Table of Contents
- Live Big – Don’t Let Inertia Get in the Way of your Travel Plans
- A Common-Sense Guide to Heart Health
Live Big – Don’t Let Inertia Get in the Way of your Travel Plans
by James Lange, CPA/Attorney
When I ask clients what they want to do when they retire, travel frequently tops the list. But, when I ask my retired clients how they spend their time, travel doesn’t seem to be a high priority. Of course, they take vacations, maybe two per year, but more travel than that doesn’t seem to be a priority.
Granted, it is easier, simpler, and cheaper to stay at home, but I would prefer if you lived big. I have written before about the pleasures of “easy travel” where you don’t have to get on a plane. I find travel much less stressful if all you have to do is pack your car and drive to your destination. Significant trips that spring to my mind are three that I took to Cleveland, Washington, D.C., and New York City with my Mom before she died.
If you have followed this newsletter, I have already written about the joys of visiting Cleveland. Though I usually extend business trips by a few days to hang out in Cleveland, it would be a fine destination just for a vacation. Washington D.C. is another fabulous city with a lot to do and it’s a relatively easy drive. Of course, New York was the hardest trip because we chose to fly there. It was a great trip and after a brief anecdote, I will return to try to persuade you to consider a trip to NYC.
For my Mom, who was in her nineties at the time, going to New York was a big deal. Sometimes people of a certain age set their minds on something and cannot be dissuaded. Of course, my Mom looked forward to the Broadway shows, the concerts, the museums, etc. But she also obsessed about getting a silk scarf at Bloomingdales. She must have reminded me twenty times that was something we had to do when we went to New York.
Our plan was to go to Bloomingdale’s our last day. But I underestimated the time it took to get there, and we barely arrived before closing time. We rushed to the scarf section, and my Mom found a scarf she liked. I was so relieved. Then, she asked the salesperson how much it cost? I violently shook my head indicating he should not answer her, but he did. It was $97. Fearing my Mom’s reaction, I immediately took out my credit card and said, “Great, I’ll take it.” Then, what I feared occurred. My Mom started complaining that it was way too expensive and how could we justify spending over $100 for a scarf. Of course, I said I would be delighted to buy it for her but she would have none of it. She would not let me buy her that scarf. As a matter of principle, that was too much money for a scarf.
They were closing, and we started to walk away. I turned around and said I will be back in one minute, and of course, my Mom knew I was going back to get the scarf. She made it crystal clear I was not to get that scarf. I respected her wishes. Yes, my brothers and I inherited an extra $33 each but I assure you that all three of us would have far preferred that she buy that scarf. If you find yourself of a similar mindset, I would encourage you to buy the scarf…or at least let your kids buy it for you. I know I advocate buying experiences over things, but this would have both.
But back to persuading you to think about visiting NYC. Partly hoping to get some publicity for our new Social Security book and partly because I love going to New York, I recently visited the city. I think NYC is a fabulous place to visit, and I would encourage you to go sooner rather than later. The city is much easier to navigate if you are willing and able to walk reasonable distances.
To start, using www.vrbo.com I found a great place on West 88th Street in a quiet neighborhood one block from Central Park. It had a small kitchen, a bedroom, and a den and an eating area, all for $160/night. The downside is that was a fourth-floor walk-up. I found that to be a nuisance the day I arrived with my luggage, the days I shopped, and the day I left. Otherwise, it didn’t bother me at all. I usually go to Whole Foods or the equivalent when I travel so I don’t have to eat out every meal.
I have friends and family in New York, but even if you don’t, it is a fabulous city to visit. And, frankly, walking is your best mode of travel. Of course, the museums are among the best in the world. You could spend literally days at the Metropolitan and only touch the surface. The Natural History Museum is fascinating and a good museum if you have grandchildren. I really liked the Whitney and the Frick, though obviously two different worlds. The Guggenheim is a hit or miss, depending on the featured exhibit. In fact, picking specific exhibits that you want to visit before you go is a really good idea.
I was less impressed with the Jewish Museum, Cooper Hewitt–which may be cool if you’re into design and interactive exhibits– and the Neue Galerie which did have The Woman in Gold by Klimt, but not a lot else that I loved. Of course, there are a lot of little museums that could be great, but I didn’t see, like the Museum of Sex, also known as MoSex!
After seeing a great documentary on the Brooklyn Bridge, I definitely wanted to walk across it. One of my guidebooks recommended walking across the Brooklyn Bridge and visiting the Brooklyn Museum. I would partially agree with that advice, though don’t do it the way I did. I started walking on the Manhattan side, over the bridge, and then to the Brooklyn Museum. The Brooklyn Museum is a world-class museum, and I highly recommend going. It was by far the most progressive in terms of displaying art by and about women. From the bridge to the museum was about an hour’s uneventful walk. There are both self-guided and guided walking tours of Brooklyn (and everywhere else) but I didn’t have time that day. But here is my recommendation, if you go, take the subway to the Brooklyn Museum, see the museum and then the Brooklyn Botanical Garden which is right next door. Then, take the subway back to the Brooklyn end of the bridge and walk across toward Manhattan. Later in the day, the light will be more interesting, and your view will be of Manhattan’s skyline instead of Brooklyn.
Of course, there is endless nightlife. I am not into bars, clubs, and fancy restaurants. I ate in B type restaurants and found the food quite good and fairly reasonable. Most of the major museums are open at least one night a week, and I spent some very pleasant evenings in the museums. On Broadway, I saw Kinky Boots, Beautiful (the Carole King musical), and Summer (the Donna Summer musical). My favorite was Beautiful, but I also really enjoyed Summer and Kinky Boots. If you are of a certain age, you will know virtually all the songs for both Beautiful and Summer, even if you didn’t go out of your way to listen to their music. I related to King’s music and story more than Summer’s but still liked Summer. I purchased all of my tickets at a considerable discount on relatively short notice by using the www.todaytix.com app which I would highly recommend.
I tried to get tickets to Hamilton and Springsteen on Broadway, but I had no luck. I could have seen Bruce Springsteen who gives a two-hour, one-man show that includes singing and stories, but I was too cheap to come up with the $1,200 for a single ticket. Though I often encourage my clients to spend more, I still have a lot of my Mom in me.
The biggest surprise is that NYC offers some bicycle trails. There is one, that you don’t share with cars and that only crosses traffic a couple of times, that basically runs from Inwood (just below the Bronx) to Battery Park (the southern tip) on the west side of Manhattan. Most of the trail is dedicated to cyclists, though in certain sections there are walkers also. You can also rent a bike at one place and return it to another place along the trail. Sometimes, biking was almost as fast as going by cab or Uber. There are also places to bicycle in Central Park which are nice, but I preferred the westside trail—the Hudson River on one side and the beautiful buildings on the shore on the other side. I basically bicycled from 88th to Battery Park and then found even more trails to get to where I was going. Another time, I essentially did the same ride in reverse.
For transportation, I walked, bicycled, took Uber and the subway. I found the subway maps more confusing than other major cities like Toronto, Paris, or London. The thing that saved me getting around by subway was Google. Google made the subways very easy to navigate.
For planning, I recommend the Lange travel model. Pick a date, way in the future, book the room and the airline tickets, and put the dates on your calendar. Think later. Then, work your appointments around the trip that is already booked. Otherwise, if you are like me, things always come up and you would never get away.
I went right after Labor Day, but it was still quite hot, so think about NYC for the spring or fall. For winter travel, personally, I love to travel to the southwest—Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, etc. So, be a bit impulsive. Pick a date, book it, and put it on your calendar. You won’t regret it.
It’s been said that a man with health has a thousand dreams, while a man with no health has but one. Don’t you owe it to yourself, your family, your career and your community to have not only a thousand dreams but also the energy and engagement to make them happen? Few would argue that to live our best lives, we need to be healthy enough to be fully engaged with our jobs, our loved ones and the world around us. And yet, how many of us regularly forsake lifestyle choices that could help us achieve great things? We may be proactive in other parts of our lives, but we wait until there is a problem to pay attention to our own health.
To understand the specific steps we all could be taking to be as healthy and active as possible—for as long as possible—we spoke with Joel Kahn, clinical professor of cardiology at Wayne State University School of Medicine and the author of Dead Execs Don’t Get Bonuses: The Ultimate Guide to Surviving Your Career with a Healthy Heart. One of the nation’s top experts in the growing field of holistic cardiology, Kahn helps patients become and stay healthier by empowering them to eat clean, sweat clean and apply cutting-edge science to their lifestyle.
Coronary heart disease, or hardening of the arteries, kills nearly 400,000 people annually. One heart attack occurs roughly every 40 seconds. And every year, about 785,000 Americans suffer their first heart attack.
The good news is that it’s easy to take the right steps to achieve a level of health that will help you be effective in your work and in your life. Kahn highlights six things you can do right away to help stave off heart disease, diabetes, dementia and other major health issues that can knock you down—or out.
Five Unexpected Signs You May Have Heart Disease
In his book, Dead Execs Don’t Get Bonuses, Kahn points out five “silent” signs that could potentially indicate you have heart disease. None of these signs by itself means you absolutely have artery problems—but, says Kahn, they’re predictive enough that you should get yourself checked out if you have one or more:
1. Erectile dysfunction in men
2. Cramping in the thighs or calves during or immediately after exertion
3. A diagonal deep crease in the earlobe
4. Worrisome sleep habits—excessive snoring, sleep apnea, etc.
5. Baldness, especially on the top of the head
Six Steps to a Healthier Heart
Step #1: Don’t Smoke
An obvious one, of course, but crucial. If you currently smoke, tackle it just as you would any important goal—with a thoughtful plan that includes specific steps, deadlines and the desire to succeed. Do whatever works. For example, Kahn has had patients who weaned themselves by putting ten cigarettes in a lunch bag for a week, then nine, then eight, and so on. Patches, gum, acupuncture, and hypnosis are all good options.
Step #2: Move Around
Sitting is the new smoking, says Kahn. “Twenty-two chronic diseases, including heart disease, cancer, dementia, diabetes, arthritis, and obesity, have been linked to how many hours a day you sit,” he notes.
This is another problem that has obvious solutions most of us simply don’t implement:
• Stand up when taking phone calls.
• Work at a standing desk.
• Organize physical activities to do at lunch.
• Set a timer at your desk to stand up every 30 minutes.
• Walk for 30 to 40 minutes per day.
Step #3: Revamp Your Diet
Multiple studies show that the simple habit of eating more than five servings of fruits and vegetables a day—especially so-called superfoods like broccoli, kale, bok choy, and cauliflower—reduces cancer, diabetes, and heart disease risk.
Not a veggie fan? Kahn has an argument that will show you the light: Vegetables taste a whole lot better than chemotherapy or surgery. “Whether as part of a Paleo diet, a Mediterranean diet, or a vegetarian or vegan diet, fruits and vegetables should make up 50 percent of your plate,” he says.
Step #4: Watch That Waist
Doctors used to think fat was just a yellow, globby inert material. Now, says Kahn, they understand it makes hormones. In particular, the fat around the abdomen called visceral abdominal tissue actually makes about 35 hormones—34 of which are bad for your health and promote chronic disease. Staying trim doesn’t mean you have to look good in skinny jeans: A waist size under 40 inches for a man and under 35 for a woman is just fine, says Kahn. “Being what’s called pear-shaped, or thin in the waist and bigger on the bottom, is actually healthier for you long term than the so-called apple belly body form,” he says.
Step #5: Raise Your Glass—A Little Bit
Multiple studies show that a few alcoholic drinks per week may reduce your risk of a heart attack. This is a sensitive issue, of course, as not everyone can or should drink alcohol. If you can, however, one to two alcoholic drinks per day can promote heart health. What’s more, the benefits seem to occur whether you’re drinking hard alcohol, wine or beer.
Step #6: Get Your Zs
Overall, people who average four or five hours a night will not be as healthy in the long run as people who average about seven to seven and a half. That amount appears to be optimal to repair your body and prime it for the day to come. And as with exercise, too much sleep might not be a good thing. Studies suggest that nine or ten hours of sleep per night might actually create some health problems.
ACKNOWLEDGMENT: This article was published by the BSW Inner Circle, a global financial concierge group working with affluent individuals and families and is distributed with its permission. Copyright 2018 by AES Nation, LLC.
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Unintended Benefits of New Trump Tax Laws: A Bright Spot for University Retirement Plan Owners (TIAA-CREF, Vanguard, etc.) Who Act Quickly
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New Trump Tax Laws Create Unintended Benefits for Savvy IRA and Retirement Plan Owners Who Act Quickly
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