Tag Archives: baby boomer

Cutting the Cable in Retirement

You know what they say about people who still have land-based wired telephone lines?  Everyone under the age of 35 has never had one, and everyone over the age of 55 is afraid to get rid of theirs.  We got rid of our land line, and within two weeks, we didn’t really miss it.

Now we’ve moved on to the television.  We’ve been on a satellite-based TV service for over a decade.  Every two years, as the TV contract became void, the satellite company would raise the rates, and we’d do the “dish dance” from one provider to the other in an attempt to get lower rates.  Why these companies don’t have better policies in place for customer retention is beyond me.

But being the ever so curious type, and wanting to stay young like the Millennials, I started doing research about streaming devices.

We carefully evaluated what we liked about the satellite providers, made a list, and then I set about determining how to meet our needs.

What We Wanted

  • We like being able to record shows to watch later – Hulu Plus allows us to record up to 50 hours of programming.
  • We like being able to pause and rewind live TV – I know, we’ve gotten spoiled by being able to say, “Back up!  What did he just say?” Hulu Plus, through it’s live recording also allows you to pause.  (In some cases you can’t skip forward through commercials.)
  • We like being able to start watching in one room, and continue in another –Because all of the streaming services are account based, you can pretty much do this with any streaming provider.
  • We wanted to be able to watch network TV, along with some of our favorite channels.  This took some research, as different providers carry different programming.  Interestingly, Hulu Plus and several others carry both ABC and NBC, but CBS doesn’t seem to want to play nice.  I needed to subscribe to CBS All Access in order to get all three major networks.
  • We wanted to slash the price we were paying for monthly TV – Here is where you need to be careful.  We already had Amazon Prime for shopping, and I already subscribed to Netflix because of some shows I routinely watch.  I added Hulu Plus and CBS All Access.  We now have way more TV options than we can possibly watch.  But here’s the warning.  It would be extremely easy to keep adding on extras (HBO, SHOWTIME, STARZ) and end up paying just as much as you did before.

What We Chose

After studying up, I chose to order an Amazon Fire TV Stick for each of our TVs.  (About $40.00 each) While they do present programming options with Amazon content forward, the device was absolutely simple to install and get started.  I went with Amazon because we were already Amazon Prime members, and so it made sense to access video content as well.  The Roku Express Streaming Stick would be another outstanding option, just as easy to get started.

What We’ve Learned

Well, here’s the first rule:

Thou shalt NOT leave the TV on for the dog, (upon leaving the house)
when one is STREAMING their live TV!
(She now listens to radio!)

  • That was just a little bit dumb, and we got a nasty gram from the cable provider that we had blown through our data package during that first month.  The good news is it hasn’t happened again.
  • We lost our on-air TV guide.  We were used to flipping down the guide to see what was on tv.  It was easily replaced by the free TV Guide app which we downloaded to our phones and tablet.
  • We needed to learn to access our TV programming in a different way.  You kind of need to learn what content is available on which app (Hulu, Netflix, Amazon, CBS, etc.)  Then you navigate with a simple remote through the apps to find your shows.
  • Many of the providers allow you to set up separate profiles, so hub’s stuff is all together, and mine is in a separate place.  It’s kind of nice.
  • I got the Fire Sticks with the built in Alexa function, but to be honest, we haven’t really used it as much as I thought we would.  It is a pretty cool feature if you are looking for something specific.  Alexa, find James Bond movies…
  • You NEED to know your wi-fi log in password, and the login information of any other accounts you might already have. (Amazon, Netflix, Hulu, etc.)
  • Because all of our TV is now account-based, we can log in and watch TV on any account, from any device, from anywhere we have wi-fi connectivity.  We can even take the Fire TV stick with us and plug it in to any other TV if we choose.  (We’ll probably do that in a motor home.)

I think the most important thing for us is that we now choose to watch television much more intentionally!  No more just leaving the TV on to make background noise.  No more falling asleep in front of the television.  We specifically choose what we want to watch, do so…and then turn the thing off!

The good news is this…You CAN Teach an Old (erm….seasoned) Dog some new tricks.  BTW, we have cut the cost of our monthly TV bill IN HALF!  I’m curious how many other retirees have changed their lifelong TV watching habits!

Lynn

 

Retired Spring Break is Better

A couple of years ago, I read a very endearing blog post written by Lauren over at The Stuff of Life Blog.  It seems that Lauren found herself traveling with her son to Miami for spring break!

First off, she gets some seeerioouuusss cool mom points, especially since she footed the bill.  And secondly, she got me thinking about why I was glad not to be my former, younger, wild thing self of (eh-hem…) just a few short years ago.

These days, the Encore Voyage definitely does not include spring break antics.  Here are a few reasons:

1. We don’t need to escape – Our daily life is pretty damn sweet!  Back in the day, we would count the days until we could ditch college and get some relief somewhere…anywhere!  Now, there’s just not that much to run from.

2. Sleeping in is no longer our priority – God knows I never thought anyone would hear me say this…I have become a lark.  This from a perpetual night owl!  I worked my way through college as a bartender – staying up half the night was part of the routine.  Spring break was when we dreamed of sleeping until noon.  But now – wait for it – I love the sunrise!  I believe this is because we are no longer exhausted as we were during our working careers.  Weird, I know, but true!

3. We don’t need to use spring break to catch up (on studies or other chores) – Remember when you would use spring break to start reading that 50,000 pages that you had put off reading?  Or would count on having the time finally to start that term paper? For us, those things that need to be done have either already been done, or they’ll keep until tomorrow…or next week.

4. The party of a few hundred thousand can go on without us – Spring break evokes pictures of beaches full of wall to wall young sweaty bodies.  Not my idea of a good time anymore.  Does it say something about us that on our recent cruise, there were few people younger than about 25?  And that we planned it that way?  I don’t think we’re old fuddy-duddies, but we sure as heck plan our springtime travels for the times when the little revelers will be safely back in their academic constraints!

5. We know our limits –  Ahhhh, that dancin’, loud music, beach filled, booze fest attended by thousands of our new best friends.  Back then we could hardly wait.  Older – wiser – I can’t remember the last time I puked on my shoes!  Perhaps it’s because we can now afford better cocktails and good wines?  Or maybe we just grew up enough to know that needing to shave your tongue or hold your eyelids open with toothpicks is not a great feeling…

6. THEY come to US – I don’t know about the rest of you, but when I was in college, I couldn’t wait to go HOME for spring break.  Most years I was out the door and headed for good old mom and dad’s!  Laundry in tow and expecting a paid for, home cooked meal was about the best thing ever.  We don’t have kids, but my friends tell me that one of the perks of retirement is getting to spend time with children and grandchildren on their spring breaks – On your own terms!

7. No more bikinis! – Lauren truthfully points out that it is difficult to walk around all day with your stomach tucked in, but that if she had to, she could – She just doesn’t need to anymore!!! I couldn’t have said it better myself!

So how about it, fellow Voyagers?  Got any other reasons why retired spring break is better for you?  I’d love to hear!

Lynn

If We’d Only Known Then…

Last night we were at dinner at a local chain restaurant and overheard (um…eavesdropped upon) some young people discussing their desires for the future, and about how it would be so difficult to obtain those desires.

We’ve been journeying on the Encore Voyage for over six years now, and so many times have found ourselves saying

“If only we’d have known then what we know now!”

Not that we’ve got this retirement gig completely figured out, but there are so many things we’ve learned since we retired that would have made our pre-retirement lives so much richer!  Here are my top ten:

  1. Practice mindfulness – We both rushed through 30+ year careers, and while we’ve had a lot of fun times, I wish now that I’d paid more attention. I wish I’d have spent more time breathing deeply and relishing those special moments.  We never get them again.
  2. Become an Automatic Millionaire – This book, by David Bach, is a game changer. The takeaway is simple.  Use an automatic, direct deposit of some amount of money to an investment account WITH EVERY PAYCHECK.  Pay yourself first.  Use the power of compound interest to make you wealthy.  For those who believe they don’t make enough money to save – baloney.  You will never miss it, and believe me, you’ll just buy one or two fewer beverages at Starbucks.
  3. Pay attention to how much junk you’re accumulating – We have neighbors whose garages are stuffed full! My brother-in-law spent half a year going through a deceased parent’s lifetime accumulations!  All those things you are buying or saving now may end up in boxes in the future.  Do you really need them?
  4. Life is about collecting experiences, not stuff – See number 3 above, then mentally calculate the monetary value of the “stuff” you’ve accumulated. Now translate that value into how many plane tickets you could have bought! How many hours of your life did it take you to earn that “thing?” What experiences could you have had, given that same amount of cash?
  5. Take care of your relationships – It is the people in your life who make you whole – Not the work you do, the house you live in or the car you drive. At the end of the day, the people are the ONLY ones who will matter.
  6. Learn to say NO – During my working career I filled every minute of every day. I wish now that I had understood the value of not being so busy.  I wish I had learned to spend my time on what is important, rather than on what was urgent.
  7. Quit responding to negativity – It has taken me many years to learn to turn off the news; to stop allowing negative media, social or otherwise, to infiltrate my life; to stop listening to the negative blather of people judging others. It may seem a bit Pollyanna, but the same is true on a more personal level.  Do you engage only with people who lift you up, or do you spend time with those who bring you down.  Are you a positive influence in the lives of others?  The less you engage in negativity, the more peaceful your life becomes.
  8. Pay attention to your passions – What are the activities you truly love? Are there things you always wish you could do; things you’ve always wanted to try? What gives you a warm glow inside? It’s good to know what will bring you joy when that time comes when career is no longer the priority.
  9. You are responsible for your own happiness. Miserable people focus on the things they hate about their lives. Happy people focus on the things they love about their lives. The choice is a conscious one.  The power of gratitude is very real. I have realized now as I look back that I spent a great deal of time worrying about things that didn’t really matter.
  10. Character counts – Tell one lie and all your truths become questionable.  Do something that is ethically or morally questionable and people will forever question your motives.  At the end of the day, your character truly is your honor.  Take care of it and it will serve you well into your retirement years.

This is a short list of ideas we wish we had known.  I’m sure my fellow Voyagers could add plenty more.  I’ll be interested to hear.

Lynn

Retirement Learning – I Can Take Off Your Head!

The other day my girlfriend called me with a special request.  “Don’t you have that program where you can put someone else’s head into a picture?” she asked.  Ummmm…yeah, I have Photoshop, but that doesn’t necessarily mean I know how to USE IT!

She wanted to include some friends, who had been absent from an event, into a group Christmas photo – a tongue in cheek joke that said, “We’re thinking of you, and we missed you.”

Well on the Encore Voyage I have learned a couple of very, very important rules…

I can figure out ANYTHING with YouTube

and

Google is my friend

With digital photographs in hand, along with a couple of YouTube tutorials, I was off and running on a search and destroy mission to learn some new skills.  And before you know it, our friends, Donna, Sandra, and Deb, were poking their absent little heads right outta that Christmas Tree!

I can move your head

Because I didn’t want to post a picture of all those folks without their permission, I thought I’d show you that I really can remove your head from your body!  Fun, huh?!

I am certain that a professional photographer would have done it differently, and would have done a much better job.  But for me the exercise had several benefits:

  • It barely scratched the surface of the things I could learn about Photoshop, and it piqued my interest to do so (along with a desire to get much better at it!)
  • It made me want to take and edit better photos (that, and looking at Terri Webster Schrandt’s pictures!)
  • It reminded me that there are so many other fascinating things to learn about, which require only some time and focus – all of the information in the world is available at my fingertips.  Web design, desktop publishing, even playing my saxophone – Yep, I can learn all of those things, too.

This Photoshop exercise made me realize that retirement doesn’t mean that a person stops learning and exploring new things.  In fact, I would never have had the time to play around like this during my pre-Voyage career!  So how about it – What new skills are you learning to make your Voyage an adventure?

Lynn

Encore Quotes – Inner Peace

Happy Friday, everyone!  I hope you take a moment to recognize that you get to choose how to react to all the chaos that surrounds us.  Don’t let yourselves become needlessly outraged.  Take a deep breath. Recognize all the good, and have a wonderful weekend!

Lynn

Encore Quotes – Travel Makes You Richer

Happy Friday, fellow Voyagers!  A couple of years ago we decided not to build a big fancy-schmancy new home, and instead, opted to sell our property so that we might pursue a wider range of experiences on the Voyage.  Best. Decision. Ever!!!  So this Friday finds me exploring and taking in all the funky sites, soaking up the flavor of this fine city.  Life truly is about collecting experiences…Not Stuff!  And so, as I sit here under the Public Market sign, drinking a Pumpkin Spiced Chai (cliche, I know…but so delicious!) I’m wishing you all a weekend full of rich exploration!

Lynn

Encore Quotes – Who Will You Become?

And retirement is just the beginning of a new and exciting voyage!  Are you becoming the person you have always wanted to be?  Are you chasing your dreams?  Do you continue to have Big Goals?  I hope so!  Have a wonderful weekend, fellow voyagers!

Lynn