Category Archives: Retirement planning for women

Menopause Cure

For ages women have been told that menopause is normal and to just accept it. If you are asking me to “just accept” hot flashes, insomnia, getting fat, depression, and loss of my sex drive, that sounds crazy and I’ll never be passive about it. That advice sounds so archaic and dark ages now.

The Menopause Cure(1) takes individualized and restorative medicine to a new level.  There is nothing new about replacement therapies for age related deficiencies. The key question is it effectiveness and toxicity. They distinguish between bioidentical verses synthetic hormones.

Since 1942,  women have been given Premarin which is horse estrogen taken from their urine. The problem with this and other synthetic hormones is they leave toxic byproducts in your body. Bioidentical means that natural hormones are identified and matched with your individual hormone profile. A one size fits all model doesn’t work since all blood profiles are unique.

In an interview(2), the author discusses how skin related changes occur in menopause. Loss of estrogen makes the skin more wrinkled and thiner with easier bruising and slower healing.

Weight gain is another unwanted side effect of menopause. If your insulin is high with low estrogens and poor thyroid performance, you won’t be able to lose weight.  The body will not metabolize food correctly so that fat is burned as energy.

When your libido or sex drive falls, it can effect  your relationship or your motivation to find one.  Many retired folks live in isolation and depression as a result. The social and psychological effects can be long lasting and detrimental . For this to be re-balanced, supplements would include progesterone, testosterone as well as  estrogens.

In conclusion, the final point the author makes is that most chronic and age related illnesses are correlated with hormonal imbalances. It is thought that the aging process can be slowed when optimal levels of hormones, vitamins and minerals are restored. The process involves blood analysis to determine what your individual needs are.  So, rather than suffer symptoms, lets go get restored!

By Lee Johnson of creativeretirementforwomen.com

(1)Davey, J., Dugan, S. “The Menopause Cure” Leicester, UK, Troubadour Publishing Ltd, 2015                                                                                                                                    (2) Mathena, L. “The Menopause Cure, Hormonal Health” Life Extension Mag, Vol 22, No. 7, July 2016

Wings of Retirement (poem)

Wings of Retirement

Starting on the path of novelty

Contemplating new means for new ends

The style of unforeseen and unexpected is now

As you question your questions

As you doubt your doubts

You realize you are not who you thought you were

A lonely sense of freedom

An exciting sense of bewilderment

Celebration is worn like a scarf in the wind

Obscuring the past for the future

Amnesia affords a new integrity

Beckons now the artistic and creativity

Flying over green pastures of flourishing hope

You swoop into themes of intent

Collected from the dark corners of the id

Wisdom and character awaken

Imagination soon sprouts wings

Dawn of design begins

Conductor of your symphony

Dance of future score

Ballet of dreams forever more

©Lee Johnson

TIPS TO KEEP NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS

The American Psychiatric Association (APA) offers the following tips to help families and individuals keep their resolutions for a healthy mind and life.

1. Don’t make too many resolutions. Pick a realistic, attainable goal with a reasonable time frame. A couple of small goals works best.

2. Choose your own resolution. Make sure your goal is something that “you” want to accomplish for yourself and not just for friends or family. Always lose weight for yourself, not others.

3. Make a plan and write it down. Plan what you’d like to accomplish in a certain period of time, like three months. Achieving goals over time gives you a sense of accomplishment and motivation to keep going. Writing your goals down is a good way to keep track of your progress.

4. Involve friends and family. They can support your efforts and can motivate you to keep going. Group activities are just more fun.

5. If you get off track, forgive yourself. Review your plan and make adjustments–but, never give up.

6. Congratulate and reward yourself when your intermediate goals or resolutions are met routinely. Keep in mind it’s a lifestyle change that is intended to be self reinforcing.

Since, I am research driven, I make resolutions a routine part of my day. That is, if I run across convincing studies, I’ll make a resolution to follow that advice starting that day. Of course, you must be open to improving and changing yourself. This means that you’ll feel insecure at first until you adjust. But, adjustments are the nature of change and personal evolution–we can’t grow without it. So, lets embrace changing ourselves for the better. Carpe Diem                              Lee Johnson, www.creativeretirementforwomen.com

Therapist Offers Free Consultation

I am happy to offer free retirement consultation because it is a major life adjustment. Your first lifestyle change is away from work and can take two to three years to get used to. Your second adjustment is ongoing as our bodies continual change with age. The normal aging process changes our eyesight, hearing, taste, physical strength and endurance, hormones, libido, memory, digestion and other system in our bodies. So, expect to go through gradual changes as you age that may require small adjustments.

If you are making a transition from full-time employment to full-time retirement, give yourself time to find your balance. That change is similar to going from 65 mph to 0. Those without a social plan will find it more difficult and longer to adjust. Those without a plan also feel more lost and confused without any direction. This can led to anxiety and depression. So, step one is to write out a detailed social and personal activity plan with as many options as you can think of.

Some people get stuck on this first step because it’s a new exercise and I ask that you do a life review first. Life review is where you look back over your life for all your past interests and life themes(family, artistic, academic, service oriented, etc.). You will look inside yourself to find creative ways to express your personality and your passions. So, a little serious planning at the beginning creates a solid foundation to build upon.

In the process of planning, many doubts and questions naturally arise. That’s when talking to a consultant with over 30 years of therapy experience helps. I’m also in my 7th year of retirement. If dying is on your mind, I’ve worked in hospice and have done bereavement counseling. If you have financial questions, I’ve been a registered rep or stockbroker for 5 years. I was also a life insurance agent and successful real estate investor. If diet and health is an issue, I was an instructor in a weight reduction program. I can enjoy providing free consultation because I get social security and I love working with people–its part of my creative retirement plan to fulfill my passions.

When you purchase the book Creative Retirement for Women, you get automatic access to this program for as long as needed.  You can view some of the questions and answers on the website,  http://www.creativeretirementforwomen.com.  I don’t know of anybody else offering this service. So, let me extend a personal invitation to you because its more than just a book, it’s a supportive relationship for the long term. I hope to speak with you soon.           L. Johnson

Retiring as a Single Woman

Retiring as a single woman is much less daunting than in prior generations. Part of the reason is that it’s now widespread and socially acceptable. Various studies report that between 40 and 50 percent of women will be single in retirement. Not all of these will be by choice, but it’s still a fact of life. This article will address those women who are considering a single lifestyle and if it’s suitable for their personality.

Most women desire independence, but don’t want to be disconnected from people. This balance is easier to achieve when your social network of friends and family is well developed and local. I believe that it’s not only culturally acceptable to retire single, but it can be more rewarding. This is because single women often have a much broader social network than men and many married women. A recently divorced woman in her 50s told me that her husband was so unfriendly to her friends, they stopped visiting. Her network gradually disappeared and stayed that way for many years. After her divorce, her social recovery involved many more friends and she has social engagements any night of the week. She is more socially connected now than when married.

When a man is not in your life, you’re freer to do what you enjoy and what benefits you the most. Some of you may think that means doing more things alone. But, there is nothing wrong with doing things alone while you always have your social network to fall back on. So, part of retiring alone is that you must be the first one to accept and want it. If this is a calculated decision based on proper planning, you’ll feel more confident and energized to embrace it.

The chances are that as your network develops, you will be doing less and less alone. Our goal is to always stay connected to the friends and family of our choice. A boyfriend can be part of this network whether its casual or more serious. I’m not suggesting celibacy unless that is your conscience decision. I’m suggesting an independent life that you control and decide when to bond or not bond with the opposite gender. There is no pressure to preform or follow the expectations of others unless you choose to do so. If you are dating or in a relationship, you can explain your independence to your partner as a form of freedom afforded to you both.

Single women I know that are successful at networking, claim they are happy not dating and don’t feel they miss anything. So, I can personally verify that happy and successful adjustments can be made. That being said, being single is not for everyone. Whether you are an introvert(internally focused) or extrovert may matter. Since these types may be genetic and hard wired into your brain, you might want to see where you fit. Most of us know which type we are. If you are an introvert, you enjoy spending time alone and tend not to miss people. So, this lifestyle may be more suitable for the introvert who enjoys more solitude.

If you are thinking about taking the single path in retirement, look into you past first. How happy have you been on your own? Do you tend to get lonely when not around people? Does a lot of social contact exhaust you? It’s just about understand your social needs. If you have a history of doing well with solitude and don’t miss social contact, this might be for you. If so, the better developed your retirement plan is, the more enjoyment you’ll get out of it.

In conclusion, retiring single is completely acceptable and a viable option for women. A well developed social network provides the mental stimulation and emotional support needed. Having a boyfriend is just part of the network. Being introverted makes this lifestyle easier to adapt to. Women I know who make this adjustment, feel they have a happy and complete life.

I’ve always felt that the best retirement is based on your personality type. What society or past generations did has nothing to do with you because they don’t have your unique character. So, embracing independence in retirement is a personal decision based on prior success with independent living and your social predisposition.       L. Johnson    

More: http://www.creativeretirementforwomen.com

Common Worries of Women

The common worries of women may be a result of uncertainty, but that doesn’t mean you’re stuck there.  Once you’re aware of the cause of your particular worry, you’re on the path to resolve it. Here are the 7 most common worries(1)and what to do about it.

1. Will I end up alone? The article believes this most common of worries is senseless because we all have friends. Yes, but friends come and go and many women are referring to a partner. Anything you worry about is not senseless to you. Solution: social networking forever.

2. Do I look good? Appearance is always important no matter what stage of life. As we age, it may take a little more effort and we may have to adjust our standard. Solution: Take time to care and love yourself. The goal is not to look young, but to look healthy and fit regardless of age.

3. Will I succeed(in life)? We all have self-doubt at times and I find that some worry is motivational in this area. In the working world, our feeling of success must come from within as with many things. Solution: Don’t compare yourself to others. Set your own goals and focus on internal rewards not external symbols of success. Build your confidence with many small successes.

4. Does he like me? The article claims that if you are not worried about this, then something is wrong with you. I don’t agree that worry is the correct state of mind. This also stems from uncertainty that can be directly addressed. Solution: I believe this starts with liking and loving yourself. Relationships are complex by their nature and ongoing concern is natural. When you address the issues openly in your relationship, worry is replaced with awareness and understanding.

5. Can I afford it? We ask ourselves this most of our lives, even if you have money. That’s because it’s an inescapable reality. You will ask yourself this more often when retired or when on a fixed income. Solution: Learn more about money and investing by taking classes, joining an investment club, reading business sites, and talking to advisors. Be sure you have an eye toward advancement in your career.

6. How much longer(do I tolerate this)? This refers to being unhappy in your current situation. We all feel in a rut at times, but if you’re really unhappy, you probably need to change something. Solution: If it’s a relationship, you open up the problem solving discussion or consider counseling. If its life in general, then you want to re-write you life goals. There is nothing wrong with changing direction in midlife. Follow your passions and what’s right for you.

7. Am I healthy enough? Questioning our health is always a good idea. We tend to ask ourselves this more as we age. We all know that the difficult part is making healthy changes that stick. Solution: Our goal is not to just be on a diet, but to develop a healthy lifestyle that becomes part of our routine. Two other posts address this: How to Eat Less: http://blog.creativeretirementforwomen.com/eat-less/ and Exercises for Women over 50 http://blog.creativeretirementforwomen.com/exercises-for-women-over-50/

In conclusion, I’ll quote Abraham Lincoln “Most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be.” I do believe that happiness is a mind set, a frame of reference. So, lets set our mind today to smile when we have a worry and laugh when we make a mistake. Maybe we can’t change the past, but we can certainly feel better about it. Carpe Diem.   L. Johnson  of  www.creativeretirementforwomen.com

(1) Riordan, H.(no date) “7 Common Things Women Worry About.” allwomenstalk. Retrieved on 6-03-2015 from: http://lifestyle.allwomenstalk.com/common-things-women-worry-about

HOW TO SPEND LESS

How would you like to automatically spend less and protect your identity just by using cash in place of plastic cards. Two things most of us are concerned about especially during this new age of hacking. Many of us enjoy some level of fraud protection when using credit cards. If our card number is stolen, we can file a complaint and not be responsible for the charge. This wonderful benefit is why I use credit cards.

However, I met a vendor on vacation recently who told me he got rid of his cards forever. When I asked why, he said that his identity was stolen in the Target hack a few months ago. He claimed he never wanted to go through that again, so he only uses cash now. Beside identity safety, the very use of cash changes how we view our spending. The purpose of a card is obviously for ease of use. But, it has become so easy, it is a distraction to our perception of spending. Since we do not deliberate over our spending, we do not experience the “pain of payment” according to some studies. When we perceive this pain, we spend less.

We also value our purchase differently depending on how we buy it. “Across four experiments(1), we demonstrate that consumers perceive and evaluate the same products differently when primed with credit cards as opposed to cash. Specifically, when credit concepts are activated, people attend more to benefit aspects of a product whereas when cash concepts are activated, people attend more to cost aspects of the product being considered (i.e., the costs associated with product acquisition and use).” In other words, using cards takes our attention off the price and onto the product. Using cash reverses this perception.

Besides spending less and protecting your identity, I’ve noticed that using cash lowers the price of retail items. I bought some art from the above vendor who has a retail price of $60, but only $50 for cash without tax. I did not have the cash at that time and ended up paying $65 with tax. That is a 15% premium I could have saved. I recently had surgery, but since I don’t have health insurance, the cash price they gave me was 50% of the normal price. Remember, vendors have processing fees with cards that eat into their profit. So, they prefer cash too.

The above article also mentions a study that found using cards can be bad for our health. Using credit cards deludes us into making over-indulgent purchases that are not good for us. Weather it is eating or drinking to much, it appears that most purchases with cards can cost us in more than one way. So, lets trick ourselves into saving money starting right now.

In conclusion, using the simple method of cash payment:

1. Helps us spend less

2. Helps protect our identity

3. Helps get a better retail price

4. May even be better for our health

From: L. Johnson    www.creativeretirementforwomen.com

(1)Chatterjee, P., Rose, R. “Do Payment Mechanisms Change the Way Consumers Perceive Products?” 11-13-2011. Chicago Journals, Univ. of Chicago Press. Retrieved on 6-23-2015 from: http://www.jcr-admin.org/files/pressPDFs/111411131134_chatterjee–article.pdf

LIFE EXTENSION and DIET

When we talk about life extension, we mean extending your natural biological life to its maximum. We can influence this outcome by the number of healthy behaviors we choose to adapt. Most of us are motivated to improve our quality of life and increase our longevity. We just want these changes to be easy and to flow with our lifestyle.

Life Extension Magazine and Foundation is a good place to start. Its focus is on health research and dietary supplements designed to augment health and long living. In their April 2015 issue(1), they summarize a study reported in the British Medical Journal(2), “Mediterranean Diet Associated With Longer Telomeres.” Telomeres are the caps at the end of your chromosomes that are correlated with the cell’s age and your age as well. If you’re not yet familiar with the Mediterranean Diet, see ‪http://blog.creativeretirementforwomen.com/mediterranean-diet/‬.

The British study began in 1976 with 4,676 middle aged subjects that relied on continual blood samples for measurement. The findings not only showed that this diet can increase your telomeres, but “the strongest association was observed among women.” Although, it is not disclosed why women benefit more, this diet should be a key ingredient of any women’s healthy lifestyle.

The magazine opens with a commentary by Dr. William Faloon who highlights the current health issue of the month. I love his passionate, honest and forthright approach especially as he takes on the FDA for dragging its feet on approving new medications. He is clearly an outspoken advocate for the health and rights of the average person.

General studies on longevity are evaluated as are studies that target specific conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, cancer or aging skin. I have subscribed to the magazine for many years because I appreciate their scientific approach and their ultimate goal of life extension. As a result, recommendations made after a convincing study have caused me to improve my diet or change my behavior.

In conclusion, the easiest way to get started on your life extension is to read good studies. As you evaluate each study for yourself, you can apply what makes the most sense to you. What higher level of excitement is there than to have the ability and control to extend your own life.        L. Johnson.                                                     More: www.creativeretirementforwomen.com
(1) Life Extension Magazine, April 2015 issue, p19.
(2) BMJ.2014;349;g6674
Disclosure: I do not work for or receive any compensation from Life Extension.

How to Live Longer

This one eye popping chart is worth a thousands insights and might just change your social attitude. How to live longer involves so many complex variables that it makes us thirsty for simplicity. I am a big believer in the value of social networks for their support and sustainability in all stages of life. If your are single in retirement, I have mentioned that a solid social network of reliable and caring people can give you quality of life and happiness in your final years, even without a romantic relationship.

But, I also mention that having a partner in later life is vitally important since it often becomes our primary social and emotional support. Partnership stimulates our life involvement and longevity. So, can we have it both ways? Let’s take a look at the chart above.

If the colors are hard to see in the chart(1), the first bar is women, second is men, and the third is one person in a couple.  It’s clear that longevity follows a pattern. Single men go first, then single women, while being a couple is the best longevity. Does this mean we should rush out and get involved even if we are comfortable being single? Not necessarily, because what this chart does not tell us is that the quality of any relationship is the key.

The depth of emotional involvement in your relationship tends to determine your benefit. So, if you already have a supportive network of involved friends, you don’t want to change that. Likewise, if you have a supportive romantic relationship, of course, you don’t want to change that. But, what the chart does not tell us is how many of the couples had both. I believe it’s this combined effect of both your network and a romantic relationship that is the greatest longevity benefit. So, what can we do to live longer:

1.  Maintain a supportive and caring social network of friends
2.  Keep positive relationships with family as much as possible
3.  Be open to a romantic relationship if you are single
4.  Expand your network if you are a couple
5.  Always make your health a top priority

We know this is not the only way to increase your longevity, but the chart convinces us of its importance. Future studies will help us prioritize those factors that are most important for extending life. But, in the end, it’s no surprise that people live for other people.             L.J.

(1)Eric McWhinnie, (3-15-2015) Reatirement Reality: 7 ChartsYou Need to see. Retrieved on 3-20-2015 from: http://www.cheatsheet.com/personal-finance/retirement-reality-5-charts-you-need-to-see.html/2/(originally from J.P. Morgan)

Dating in Retirement

DATING IN RETIREMENT (Part 1)

Our need to emotionally bond does not change with aging as some have suggested. We will evaluate for different character traits when dating in retirement. But, the course of romance remains the same. I have talked to many women who, for various reasons, have given up on trying to find another mate. Some women don’t feel attractive or interested in men anymore, and some say they don’t want the trouble of a man. I can understand these reasons very well.

My sister is 58 years old and has been divorced for about 12 years now. But, she won’t date. She finally told me she just lost interest in sex. I know she wants companionship as she has a male friend whom she see every weekend. So, the need to bond with the opposite gender remains healthy and intact. She was a little surprised when I mention that males loose testosterone as their sex drive diminishes too. But, that still didn’t get her to date as she said, “Who wants to date an old lady like me?”

Maintaining a positive self image is important at any stage in life. As our bodies change, its common for both genders to be concerned about our self-confidence. But, we have all been rejected numerous times in life and we survived it. Remember not to let a prior difficult relationship cloud your judgment about moving forward to a better one. It’s probably the men who are more prone to being rejected since they initiate contact and ask for a date.

I checked with my female consultants who confirmed a few suggestions regarding confidence. The first is to always look your best. Men are very visual beings, as we all know, and they often go with first impressions. That means they take your entire appearance into consideration. Since looking attractive is important, dying your hair and wearing stylish attire are efforts you can easily make according to my group.

The second suggestion is to look available and, if you’re comfortable with the idea, even sexy. Many of us have lost our connection to intimacy. But, it’s time to reconnect. If you think you can’t look attractive over 60 years old, have you seen photos of Connie Stevens, Jane Fonda, Meryl Streep, Tina Turner, Gladys Knight, Glenn Close, Goldie Hawn or Martha Stewart lately? Just being healthy is attractive at any age.

The third suggestion we all agreed upon is to try online dating. If your social circle is smaller in retirement, you need to be a bit more creative. Online dating narrows the field to people who are interested in a relationship and you don’t have to leave the house. It gives you the opportunity to browse the profiles of others anonymously. In this scenario, there is certainly no risk to you as you evaluate the possibilities in the safety of your home. I seen some reports that say up to 25% of new relationships are found online.

The fourth recommendation is the importance of displaying a positive attitude. No matter what happened in the past, we will make the future brighter. I personally like to use positive affirmations and imagery. Before I meet somebody for any reason, I close my eyes and visualize how the meeting will go. If it’s business, I envision a successful agreement. If it’s personal, I expect a successful connection. It’s amazing how behavior follows mental imagery. I started using guided imagery after reading Creative Visualization by Shakti Gawain.

If there is still resistance to dating at our age, I sometimes ask the question, “Do you want to grow old and die alone?” It’s a blunt somewhat rhetorical question meant to be provocative. But, it gets people thinking more practically about the future of their social health. I would say that having a partner in retirement is more important than in midlife, since this relationship becomes the primary social support for many. Most of us will have medical procedures that require some help during recovery. Imagine if you became disabled for some reason, what would that be like without a partner who loves you?

In the next installment of Dating in Retirement, I’ll address the impact of reduced libido and the different character traits we now look for in a partner. L.J.

More at:      www.creativeretirementforwomen.com

Photo by Ambro. Published on 11 May 2011
Stock Photo – Image ID: 10041092