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s ’ y a d o T Vol.6 No.2

Destination Cuba:

Classic Cars, Casas & Cigars Beckon Boomers 8 Facts About Your 401(k) You Should Know Boomer Healthy Eating: Spicy Sriacha & Cuban Picadillo Lifestyle Trendz:

Why You Need to Get Tested For Hep C Now!

Old Enough for Sex: For Boomers Divorced or Divorcing

Why Gutting Health Care is a Really BAD Idea F– Being Old:

Hit the Road With a Hot Ride: Chicago Auto Show Review Today’s BoomeR

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This Issue May / June 2017 Volume 6, Number 2

Social Security

5

Your Questions Answered

Why Gutting Health Care is a Really Bad Idea

7

Lifestyle Trendz

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8 Facts About Your 401(k) You Should Know

16

New Blog: F-Being Old

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Advertising: Team For Letters to the Editor, articles and feedback as well as advertising inquiries email Alexandra@TheAmericanBoomeR.com

The American BoomeR.com

Hit the Road with a Hot Ride!

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House Made Sriacha & Cuban Picadillo

Old Enough For Sex

Contributing Writers : Chef Eben Atwater: Healthy Eating

Cars & Cigars: How to Travel to Cuba

Boomer Healthy Eating

Founders: John Vardallas & Alexandra Maragha Editor-In-Chief: Alexandra Maragha

Get Tested for Hepatitis C

Boomer Travel

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John Vardallas CEO/Founder Professional Speaker Business/Lifestyle Strategist Boomer Sage and Blogger JohnVardallas@TheAmericanBoomeR.com (608) 577-8707

For Boomers Divorced or Divorcing...

Alexandra Maragha Founder & Editor-In-Chief Today’s BoomeR Alexandra@TheAmericanBoomeR.com

Opinion

Today’s BoomeR Vol.6 No.2 Today’s BoomeR is published

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A Child of the Sixties Looks at Sixty

six times (Jan/Feb, Mar/Apr, May/ June, July/Aug, Sept/Oct, Nov/Dec) a year by The American BoomeR.com 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


EDITOR’S LETTER

’s y a d To

Something Old, Yet New As summer kicks in, so does the release of structure and schedule. A time where long days can be appreciated into longer nights, while forgetting exactly what day it is. The lift of the “grind” can only be minimized by summer breaks away from school and a little more freedom from the stress of bad weather to slow us down. Much like the ban lifted from Cuba, this place that is only about 100 miles and now open for travel once again has become a forgotten paradise in our own backyard. Trying something thought of as (feature) p. 10 old as a new destination is exactly that—new. The same goes for the old thought of taking care of those around us, but most importantly, ourselves as we age, and the thought that the aging process is something old, but yet how Boomers are ageing is something new. Baby Boomers are the unique generation of having new experiences of breaking the old mold of parents raising children and are now in the new experience of caring for their parents and raising their children and even grandchildren at the same time. The old adage of “putting your money where your mouth is” has become more apparent than ever in every sense of politics and policy where it has become time for Boomers to speak up or else to face consequences of paying up for their healthcare, home costs, and new challenges with finances overall.

p.old 4 can become new again, or new relationships can And most importantly, relationships that are be hoped for as we get old and age. Just always keep things familiar and spice it up where and when needed, and always look how to renew and don't be afraid of anything old, because like great cars, with care and attention and investment, it can only become a classic.

p. 12 Alexandra Maragha Editor-In-Chief

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Social Security:

Your Questions Answered

By Rhonda Whitenack and Jim Czechowicz

Question: I got married and I need to change my name is

retirement scenarios based on

Social Security’s records. What do I do?

different income levels and “stop work” ages.

Answer: If you change your name due to marriage, or for any other reason you’ll need to report the change and get a

Question: Can I delay my retirement benefits and receive

corrected Social Security card with your new name. You will

benefits as a spouse only? How does that work?

need to fill out form SS-5. You can get a copy of this form by visiting www.socialsecurity.gov/ss5doc or by calling our toll-

Answer: It depends on your date of birth. If you were born on

free number 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778). You’ll also

or before 01/01/1954 and your spouse is receiving Social

need to provide the original marriage certificate showing your

Security benefits, you can apply for retirement benefits on your

new and old names. You can mail or take the documentation to spouse’s record as long as you are at your full retirement age. your local Social Security office. In some cases, we may need

You then will earn delayed retirement credits up to age 70, as

other forms of documentation as well. For more information,

long as you do not collect benefits on your own work record.

visit www.socialsecurity.gov/ssnumber.

Later, when you do begin receiving benefits on your own record, those payments could very well be higher than they

Question: How are my retirement benefits calculated?

would have been otherwise. If your spouse is also full retirement age and does not receive benefits, your spouse will

Answer: Your Social Security benefits are based on earnings

have to apply for benefits and request the payments be

averaged over your lifetime. Your actual earnings are first

suspended. Then you can receive benefits on your spouse’s

adjusted or “indexed” to account for changes in average wages Social Security record. If you were born on or after 01/02/1954, since the year the earnings were received. Then we calculate

and you wish to receive benefits, you must file for all benefits

your average monthly indexed earnings during the 35 years in

for which you are eligible. The Social Security Administration

which you earned the most. We apply a formula to these

will determine the benefits you are eligible for and pay you

earnings and arrive at your basic benefit. This is the amount

accordingly. For individuals born on or after 01/02/1954 there

you would receive at you full retirement age. You may be able

is no longer an option to select which benefit you would like to

to estimate your benefit by using our Retirement Estimator

receive even beyond your full retirement age. Widows are an

which offers estimates based on your Social Security earnings.

exception, as they can choose to take their deceased spouse’s

You can find the Retirement Estimator at

benefit without filing for their own. For more information,

www.socialsecurity.gov/estimator.

please visit www.socialsecurity.gov.

Question: I want to estimate my retirement benefit at several On Vacation? Social Security is still here for you different ages. Is there a way to do that?

Summer is here and millions of vacationers are packing their bags to visit a new locale and soak up some sunshine. You

Answer: Use our Retirement Estimator at

might be traveling quite a ways. You’re used to staying

www.socialsecurity.gov/estimator to get an instant,

connected to important information like you bank accounts

personalized retirement benefit estimate based on current law and social networks, especially on the go.. Social Security is and your earnings record. The Retirement Estimator, which

there in the same way—easily accessible when you’re away

also is available in Spanish, lets you create additional “what if”

from your home or office. Today’s BoomeR 5


When you’re going on vacation and want to be sure your Social Security benefits arrive, use my Social Security. When you open a personal and secure my Social Security account, you can access it on your terms. We put you in control of your financial future. A my Social Security account is important whether you receive benefits from Social Security or not. You can: Request a replacement Social Security or Medicare card if you meet certain requirements; Check the status of your application or appeal; Get your Social Security Statement; or Get a benefit verification letter stating that: 

You receive retirement, disability, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), or Medicare benefits; or

You never received Social Security benefits, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Medicare; or

You received benefits in the past, but do not currently receive them. (The letter will include the date your benefits stopped and how much you received that year.); or

You applied for benefits but haven't received an answer yet.

There’s also more you can do with you’re my Social Security account. We’re always adding new features and resources to make your life easier and give you greater control over your benefits. Placing the “Application Status” feature behind the my Social Security portal provides a secure service delivery channel that allows us to provide detailed status information about your claim without requiring a confirmation number. With the new Application Status, you can see: 

The Re-entry number for in-progress online applications;

Detailed information about the current status of the application or appeal;

The location where your claim is being processed; and

Scheduled hearing information for appeals.

Whether you’re vacationing or on a staycation, Social Security’s online services are at your fingertips. With an easy-to-access my Social Security account, you can use our multiple online services while barefoot on the beach. How convenient is that? You don't even have to put your lemonade down at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount.

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Why Gutting Health Care As Boomers Turn 80 Is A Really Bad Idea This is a particularly inopportune moment to make long-term care inaccessible. By Livia Gershon, HuffPost For decades, health care providers and policy wonks have known the time would come when aging baby boomers would need a lot more support than the generations that preceded them, including long-term services.

need long-term care. But the “elderly” category in the House plan lumps everyone over 65 together, setting the baseline for percapita costs based on the population mix in 2016, which is much more heavily weighted toward younger, healthier seniors.

Now, just as the oldest boomers are moving into retirement, the House Obamacare replacement bill would strip away funding that nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and home health agencies depend on to care for the most vulnerable seniors. “What we’re talking about here is straight-up rationing care,” said Judith Feder, who studies health policy at the Urban Institute think tank. Medicaid's big role in elder care Nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and intensive home services are too expensive for most families to pay for out of pocket, and Medicare usually doesn't cover them either. So today Medicaid pays for more than half of long-term care costs in the U.S. Typically, an older person who needs help with basic activities like bathing and eating will spend all their money on care services, eventually becoming poor enough that Medicaid starts picking up the bills.

The way the bill sets the baseline it also entrenches decisions any states have made to try to keep their costs down. States that offered stingy benefits in 2016 would be forced to keep doing so, unless they can find all the money for expansion in their own budgets.

But if the Medicaid provisions in the house bill make it through the Senate and become law it’s going to be harder to get those services “When you put these kinds of lids on spending, and given the conpaid for. strained spending we’ve had before, what you’re doing is freezing Starting in 2020, instead of providing state Medicaid programs with in place gross inequities across states,” Feder said. “Essentially funding based on residents’ needs, the federal government would you’re denying federal resources that would enable low-spending give them a fixed pot of money. That could take the form of a simstates to catch up” ple block grant that doesn't adjust to population changes or a per Cost control capita allocation, which would base payments on the number of

state residents who fall into particular categories, like poor children Rhonda Richards, a senior legislative representative at AARP, said or disabled adults. states that don’t have the money to pay for the care their older residents’ needs might tighten their eligibility rules. That would Payments would rise each year, but only at the inflation rate for medical care services. The Congressional Budget Office predicts that leave more people without nay care at all. Or they might redice the will be less than the actual growth in enrollees’ costs between now rates they pay providers—even though Medicaid already generally pays less than Medicare or private insurance for a given service. and 2026, creating a growing gap. Richards said that could have a big impact on nursing homes and Over the next few decades, the problem will get even worse as other facilities. boomers go from “young-old” to “old-old.” Between 2015 and “Certain providers might decide not to provide services whose care 2060, the Census predicts that the population aged 65 to 84 will is being paid for by Medicaid,” she said. “It could also impact the grow 89 percent. Meanwhile, the number of people 85 and older will more than triple. It’s those older seniors who are most likely to quality of care that’s provided.” Today’s BoomeR 7


Getting care at home is much cheaper than moving to a nursing home and most people prefer it. But Feder said states have been slow to cover home and community care precisely because they’re so popular that the programs can be overwhelmed with demand—unlike with nursing homes, which are almost always a last resort. “The concern that states have had is it will serve more people,” she said. “That’s the objective, but that has made them reluctant.” Under the Republican health bill, rather than continue to slowly expand coverage for home and community health, states would be likely to roll it back. What’s the alternative? The bill would be even worse for home health and communitybased long-term care. The federal government requires state Medicaid programs to cover residential facilities, but not the kinds of care that let people keep living in their own homes. Faced with less money to go around, this might well be the easiest place to make cuts. “We’re really focused on the impact this has on older adults’ ability to live independently in their homes and communities,” Richards said.

Ultimately, the single biggest problem facing the long-term care system, and American health care at large, is that health services are expensive. The conservatives seeking to cut Medicaid have been denouncing it as an “out of control” entitlement for decades. And, indeed, under current law the program is expected to be 2 1/2 times bigger in 2025 than it was in 2009. But private health insurance spending is growing nearly as fast. Regardless of politics, people will need more help as they get older. If authorities cut the spending that lets seniors get that help, the burden will fall elsewhere, often on family members who end up overburdened and financially strained. And, of course, some seniors simply won’t have anyone willing or able to help them for free. Lawmakers—including Republicans—know this. It’s the reason Rep. Daniel Webster (RFla.), one of the last holdouts before the House bill passed, expressed strong reservations. He only relented when the Trump administration assured him that they were “committed to find a solution” to keep nursing home care fully funded. As the Senate drafts its own Affordable Care Act replacement bill, we’ll find out just how seriously the Republican Party takes the notion that this is a problem that needs to be solved.

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Testing and treatment

BoomeR Lifestyle Trendz: All Baby Boomers Should Get Tested for Hepatitis C By Savvy Senior Dear Savvy Senior, I've recently read that all baby boomers should get tested for hepatitis C. Is this really necessary, and if so, what are the testing and treatment procedures? Healthy Boomer Dear Healthy, It's true. Both the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend that all baby boomers – people born from 1945 through 1965 – get a hepatitis C test. The reason is because baby boomers account for 75 percent of the 3 million or so hepatitis C cases in the U.S. Those that are infected are at very high risk of eventually developing liver cancer, cirrhosis or other fatal liver diseases.

If you're between ages 52 to 72, or fall into one of the previously listed high risk categories, you should see your primary care doctor for a basic blood test to determine whether you have ever been infected with hepatitis C. This is a relatively inexpensive test and typically covered by health insurance under routine medical care. If the test is negative, no further tests are needed. But, if the test is positive, you'll need another test called HCV RNA, which will show whether the virus is still active. If you test positive, you have chronic hepatitis C and will need to talk to your doctor about treatment options. If you're infected, but have no liver damage, your doctor should monitor your liver at your annual physical. The main treatments for chronic hepatitis C today are several new FDA approved antiviral medications that have a 95 percent cure rate. Compared to older treatments, these new medications have minimal side effects. Unfortunately, all the new drugs are very expensive – a 12-week treatment course can cost anywhere from $50,000 to $90,000. Not all health insurance plans, including Medicare Part D plans, cover all prescribed medications for hepatitis C. And due to the expensive nature of these medications, most insurance plans require that you meet several requirements in order to get coverage.

Most hepatitis C infections occurred in the 1970s and 1980s, before there were tests to detect them and before the nation's blood supply was routinely screened for the virus.

If your insurance provider doesn't cover the antiviral therapy your doctor recommends, there are financial assistance options available. To look for help, visit HEPC.liverfoundation.org and put Hepatitis C is trans- your cursor on "Resources" and click on "What if I need Financial mitted only Assistance to Pay for Treatment?" through blood, so And for more hepatitis C information, along with a quick online anyone who quiz you can take to determine your risks, see CDC.gov/ received either a knowmorehepatitis. blood transfusion or an organ trans- You can also get information over the phone by calling the plant prior to 1992 national toll-free HELP-4-HEP helpline at 877-435-7443. is at increased risk too. So are healthcare workers exposed to blood, and people who injected drugs through shared needles. The virus can also be spread through microscopic amounts of infected blood that could occur during sex, from sharing a razor or toothbrush, or getting a tattoo or body piercing at an unsterile shop. Most people that have hepatitis C don't know they're infected because there are no symptoms until their liver becomes severely damaged. It can actually take 30 years for people to show any signs of the virus, but by then, it may be too late to treat. Send your senior questions to: Savvy Senior, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070, or visit SavvySenior.org. Jim Miller is a But if it's detected in time, new treatments are now available that contributor to the NBC Today show and author of "The Savvy can cure it. Senior" book. Today’s BoomeR 9


BOOMER TRAVEL 10 Today’s BoomeR

Everything You Need to Know About How to Travel to Cuba


Cuba just may be the most exciting travel destination that's a quick flight away from the United States. But it requires a lot more advanced planning than its Caribbean neighbors.

can be handled at the airport before departure. Tourist travel remains prohibited for U.S. citizens, but most trips fall under one or more categories of “authorized travel” permitted by the U.S. government. If you plan, on your There’s no place in the world like Cuba, particularly right visit to Cuba, to hear live music, you can confidently now. Only 103 miles away from the United States (That’s check off “public performances” as your reason for travel. If you plan to stay in a “casa particular,” about the distance between New York City and accommodations provided by a private family, you can Philadelphia), the largest island in the Caribbean has check off “support for the Cuban people.” If you plan to lived through a complicated estrangement from its nearest neighbor since 1961. What Americans call “the visit a museum, you can check off “educational activities.” embargo,” and what Cubans call “the blockade,” has arguable done more (or at least as much) to shape The Cuban government, on the other hand, welcomes Cuba’s present as its 1959 revolution. Since President you as a tourist. Some airlines allow you to purchase you Obama lifted many of the longstanding travel restriction $50 Cuban tourist card, which you’ll pick up at the for U.S. citizens when he restored diplomatic ties with airport, ahead of time. Other airlines will sell the card to Cuba in 2015, Americans are now able to experience a you at the airport before your departure (and some will country that, in the 1950’s, they flooded with tourists. tack on a processing fee). If filling the tourist card out by (Now Cuba is probably flooding you Instagram feed.) hand, write with care—if you cross anything out, you What has happened since that high-rolling (and often have to buy a new one. Make sure to keep it somemob-backed) heyday for American travel is a little where safe: You’ll present the card upon your arrival in paradoxical: Almost nothing has changed, and almost Havana, and again when you leave the country. If you everything has. lose it, you have to buy a new one. Not fun. Many Americans describe Cuba as being lost or frozen in time, and this is true– while Havana is a magnetic, lively city, there’s been very little new construction since 1959. But Cuba also wears those six decades, more or less, on its sleeve—the half-century-old cars chugging around the city neither look, nor sound, new. The ripple effect of U.S.-Cuban relations touches almost everything having to do with the island, from the paperwork you have to fill out before your Havana-bound flight to the dearth of shampoo and toilet paper once you arrive. (We recommend you bring your own.) If relations continue to thaw, travel will likely become easier for American visitors, but in the meantime, you’ll get the most out of your Cuba trip if you plan ahead. Here are all the nitty-gritty, unsexy details you’ll need to know before you leave.

The money question Cuba has two currencies, the CUP—the peso that most Cubans earn and use—and the CUC—which is linked to the American dollar and which is what tourists use. (You get one cuck joke. Use it now. Get it out of your system.)

The Paperwork Here’s the good news: All the paperwork you have to do Today’s BoomeR 11


This system exists so that tourists don't inflate costs for normal Cubans and so that Cubans can charge tourists prices they are used to paying—creating what’s’ essentially a local price and a tourist price. For instance, a Cuban might pay the equivalent of 5 cents to go to the Museo Nacional de bellas Artes, but an American tourist would pay the equivalent of 5 dollars. Expect to pay in CUCs, and make sure the change you receive is in CUCs, too.

say, New York, but still within the same realm of cost. So, no $15 cocktails but expect to pay $3-$8 for a mojito or daiquiri. Tai rides will likely be your biggest expense; they an range between $10 and $30 for inter-Havana travel. Budgets will vary depending on the traveler and the itinerary, but if you have paid for your lodging ahead of time, planning on $200 per day for two people is a safe bet, plus another $200 for emergencies. It’s better to bring too much than too little.

In Cuba, you cant use credit or debit cards from U.S. – based banks. (Even if you do have anon-U.S. bank, few places take cards.) This means you have to bring all your money with you on the place. And be sure to ask for new bills from your bank: The Cuban government will not take wrinkled, torn, or old bills. Cuba also charges a 10 percent fee for American currency—you can try to get around this by bringing Canadian dollars or euros; the exchange rates for those will often work out to be less than the dollar exchange rate plus the 10 percent fee but do your research and check exchange rates before you travel.

Where to stay

So how much should you bring? Havana is cheaper than, 12 Today’s BoomeR

In Cuba, tourists can choose between services offered by the government or by private individual. In general, you will always get a better deal and higher quality when you go with private enterprise, particularly when deciding where to stay. Hotels in Cuba are government-owned,, either entirely or partially (though some are operated by foreign companies). Havana has some truly beautiful old hotels built before the Revolution—the Saratoga, the Nacional—which are arguably worth the extra expense. Still, a real taste of Cuban life can be found by staying


with actual Cuban citizens in their homes, a style of accommodation called a casa particular. Casas are also a great place for food: Almost all offer delicious and huge breakfasts for about 5 CUC per person. Most casas also serve dinner, which are some of the most affordable, generous, and best-tasting meals you’ll find in Cuba. Meals for two often look like they could feed a family of at least four. AirBnB is a dependable, but not the only, way to book and pay for a casa particular ahead of time. Getting around There are about 150,000 cars in Cuba, a country of 11 million, and a big percentage of them are nearly 70 years old. They are a precious and limited resource in Cuba—expect to pay commensurately. A cab from the airport into Old Havana should cost at most 30 CUC. You can arrange for cars ahead of time through your hotel or casa, but in Havana there are taxis everywhere and everyone wants to give you a ride. It’s worth planning ahead if you have a particular schedule to keep to or you want to lock in a specific price or you want to ride in a specific car. Your casa or hotel will likely be able to help you out here. The quality of cars

varies really widely, from dreamy candy-colored Cadillacs that have been lovingly cared for the fume-filled Soviet wrecks that look like they drive out of Mad Max. Also, say goodbye to seatbelts. Leaving Havana If you’d like to travel outside of Havana, you have a few options. Rent a car. Rental cars are the only new cars on the island, so you won’t have to worry about other drivers outside of Havana. You’re not going to run into a gridlock on the interstate. Hire a private car. A private car ride from Havana to Vinales, a rural tourist town about two and a half hours away, can cost at least 100 CUCs. You can arrange and pay for one online through the Cuban government before you leave, or you can arrange for one once you arrive, but making arrangements in person will give you the greatest flexibility and the most freedom to negotiate. Take a taxi collective, which is a shared private car. Prices are comparable to the official bus routes, but you have more flexibility with regard to pick-up time

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and location. In Havana, it’s easy to arrange a taxi collective outside the city’s Viazul bus station, but it’s a conversation you can broach with any taxi driver. (If they cant give you a ride, they certainly will know someone who can.) A taxi collective from Havana to Vinales can cost about 20 CUC per person, and they can pick you up and drop you off at your accommodations. Ride on the tourist-only Viazul bus. Cheaper than a taxi collectivo (it costs 12 CUC per person from Vinales to Havana) and often more comfortable, the buses are new, air conditioned, and plush. The ride takes a bit longer, because it makes several stops and you have to get yourself to and from the station. You can buy tickets online ahead of your trip, but only a limited number are available for sale on the Internet: A bus that appears to be sold out online probably isn’t sold out in person; you can always go to the station in person to check. Buy a ticket for an inclusive tour. Many companies offer tours from Havana to other parts of the island. Many people, for instance, visit Vinales by way of a

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day tour from Havana. On the plus side, you are more likely to be interacting with English speakers and you don’t have to worry about making all the arrangements yourself. On the minus side, you may get a rushed or cursory experience of the place you are traveling to. Eating and drinking As with lodging, private is better than government when it comes to food. Take advantage of the meals your casa offers: cheap, delicious, plentiful, and flexible to your schedule. Outside of casas, the best places to eat food are restaurants known as paladars. Originally conceived as private homes that offered meals for purchase, the paladar industry has gotten so big that you won’t ever mistake one for someone’s private home. The best paladars, especially in Havana, require a reservation. Do this ahead of time—many have websites and all have phone numbers. (The best way to call a Cuban landline is by using the Skype app for your cell phone.) The best and most successful


restaurants all have plenty of English speakers employed, so you don't have to worry about the language barrier to make those phone calls. Once you arrive in Cuba, have your casa host or someone at your hotel reconfirm all your reservations by phone. Paladar owners realize that plans often change once people arrive in Cuba; they will drop your reservation if they don't hear from you. Plan to tip 10 percent on meals. An important note to keep you mobile and happy: According to my casa particular host, you can only drink the tap water in a central location (like their kitchen or in a fridge), or else will provide bottled water for purchase or included with your room.

easiest to do at the front desk of a hotel. You’ll receive a card with a temporary login and password; then you connect to the network with “ETECSA” in the name. After you join the Wi-Fi network, click on the “Learn more about…” link to bring up the login page. To use the phone in Cuba, ask your hotel or casa host. They’ll also make phone calls for you on your behalf, if you need to confirm a reservation or order a taxi. On the street

Havana is one of the safest cities in the world, and Cubans (as much as this can be said of any nation of millions of people) are very friendly.. However, because the disparity between the CUP (the Cuban peso) and the CUC (the tourist currency) is so large, it Speaking is highly advantageous for anyone in the proximity of a Spanish is extremely useful here, but not mandatory. tourist to try and earn their money. Taxi drivers and People manage to make themselves understood, one casa owners can make more money in a day than a way or another. That being said, even just a few words doctor—the highest-paid government position in can make a big difference. Its worth breaking out (or Cuba—makes in two months. As a result, in touristdownloading) some flashcards. Unless you are fluent, heavy areas, you’ll likely be approached pretty make sure you have the Spanish language dictionary constantly by people who want to offer you a taxi, for the Google Translate app downloaded on your show you a menu for a restaurant, sell you cigars, or phone. It’s a little awkward, but better than being lead you to a good music spot for a tip. You can either completely unable to express yourself. ignore (faster but more rude) and they’ll leave you alone, or engage in conversation but explain why you Staying connected won’t be taking them up on their offer (pleasant but Yes, there are a few places to get access to the time-consuming). If you are interested in what they Internet in Cuba, but why not just give up? You’re not are trying to sell you (this goes for taxis in particular), going to get a better excuse not to check your e-mail don't be afraid to haggle. than being in Cuba. Put your phone on airplane mode, and just use it to take pictures, punch something into One group of people to always give money to, however, is musicians: Small groups will often set up Google Translate, take notes, or look at maps. Maps.Me will allow you to download searchable maps in public establishments, play a few songs, and then pass around a basket for donations. It’s appropriate to of Cuba to use offline. You’ll be able to use it to find businesses and addresses and to get directions, even pay between $1 and $5 per basket-pass, and it’s one of the most wonderful parts about walking around in airplane mode. Havana. If you insist on using the Internet, there are many Wi-Fi hotspots available across the country—often around tourist-heavy areas (the airport, hotels) or in parks; you buy access to them by the hour, which is Today’s BoomeR 15


8 Facts About Your 401(k) Every Baby Boomer Should Know A 401(k) account can be a vital part of your retirement plan, generating future income that boosts your financial security. Here are eight critical things to know about your 401(k). By Selena Maranjian, The Motley Fool Baby boomers, born between 1946 and 1964, aren't spring chickens anymore. If you're a baby boomer, you're somewhere between your mid-50s and early 70s -- and you're either in retirement or not very far away from it. Thus, retirement savings and retirement income should be of paramount importance to you, and you may want to be making the most of any 401(k) plan available to you. Here are eight facts about 401(k) plans that baby boomers need to know.

?

account, perhaps in tandem with an IRA or two, can be a big help in saving for retirement. One reason is that 401 (k) plans typically feature free money from your employer, in the form of matching funds. A common employer match is 50% of the contributions you make up to 6% of your salary. So if you earn $70,000 and contribute 6%, or $4,200, your employer will add another $2,100. That's $2,100 of free money and a guaranteed 50% return on your investment that you'd be hard-pressed to find anywhere else.

401(k)s have generous contribution limits A 401(k) can be critical to your retirement While the current contribution limit for IRAs is $5,500, While our parents and grandparents may have had plus a $1,000 "catch-up" contribution for those 50 or pension income count on in retirement, pensions have older, limits for 401(k) accounts are much more grown more scarce in recent decades. It's up to most generous. For 2017, you can contribute up to $18,000 of us to provide much of the income we'll need in re- to your 401(k), plus an additional $6,000 if you're 50 tirement. Social Security will probably play a critical or older -- for a possible total of $24,000! role, but on average, it will provide only about 40% of our pre-retirement income. If your earnings were You can amass a huge retirement war chest with a below average, it will provide a higher percentage, but 401(k) if your earnings were above average, you can expect less than 40% of your preretirement income. A 401(k) 16 Today’s BoomeR


A 401(k) account can help you accumulate a lot of money for retirement, which will probably be very helpful when you're no longer working. The table below shows how effective it is to make big annual contributions and to do so for as many years as possible.

Then there are fees, which many 401(k) investors are hardly even aware of. That's a problem, because they can sometimes be quite hefty, and even when they seem small, they can do meaningful damage to your ultimate results. (Indeed, some plans charge big fees even for index funds that you can invest in elsewhere for a pittance.) There are Roth 401(k) accounts A Wall Street Journal article earlier this year noted Many people aren't aware of it, but just as there are that, "According to Vanguard Group, investors in a two main kinds of IRAs -- traditional and Roth -- many plan that charged 0.25% a year could in theory amass companies now offer their workers two different 20% more money over a four-decade career than they kinds of 401(k)s, also traditional and Roth. With a could in one that charged 1.25%, all else being equal." traditional IRA and 401(k), you contribute pre-tax A Department of Labor report offers a starker money that reduces your taxable income and, there- example: fore, your tax bill for the year. When you withdraw Assume that you are an employee with 35 the money in retirement, it's taxed as ordinary income years until retirement and a current 401(k) to you. With the Roth IRA and 401(k), you contribute account balance of $25,000. If returns on post-tax money that doesn't deliver any upfront tax investments in your account over the next 35 break. But you eventually get a big tax break when years average 7% and fees and expenses you withdraw from the account in retirement – reduce your average returns by 0.5%, your because if you follow the rules, you get to take all the account balance will grow to $227,000 at money out of the account tax-free. retirement, even if there are no further contributions to your account. If fees and 401(k)s have downsides expenses are 1.5%, however, your account Of course, 401(k) plans, like most things, aren't balance will grow to only $163,000. The 1% perfect. For example, they offer limited menus of difference in fees and expenses would reduce investment choices, such as a handful of mutual your account balance at retirement by 28%. funds. By contract, most IRA accounts let you invest in Fortunately, the trend is in the workers' favor, as fees just about any stock and choose among hundreds or have been falling in recent years, in part because of even thousands of mutual funds. lawsuits brought about against some employers. In the meantime, you can look up ratings for many companies' 401(k) plans at www.brightscope.com -where it rates them on fees, among other things. There are withdrawal rules to follow In most cases, you won't be able to withdraw money from your 401(k) until age 59 1/2. Take money out before then and you'll probably face a 10% early withdrawal penalty. There's an exception, though: If you leave your job in the year that you turn 55 or later, the 10% penalty won't apply. Retiring early because of a qualifying disability can also free you Today’s BoomeR 17


from the penalty, as can a few other circumstances, such as financial hardship. If you're in no hurry to withdraw money, know that you can't delay doing so forever. A 401(k) account, whether traditional or Roth, features "required minimum distributions" (RMDs). According to the IRS, RMDs are generally required to begin on "April 1 following the later of the calendar year in which you reach age 70 1/2 or retire." (Note that traditional IRAs also feature RMDs, and you can't delay them by delaying retiring.) Withdrawals from a traditional 401(k) will be counted as taxable income to you, while Roth 401(k) withdrawals should be tax-free, as contributions to a Roth 401(k) are made with taxed money.

Once you're socking money away in your 401(k) account, invest it effectively. 401(k) plans typically feature default investment choices, and they tend to be conservative low-risk-low-return ones that won't serve you well if you're young and may not be great if you're older, either. Make sure that you decide how your 401 (k) money will be invested. Index funds are a terrific investment choice for 401(k) money, as long as they're low-fee ones focused on the broad market, such as the S&P 500 or the total U.S. or world stock market. They will probably outperform most managed stock mutual funds. There are bond index funds, too. Your 401(k) account can be a vital part of your future financial security, so don't be afraid to seek the There are some big 401(k) mistakes to avoid guidance of a financial advisor, if you don't have much If you're saving aggressively in a 401(k) account, that's confidence in your own money management skills. He great! Don't make some common blunders, though, lest or she may be able to help you set up your 401(k) (and you hurt your financial future. For example, don't be other investments) in the most effective way. one of the many people who cash out their 401(k) account every time they change jobs. Sure, you may The $16,122 Social Security bonus most retirees have only worked at a given company for three years completely overlook and may not have much in your account, but if you If you're like most Americans, you're a few years (or remove even $20,000 that could have kept growing for more) behind on your retirement savings. But a handful you for another 25 years, you could lose out on about of little-known "Social Security secrets" could help $137,000 retirement dollars (assuming an 8% average ensure a boost in your retirement income. For example: annual growth rate). Similarly, don't borrow from a 401 one easy trick could pay you as much as $16,122 (k) plan, either, unless it's an emergency and you really more... each year! Once you learn how to maximize have no better option. That's another way of stealing your Social Security benefits, we think you could retire from your financial future. confidently with the peace of mind we're all after. Finally, don't keep most of your money in the stock of your employer. Yes, you know that company best, but remember that it's already providing most or all of your income now. To have it provide most of your future income, too, is putting a lot of eggs in that one basket. Remember -- even great companies can fall on prolonged hard times -- or can defy expectations and fail. Try not to keep too much of your net worth in company stock -- perhaps not more than 10%, at most. Some investments are better than others 18 Today’s BoomeR


F– Being Old: Hit The Road This Year with a Hot Ride! Report from the Chicago Auto Show By John A. Vardallas, Founder/CEO TheAmericanBoomeR.com The Chicago Auto Show is the largest and oldest auto show in the USA and has been showcasing America s new vehicles since 1901. Held at the McCormick Place, it boasts the largest square footage of cars under one roof in the world. This year s show did not disappoint. For us baby boomers, there was plenty of new retro muscle showcased as well as rides with high tech and plenty of comfort. The Big Three Detroit automakers highlighted some of the coolest rides ever which I have no doubt will have many buying American Again! Horsepower was in the air in all pavilions. GM showcased the new Chevrolet Corvettes and 50th anniversary Gen 6 Camaros and some new Cool Caddy s. Fords new 2018 GT (to compete with high end race machines) and Mustang GT350 are awesome street rides and the Dodge Boys Chargers and Challengers all can be described as beastly muscle.

In addition all domestic and foreign automakers also featured sleeker and lighter trucks and SUV crossovers that now dominate our highways. Overseas ride manufacturers like Beamers, Benz, Lexus, Jaguar and Porsche showcased awesome power on a small chassis and being a Bond Fan, yours truly was gushing over the Aston Martin DB11. Attendees had lots of hands on opportunities to check out all the features of new vehicles via interactive displays, indoor test tracks and hand on behind the wheel demonstrations. A key theme that was universal during the show was the recognition of the advancements in technology, safety features and tightening fuel economy standards, today s automobiles are becoming increasingly complex. In addition to GPS, 360 Radar systems, Blu-Tooth, in car Wi-Fi, connectivity is the latest in automotive technology. In car streaming entertainment and text messaging are now available. This means you can now stream your favorite radio station via Pandora and have your infotainment system

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Car: BMW M2

read your text messages, while your passenger uses Wi-Fi to surf the internet on their phone and your rear seat passengers stream a TV show. And coming soon Alexa and Siri integration for fuel and weather updates will be on the road with you! The future is going to be pretty kool and fun for hitting the road in your favorite ride. So Rock On You Roadies! The Motor Week 2017 Winners Drivers Choice Awards Individual Categories: 

Best Small Car: Honda Civic

Best Family Sedan: Ford Fusion

Best Convertible: Mini Cooper

Best Luxury Sedan: Mercedes Benz E300

Best Sport Sedan: Audi A4

Best Sport Coupe: Chevrolet Camaro

Best Performance

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Best Small Utility: Honda CR-V

Best Large Utility: Mazda CX-9

Best Luxury Utility: Jaguar F-Pace

Best Minivan: Chrysler Pacifica

Best Pickup Truck: Nissan Titan

Best Eco-Friendly: Chevrolet Bolt EV

Best Dream Machine: Acura NSX, McLaren 570 GT, Porsche 911 Turbo S


BOOMER HEALTHY EATING: House Made Spicy Sriracha

Recipes and Photos from Chef Eben Atwater

www.urbanmonique.com The countries that make up the core of the long peninsula that lies south of China and east of India – Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia – represent an incredibly vibrant palette of stunning cuisines. In Fort Worth, Texas, there’s a little hole in the wall Vietnamese place in a strip mall off of Belknap Street named My Lan. Very often when we went there, we were the only white folks in the joint – the sure sign of authentic stuff. They’re still there, so go if you’re nearby, and if you want an adult beverage with dinner, stop at the liquor store across the road first – It’s a BYOB joint. What you’ll find is amazingly good food, not only in what they bring you, but in what’s already on the table when you sit down – Condiments, lots of condiments, many of them rocket powered, just the way it should be. Yet there’s one über popular Asian condiment you won’t find here – Sriracha hot sauce. This surprises many folks, but it really shouldn’t, because even though many assume that this iconic sauce is Vietnamese, in fact, it’s Thai, and the version you probably love isn’t quite how it’s made over there, either. Onward. sauce, despite some recent legal battles with neighbors and the city of Irwindale over fumes from their plant. Huy Fong has sold tens of millions of bottles of the stuff, and recently things have come almost full circle – They’re now distributing the sauce in Vietnam. That’s full circle for Tran, but not quite for the sauce – For that, we need to go to Thailand. Huy Fong’s ubiquitous red sauce, offered in a clear plastic bottle with white lettering and a bright green top, is far from the only player to carry that name, (or that look, for that matter.) Tran, for his part, has never trademarked his version, so literally anyone and everyone can and does Sriracha, A.K.A. Rooster Sauce, isn’t American in produce hot chile sauces that carry the same Sriracha origin, but thanks to David Tran, the arguably most moniker. As such, some of those competitor’s wares popular version of this spicy condiment is. Tran, a are in fact exact copies of the Huy Fong recipe. This former A.R.V.N. Officer, emigrated to California back isn’t exactly a rip off, by the way, (so neither is your in 1980, and shortly afterwards, began making a hot house made sriracha). The nature of Sriracha is such chile sauce from a little cubbyhole spot in L.A.’s that there are only so many things you can put into it Chinatown. Only seven years later, Huy Fong Foods, and remain authentic. Variation on the chiles theme is (Named after the ship that took Tran away from far and away the biggest variable in play – Tran’s Vietnam), moved into a 68,000 square foot production original version used Serrano chiles, which were facility, and the rest is history. The company, still run eventually replaced with red jalapeños, the chile Huy by the Tran family, churns out their Tuong Ot Sriracha Fong uses to this day. Today’s BoomeR 21


So, where does this stuff really hail from? A couple hours south east of Bangkok, down on the Bight, lies the district and village that bears the Sri Racha name. Who exactly first made the sauce that is somewhat in dispute to this very day. Sriraja Paniche, arguably the most famous commercially sold Thai version of the Sauce, was invented by a woman called Thanom Chakkapak, in the early 20th century. Encouraged by friends and family, she began to produce her sauce commercially, and it did very well indeed. However, according to the official Thai Sri Racha Lovers Association, it was Burmese woodworkers from that seaside town that first produced the red gold. Regardless of who first formulated the stuff, sriracha, (pronounced, by the way, See Rah Jah), is immensely popular throughout Asia, and increasingly, the rest of the world. Yet there are marked differences between the Thai versions and the Huy Fong style we here in the States are used to. In a nutshell, the various Thai

options. While Thai food can be crazy hot, most Thai’s, like most of us, prefer a balance of heat and flavor over intense heat. Sriraja Paniche is made with Goat Chiles, over a period of three months, with specific measures of vinegar added weekly, while Huy Fong makes no more than a one month supply of jalapeños can produce, in order to safeguard the quality and ripeness of their chiles. For heat comparison, we consult the Scoville Scale – The fairly universal measure of chile power. The goats measure around 2,000 SHUs, while a Jalapeño is more in the 2,500 to 5,000 range, although some claim red jalapeños top out around 8,000 SHUs. For the record, the current leaders in that scale of fire score well over a million SHUs, so the heat level we’re talking about is well down in the heat weenie range, as far as true chile heads are concerned. The bigger picture view is that ‘Sriracha’ or any derivative thereof, isn’t really a brand name, it’s the sauce name, like ketchup or mustard – The branding comes with who makes it and what they use for fuel. And speaking of use, what do the Thais do with the stuff? The home turf where this stuff originated is coastal, so seafood obviously came in to play – Initially, sriracha got used predominantly for seafood, then eventually branched out to other stuff, like Thai omelettes, rice dishes, and the like. Nowadays, its use is fairly ubiquitous, as it is here.

So, sure you can buy it, but why not make your own house made version? Home recipes and methods run the gamut from super simple, which is what we’ll do, to stuff that takes a good bit longer – fermented versions, like McIlhenny’s Tabasco sauce. The base ingredients are the same for any authentic version – Chiles, garlic, vinegar, sugar, and salt. In the real stuff, the vinegar is almost always distilled white, the sugar almost always granulated white. That said, there are versions that use rice or cane vinegar, brown or palm sugar, and of course, the chiles run the gamut in variety and heat – Therein lies the beauty in home exploration – You don’t have to be authentic, you just have to be curious and versions I’ve tried are thinner, more pourable, and build something you dig. Like things a bit fruitier? Use generally milder and sweeter than our version, although cider vinegar instead of white. Want sweetness with rest assured that there, just like here, there are nuclear 22 Today’s BoomeR


more substance? Sub agave nectar or good local honey for the granulated sugar. And chiles? Well, just go wild is my advice. In shopping for this piece, I went with Fresno chiles that made a fantastic sriracha, fruity, flavorful, and with a delightful ack of mouth heat finish. They sport a Scoville rating of 2,500 to 10,000, meaning the bottom end is about like a jalapeño and the top figure about double that of their green cousin. Obviously, you don’t have to use red chiles if you don’t care about your sauce being a different color, so go with what looks fresh and good to you for heat and flavor. There’s also absolutely nothing wrong with mixing varieties, either. American Style Sriracha 1 Pound fresh red Jalapeño Chiles (Anaheim will work great too if you like less heat) 1/4 Cup Distilled White Vinegar 1 Tablespoon Granulated Garlic 2 Tablespoons granulated Sugar 1 teaspoon Sea Salt UrbanMonique Sriracha 1 Pound fresh Chiles, (Serrano, Fresno, New Mexican) 2-4 cloves fresh Garlic 1/4 Cup Live Apple Cider Vinegar* 1-2 Tablespoons Agave Nectar 1 teaspoon Sea Salt * Vinegar with the Mother acetobacter starter. Thai Style Sriracha

Chiles do not contain pectin, so thickening largely depends on the reduction step detailed below. Your results will vary depending on the variety and freshness of the chiles you choose. Almost all commercial Srirachas remove most if not all of the seeds and skins from the finished sauce, but you certainly don’t have to – We don’t, because we prefer a thicker, chunkier sauce. It’s further my belief that retaining everything you cooked provides better and deeper flavor all around. Do what you like – You can’t go wrong either way.

1 Pound fresh Goat Chiles, (Red New Mexican, Hatch, or Anaheims will do nicely too) 3-5 cloves fresh Garlic Speaking of 1/4 Cup Rice Vinegar pectin, you can 2 Tablespoons light brown Sugar substitute fruit for 1 1/2 teaspoons Sea Salt the sweetener for a less traditional, but For all versions, production is the same. every bit as tasty on option for any PRODUCTION NOTES: You may chose to roast or sauce variant. A blacken your chiles and garlic prior to cooking if you quarter cup of wish. This imparts a deeper, more nuanced flavor profile fresh berries, to virtually any combination you chose. If you prefer a plums, peach, what have you will do the trick. brighter, fresher flavor, leave off the roasting step. Try all Remove stems from chiles, smash garlic lightly with the three versions and go from there. side of a chef’s knife – remove the skins and trim the ends. Today’s BoomeR 23


Flavorful Cuban Picadillo Recipe Rough chop the chiles. Place everything into a blender and pulse until you have a nice, thick paste. Transfer the sauce to a heavy sauce over medium heat. Don’t clean the blender vessel just yet, you’re going to use it again soon. Cook the sauce, stirring steadily, until the raw garlic and Chiles smells dissipate, about 5 – 7 minutes. Check your consistency at this point – You can stop there if you wish, or continue cooking the sauce down to allow more thickening – Again, keep in mind that the sauce will thicken appreciably upon refrigeration. Remove sauce from heat and pour it back into the blender vessel and process again until you have a nice, smooth consistency. Leave it as is if you’re happy with the consistency, or thin with water as needed, adding a tablespoon at a time. When you’ve got the consistency you like, you’re done if you like things more rustic. As noted above, if you prefer a thinner sauce basically equivalent to Tabasco or Cholula, transfer the sauce to a single mesh strainer over a glass or stainless mixing bowl, and use a wooden spoon or the side of a spatula to gently work the sauce through the strainer, leaving the skin, pulp and rough stuff behind. NOTE: Many strainers have a quite fine mesh, and if your sauce isn’t particularly wet, you may capture more than you want to. A chinoise is a great alternative that will let more sauce through. Taste the sauce and adjust seasoning as desired. Allow the sauce to cool completely to room temperature before transferring it to a clean, glass jar with an airtight lid. Allow the sauce to marry, refrigerated, for a couple of days before use. This is a critical step to the final flavor you’ll achieve – As an example, ours went from quite sweet and hot to much more subtly so, with the Garlic slightly more notable, within 48 hours. It’ll last up to 30 days in the fridge. 24 Today’s BoomeR

By Kevin D. Weeks

I first had this Cuban Chili (the proper name is picadillo) a Cuban restaurant in Sacramento. It was my favorite dish at one of my two favorite restaurants - the other being the gumbo at a Caribbean restaurant. This is a hearty dish, perfect for a snow day. It only takes about 45 minutes and is easy to make. There are several variations on it but the one I fell in love with included raisins for a touch of sweetness highlighted with cinnamon. You can serve this on beans if you wish, but my preference is for rice. What You’ll Need: 

1/2 sm. onion; chopped (about 1/3 cup)  1/3 sm. green bell pepper; seeded and chopped (about 1/4 cup)  Olive oil for sautéing  1 cloves garlic; finely chopped  1/2 lb. ground beef  1/2 15-oz. can of diced tomatoes (freeze the remainder for a later dish)  Salt and pepper to taste  1/2 tsp. ground cumin  1/4 tsp. dried oregano  Pinch ground cinnamon  Pinch of ground cloves (optional)  12 pitted olives (I like Kalamata); split in half  1/4 cup raisins  1 Tbsp. capers How to Make It: 1. Heat olive oil over medium heat then sauté onion and green pepper for about 5 minutes, until the onion is softened. 2. Add ground beef, salt, and pepper, garlic, cumin, oregano, cinnamon, and cloves. Cook, stirring occasionally until the meat is browned - about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for about 15 minutes. 3. Stir in olives and raisins and simmer 5 minutes longer. Salt and pepper to taste. 4. Serve hot over rice.


Old Enough for Sex : For Baby Boomers Who Are Divorced or Divorcing By Barry Gold Who better to write a book about divorcing at this age than a baby boomer who did it himself, after 27 years of marriage?! Barry Gold of Los Angeles started a website to share what he’s learned about what he calls Gray Divorce, then wrote a book called Gray Divorce Stories . This excerpt is from an interview with a mid-fifties woman named Gayla. It’s called, “If My Ex Could See Me Now.”

It was a chore, like vacuuming, and laundry, things I had to do in my marriage. So that was pretty depressing. But I’ve turned that around now. Maybe a little too much, if that’s possible.

I wasn’t in a big hurry to get out there and start dating again. So I I am dating more than one guy. And I just ended a two-and-ahalf-year relationship with a guy. But we were never really took a year or so, just exploring, doing what I wanted to do. Then finally I went online. together. It was more about sex than anything. It was a friendswith-benefits arrangement. And he totally opened my eyes, he I met some very interesting characters. Most of these guys don’t shocked me actually, at first, like totally shocked me. I was like, want anything serious. They were married thirty years, they had People really do that? to give up half of everything, they don’t want to do that again. He came into my life for a reason. He came in to teach me about my own sexuality and what’s out there. To this day, I’m still We come with so much more baggage now. I try not to let that shocked at what goes on in the world, from a sexual standpoint. interfere with whatever is going on, but it is a part of who you I still try to wrap my head around all these different types of are. relationships. It’s weird. I do feel like I missed out on a lot. I wasn’t happy for many years. The traditional, you get married, you stay married — that’s all I just buried it — all those feelings. gone these days. I buried my sexuality too, because I hated having sex with my husband. Oh god, it’s Saturday night, he’s gonna start rubbing my back again … It was awful. And I thought, is this what sex is about? Really?

People are into such different things now. And I was like, Okay, I’m not going to judge anybody. Whatever, but wow. Wow.

Most of them are younger. I’m seeing a guy now who’s 48. And But I would just do it. Like, Hurry up, come on, are you done yet? he’s married. He’s in “The Lifestyle.” It’s a completely open relationship with his wife. And she has a friend who she sleeps with. I have a hard time wrapping my head around it all. How does this work? What if somebody’s feelings get deeper than they should be? I met a couple that wanted me to join them. Okay, whatever turns you guys on. It’s weird to me, but okay. I’ve almost always waited for the man to contact me first. I have broken that rule occasionally, if somebody was really intriguing. But for the most part, I figure the guy should make the first move. I guess I’m a little old-fashioned.

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Opinion: A Child of the Sixties Looks at Sixty

four-feet-tall to ride a roller coaster, sixteen to get married, and twenty-one to vote and drink. There are child guidelines for books, movies, and video games. Clothing stores have special sections for children.

As baby boomers we’ve all gone through the same thing … or we’re about to: coming to terms with coming of age. That’s what Washington DC freelance writer Mary Ellin Lerner talks about in her story about A Child of the Sixties Looking At Sixty.

But no signs or hints for me as I enter my seventh decade. When I log onto a dating site, there is no fine print stating that dating is not dignified for people over 50. Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s don’t have middle-aged and geriatric labels on their clothes.

When I was a teenager in the late 1960s, I loved to pore over old yearbooks and marvel at the matronly appearance of girls from the 1940s and 1950s. They looked like grannies, with their white blouses, pearls, and sensible coifs. As a budding hippie, I felt outraged that these women were forced to become grownups so early in life. They never had a chance to be young and wild and free.

And there’s definitely no one to give me guidance on whether or not to take advantage of the myriad offerings in plastic surgery and non-invasive skin enhancements to restore my appearance from oldish to youngish. Looks like I am going to have to figure out how to be 60 on my own — with a little help from my Boomer friends who are thriving in maturity.

Baby Boomers are known for our optimism and courage. We Like many children of the sixties, I believe that change for the better is always possible, whether it is improving our bodies, our souls, or the society in which we live. believed that I should not trust Already Boomers appear to be enjoying the healthiest and liveliest anyone over 30 — and could not retirement in memory. As historic boundary crashers blessed with possibly imagine ever being over a generational tendency toward self-confidence, my fellow 30 myself, let alone 50 or 60. Old Children of the Sixties are refusing to put any limits on what they people were squares. They were on the other side of the Generation can say and do or look like in their dotage. Gap … and they looked terrible with their clothes off. As a flower child, I was determined to never I’m with them. To heck with the pearls and coif. I’m gonna dance to age. the beat of my own weathered drum. I trusted my fellow Boomers in the sixties and I trust them now. All my free-spirited Baby Boomer life, I have avoided and denied my impending senior citizenship by convincing myself that I was young or at least youngish. Now I am undeniably oldish — and beset with a painful identity crisis: how can I be me at 60? What should I wear? What should I eat? Can I date? Can I apply for jobs? Can I still drive around with my windows down and my music cranked up? Should I cut my hair? Do I need to find senior activities? What are senior activities? Society offers plenty of age-related guidelines for kids. You have to be

26 Today’s BoomeR


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Todays Boomer Vol.6 No.2 May/June 2017  

As summer kicks in, so does the release of structure and schedule. A time where long days can be appreciated into longer nights, while forge...

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