Retirement in US – Social Security provides most of the income for about half of households age 65 and older

Originally posted on Job Market Monitor:

Many retirees and workers approaching retirement have limited financial resources. About half of households age 55 and older have no retirement savings (such as in a 401(k) plan or an IRA). According to GAO’s analysis of the 2013 Survey of Consumer Finances, many older households without retirement savings have few other resources, such as a defined benefit (DB) plan or nonretirement savings, to draw on in retirement (see figure below). For example, among households age 55 and older, about 29 percent have neither retirement savings nor a DB plan, which typically provides a monthly payment for life. Households that have retirement savings generally have other resources to draw on, such as non-retirement savings and DB plans. Among those with some retirement savings, the median amount of those savings is about $104,000 for households age 55-64 and $148,000 for households age 65-74, equivalent to an inflation-protected annuity of $310 and $649…

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What Old Farts Do All Day

When you retire, you gain eight or more extra hours of leisure time each day. Retirees are generally using that extra time to linger a little longer over meals, sleep, do household chores, and watch a lot more TV, according to recently released American Time Use Survey data for 2011. Here’s how people age 65 and older are filling their days:

Relax. As you might expect, retirees have a lot more time for leisure activities than people who are still working. People age 65 and older spend an average of just over seven hours per day on leisure and sports, compared to just over five hours among the overall population. “These are people who have fulfilled the dream of having the complete choice of anything they want to do, and the things they choose are surprising,” says John Robinson, a sociology professor at the University of Maryland and coauthor of Time for Life: The Surprising Ways Americans Use Their Time. “The three things that retirees spend the most extra time on are reading, resting, and TV.” Retirees spend twice as much time relaxing and thinking (0.6 hours) and reading (0.7 hours) compared to the overall population (0.3 hours for both activities). And senior citizens are equally as likely as younger people to surf the Internet for leisure and spend time socializing with friends, and only slightly less likely to exercise.

 Watch TV. Americans watch an average of two hours and 45 minutes of TV per day. Retirees watch even more, averaging 4.2 hours of TV-viewing each day. Men age 65 and older watch an hour more of TV daily (4.73 hours) than older women (3.74 hours). And people age 75 and older watch more TV than any other age group.

Sleep. The only thing seniors spend more time on than leisure activities is sleep. Retirees spend nine hours per day sleeping, compared with 8.7 hours daily among the population as a whole.

 Household chores. Retirees took an average of 2.4 hours per day to tackle household chores, compared to 1.8 hours among all Americans. People age 65 and older spend slightly longer on housework, food preparation and cleanup, and lawn and garden care.

Eat and drink. The typical American spends about an hour and 15 minutes each day eating and drinking. Retirees linger slightly longer over meals, for an average of about an hour and a half each day.

 Work. Not all people age 65 and older are retired. The typical senior citizen spends nearly an hour each day working. But seniors are less likely to work than the population as a whole, which spends just over 3.5 hours per day working. “Older cohorts of individuals are less likely to be employed, so they spend less time working,” says Rachel Krantz-Kent, program manager of the American Time Use Survey. Retirees also seldom spend any of their time persuing formal education, compared to an average of about a half hour per day among the entire adult population.

 Shop. Retirees have plenty of time to research and comparison-shop for their purchases, and they spend 0.87 hours per day doing so. Americans overall spend 0.72 hours acquiring goods and services.

 Volunteer. Retirees spend very little time caring for household members (0.07 of an hour) and helping people outside their household (0.2 hours). In contrast, Americans overall spend half an hour per day caring for family members, primarily children, and about the same amount of time as retirees caring for people outside their household. However, retirees spend slightly longer than most Americans volunteering and pursing religious and spiritual activities, doing each for an average of almost 15 minutes each day.

via What Retirees Do All Day – US News.

[if you do the math, it’s more than 24 hours in a day, so seniors must be great multi-taskers]

Compromise, respect conquer all when deciding where to live



Before the other weekend, I had never visited Phoenix.  For one reason, I hate to travel.  For another, I don’t know a soul there. So why bother?

But recently, my cousin, Randy, got married in Phoenix, his new bride Ranee’s hometown. So being a good cousin, I hopped a Southwest flight to what I now believe is the driest place on Earth. Within two hours of landing, I was sucking down water (and beer) and applying enough lip balm to lubricate a fleet of diesels.

I learned that I’ll never live in that place. It’s just unnatural to be that dry, that brown.  While I was there, I had the opportunity to chat with my West Coast cousins about their futures and what they imagined would be their dream locales.  Without hesitation, they each declared their loyalty to all things California.

Of course, as an East Coaster born and raised, I could not imagine the benefits of such a Western inclination.  But it got me thinking about place — and of the people we are incompatible with simply because of the places they call home.

I might meet a woman who could steal my heart, but the second she said she couldn’t wait to get back to Phoenix, I would have to call it off. Where is the future? Someone who bleeds for the desert is going to have a hard time with the humid life on the East Coast, especially in Florida.

We all like to think that true love conquers all, but I beg to differ.  True love is the foundation that allows a couple to build a life. True love is the basis for a lasting relationship. It does not, however, bring the ocean to the desert. It does not crumble mountains into plains or turn forests into lakes.

Compromise for the sake of true love is what conquers all. When a man who withers in the desert meets a woman who sweats in the swamp, they must find neutral ground on which to build their lives.

This analogy bears out across the spectrum of relationships. No one who truly wants to be in a partnership can expect to win all the battles.  True love is merely the catalyst that allows for the greatest occurrences of compromise. For the one you love, you will do all but the most painful things to ensure her happiness. In return, you expect the same.

But can, say, a country-western guy marry and be happy with a rock ‘n’ roll girl? I think so. With love comes respect — not just respecting the facets of a person you find truly great but also respecting her opinions when you think they’ve fallen off the deep end. You have to respect the fact that not every detail of life needs to be totally agreed upon and realize that, when these differences intersect, it’s a good time for compromise.

I can say for sure that I will never inhabit a place like Phoenix for longer than a weekend. I loved the weekend, but the city is not for me, so I could never force myself to live there. If I were to fall for a woman who couldn’t stand living in the Central Florida swamps, I’d have to relinquish any expectations I had of staying in this paradise forever. Because that’s what compromise is about.

Compromise, respect conquer all when deciding where to live.

– tribunedigital-chicagotribune

Why Older Men Should Date Younger Women

Originally posted on Life in the Boomer Lane:


Women over the age of 50 have been complaining ever since their 50th birthday parties that men their age prefer younger women. Life in the Boomer Lane has written several posts that attempt to dispel that dangerous belief. She has been unsuccessful.  She now throws in the towel and joins the other side. As soon as she hits “Publish” on this one, she will don her protective gear so as to better survive the irate comments of men who are now blissfully partnered with perfect younger women, younger women who are insulted by LBL’s sarcastic portrayal of them, older men who are insulted by LBL’s calling attention to their nose hair, and older women who believe LBL is making a mockery of a very real and tragic situation. This leaves only those readers who inadvertently stopped by, believing they would be getting a great recipe for spaghetti carbonara.

1. Younger…

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Sex and the Sixty-Year-Old: Susan Goes to A Singles Dance

Originally posted on Life in the Boomer Lane:


Susan, Life in the Boomer Lane’s Sex-and-the-Sixty-Year-Old muse, decided to attend a single’s dance last weekend, given by a local DJ.  He bills his dances as “The Fun Bunch,” which may be some indication of what one is in store for. The dance was held at a local Elk’s Club, another tip-off of what might be in store.

Not to be deterred, Susan coerced a friend to come along. Susan spent a lot of time getting ready, then sprayed herself with pheromones.  For those of you who come to this site to be educated along with being amused, pheromones are “chemicals that are secreted in our sweat and other bodily fluids that are believed to influence the behavior of the opposite sex, such as triggering sexual interest and excitement.” They are sold as additives in cologne, in perfume, in body lotion, in pure spray form, and in pancake mix…

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Tylenol and the pain of rejection

By Kirsten Weir

Anyone who lived through high school gym class knows the anxiety of being picked last for the dodgeball team. The same hurt feelings bubble up when you are excluded from lunch with co-workers, fail to land the job you interviewed for or are dumped by a romantic partner.

Rejection feels lousy.

Yet for many years, few psychologists tuned into the importance of rejection. “It’s like the whole field missed this centrally important part of human life,” says Mark Leary, PhD, a professor of psychology and neuroscience at Duke University. That’s changed over the last decade and a half, as a growing number of researchers have turned their eyes toward this uncomfortable fact of life. “People have realized just how much our concern with social acceptance spreads its fingers into almost everything we do,” he says.

As researchers have dug deeper into the roots of rejection, they’ve found surprising evidence that the pain of being excluded is not so different from the pain of physical injury. Rejection also has serious implications for an individual’s psychological state and for society in general. Social rejection can influence emotion, cognition and even physical health. Ostracized people sometimes become aggressive and can turn to violence. In 2003 Leary and colleagues analyzed 15 cases of school shooters, and found all but two suffered from social rejection (Aggressive Behavior, 2003).

Clearly, there are good reasons to better understand the effects of being excluded. “Humans have a fundamental need to belong. Just as we have needs for food and water, we also have needs for positive and lasting relationships,” says C. Nathan DeWall, PhD, a psychologist at the University of Kentucky. “This need is deeply rooted in our evolutionary history and has all sorts of consequences for modern psychological processes.”

Pain in the brain

As clever as human beings are, we rely on social groups for survival. We evolved to live in cooperative societies, and for most of human history we depended on those groups for our lives. Like hunger or thirst, our need for acceptance emerged as a mechanism for survival. “A solitary human being could not have survived during the six million years of human evolution while we were living out there on the African savannah,” Leary says.

With today’s modern conveniences, a person can physically survive a solitary existence. But that existence is probably not a happy one. Thanks to millions of years of natural selection, being rejected is still painful. That’s not just a metaphor. Naomi Eisenberger, PhD, at the University of California, Los Angeles, Kipling Williams, PhD, at Purdue University, and colleagues found that social rejection activates many of the same brain regions involved in physical pain (Science, 2003).

To study rejection inside an fMRI scanner, the researchers used a technique called Cyberball, which Williams designed following his own experience of being suddenly excluded by two Frisbee players at the park. In Cyberball, the subject plays an online game of catch with two other players. Eventually the two other players begin throwing the ball only to each other, excluding the subject. Compared with volunteers who continue to be included, those who are rejected show increased activity in the dorsal anterior cingulate and the anterior insula — two of the regions that show increased activity in response to physical pain, Eisenberger says. As far as your brain is concerned, a broken heart is not so different from a broken arm.

Those findings led DeWall, Eisenberger and colleagues to wonder: If social rejection aches like physical pain, can it be treated like physical pain? To find out, they assigned volunteers to take over-the-counter acetaminophen (Tylenol) or a placebo daily for three weeks. Compared with the placebo group, volunteers who took the drug recounted fewer episodes of hurt feelings in daily self-reports. Those reports were backed by an fMRI study, which found that people who had taken acetaminophen daily for three weeks had less activity in the pain-related brain regions when rejected in Cyberball, in contrast to those taking a placebo (Psychological Science, 2010).

The same patterns are seen in situations of real-world rejection, too. University of Michigan psychologist Ethan Kross, PhD, and colleagues scanned the brains of participants whose romantic partners had recently broken up with them. The brain regions associated with physical pain lit up as the participants viewed photographs of their exes (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2011).

The link between physical and social pain might sound surprising, but it makes biological sense, DeWall says. “Instead of creating an entirely new system to respond to socially painful events, evolution simply co-opted the system for physical pain,” he says. “Given the shared overlap, it follows that if you numb people to one type of pain, it should also numb them to the other type of pain.”

Lashing out

Being on the receiving end of a social snub causes a cascade of emotional and cognitive consequences, researchers have found. Social rejection increases anger, anxiety, depression, jealousy and sadness. It reduces performance on difficult intellectual tasks, and can also contribute to aggression and poor impulse control, as DeWall explains in a recent review (Current Directions in Psychological Science, 2011). Physically, too, rejection takes a toll. People who routinely feel excluded have poorer sleep quality, and their immune systems don’t function as well as those of people with strong social connections, he says.

Even brief, seemingly innocuous episodes of rejection can sting. In one recent study, Williams, Eric Wesselmann, PhD, of Purdue University, and colleagues found that when participants passed a stranger who appeared to look “through” them rather than meeting their gaze, they reported less social connection than did people who made eye contact with a passing stranger (Psychological Science, 2012).

In fact, it’s remarkably hard to find situations in which rejection isn’t painful, Williams says. He wondered whether people would be hurt if they were rejected by a person or group they disliked. Using his Cyberball model, he found that African- American students experienced the same pain of rejection when they were told that the people rejecting them were members of the Ku Klux Klan, a racist group. In other studies, participants earned money when they were rejected, but not when they were accepted. The payments did nothing to dampen the pain of exclusion. “No matter how hard you push it, people are hurt by ostracism,” he says.

Fortunately, most people recover almost immediately from these brief episodes of rejection. If a stranger fails to look you in the eye, or you’re left out of a game of Cyberball, you aren’t likely to dwell on it for long. But other common rejections — not being invited to a party, or being turned down for a second date — can cause lingering emotions.

After the initial pain of rejection, Williams says, most people move into an “appraisal stage,” in which they take stock and formulate their next steps. “We think all forms of ostracism are immediately painful,” he says. “What differs is how long it takes to recover, and how one deals with the recovery.”

People often respond to rejection by seeking inclusion elsewhere. “If your sense of belonging and self-esteem have been thwarted, you’ll try to reconnect,” says Williams. Excluded people actually become more sensitive to potential signs of connection, and they tailor their behavior accordingly. “They will pay more attention to social cues, be more likable, more likely to conform to other people and more likely to comply with other people’s requests,” he says.

Yet others may respond to rejection with anger and lashing out. If someone’s primary concern is to reassert a sense of control, he or she may become aggressive as a way to force others to pay attention. Sadly, that can create a downward spiral. When people act aggressively, they’re even less likely to gain social acceptance.

What causes some people to become friendlier in response to rejection, while others get angry? According to DeWall, even a glimmer of hope for acceptance can make all the difference. In a pair of experiments, he and his colleagues found that students who were accepted by no other participants in group activities behaved more aggressively — feeding hot sauce to partners who purportedly disliked spicy foods, and blasting partners with uncomfortably loud white noise through headphones — than students accepted by just one of the other participants (Social Psychological and Personality Science, 2010).

Social pain relief

It may take time to heal from a bad break-up or being fired, but most people eventually get over the pain and hurt feelings of rejection. When people are chronically rejected or excluded, however, the results may be severe. Depression, substance abuse and suicide are not uncommon responses. “Long-term ostracism seems to be very devastating,” Williams says. “People finally give up.”

In that case, psychologists can help people talk through their feelings of exclusion, DeWall says.

“A lot of times, these are things people don’t want to talk about,” he says. And because rejected people may adopt behaviors, such as aggression, that serve to further isolate them, psychologists can also help people to act in ways that are more likely to bring them social success.

The pain of non-chronic rejection may be easier to alleviate. Despite what the fMRI scanner says, however, popping two Tylenols probably isn’t the most effective way to deal with a painful episode of rejection. Instead, researchers say, the rejected should seek out healthy, positive connections with friends and family.

That recommendation squares with the neural evidence that shows positive social interactions release opioids for a natural mood boost, Eisenberger says. Other activities that produce opioids naturally, such as exercise, might also help ease the sore feelings that come with rejection.

Putting things into perspective also helps, Leary says. True, rejection can sometimes be a clue that you behaved badly and should change your ways. But frequently, we take rejection more personally than we should. “Very often we have that one rejection, maybe we didn’t get hired for this job we really wanted, and it makes us feel just lousy about our capabilities and ourselves in general,” Leary says. “I think if people could stop overgeneralizing, it would take a lot of the angst out of it.”

Next time you get passed over for a job or dumped by a romantic partner, it may help to know that the sting of rejection has a purpose. That knowledge may not take away the pain, but at least you know there’s a reason for the heartache. “Evolutionarily speaking, if you’re socially isolated you’re going to die,” Williams says. “It’s important to be able to feel that pain.”

Kirsten Weir is a freelance writer in Minneapolis.

via The pain of social rejection.



One of the disadvantages of living in a sheltered housing complex for older people is that you are constantly reminded of death. You just cannot get away from it. One by one your neighbours die. I’ve seen more people die in the last 7 years than in the whole of my previous life. This is obviously not good for ones mental health and when there are aggravating circumstances such as a bullying and intimidating atmosphere the combination can be lethal………

I think about death every day. This is , under the circumstance , quite normal. Death is the only thing that will rescue me from this living nightmare.  I have done everything possible – I have notified Dublin City Council , I have written hundreds of words in various blogs about the bullying , I have told everyone who will listen and have even put a poster up in my window…

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