Today's Boomer Vol.2 No.1 January/February 2013

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s ’ y a d o T

Vol.2 No.1

Guarded Optimism In the Year of the Snake

Today’s BoomeR

Featuring The Only B2B -Business 2 BoomeR Marketplace!

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This Issue January / February 2013 Volume 2, Number 1

Boomer Hot Topics


Top Tips to Talk, “Tweet” 6 and Post Better in 2013 Boomer Travel


’s y a d To Founder John Vardallas & Alexandra Maragha Editor-In-Chief Alexandra Maragha Contributing Writers :

Destinations to Reignite Romance

Karyl Richson– Social Security Gary Knowles– Travel Writer Chef Eben Atwater- Healthy Eating

Reinventing Yourself in the New Economy


Advertising Team

Your Social Security Questions Answered


For Letters to the Editor, articles and feedback as well as advertising inquiries email

Make A Difference


The American

SNAP to It!

Boomer Finance


Things that will cost More & Less in 2013

Boomer Healthy Eating


Make Something Nice with Spice

B2B Marketplace


Business 2 Boomers Marketplace

John Vardallas CAE, CUDE CEO/Founder Professional Speaker Business/Lifestyle Strategist Boomer Sage and Blogger (608) 577-8707 Alexandra Maragha Co-Founder, Editor-In-Chief Today’s BoomeR Today’s BoomeR Vol.2 No.1 Today’s BoomeR is published six times (Jan/Feb, Mar/Apr, May/ June, July/Aug, Sept/Oct, Nov/Dec) a year by The American 769 North Star Drive (Suite 207) Madison, WI 53718 All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.

The American Boomer @American_Boomer Today’s BoomeR 3


’s y a d To

Looking Ahead 2013 is here! Chinese tradition maintains that 2013 is the year of the snake. The snake is smart, coy, and clever, but is also ready to strike at any time, leaving a sense of those around it to always be guarded.


For many, a new year means a time of renewal and setting forth to accomplish goals, both new and old. Others may hold professional and personal obligations that follow them into the new year, leaving little room for new prospects to be considered. Overall, many aspects of the current American p.landscape 10 have caused many to shift to a sense of “guarded optimism”, where positive and optimistic approaches are guarded by a learned sense of reality. This issue takes a look ahead at 2013, while encouraging positive methods of thought that can be applied to maintain a positive outlook to last the whole year. “Tips to text, ‘tweet’ and post better in 2013” in this issue can open doors to new relationships, interactions and opportunities while also knowing how to “Reinvent yourself in the new economy” will aid with career survival. Information from Social Security and featured article about Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) are helping Boomers across the country stay positive in any situation are also discussed. If your goal is to travel, enjoy great company and great food, this issue also p. 4 to reignite romance in your life while provides Boomer travel destinations offering tips and tricks to add more spice to your palette in our healthy eating. Overall, we at Today’s BoomeR are looking ahead to enjoy what is to come, and never sweat the small stuff! We will continue to encourage Boomers everywhere to stay positive, follow your dreams, and to Make A Difference! We wish you a prosperous and positive year ahead!

p. 12 Alexandra Maragha Editor-In-Chief Send Letters and Feedback to:

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Boomer HOT Topics! 2013:

40 % of Americans will plan to make a New Years resolution.

Source: John Norcross, University of Scranton

According to the Chinese calendar is the year of the Snake.

Taxpayers may contribute Up

Based on the increase in the Consumer Price Index (CPI-W) from the third quarter of 2011 through the third quarter of 2012, Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) beneficiaries will receive a 1.7 percent Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA) for 2013. Source: Social Security Administration


The average amount

to $17,500 ($500 increase) to their 401(k) plans in 2013

that one person will spend on Valentine’s Day

Source: Internal Revenue Service

Source: National Retail Federation

February is National Black History Month. Black History Month started in 1926 by historian Carter G. Woodson which started as only “Negro History Week”. In 1976 the federal government acknowledged the expansion of Black History Week to Black History Month. January is Cervical Cancer Awareness Month. For women ages 21-65 years, regular cervical cancer screening can help prevent cancer. Source: Center for Disease Control and Prevention Today’s BoomeR 5

Top 10 Tips to Talk, Text, “Tweet” and Post Better in 2013 By Alexandra Maragha

speak, or send messages will often times be different than if you were contacting a colleague or business client. The level of formality, language and method of communication (in-person, phone, email etc.) can all depend on who you are communicating to. Facebook allows each user to control who is seeing information that you post. Within your “friends” list you can categorize each person as being “close friends” “acquaintance” or even a customized title, thus allowing your posts to then be categorized according to who you want to see it.

3. Listen, Don’t Just Hear

One of the most common reasons for miscommunication is from lack of listening skills. We live in a sound bite world where messages have been created to catch our attention in 30-60 second intervals. This has transferred into how many (especially younger generations) come to take in and digest information, where messages are heard but are not fully understood because they are not being listened to. Likewise, communicating online or through a text some1. Identify Your Purpose times assumes a different communicative decorum, leaving one to treat interactions differently than if they were Although this may seem simple, the reason why you are face to face. Common courtesy within each message and communicating can become confusing for many people, conversation still applies from behind any screen. Also reespecially when on social media outlets. Understanding sponding to those who interact with you/your business on why you have created a profile on multiple social media social sites is equally important in building better relationoutlets can define your purpose. Also understanding the ships based on critical listening and understanding. No purpose and capabilities of each social media outlet is key matter the medium it is crucial to pay attention to what is in determining the type of activity, audience and messages being said. that you will send. Knowing that Twitter limits each post to 140 characters with photo capabilities would not be a 4. Content is Key Without Repetition direct match for sending a long press release directly to One of the most important things is to post messages and your twitter followers, but would rather serve better for content without overkill. While you want to be thorough in including the link to that release that would be posted getting your message across and ensuring that it is getting elsewhere. Likewise, if your purpose is to connect with the most exposure, (posting certain times of day or posting family on a personal level, you may not seek to do that on on multiple social networking outlets) it is important not a social media site such as LinkedIn, that is focused on to bombard your audience with the same message over professional online networking. and over. Your content is why people will engage with you 2. Define Your Audience on different platforms (many times the same people will network with you on multiple sites) therefore, it is imWho are you communicating with? By not only knowing, portant to keep the content fresh, exciting, and relevant to but being aware of who you are communicating with, your what your purpose is without turning people off, and withmessage can become better tailored to fit that audience. out making your Twitter, Facebook and website all look In personal settings, such as communicating with family the same. members or friends, the method and manner in which you When it comes to communicating, personally and professionally, there are a few key points to consider enhancing and perfecting your communication skills, especially as new media leads to way to connect with others. Set your sights in 2013 to energize your networking regiment to include social media and all its aspects to broaden your communicative horizons.

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5. Always Question to Know More

message is sent and received. Some of the most common communicative “flubs” (think this past election season) occur when all possible outcomes of messages are not considered. This is not to say that you are trying to please all when communicating in a group setting, but it is important to craft messages with realizing all outcomes in mind to maintain a clear message to all.

No question is a dumb question. We have all heard this saying before but it is an important part of communicating. Sometimes an email, message or post that is directed to you can be vague, reflecting sometimes an understood way of communicating through online mediums in short phrases rather than complete thoughts. Responding to others is what stimulates dialogue between you and 8. Get to Know Your Online Neighbors your social network, as well displays that you are active Part of successful communication is simply observing the and participating in that network which will be appreciatenvironment around you. By searching others who are in a ed by those who are connected with you. similar profession or type of business, you can look to build a successful network and also look to see who is al6. Know When to Send Messages ready on your block. While social media profiles are disTiming is everything! The worst thing is to communicate tinct to you and your business or craft, it is good to know with someone at a bad time. Sending out a press release, what exists so that you may further define yourself and article, new product information, or announcing an event stand out among others. all must consider the timing and time frame in which the messages are sent with relation to the audience and pur- 9. Consider the “Big Picture” pose of the message to ensure a successful and desired Most communication is instantaneous (speaking directly to outcome of that message. Sending a “tweet” or posting someone or a group) and thus, many associate this type of on Facebook or LinkedIn in the middle of the night may communication to be “short term”, where little advanced not hold the same weight and impact of visibility as if you planning takes place prior to communicating. Even so, our were to post in the morning or afternoon. It is important everyday conversations and interactions hold long term to test the timing (post in the morning, afternoon, evening effects on the relationships that are built and maintained. or weekend) of when your messages are being received It is always important to consider that an ongoing relationbased on the feedback or number of direct interactions ship (personal or professional) will be determined and that you will receive from each message from a certain maintained from every “short term” interaction. Likewise, time frame. Facebook has a feature that allows for posts a message that is communicated now will most likely on Pages to be scheduled for the future, (located in the always exist and could be referenced to in the future. status box by clicking on the clock icon) so if you want to 10. Be Aware That Someone is Always Listening: test this, you do not have to login at 3am. We all have people who look to know what we have to say about certain things. Especially in a world where everyone Most of the time, messages are sent with an intended puris connected online, you never know who is listening to pose to cause a desired outcome that is calculated, but it what you are saying, so be aware of the information you is important to note that messages are interpreted and put out there as it will travel beyond your known audience understood according to audience background and frame base and be heard by others connected on the web and of reference, the setting and environment in which the social spheres!

7. Realize All Possible Outcomes of Messages Sent

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Reignite Romance Light your spark with that someone special at these sweet spots Story and Photos by Gary Knowles It’s time for a reminder that a little romance is good for the body and soul. “A sweetheart is what a sweetheart does” they say. So here is a selection of carefully chosen getaway suggestions to help sweeten relationships any time of the year. All offer creative pampering to make great memories. Check well in advance to find special packages or seasonal offers. Many have limited availability, especially around the major holidays so book early and let the sparks of romance fly!

The Seth Peterson Cottage

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The Seth Peterson Cottage by Frank Lloyd Wright – Mirror Lake, WI This is the dream cabin vision of most getaway romantics. It includes a cozy cottage in the forest with sun-light streaming in, a fireplace, a comfortable bed overlooking a pristine Wisconsin Lake – and yes, it is blissfully secluded. Breakfast is included. A unique bonus? How about designed by America’s most revered architect? Yes, this is it. And it’s the only one. Wrightophiles know it and it’s in very high demand yearround, so you must book well in advance. But it’s worth waiting for. You and your special someone can call it your own and you’ll forever treasure the memory of your stay here. Two nights are generally required. The Seth Petersen Cottage is on beautiful Mirror Lake State Park near the Wisconsin Dells where you’ll find nightlife, entertainment, tours, and fine dining at Fields at the Wilderness or the famous Del-Bar. Maple Wood Lodge – Mineral Point, WI Here’s a secluded paradise on a beautiful country estate near historic Mineral Point, Wisconsin. Maple Wood Lodge is a comfortable two level post-and-beam home set on 26 wooded acres. Operated by partners John Fetters and the actor Coleman, it’s a showcase of work by local artists with a fully-equipped kitchen, living room, dining room, three bedrooms, two baths, Jacuzzi, stereo, satellite TV, internet access and a sky full of twinkling stars. Hike, bike or ski in-season. A quick trip to town takes you to galleries, artist studios, theatre and shops. Fine dining options include Brewery Creek Pub (microbrewery) or Mineral Point Dining Company on Commerce Street. The Rittenhouse Inn – Bayfield, WI With glowing reviews by major travel and dining magazines, Rittenhouse Inn (and her sister property, Chateau Boutin) are grand romantic Victorians offering a variety of rooms with Jacuzzis, fireplaces, four-posters and views of spectacular Lake Superior and the Apostle Islands. Lovingly restored by Jerry and Mary Phillips

Rittenhouse Inn

and now in the able hands of son Mark and daughterin-law Wendy, the inns’ twenty guest rooms are what other BnBs aspire to be. Acclaimed for gourmet dining, Rittenhouse was a leader of the “slow food movement” before it had a name. The Inn is listed in the best seller “1000 Things to Do Before You Die”. Special themed weekend packages feature red wine, chocolates, Valentines Day, birding, marDog Sledding at The Rittenhouse Inn tinis and a “Wild Gourmet” dinner. Take your partner for a romantic hike in the snow covered forest or go for a ride on a dog sled. In summer, stroll the secluded white sand beach at Big Bay State Park on Madeline Island, get aboard the Apostle Islands Sunset Cruise, charter a sailboat or catch a show at Big Top Chautauqua. Chances are good you’ll be back for more of this special place. Today’s BoomeR 9

The Mandolin Inn – Dubuque, IA This Victorian mansion was built by one of Dubuque’s pioneers and features eight comfy guest rooms, extraordinary woodwork, art and antiques. The elegant inn takes its name from the mandolin player gracing a priceless Tiffany window. Innkeeper Ann Boynton is attentive, gracious and serves fabulous full breakfasts. For a touch of Hollywood ask for the cheery “Sunset Suite” and sleep in the bed Kevin Costner enjoyed while visiting for a Field of Dreams movie reunion. Stroll along the ridge in Eagle Park for stunning views of the Mississippi, sip cabernet at Stone Cliff Winery and ride up the bluff on the Fenlon Place Elevator. For romantic dining try Pepper Sprout (Midwest Cuisine) or Catfish Charlie’s Supper Club. The Inn at Wawanissee Point – Near Devils Lake, Baraboo, WI

Lake Wisconsin and see the State Capitol Dome thirtyfive miles away. Dave and Trudy Holdener are your hosts at this remarkable forty-two acre estate. “Wawanissee” is a Ho-Chunk word that translates as

Baraboo Range, Baraboo, WI

“beautiful” and the Inn more than lives up to that. Hospitality comes naturally to Dave and Trudy. He served guests as food and beverage manager of Chicago’s Palmer House while Trudy pampered Lufthansa passengers as a flight attendant. Today they welcome you with wine and cheese in a cozy bar room overlooking the Lake Wisconsin basin.

Choose from four luxurious rooms. The “TePee Room,” Mission styled with a private balcony; Experience exquisite Euro-quality luxury and hospitali- “Bordeaux,” with two person whirlpool; “Bird’s Nest” ty in this modern Bavarian-style mountain lodge. It’s features a massage tub; “Secret Garden” is privacy south of Baraboo, Wisconsin about fifty-minutes north plus with a canopy bed. Amenities include plush of Madison VIA Hwy 12 with a short jog east into the robes, satellite HD-TV, internet and access to private Baraboo Range near Devil’s Lake State Park. From the estate grounds. Each morning Trudy prepares a hearty tall front windows of this majestic inn look out over gourmet country breakfast. You’re greeted with brewed coffee and fruit salad followed by an The Inn at Wawanissee Point, Baraboo, WI extravagant variety of creations like corn muffins, coffee cake, scones, granola, farmfresh egg frittatas or eggs en cocotte. Just out the front door you’ll have access to forest trails first used by HoChunk and Potawatomi people. Near-by jaunts take you to shops or the historic Al Ringling Theater in Baraboo, Circus World Museum, eagle spotting in Sauk Prairie, wine tasting at Wollersheim Winery or gaming at HoChunk Casino.

*Gary Knowles, is a free-lance writer and communications consultant based in Madison, Wisconsin. He is the author of The Great Wisconsin Touring Book – 30 Spectacular Auto Tours and can be heard as “Travel Advisor” on the “Tell Joy Where to Go” edition of the Today’s BoomeR Joy 10 Cardin Show on Wisconsin Public Radio

Want to Go a Little Further? Check out These Other Romantic Places that are Sure to Get You in the Mood Hotel Monteleone-New Orleans, LA

breathtaking views mesmerize. To further relax, indulge yourself in a massage, manicure, pedicure, or facial.

There are a handful of places that are synonymous with New Orleans and dating back to 1886 the Hotel Monteleone is one of them. The long-standing stature of the hotel is not the only thing that makes it one of the most popular in New Orleans but the hotel’s location on Royal Street in the French Quarter makes it for easy walking to literally any popular attraction in New Orleans and for those places located little farther away the trolley is close at hand.

Blackberry Farm offers 44 estate rooms and suites each exuding an English cottage feel, appointed with English style antiques and fluffy feather beds. The most deluxe accommodations offer a king-size feather bed, a wood-burning fireplace, sitting area, whirlpool bath and a double vanity, pantry, walk-in closet, and a covered porch with rocking chairs. Accommodations and rates are based upon a Full-American Plan, which includes three gourmet meals, all pantry snacks and non-alcoholic beverages.

Hotel Monteleone

The rooms are equipped with everything you need and if it isn’t there – ask for it – like magic you will have it at your fingertips.

The Mandarin Oriental Hotel– New York, NY New York has always been a favorite destination for lovers to get away and take a bite out of The Big Apple. With a whirlwind of nonstop activities to discover, it can sometimes be hard to remember to slow down and balance seeing the sights of the city with reconnecting as a couple. The Mandarin Oriental Hotel is just the oasis to help you do both- absorb the city and spice up your relationship. Blackberry Farm

Vacationing within the hotel is wonderful too. You will want to sneak a peek at the rooftop swimming pool. Not only is it wonderfully refreshing to take a dip after shopping all day but I recommend you visit the rooftop swimming pool at sunset – what a romantic and beautiful setting and what a view of the city there can’t be many better. The Carousel Bar is filled with a circus motif and sensational sights and literally rotates around and around. From the picturesque carousel designs to the inspirational writings of Truman Capote, William Faulkner, Ernest Hemingway, to name a few and the live piano music the Carousel Bar is loved by visitors and locals alike. For some of the best oysters and casual New Orleans fare stop in the hotel’s Aft Deck Oyster Bar. Looking for a place to “pop” the question or just enjoy a romantic dinner – the ambiance, menu and wine selection of the hotel’s Hunt Room Grill meet the bill.

The Mandarin Oriental is the perfect balance of east-meets-west. Luxurious accommodations and amenities with customized service abound. The décor is stunning in textural detail with a restrained Asian opulence. Layers of the finest materials blanket the hotel, from the marble floors to the leather chairs and banquettes to the guest rooms done in pale tones of cream, grey and the occasional use of black, for just a hint of drama. It’s simply nothing but the finest without fussiThe Mandarin Oriental Hotel

ness wherever your mind and body may wander.

Take in afternoon tea or a Blackberry Farm– Walland, TN. bite of lunch in Try this Tennessee getaway in the romantic Smoky Mountains. The the Lobby Inn at Blackberry Farm offers romance in a remote setting on 1,100 Lounge and enjoy gracious service with jaw-dropping panoramic views of the city skyline. Have a pre-dinner cocktail in the smoothacres. Fly fishing for trout, hiking, tennis, swimming, jogging, golf, canoeing, white-water rafting and mountain biking are just a few of as-silk MObar, just off the lobby, and then head to the Mandarin’s French-Japanese restaurant, Asiate, for nothing short of a spectacuthe activities available at or nearby to this elegant mountain top lar dining experience with stunning views of the city at night, as retreat. Licensed instructors and experienced guides are at your well as the restaurant’s dramatic interior. disposal. Or try you relaxation skills out on the veranda where the Today’s BoomeR 11

Reinventing Yourself in the New Economy: 2013 Career Survival Strategies By John A. Vardallas, Founder/CEO The American BoomeR

Networking is critical to professional development and potential career change. Most people find a new job through personal contacts. Ask your friends and colleagues about opportunities in the areas you are interested in pursuing. Think of your network as your personal database that needs to be continually refined and updated.

Develop flexibility to be able to adapt and adjust to changing situations and different work patterns so you are not tied to a particular job or type of organization. Starting a new career can mean a smaller paycheck and less prestige. It’s a good idea to have savings for at least six months of living expenses for a safety net.

Identify Your Professional Goals

Become a survivor—one with resiliency who is not thrown by crisis, defeats, or failures. You want to bounce back, learn from failure, and realize things could be worse— keep a positive attitude and Never Let Go of Your Dreams! (And if all else fails, you can always hire yourself and create your own future!)

What do you really want to be doing with the next five, ten years of your life? The days of lifelong employment are a thing of the past—most of us will have several careers in our work life.

If you are considering a new career, research what additional skills and training do Note: Opportunities Will Be There….as the Reinventing yourself is no longer a career you need to bring to the employment table? Baby Boomer generation approaches strategy reserved for Hollywood entertainAdditional training retirement age, the pool of replacement ers or politicians. In today’s economy it’s doesn’t necessarily workers will not be large enough to meet necessary for survival. About one half of all mean going back to employer’s demands. Americans 45 to 54 years old reports being school, but it could dissatisfied with their jobs, according to a mean courses at night, recent survey by the Conference Board, a Strategies to Improve weekends or online. research organization based in New York. Your Economic Prospects After conducting your Even though the economy is picking up inventory, it may inspeed, economists are forecasting a jobless clude technical and  Keep Up Your Skills expansion in some industries for the next online courses, training in a new technolofew years. During the last economic downgy, or advanced college coursework. Volun-  Do Not Limit Yourself to turn, organizations paid the price for mainOne Employment teer work is a great way to obtain both skills taining large staffs; they are reluctant to and experience. It’s an inexpensive method Sector “staff up” again. The result is that lay-offs of trying out a new career without a large and downsizing will continue to be com Market Yourself professional or emotional investment. It’s monplace, and for Boomers, “Workalso a way to make new connections.  Build Networks & Keep Tirement” will be part of our new golden Up with Technology years. Part-time workers will be in demand. Develop the Ability to Respond If you are unhappy with your job and your intuition tells you a job layoff is imminent, it’s a good idea to have a strategy to maintain your professional and personal edge. And if you’re considering a career change, there are actions to take to make this happen. Don’t be bitter, make yourself better. In a nutshell, you’ll want to be prepared to reinvent yourself.

to Change

Change is hard for everybody—it is one constant that pervades our professional and personal lives. Change is the business world. The work environment will continue to change rapidly and you need to adapt or be left behind. “Mobility/remote readiness” is trait of successful professionals; it is the ability and willingness to make a geographical move rather than staying in the same Conduct a Professional & Personal place of your birth, family or first job. SucDevelopment Inventory cessful professionals sometimes need to Make an honest assessment of your market- sacrifice comfort or location to follow caable skills and determine which can be reer opportunities. Technology also has transferred to another career. made location less of a factor. 12 Today’s BoomeR

Learn to Live Beneath Your Means

Learn to Think Outside the Organizational Box 

Reward Yourself Periodically by Celebrating Your Accomplishments

Make Yourself a Valued Employee by Stepping Up & Doing More

Social Security: Your Questions Answered for the New Year By Karyl Richson , Social Security Public Affairs Specialist


fits based on your work record, even if they’re not disabled themselves. As

Question: I’m reaching my full retirement age and thinking about retiring in early 2013. When is the best long as you receive benefits, their benefits will contintime of year to apply for Social Security benefits? ue until they reach age 18, or until age 19 if they are still in high school. If your children are disabled, howAnswer: If you are planning to retire in early 2013, ever, at the time that they reach age 18, they may be you can apply now. You can apply as early as four able to continue receiving benefits into adulthood. For months prior to when you want your monthly benefits more information, visit our website on disability beneto begin. To apply, just go to fits at applytoretire. Applying online for retirement benefits from the convenience of your home or office is secure Question: I am 57 years old and I currently receive and can take as little as 15 minutes. It’s so easy! Social Security disability benefits. Can I still get my regular Social Security retirement benefits when I Question: My wife and I live in Minnesota, but plan reach full retirement age? to spend the winter in New Mexico. My wife will turn 62 while we are down south. Can she apply for bene- Answer: If you are still receiving Social Security disafits in New Mexico, or do we have to wait until we get bility benefits when you reach your full retirement back home to apply for retirement at our local Social age, we will automatically switch you from disability Security office? benefits to retirement benefits at that point. The money amount will remain the same. For more inforAnswer: These days, you don’t even have to be near mation, visit our website on disability benefits at a Social Security office to apply for benefits. less of where you and your wife are living, you can apply for retirement benefits online at SUPPLEMENTAL SECURITY INCOME It’s so easy to Question: I’m 38 years old and have been approved do, and it can take as little as 15 minutes to complete to receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disaand submit the application. If she prefers, your wife bility benefits. I was surprised to learn that my paycan file a retirement benefit application at any Social ment will be reduced because I live with my mom. Security office — including the one closest to you in Why’s that? Minnesota, New Mexico, or wherever you happen to Answer: SSI is a needs-based program, so any other be. income you receive — including non-monetary income DISABILITY such as help with your bills or other expenses — can Question: I am about to apply for Social Security dis- have an effect on your benefit payment. Your SSI ability benefits. I have two children, ages 9 and 12. If payments may be reduced if you are receiving food, my application is approved, will they get benefits, shelter, or monetary assistance. If you move, or if the too? Or do the children also have to be disabled to situation in your mom’s household changes, be sure qualify for benefits on my record? to contact Social Security. For more information, visit Answer: If you qualify for Social Security disability benefits, your children may receive dependent’s bene-

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Make a Difference:

SNAP to it!

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program helps Baby Boomers across states Would you walk past a $20 bill lying on the ground? Being eligible for SNAP but not taking advantage of it is a lot like walking past $20 or more month after month. SNAP is a federal food assistance program which provides a monthly grocery benefit to people with low- or fixed-incomes. Think of it like a bonus to your monthly Social Security check or pension. Or a monthly coupon you don’t even need to cut out! SNAP is the federal name for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Each state administers the program and has the option of branding the program with a different name. It’s known as FoodShare in Wisconsin, the Food Assistance Program in Michigan and SNAP in Illinois, Iowa and Minnesota. If your household has less income than that shown in the chart, chances are high that you could be eligible for this monthly benefit. According to the USDA, two-thirds of eligible people 60 and older are not claiming SNAP which could stretch food budgets both before and during retirement. Claiming SNAP has a strong impact in your community: everyone wins. You can stretch your budget and put more healthy, nutritious food on your table. The local economy where SNAP dollars are spent is impacted too. The USDA estimates that for every $5 spent in SNAP, nearly $9 circulates through local businesses and to our farmers who work so hard to provide fresh produce to their communities. Benefits are delivered on a debit-like card, referred to as EBT in many states, and are used at the grocery checkout. Any amount left on your card at the end of the month will carry over into the next month for up to one year. If you don’t use the full amount on your card, it rolls over month after month for up to one year. Eligible purchases include meats and dairy products, fruits and vegetables, and breads and cereals. Grocery purchases are allowable as long as they are not hot and prepared (such as hot rotisserie chickens). You can even purchase seeds and plants to grown your own food! Why buy one tomato when you can grow twenty? Most retail stores accept SNAP benefits, in addition to many farmers’ markets and convenience stores. SNAP Facts: 

You may be eligible even if you own a home and car.

Most people only receiving Social Security and even a small pension are eligible!

Getting benefits does not take away from others. Everyone who is eligible will get benefits.

The minimum allotment for a one- or two-person household is $16 per month. That is about 5 lbs of pork shoulder, 10 cans of tuna, 8 cartons of eggs or 4 gallons of milk!

SNAP is funded by the federal government. Don’t miss out on money that can stretch your budget and help your community and its farmers. To find out if you might be eligible and to learn more about the program in Wisconsin, call Second Harvest Foodbank’s FoodShare Helpline at 1-877-366-3635 today! If you live in another state, you can call Second Harvest’s Helpline whose friendly volunteers will give you the contact information for your state.

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Boomer Finances: Life's Necessities Could Cost You $3,794 More in 2013 By Rich Smith, The Motley Fool "The only things certain in life are death and taxes."


me-too electric like the Lexus CT 200h, or even a humdrum Hyundai, expect higher sticker prices in the new year.

-- Benjamin Franklin

Tesla's bumping the price of its flagship electro-sedan a Actually, make that death, taxes, and inflation. cool Surveying the raft of end-of-year surveys floating around $2,500 right now, it quickly becomes apparent that not only are to our taxes set to rise in 2013, but the cost of a whole lot of $59,900 other stuff is going up, too. The question is: How much in 2013. more expensive will life get in the new year? Here are the The grim statistics. cheaper 2013 Food: $480 Lexus is According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Center rising for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, your average Ameri- nearly $3,000 in price. Meanwhile, the $2,000 price hike can family of four spent $236.60 a week on groceries in at Hyundai -- the "econobox" car company -- represents a 2012, roughly $1,000 a month. Thanks in large part to this staggering 16% price hike to $14,545. Of the three, Lexus' past summer's drought, that number will rise in 2013. buggy sells closest to the 2012 average cost of a new car -$30,748. So don't be surprised if many of the cars you The USDA estimates that grain prices will be about 3% higher in the new year. Add in the cost of converting grain window-shop this new year cost about $3,000 more than to meat and dairy products, and food items could take an they used to. even bigger bite out of your budget. When all's said and Computing costs: $20 done, expect your grocery bill to go up about 4% in the It's hard to live in this modern world without the Internet new year. Call it $40 a month. and a computer to connect you to it. Unfortunately, MiHealth care: $247 crosoft (MSFT) knows that, and it's probably why Mr. Softy feels it can safely raise prices on its latest edition of The Kaiser Family Foundation estimates that this same Microsoft Office by as much as 17% in 2013. average U.S. family of four spent about $4,129 on health insurance premiums in 2012. Other researchers estimate Next year, expect an Office Home & Student 2013 disk we spent an average of $962 on top of those premiums, in containing Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote to set out-of-pocket spending (OOPS) on medical costs. you back $140 -- $20 more than Office 2010 did last year. If you need the more powerful Office Home & Business Even if you're an optimist, though, and assume those 2013 suite, that'll come with a similar $20 bump (to OOPS costs hold steady in 2013, benefits analyst Aon Hewitt says you should expect a 6% hike in the cost of em- $220). ployee health care premiums alone: an extra $247, give or Everything else: $47 take (more likely taken), out of your paycheck. These days, it seems most everyone buys most everything Getting around: $3,000 online. That's bad news for two reasons. First, the more Getting to work these days generally requires the use of a sales tax deals (AMZN) signs with several states, the more likely you are to get hit with higher transcar. And whether your ride is a Tesla (TSLA) Model S, a Today’s BoomeR 15

action costs on online purchases. As the economy recovers, rising And that's just the start. After you've prices can seem inevitable. But bought an item online, you still have they’re not universal. to get it shipped. Experts say some items and expensThat's particularly distressing, bees are bucking the trend, and may cause in December, both FedEx actually be cheaper in the new year. (FDX) and UPS (UPS) announced In some cases, the drop is due to they're raising rates. FedEx says it's evolving technology and increased hiking the cost of shipping via FedEx competition. In others, shoppers are Express by 3.9% on Jan. 7, and upmaking choices that may result in ping the cost of FedEx Ground serlower bills—without leaving them vice by 4.9%. Taking its cue, UPS feeling deprived. said it will raise its own UPS Air In particular, the cost of these four rates 4.5%, and UPS Ground will cost essentials may seem less daunting in 4.9% more. 2013: Now consider that InternetRetailAutomobiles estimated that the average consumer spent about $1,207 online Used-car values have been on an upswing in recent years, with lower in 2012. Consider further that although many online stores advertise supply from fewer leases and inventory cleared out by 2009’s federal their goods as coming with "free shipping," there's rarely such a thing Cash for Clunkers program. as a free lunch. Generally speaking, when an e-tailer says it will ship something "for free," it means the shipping cost has been built into the item's price. That being the case, online shopping in 2013 could conceivably cost you $47 more than it did last year... just to guarantee FedEx and UPS their Christmas bonus. *Motley Fool contributor Rich Smith thinks higher taxes and more inflation are still better than the alternative. Slightly. The Motley Fool owns shares of, Microsoft, and Tesla Motors. Motley Fool newsletter services recommend, FedEx, Microsoft, Tesla Motors , and United Parcel Service.

But after peaking in 2011, used-car prices have begun to ebb again. “Consumers shopping for a used car will find that pricing will be more affordable in 2013 than in 2012,” says Alec Gutierrez, senior market analyst for Kelley Blue Book. He expects prices to be 1% to 2% lower by the first quarter, and 3% to 4% lower by the end of 2013. Many of the new used-car supply will be recent off-lease returns. Drivers in the market for a new car may also see some savings, although that opportunity is more about the ability to downsize than falling prices.

additional sales in the smaller-car segments,” he says. The category also includes a few hybrids, such as the popular $20,000 Toyota Prius C. Cable television The cable bill itself isn’t getting any cheaper: Prices for expanded basic service rose 5.4% in 2011 from the year before, according to the Federal Communications Commission. But there may be less need to pony up for a subscription. Talk of cord-cutting—ditching paid television subscriptions in favor of a combination of free and cheaper streaming options—has been on the rise in recent quarters, as providers like Netflix and gain more partnerships to stream movies and television shows. During the third quarter of 2012, providers lost an estimated 127,000 subscribers, according to reports from research firm Sanford C. Bernstein, after losing 400,000 in the second quarter. But experts say the trend isn’t yet an option for everyone. Live sports aren’t always available for stream-

ing viewers, nor are many TV shows—especially those on premium channels. Flat-screen TVs It has become cheaper and easier for manufacturers to make large flat-screens, which has steadily pushed set prices down.

By Kelli B. Grant

Average prices for 32-inch sets have dropped nearly 50% since Compacts and subcompacts in the $25,000-and-under category are get- 2010, from $600 to just below the ting more features typically found in $300 mark, says Mike Fridgen, full-size and luxury cars, Gutierrez chief executive of pricesays. comparison site

“That’s part of what’s been driving

4 Things That Will Cost Less in 2013

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BOOMER HEALTHY EATING: Make Something Nice with Spice! Recipes and Photos from Chef Eben and Monica Atwater assess your supplies. If your spices are over a year old, generic brands from the market, or sealed wedding gifts from thirty seven years ago, or don’t smell, look, feel and taste fresh, toss ‘em and make a brand new start! Now for some good news! When it comes to buying spices these days, it’s more likely than not that if you do an internet search ‘spice’ and ‘your town’, someThere’s an all too common misconception that ‘spicy’ means hot, and/or ‘highly spiced’. We’re here thing will come up. If it does, go this time around to tell you that it is not necessarily there first, meet and greet, poke around and build yourself a so. Fact is, spicy can be very simple, like the Roman new supply. You don’t need a classic pasta, Cacio y Pepe or house made blends. huge supply if you don’t use a huge supply, and that applies to Back to Basics both quantity and variety. Get We’ll begin the conversation with a big caveat. While enough to last a month or two, we hate to be the bearers of bad news, fact is, if you and then make shopping for want to do herbs and spices right, you’re probably gofresh herbs, spices and seasoning to need to throw away everything in your cabinet ings a regular part of your rou(yep, we said it). If you’re buying your spices at the sutine. permarket, it’s time for the round file. Spices and seaCheck out these fine folks: sonings depend on two things for their power: quality and freshness. No matter how cute the bottle is, es are that the stuff you see in most markets is… better left on those shelves rather than yours. So, bad news delivered, do yourself a huge favor and first honestly Eben Atwater is a Chef and writer who began cooking professionally in the 1970’s in Washington State and Idaho. In addition to a food blog he publishes with his wife and partner-in-crime Monica, Eben is an accomplished musician and instrument maker. He lives in western Washington State where he manages a bakery-café. Visit Today’s BoomeR 17 When it’s herbs you’re after, you’re much better off growing your own than any other option out there, and whether you live in 950 square feet or on 95 acres, you can and should do so, with starters or seeds as you see fit. A 10” x 18” box in a window sill is enough room to provide growing space for the basics. Here’s our little outdoor herb garden, in December, in western Washington State, on the porch of that 950

drier is well worth the minimal investment required. Another pro trick for rustling up great taste is to get your stuff whole, whenever possible. If you’ve been buying your herbs and spices pre-ground, smashed, mixed, etc, stop right there! Buy yourself a $10 coffee grinder and dedicate it to herbs and spices. Okay, so we’ve got the supply issues ironed out, let’s talk about your personal spice space. If you’re investing in truly good herbs and spices, they need to be

square foot apartment. You can and dry whatever is left over at season’s end. Herbs you’ve grown and

dried last summer trump anything from any store, every time, and a cheap food

18 Today’s BoomeR

properly stored out of direct sunlight and in a place where they can enjoy steady, moderate temperature and humidity. The process starts with good jars with glass or good metal lids, such as these offered by World Spice, (They have ½ cup sizes too),

and if need be, relocate your spice storage to provide the right conditions.

Blend Your Flavor Now that we have the basics handled, let’s get after building some stuff! The very first thing we need to deal with is blendsfrom ‘Italian seasoning’ to ‘Chili Powder’, the shelves are stocked with little containers of dubious origin and content. Whatever flavor profile you’re after, you’ll be much better off making it yourself. You’ll get exactly what you want with the best ingredients possible, and, even better, it’ll be all yours.

exactly what you want. Take a little of this and that and see what floats your boat! throw in a little coriander or red chili and see what that does!

Pasta Cacio y Pepe A classic example of how ‘spicy’ doesn’t necessarily mean hot or complex is Pasta Cacio y Pepe. This dish is not only super simple and incredibly delicious, but uses one of the most common of every day

Classic Chili Powder Folks seem to think that there’s nothing in chili powder but powdered chilies, and that just ain’t so. Classic chili powder contains roughly 75% ground chilies spices, black pepper (for a full meal description, check out our blog post). 1 Tablespoon fresh, whole black pepper berries, crushed or ground. 4 Ounces unsalted Butter 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil ½ Cup finely grated Pecorino Romano Boil fresh pasta in well salted water until al dente. Over a sauté pan on medium heat, melt butter, add olive oil and brown lightly. Add crushed pepper and heat along with garlic, oregano and cumin. The final balance is yours to decide and is through. Add ¼ cup of pasta water and pasta, heat through and toss to coat liberdetermined by what chilies you use. ally. Serve immediately, piping hot, with “Molto Bene” Italian Seasoning additional cheese as desired. How about the mysterious Italian Seasoning? Not so scary when it’s broken This pasta is simply amazing; truly unbedown to dried basil, oregano, rosemary, lievable depth of flavor from the cheese, thyme sage, marjoram and savory, is it? pepper and butter. Impossible to describe Here again, when you call the ball as to adequately, so y’all will just have to try it! proportions and content, you’ll get Today’s BoomeR 19



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Here is a Sneak Peak of the Next Issue of Today’s BoomeR! March/April 2013 Anniversary Issue: 

Muscle Mania: Chicago Auto Show Recap of Hot Rides 

Boomer Travel: Destination Fun and Sun 

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