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How seniors on fixed incomes can save PDF Print E-mail

It’s belt-tightening time for seniors who’ve been trying to live on the same retirement income for the past five or ten inflationary years. When I retired in 1991, I had a nice company pension, adequate Social Security and some investment savings, all together making for what I thought was a comfortable annual income to last me through my sunset years. Boy, was I wrong!

Since then, although my moderate lifestyle hasn’t changed, the purchase power of my retirement income has fallen by at least 50 percent, and still dropping. I’m sure that’s the same situation for most retirees on fixed incomes. Here are plans to cut way back on spending, and maybe suggestions on how you can make your retirement buck stretch a bit more.

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Flying moms: Make kids and other passengers more comfortable PDF Print E-mail

I haven’t had the unique pleasure of flying with babies for more than a generation. My kids are all grown up and fighting their air combat missions with their own little flight companions. However, as a frequent flyer through the years, first about once a month for business, and now as a retiree about once every other month, I’m still quite familiar with the problem.

In fact, recently I had the great displeasure of being in the middle seat of a five-across row of sardine-sized tourist seats on an overseas flight. The ordeal is bad enough when the squeezed traveler can snooze peacefully or watch movies in the discomfort of the narrow seat. However, it was my luck to share my row with a distraught mother and three busy little gremlins.

Naturally, with my grey hair and smiling (or was it grimacing?) face, two of the kids, aged three and four, decided I should be their pretend-grandfather for the nine hours from New York to London. The other child, aged about 18 months, was content to stay in his mother’s arms, except for several times when he decided to throw up in my direction.

Have I any tips on air travel with kids? Of course, I do. The first is: keep them the hell away from me. All right, flying mothers of America, I withdraw that nasty old man’s gripe. I love kids, but like annoying adults, they can make flights miserable. If you at least try to be considerate of other flyers, maybe my tips will help.

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Avoid having too many chiefs on your group trip PDF Print E-mail

Before your school, church or social club climbs aboard that tour bus or airplane for Miami, Las Vegas, Rome or Paris, get together to decide the duties of each person. Here are some suggestions that could take some of the bickering and confusion out of what should be a happy time.

1. Decide who will be the chief planner. That person is the primary leader for dealing with the travel agency, airline, bus company, hotel and others. The big chief plans the entire trip, then presents it to the group for approval. This fearless leader takes suggestions and is open for changes.

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When baby boomers know it's time to hit the road PDF Print E-mail

A baby boomer is someone who was the result of a GI coming home from World War II being greeted by a very loving wife. A true boomer is somewhere between 60 and 65 years old. Social Security can start at age 62, so most should be getting ready to quit the daily grind and happily join the ranks of the gainfully unemployed.

I retired at age 65.5, and the only regret I have is that I didn't do it sooner. The reason I stayed on so long was because I still had one child in college, and needed all the money I could gather to pay the tuition at a grossly overpriced Ivy League university.

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You really can still make use of frequent flyer miles PDF Print E-mail

Our first experience with frequent flyer miles was in the early 1990s, when we had to pay our daughter’s tuition at a very expensive Ivy League university. We had the bright idea of paying on an American Airlines credit card. This earned us enough AA frequent flyer miles for an annual trip to Europe for four years. That didn’t make the tuition any easier to pay, but it gave us a sort of satisfaction in thinking we got the flights for free.

Since then, and during the thieving oil company robbery rise in prices during recent years, airlines have been cutting back on the value of frequent flyer miles. They’re still worth accumulating, but they don’t go as far as they did ten or 20 years ago. Back then, earned airline miles were worth about two cents each. For instance, we accumulated about 50,000 miles each to pay for round-trip New York to London flights.

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