Physical Fitness at 68 and Weight Loss, Part I

At a physical crossroads

At 68 there are many times I can feel my age.  But it is only about the last year or two that I’ve noticed a definite slowing down.  Which begs the question:  What am I going to do about it?  Fit it or accept the inevitable?

As I look around at other men my age, to generalize, I see men stooped slightly as they walk, with paunches or guts.  And that is/was me.  I say that because I’m working on it – more later.  Actually, not the posture bit – I’ve always maintained good posture, and have to slump way down for my barber, because my usual position in a chair is bolt upright.  When I walk, I am intentional in keeping shoulders back and head facing up and forward.  But I’m ashamed to tell you that I porked up to 245 lbs.  I carried it well, but my 38 waist trousers were getting tight, and I absolutely refuse to wear anything beginning with a 4.  So I was at a...

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On Getting Older: Airports and Tattoos

Airports and Tattoos

As many of my readers know, I’ve done a good bit of traveling over the last several years, teaching 4-day Live Review classes to students preparing to take the CFP exam.  The exam is offered in March, July, and November, so the months before that are my busy travel times.  I’ll be teaching my last cycle in October of this year.  We’ve got a lot going on at CameronDowning, and the time away has become too much, so I’m closing the teaching chapter of my professional life down.  All told it has been some 15 years now that I’ve been teaching CFP students, and it has been a wonderful experience getting to meet and connect with students all over the country.    

The usual teaching cities include San Antonio, Dallas, St. Louis, Kansas City, Raleigh, Cincinnati, Detroit, and here in Miami.  Traveling to some of these cities requires a change of plane, and air travel this year has been, well,...

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On Getting Older: Job Fulfillment

 Job Fulfillment

Is this ever a relatively new concept. 

I remember in my MBA program, completed in 1984, in the human resources classes, the new way of getting employees to work hard for you was this:  give them work they enjoy doing and actually have aptitude for and see a purpose in doing, as well as decent money incentive.  Give them a buy-in to a purpose larger than themselves.  After all, if they’re unhappy, they won’t work hard. 

I remember thinking at the time what a luxurious set up that would be – and how foreign to my own expectations.  Having an employer that saw me as a person rather than a unit of production?  Not bloody likely.  And unit of production is the bottom line for all employers – that’s ultimately what employees are, but now the bosses have figured out that it is in their best interests, for many reasons, to keep employees happy. 

More than just a unit of production

How things...

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On Getting Older: Introduction

Introduction

I recently attended my Connecticut high school’s 50th reunion.  I’ve got to say, it has given me pause.  Was the class of ’72 really 50 years ago?  Couldn’t be – but it is.  I had a great time, and even my wife commented on what a group of really nice people were there – pretty much what I remembered, too. Some quick math:  that makes me 68, having been born in 1954. 

I remember reading Gail Sheey’s books Passages and Pathfinders as a younger man, and I enjoyed the overall perspective they gave for that generation.  I’ve asked around, and as yet haven’t been able to find anything similar for my generation at this stage of life – arguably the late summer if not early winter of our lives.  If anyone knows of a good title, please leave it in the comments. 

So I’ve actually been thinking about a blog to share my musings for a while now.  Not just pieces about...

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Why 2022 is not like the 2008 Financial Crisis

By Jonathan Cameron, CFP®

We have not seen a prolonged stock market decline like this since 2008! The year 2022 has been an awful year in markets. You don't have to go far for the media to remind you of this every hour on the hour. But this is not 2008, of course. Here's what you need to know now:

  • How is this time different?
  • How is it the same?
  • What can you expect now, in the second half of the 2022?  

Read on.

How is this time different? 

To that our answer is -- in almost every way. Let me explain:

The underlying cause of the 2008 Global Financial Crisis had to do with real estate. More specifically, it was a catastrophic mortgage crisis that cascaded to the rest of the financial system. Let's review what actually happened during this tumultuous period in markets:

In the 1990s, in a push to completely stamp out the practice of redlining (a terrible bank practice where inner-city families were once systematically denied mortgage applications and other loans) and to...

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Bitcoin Part II - Inflation Hedge

By Glenn J. Downing, MBA, CFP®

I began Part I - New Asset Class with this statistic:  one in five people in the US have invested in or used cryptocurrency.  As Bitcoin becomes more widely accepted – indeed, Fidelity is offering it in 401K accounts – it is high time for me to write about it. 

And there’s a lot to write.  I’m going to break this up into two blogposts:  Part I covers the foundation of bitcoin and how it works, and here in Part II I answer the question, Why crypto currency?    

Fundamentally Bitcoin is one of many cryptocurrencies.  It is an asset.  It is bought and sold through various exchanges called wallets.  It can be used to pay for goods and services.  These transactions happen on the blockchain. 

The Gold Standard

In 1981 the US came off the gold standard, meaning your currency is backed by nothing beyond the ascription of value of millions of people.  Currencies...

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Bitcoin Part I - New Asset Class

By Glenn J. Downing, MBA, CFP®

I was astonished to hear this statistic:  one in five people in the US have invested in or used cryptocurrency.  That means that Bitcoin is indeed a thing, and it is time for me to write about it. 

And there’s a lot to write.  I’m going to break this up into two blogposts:  here in Part I I’ll cover the foundation of bitcoin and how it works, and in Part II - Inflation Hedge I’ll answer the question, Why Bitcoin?    

Fundamentally Bitcoin is one of many cryptocurrencies.  It is an asset.  It is bought and sold through various exchanges.  You hold Bitcoin in accounts called wallets.  It can be used to pay for goods and services.  These transactions happen on the blockchain. 

Cryptocurrency

Lots to break down here.  First, the concept of a cryptocurrency.  This is a currency backed only by the value that people ascribe to it.  Right away I can...

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My Deepest Condolences. You've Lost Your Spouse.

By Glenn J. Downing, MBA, CFP®

We all know it is coming – that at one point Till death us do part becomes a reality.  What a sad time - someone dear to us has gone away, never to return, and will be missed greatly. 

Do Nothing Until You Really Need to

As a financial planner, I hope that the couple has already done the basic legal estate work, i.e. the proper documents are in place, so the transition of property can occur smoothly.  For the surviving spouse I have this advice:  Do nothing until you really need to.

In some cases, particularly after a long illness, the surviving spouse already has a good idea of what life going forward will be like.  But it is still a shock.  My counsel is to go through a cycle of birthdays, holidays and anniversaries without your loved one.  Let it settle in that you are no longer married.  In time, you’ll find your way forward.

Find the Way Forward

And what is the way forward?  How will I...

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When Oh When Can I Retire?

By Glenn J. Downing, MBA, CFP®

You want to retire in a few years, right? And you know you haven't saved enough.  But there are bills to pay, and at the end of the month there’s nothing left.  In fact, there’s often a shortfall.  What can you do?

 Short answer:  a lot.  If this is your situation, you’ve let your money be your master rather than your servant.  To turn it around so that your money accomplishes what YOU want it to is going to require a change of thinking and some effort on your part.   

Necessary vs. Discretionary Spending

Here’s the change in thinking:  In your mind separate out spending that is necessary from spending that is discretionary.  In other words, what do you need to spend for food, clothing, and other necessities – car payment, various insurances, etc. 

And then think about what is discretionary.  What do you spend by choice and not out of necessity? ...

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IRA Rollovers: In Your Best Interest?

By Glenn J. Downing, MBA, CFP®

Increasing Regulatory Scrutiny

An area of increasing regulatory scrutiny is retirement plan rollovers to IRAs. This is a common transaction, and done every day, but it just might not be in your best interests.  Why?  Several factors:

Reasons Why NOT to do a rollover IRA

  • If your plan at work is covered by ERISA legislation (Employee Retirement Income Security Act) – typically a profit sharing or 401K – it has complete creditor protection, no matter the balance. An IRA will have limited creditor protection, typically up to the amount needed to maintain your lifestyle. 
  • Loans are permitted from employer plans. No loans ever from IRAs.
  • Early withdrawal penalties of 10% apply to retirement plans before age 55. It is age 59 ½ for IRAs.  So if you are age 55, separated from service, and rolled your retirement funds into an IRA, you’ve just given yourself 4 ½ years of 10% withdrawal penalties.
  • If you are...
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