Sunday, March 22, 2009

Be fit in retirement

One benefit of escaping the 40-hour-per-week grind is having more time to attend to physical fitness. Haven't you often looked at those trim, sprightly people streaming in and out of the gym and wistfully said to yourself, "If only I had more time to work out..." Well, now that you're enjoying retirement, you do have the time!

That's the good news. The bad news is, you're feeling guilty that you are wasting these "golden years" of retirement. Those lengthy aerobic workouts and the washboard abs are not spontaneously just happening.

How do you develop a fitness program that becomes part of your daily routine, like brushing your teeth? For most folks, it means joining some kind of health club or spa, like Gold's Gym (, 24-Hour Fitness (, or Curves (

Two very popular clubs who specialize in programs for Ashland, Oregon retirees are Baxter's and the YMCA. Of course, before embarking upon a new exercise program, you should probably check with your physician or physical therapist to screen for any medical conditions that would make an exercise program contraindicated. You might also want to hire a personal trainer to help you set up your program and give your workout a structure.

One advantage of "The Y" is the great variety of programs and classes that cater to seniors. To To name a few: Best-Bones (to help guard against osteoporosis), water exercise, Tai Chi for Better Balance, and Senior Circuit as well as Low Impact Aerobics, spinning (and I don't mean something you do with wool!), and Yoga which can be wonderful for older adults.

In addition to the many benefits a regular exercise program bestows upon our physical bodies, it can also be a social outlet, and a fertile source of new friends. Retirement can mean a new type of social isolation when we no longer have our daily work contacts, so joining an exercise class can meet that need as well. Plus, it's just a lot more fun to work out with other people.

In short, find something that you can do every day, and above all - Have Fun!

Let me know your favorite technique for keeping your exercise routine fresh and fun.

Reverse Mortgages

Such challenging times for those of us who thought we were retired, or about ready to retire, and then discovered our stock portfolios decimated. So now we find ourselves scrounging for other ways to raise passive income. Starting a new career or returning to a previous one is not an option for many of us.

One promising area for homeowners is the Reverse Mortgage. This is a product that allows you to access the equity in your home without taking on a new payment like a Home Equity Line of Credit, or Second Mortgage. Basically you take out a new mortgage, and the interest accrues as with a regular mortgage, but you don't have to pay this interest until you sell the home. That's a very simple description of a complicated instrument, but if you intend to remain in your current home for at least 5-10 years, and you have a big chunk of equity in it, you might want to consider this idea. The ceiling on the amount you can borrow has recently been raised, which opens this type of mortage up to many people.

Of course the first place to start is by talking to a Reverse Mortgage specialist in your area. I found Tricia Smith of
to be extremely helpful. She has offices in Medford and Ashland, Oregon.

The second step is to arrange for a session with a HUD-approved agency that offers counseling. This is required in order for you to take out one of these loans, and is very helpful in helping you understand all the fine print. And since these 3rd party agencies do not make any money from the loan, they have no vested interest in talking you into anything. Reverse Mortgages are not for everyone, and you need to clearly understand if it meets the needs of your individual circumstances or not.

The fees are hefty, especially the insurance policy you pay to FHA, but this is a way to make sure that you or your heirs never end up "upside down" when it comes time to sell your house. FHA insures that the amount you owe will never exceed its fair market value. So while you may not have a lot of equity left when you sell your house, at least noone will owe money as is the case with some mortgages where the property has declined in value. But be prepared to pay for this peace of mind!

The following are nation wide agencies that can profide face-to-face OR phone counseling:
1) AARP - 1-800-209-8085
2) National Foundation for Credit Counseling - 1-866-698-6322
3) Money Management International - 1-877-908-2227