About Us and Aging with Freedom
Aging with Freedom ™ is a personal journey in successful retirement by a couple of trailing edge Baby Boomers (1958 and 1961). The modern Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Retirement System requires proactive planning and choices. We help you achieve High Wealth, High Health, High Purpose through smart questions and informed choice.
Dan is 59 and Lori 57. We started out looking at where and how we wanted to live in retirement, informed by our experiences as caregivers for our Greatest Generation parents. Caregiving taught some things to do and some not to do. It requires thinking about the money, our health, and how we live. Not just where we live.
We come to the challenge with professional experience in public policy, entrepreneurship, finance, real estate, and senior living design and construction. But we’re driven more by our own curiosity and hunger for the best.
Hunting for the best advice, insight, and choices in preparing for, and living in, retirement? So are we. Together we can find the best and avoid the rest. You can share your challenge and what works for you. We’ll do the same. This is a team effort.
We started out looking at Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs), also known as Life Plan Communities, or Lifecare Communities. We still have a lot about these “where” to live questions and what makes for successful communities in design, programming, and benefits. What we discovered is that successful communities have a lot of intangibles with lessons for how to live regardless of where you live.
We’re still reviewing CCRCs and other senior living communities and options.
We blogged for almost three years under the CCRC LifeCast name. Learned a lot. We have a new name, Aging with Freedom. And a new simplified mission statement for ourselves and our readers.
Aging with Freedom seeks High Wealth, High Health, High Purpose.
We adopted our original tagline as our new blog name, domain name, and brand. Aging with Freedom better conveys the transformation we want for ourselves and offer our readers.
And we have a new tagline. High Wealth, High Health, High Purpose. That’s our motto. Our trifecta.
High Wealth – for us, high wealth is not necessarily an absolute number but resources (wealth and income) greater than our cost-of-living sufficient to empower the freedom of choice. We recognize the ability to influence both sides of the equation Resources > Expenses. You’ll follow as we strike our balance. We’ll interview others finding success in the positive power of choice. And we’ll track major trends in government policy and the economy because that’s our playing field. We all need to know the rules and plays open to us.
One of our favorite book reviews covers how to know how much money is enough. If you can, be ready to retire at 62
One of our best retirement financial tips is how not to be surprised by expenses that spring up at unexpected times. Sinking Fund Magic — Retirement Income Budgeting
High Health – because wealth alone isn’t enough, we also care about extending our own health and wellness to enable living a full life of choices, learning, service, and adventure. We are not experts in nutrition or exercise, but it turns out health and longevity are strongly influenced by that same freedom of choice. We’ll try to be smart about our choices. And share what we learn. What works for us and others. And what doesn’t. It’s not like we’ve always been health nuts or exercise fanatics. We were mediocre high school athletes. Did physical work growing-up, practiced weekend warrior home improvement and gardening, but ended up with careers behind a keyboard. But starting late can still make a difference. So we’re interested in wellness for the average retiree to become extraordinary.
High Purpose – because living without purpose is unsatisfying. Leisure and rest is a necessary part of living but living, alone, without purpose, is merely surviving. Aging-in-Place is a popular concept because we often get comfortable and avoid the work of change. But aging-in-place is also a formula for ultimate isolation and meaninglessness. We’re social animals. Our involvement in community is an antidote for loneliness and depression. We think a life of purpose and service beyond self is an essential element in successful aging and defines one of the intangibles of successful communities.
So. what will you find in our blog? Some of the keywords or topics we care about:
Personal Finance and Financial Independence
We learned personal finance the hard way. By making lots of mistakes. But we’ve also discovered what works for us and a lot of tools, mentors, and more along the way.
It turns out budgets are not for poor people. Budgets are what make you wealthy. And it’s not about backward-looking accounting (where the money went), but about looking forward and being intentional (where your money is going). You don’t have to be a numbers person to succeed at Financial Independence. But you can’t ignore wealth, income, and expenses and expect to have good choices.
We’re over the million-dollar net worth threshold, but by spending less than we earn, paying ourselves first (savings and investment). We’re also debt free. It wasn’t easy and is relatively recent.
We’re far from perfect. We’ve learned some hard lessons. We’ll share. But we have plenty of room to learn more from you. Making the money last is one of our key challenges as boomers.
Senior Living and Retirement Communities and other lifestyle choices like Aging-in-Place
We’re still looking for the best in senior living to avoid the rest. A great Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) offers a continuum of care from Independent Living, to Assisted Living and Memory Care, to full Nursing Facility. But CCRCs are on average attracting people in their mid-80s. (Remember many of us are living to over 100 now.) There are exceptions with far younger entrance ages.
But we’re also looking beyond CCRCs at other living options. We’d love to review your suggestions of the best-of-the-best.
Home is where the money is
We’re not yet 60. So, there are a lot of options on how and where to live. But housing is a key expense. And for many baby boomers, a large share of our wealth is tied-up in the real estate of our home. You can’t eat the house. So, where we live and when we move are big questions. We don’t want too much of our wealth tied up in a hard to sell dwelling.
Aging-in-Place vs. Aging with Freedom
A lot of people never plan to move. They’re betting on aging-in-place. We’ve seen that strategy has lots of eventual problems. Too many of us still think we’re Peter Pan.
We want moves to be while we have the energy to choose, manage, and direct. We want to build community connections to enjoy wherever we move. For us, that means an inclination to downsize and move earlier rather than later. We want Aging with Freedom.
Downsizing or Snowbirds?
Where are we now? We’ve lived in several cities from Des Moines to Phoenix. Now, we live in a small resort lake community in the upper Midwest near our daughter in Minneapolis and elderly parents in Iowa and Minnesota. We have a 1920s cabin that evolved through various owners, years, and additions to a 1,800 square foot house. We’ve updated with a high-efficiency furnace, tankless gas water heater, many new windows, doors, and lots of insulation, but it’s far from “done.” We like architecture, design, and renovation, so that comes through in our own stories and our reviews and interviews. Face it, we all enjoy a sense of place and belonging. Wherever we live, we want to make it ours.
Where we are now is unlikely to be the last place we live. We figure with travel, downsizing, maybe some snowbirding, we’ve got some choices yet to make. That’s why we’re so interested in what you are doing or planning.
Health, Wellness, Diet, Nutrition, Exercise, and other elements of an Active Lifestyle or Successful Aging
Yes, the lottery of DNA is a factor, but choice is a stronger influence on our health results. Dad always said it doesn’t get better sitting still. We’d like to extend our adventure by being intentional about living well.
Entrepreneurship, Life-Long Learning, Service and other forms of meaning and purpose
Third Act or Encore Entrepreneurship is a definite trend for boomers. We’re extending our economic life beyond when we retire working from a primary career or employer. Sometimes it’s a necessity. Often, it’s just satisfying. Turns out Inspiration and Motivation are as important as oxygen to happiness.
But there are many ways to find meaning and create high purpose. Travel, life-long-learning, volunteer service, and more can create those social connections essential to emotional and intellectual health and happiness.
Technology is changing our experience of aging and choices open to baby boomers
Whether it’s Artificial Intelligence, Autonomous Vehicles or Self-Driving Cars, our retirement is going to be different than our parents. We grew up in the space age. Contrary to millennials’ biases, boomers are tech savvy. We bought every new tech invention of the consumer economy. We invented PCs, smartphones, and built the Space Shuttle. TechyBoomer ® is our label for this technology hunger. We’re interested in Alternative Energy, Green Living, Sustainability, and saving the world as good conservation stewards.
Travel is another lifestyle choice baby boomers are pursuing with a passion
Sydney, Australia, the Blue Ridge Parkway, the Canadian side of the Great Lakes, Hawaii, and more are on our near-term list. This means both destinations and modes of travel. Recreational Vehicles (RVs) are booming. We’re contemplating one to take our Brittany Spaniel along for our travel and research adventures. This is part of that why and how to live equation.
Share our story. Share your stories. Let’s work on getting retirement right together. Aging with Freedom offers high wealth, high health, and high purpose. And Aging with Freedom doesn’t happen by accident. It requires doing something different than the norm. Let’s go find great examples and best practices to shamelessly copy.