, while Arkansas stopped gay couples from adopting children
  • Currently, gay marriage is legal in two U.S. states, Massachusetts and Connecticut, where court-approved same-sex weddings began earlier this month.
  • But dozens of states have laws that limit marriage to a man and a woman, which brings forward another issue: whether a gay couple who marry legally in one state will have this marriage recognized in another

Here’s A Summary For Your Consideration:

  • “Marriage” is a religious sacrament, and has no place being defined by the state
  • All “marriages” should be legally defined as “civil unions,” which can be defined by the state
  • If we still support the concepts on which our country was founded, “civil unions” between same-sex couples MUST be allowed in every US state

What Can You Do?

Speak up. Stop the insanity. Demonstrate your Baby Boomer pride in supporting civil rights actions. There are a number of ways you can participate:

  • Visit the website,  Join the Impact, to keep up on the latest details of this effort. This blog site calls for coordinated action across the United States, beginning with marches planned for the weekend of November 15th. Since Amy Balliett, 26, used her lunch break to start this site a few days after the election, more than 1 million people have visited and dozens of marches and meetings are now planned for Saturday 11/15, 1:30 p.m. EST (1830 GMT).
  • Send your local media copies of the press release created by Marriage Equality USA. For a copy of it, please email marchforequalrights@gmail.com
  • Make an online donation to fight Proposition 8
  • Join the Facebook group >”1,000,000 Million Strong Against Newly Passed Prop 8.” At the time of this writing, it had about 68,000 members. Join Facebook if you haven’t already and sign up. The group’s creators identify themselves as high school students. Would you let high school students, who learned about civil rights from the actions of Baby Boomers like you try to carry this cause alone?

Want To Know More?

Many great books have been written addressing the issues related to gay marriage. All will help you better understand the issues and resolve your feelings toward this issue, no matter whether you are gay or straight.

Among them is one I’m really looking forward to reading: Beyond (Straight and Gay) Marriage: Valuing All Families under the Law, by Nancy D. Polikoff, which is currently available for pre-order on Amazon.com.

Polikoff asserts that, in American law, marriage is the dividing line between those relationships that matter and those that don’t.

For example, with regard to inheritance, a woman married to a man for nine months receives Social Security benefits when he dies; while a woman living for nineteen years with a man or woman to whom she isn’t married receives no government support.

Among the crucial topics this books covers are:

  • Inheritance
  • Tax consequences
  • Workers’ compensation death benefits
  • Social security
  • Probate
  • Adoption
  • Health care
  • Plus, their impact the diversity of today’s family units

Polikoff knows her stuff. She writes this book after having taught, litigated and written about family law, civil procedure and sexuality for more than 30 years. From that perspective, she reframes the family-rights debate by arguing that marriage should not bestow special legal privileges upon couples because people, both heterosexual and LGBT, live in a variety of relationships—including:

  • Unmarried couples of any sexual orientation (remember, the co-ho concept works well for single Boomers)
  • Single-parent households
  • Extended biological family units, and
  • Myriad other familial configurations

These relationships, she argues, like marriage, are about building and sustaining economic and emotional interdependence and nurturing the next generation.

Sounds like a “must read,” for all Boomers, don’t you agree?

Now More Than Ever: Boomer Consumers Want The Chance to Make Your Own Financial Choices

November 11, 2008 by  
Filed under Anne Holmes, Blog, Work, Money & Retirement

Boomers Want Choices When Making Big Decisions

In these times of financial uncertainty and economic meltdown, the last thing you want is to find yourself with your back up against the wall, unable to make crucial buying decisions and financial choices for yourself and your welfare. My friend Marilynn Mobley over at Baby Boomer Insights really understands this.

Well the fact is, as a executive VP at a well respected public relations firm, Marilynn has made it her business to understand Boomer psyches – especially understanding what motivates Boomers to make financial choices, or what marketers call “buying decisons.” 

She wrote a post in her blog yesterday that really spoke to me – and will probably speak to you. Which is why I had to share it with you. Her topic,  essentially, is what motivates Boomers to buy.

Her (slightly abridged) title:

Boomers want choices, will reward (punish) companies based on the choices offered them

If You’re Not Familiar with Marilynn, You Need to Understand That She Calls Herself the “Quintessential Boomer,” – So She’s Speaking From Personal Expereince as Well as Her Research 

By way of proof, let me share with you a bit about her. In a nutshell, here’s Marilynn:

  • Lives in a big city suburb (somewhere near Altanta, Georgia)
  • Married (to the same husband ) for 25+ years
  • Owns both a primary residence and a second home on a lake 
  • Careerwise, she’s an exec at a highly respected PR agency 
  • Mother of two college-aged daughters
  • Likes to take weekend getaways with a few favorite girlfirends 
  • Has had some significant medical challenges over the years, but is grateful for her access to wonderful doctors and great health care 
  • Loves luxury cars, spas and frozen margaritas

Besides That, According to Her Official Blog Bio, She’s Also:

  • Curious
  • Fun-loving 
  • Bold
  • Unafraid of learning about and using new technology

What makes her thoughts and opinions even more valuable is that a good part of her day is devoted to providing her clients with insights into the habits of the Baby Boom generation, and she’s been blogging about this for quite awhile now…

Marilynn Began Her Post by Noting That:

“In the research, speaking, writing and reading I’ve been doing about boomers over the past few years, one thing that always sticks out in my mind about us is that we’re all about choice. We want real choices in everything from the biggies, like whom we’ll pick for President, to little everyday choices that end up deciding the fates of brands.”

And Concluded With This Comment:

“… I do believe that boomers are going to increasingly look for ways to exercise their choices, especially when it comes to anything involving money. For too long companies have looked at us as open checkbooks who can be bought for a nostalgic song and ads showing an attractive model with a touch of gray hair. No more.”

In between, she writes about three significant buying decisions she’s made in recent weeks, and how they were all made based on how the merchant’s policies and procedures either allowed her to make a buying choice – or DIDN’T, as the case may be…

The buying decisions were significant, we’re not talking about choosing to buy organic free range eggs as opposed to your basic generic caged hen eggs, or even choosing one movie over another at the cineplex, although I’m sure you’d agree that the concept of having the ability to make a choice is still significant there, too.

No. Marilynn was Talking About Buying (Or Not Buying):

  • A new car – her decision was largely made by phone and email, because the dealer from which she’d purchased her last car stayed in touch, listened, and responded as she had requested. In other words, allowed her to buy via her choice of buying modalities
  • Auto insurance from a new agent – she exercised her choice to change vendors because her old agent made assumptions and took her business for granted
  • Service from her (by now former) cable company – she dropped them because they accidentally mailed her a hugely enticing new customer offer that wasn’t available to her as a current customer. And they didn’t apologize or offer her the same choice when she contacted them 

Don’t you identify with Marilynn on this need for choice in your buying decisions?

Isn’t Having a Choice Something You Consider a Buyer’s Right?

  • It’s been a long time since Henry Ford famously opined that “You can have any color, as long as it’s black,” when discussing his philosophy with regard to selling his Model T Fords at the cheapest possible price.
  • Perhaps he said that around the same time pioneering department store retailer Marshall Field advised retailers that they needed to “Give the lady what she wants.”
  • Then again, leave it to Baby Boomer comedian Tim Allen to put his twist to the concept of choice. Apparently he said:  Women now have choices. They can be married, not married, have a job, not have a job, be married with children, unmarried with children. Men have the same choice we’ve always had: work, or prison.”

Marilynn’s post doesn’t delve into our Boomer psyches to the point of discussing WHY having the ability to make choices is so important to Baby Boomers. but if that intrigues you, why not grab a copy of C. J. R. Simons fascinating book “Boom Babies and the Gospel of Choice: Making Choices, Reclaiming Power and Creating Change.”

In the book, Simons delves into the social and historic reasons why Baby Boomers are so darned intent on retaining their power of making choices. He notes that somewhere between young adulthood and middle age, the Baby Boom generation moved from a position of “I make choices” to “Someone makes choices for me.” Which is why, he says, Boomers are now working so hard to return to the position of “I make choices.” He makes some very interesting points.

So What’s Your Take On the Concept of Maintaining Your Options for Choices in the Buying Arena?

  •  How important is it that a retailer recognizes your need for convenience? For example, what if you had access to a mortgage broker who made housecalls? Or a doctor who did, for that matter? Do you yearn for the old days of at-home milk delivery?
  • Are you more likely to buy if you have the opportunity to choose a product’s make and model? Or do you sometimes feel overwhelmed by the available choices?
  • Have you ever walked away from the purchase of something you wanted and needed because you didn’t have a choice in any particular aspect of the transaction?  

Finally, is there actually such as thing as too many choices? When?

Have You Ever Seriously Considered the “Expat Lifestyle” – You Know, Daydreamed of What It Might Be Like to Live, Work Or Perhaps Actually Retire Overseas?

Wonder What It Takes To Retire Overseas? Yes You Can!

Do You Sometimes Have the Feeling That You Really Need to “Get Away From It All,” As In Take a Break From the World As You Currently Know It?

You know: you aren’t just dreaming of taking an extended vacation to some exotic locale, but you actually find yourself fantasizing about what it might be like to take up permanent – or semi-permanent – residence in another country? 

Like that couple you might have recently read about, who decided to escape the rat race and retire abroad before they were even 40: They sold everything they owned, raised $500,000 and moved to an island in the Caribbean, where they’ve been “living happily ever” after for the last 18 years… and living like royalty, to boot! 

Perhaps you, too, have wondered what it might be like to retire overseas: to trade in your expensive, traffic-clogged life for a quieter, more affordable one. 

  • Maybe you’ve imagined yourself on on a verdant, mountainous Caribbean island where you might find lush views out every window and sand crabs meandering across the roads.
  • Then again, maybe you’ve seen yourself in somewhat more urban surroundings, perhaps dining on a fabulous three-course dinner with abundant wine, while attentive waiters linger nearby awaiting your next request. Could this be Paris? Or maybe you’re in Buenos Aires?
  • Or perhaps you were so taken by the exotic scenery in the “Lord of the Rings” movies, that you like to imagine yourself riding horseback in the wilds of New Zealand?

No matter which is your dream, your getaway vision always involves somehow transporting yourself to entirely new and exotic surroundings:

  • Sort of like Hemingway did decades ago, when he moved his authoring operations to Spain, land of bullfighting and sport fishing.  
  • Or maybe like what the Danish author, Isak Dinesen, did when she moved to Africa. (Remember, her story, chronicled in “Out of Africa,” begins: I had a farm in Africa at the foot of the Ngong Hills…”   (What Boomer woman doesn’t remember the scene in the movie where Robert Redford helps Meryl Streep shampoo her hair while they’re out on safari… )
  • Then again, maybe your vision is more like that of poet, cook and travel writer Frances Mayes, the real-life person whose story of buying a house in a foreign country was so well portrayed by Diane Lane in the movie, Under the Tuscan Sun. 

Keep Reading If You’ve Ever Screamed, “Stop the World, I Want to Get Off.”

Moving – or even retiring – overseas is no longer a radical notion. More and more, Baby Boomers are looking into retiring offshore in an effort the get the most from their retirement dollars, while having the adventure of a lifetime.  Actually, Americans are choosing to emigrate for a variety of excellent reasons:

  • Adventure – what’s more adventurous than leaving behind life as you know it for a new one in an exotic locale?
  • A better climate – maybe you’ve had it with snow shovels, now you’re looking for unending days and nights of temperate tropical breezes
  • Lower cost of living – your retirement savings can afford you a better lifestyle than you would be able to achieve in the US
  • Financial freedom – a way to sidestep recession. Living offshore can mean you can “retire rich” on a middle class budget, never outlive your nestegg
  • Investment opportunities  – an opportunity to grow your investments tax-free or tax-deferred
  • Healthier lifestyle – a way to live better, healthier, and with less stress

Of course, Boomers aren’t just dreaming of basking in the sun on those beaches of the world: we’re talking “retirement” in loose terms here. Let’s focus on how you might have imagined yourself living very affordably overseas while you generated a nice side income for yourself by doing something you love, like:

  • Running a small restaurant on the beach
  • Operating a beachside dive shop, renting out your yacht while you and your spouse serve as crew or giving surfing lessons
  • Exporting local handicrafts back to the US or elsewhere
  • Working long distance for your current US employer
  • Running your own company, via your mobile “laptop office”

Which Countries Offer the Best Living and Investment Options for Potential Expats? 

The fact is, thousands of Baby Boomers are finding themselves dreaming of living a life of retired splendor in another country — and many of them are doing more than just dreaming about what it might be like to retire abroad – they’re actually taking action. You’ve probably even had friends who spoke to you in glowing terms about the benefits of retiring permanently in an exotic-sounding county like:

  • Argentina – Think European-style living at a fraction of the cost
  • Croatia – Sun-kissed islands, great sailing, temperate climate: The best of traditional Europe…Non-traditional prices
  • Dominican Republic – An extremely affordable Caribbean lifestyle, and several large expat communities
  • Italy – Tuscany may be calling, but if you’re American, Canadian or Australian, you don’t have the right to work or live in Italy. So this one is a tougher call
  • Malaysia – If you ever considered Asia, it’s easy to buy property here and they have a “Malaysia My Second Home” program for expats
  • New Zealand – Tight immigration laws, wide range of climates, but English-speaking, and oh! the scenery
  • Nicaragua- Stunning natural surroundings and more afforable than Costa Rica 
  • Panama – Many expats say the this is still the world’s best retirement option. Find out why – and if you agree
  • Poland– Great scenery, growing economy, newer member of the EU, tourism is rising, and there’s a lot of foreign investment
  • The Philippines – Another great Asian opportunity with the economy recovering well, but land ownership laws aren’t as welcoming
  • Uruguay – Some say moving here is like rediscovering the good life of 1950s small town America

Then again, maybe you were wowed by the scenery when you watched the recent Olympics and you’re thinking of moving to China. Obviously, an emerging superpower, China is expected to become the world’s largest exporter by 2010, so there are great investment opportunities here.

More potential financial opportunity comes from their growing tourist economy. Maybe you imagine yourself setting up shop as a travel writer, photographer, importer or consultant

Of course, since it’s still a Communist country you can’t own Chinese real estate outright; but you can buy a 70-year leasehold option on property.

Most likely you’ll agree this country has to be categorized as an opportunity only the most adventurous will choose! 
 

Look Before You Leap: Doing Your Research

Obviously there’s a world of exciting options out there – literally something for everyone. But whatever your reasons for leaving your current lifestyle behind, it’s always best to investigate as much as possible in advance.

Before you sell your home and kiss the grandkids goodbye, you need to do your homework. You absolutely must learn everything you can about the countries you’re interested in.

Experts advise the best thing to do is start with research, and then visit the country you’re interested in several times as a tourist, ideally visiting during different seasons of the year.

These Are Probably the Most Crucial Topics You Need to Research:

  • Climate
  • Crime
  • Cost of living
  • Healthcare
  • Insurance
  • Taxes
  • Residency requirements
  • Visa and other documentation requirements
  • Local laws regarding work and foreign property ownership
  • Rules regarding taking your important “stuff” with you: furniture, cars, PETS

How-To Advice to Retire Overseas From Someone Who Actually Did It 

Jacqueline D. Brown, who currently has a show on public access TV in Los Angeles called “Southern Latitudes,” dreamed of living on a tropical island, and moved to the Fiji Islands for a year that turned into five. Prior to that, she lived in South Korea for a couple of years, teaching English as a Second Language (ESL). 

On her return to the US, many people asked her how she did it: How was she able to give up everything and move to a place she barely knew?  To answer, she drew up the following her list of ten steps you must take before you decide to move abroad, no matter where you want to go:

10 Steps To Move Abroad, Wherever You Wish to Go:

  1. Ask yourself, whether or not this something you really want to or can do? Talk is cheap. Can you really give up your friends and move thousands of miles away to a place where there’s limited television and yours is the only cell phone around?
  2. Pick a place. It’s important to choose the right place. If you’ve always wanted an ocean view, this is your chance. Or if only the hustle and bustle of city life satisfies you, expect to find it only on a smaller, more manageable scale. Be honest with yourself about what you want. Do your research.
  3. Decide on a moving date. It’s best to have a definite date for your move. This way you are working toward a goal that is realistic and tangible.
  4. Determine how you are going. If you just can’t leave your things behind, renting a container on a freighter is best. You can accompany your things or fly days later when they are expected to arrive.
  5. Do your research. Contact the tourist board or embassy to ascertain residency requirements. Currently in Fiji, you can only stay as a tourist for 90 days but can return the next day for 90 more. Do you need a Visa? Start the process three to six months before you go.
  6. Simplify your life. Clean out your closets and give away or sell things you don’t need or can get there. If you plan to work, take original diplomas. I had a copy of mine but that was unacceptable when I was offered a teaching position.
  7. Maintain your health. Depending on where you are going, the medicine and dental care may not be what you are used to. Get a complete physical, your needed shots, and a dental checkup. Do you have enough medicine? Take enough to last until you find a doctor. Can you order medicines online?
  8. Use the Internet. Here you can find land or houses for sale. Also, if you read the local newspaper online, you can get a feel for the place: food cost, apartment rent, weather. The State Department’s web site will tell you if there are any warnings or problems in the area.
  9. Cut emotional ties. It’s said that if you can make it past the first six months in a foreign country, you will probably stay. After the newness and excitement wears off and reality sets in you’ll find yourself alone without family or friends. This is now your home. You can’t click open your cell phone and call back to your former home every day. My relatives and friends cried when I was leaving for the airport. But I had made up my mind. Although I would miss them, I wanted a new life, a new adventure. Once settled in your new home get to know your neighbors. Hang out with expats also. You’ll appreciate talking to someone with a similar background who will understand what you are saying without your having to give a long explanation.
  10. Make a checklist. Make a list of everything you are selling and everything you are taking, including your tickets and passport. As each thing is done, check it off. I made a list of things I was selling: furniture, appliances, books, some clothes. I took the list to work, made copies, and passed it around. My co-workers picked what they wanted and put it on layaway with me. Just before I left, they paid and picked up their goods.

Some Good Online Resources to Help You Get Your Research Started Are:

Fascinated By the Possibilities in What You’re Reading?

Look for another post on living the expatriate lifestyle coming soon. There’s just too much to cover in just one post! 

Next up:

  • How hard it sit to take your car? What about moving your furniture?
  • How long does it take to get the necessary visas?
  • How do you handle prescriptions and health insurance?
  • Can you really do this?