It’s that glorious time of year where salty breezes, tank tops, and open-toed shoes signify one thing: “before it’s 5 o’clock somewhere” season is upon us. The temperatures are rising and the golden sun is shining so treat yourself to good eats and drinks and—as my boy Kenny Chesney says—let the warm air melt those blues away. Here are some summer cocktails and savory recipes to get you started.
Want to Get Away? | How to Travel Carefree During Retirement
by Rebecca Meares
cfp®, awma®, the caudle meares
group at mcadam financial
So, you booked a trip to sip wines in Bordeaux, catch some rays in the Caribbean, or cruise down the Danube in style. You undoubtedly spent hours perfecting your itinerary and packing list, and now you’re counting down the days until your big adventure. But before you zip up your suitcase and head out the door, there are several smart moves to make to avoid unwelcome financial surprises. Whether you’re traveling for a week or you’re a snowbird seeking a longer respite, taking these key steps can help you eliminate unnecessary headache, and allow you to enjoy your travel the way you intended—carefree!
1. Notify your major financial institutions
Imagine being informed that your credit card has been denied due to fraudulent activity as you
attempt to pay for your ocean-side massage. Not feeling so relaxed anymore, are you? Avoid being flagged for suspicious activity by informing your bank and credit card companies of the dates and locations of your trip. Many financial institutions will allow you to do this via their website or app and will even text you to confirm purchases that seem unusual.
2. Take inventory and make copies
Bringing multiple forms of payment on a trip abroad is wise. That way, if one card is lost or stolen, you have other options. But make sure to take inventory of exactly what you are carrying in your wallet or purse in case something goes missing.
And don’t forget to make copies of important information, like passports or travel documents. While paper copies in your suitcase may suffice, you may also want to consider storing them in a secure document cloud that they can be accessed anywhere from your phone or tablet.
3. Use travel-friendly cards
When it comes to international travel, not all credit and debit cards are created equal. Shop around for a credit card that fits your travel habits. Maybe you’re loyal to a specific airline or hotel chain, or perhaps you want an all-purpose travel card with flexible
rewards. Either way, you should choose an option with no foreign transaction fees. Otherwise, you could be doling out an additional 2 to 4 percent on international purchases, money that could otherwise be spent on your next scoop of Italian gelato.
You may want to see if at least one of your credit cards has PIN (Personal Identification Number) technology, which is sometimes required in places with unattended terminals, like train stations in smaller European towns. While most travelers should be fine with a chip-and-signature card, if you come across PIN technology, you may need to withdraw cash.
So what costs will you incur when using your debit card to withdraw cash in foreign ATMs? Depending on your bank, you may be hit with a variety of fees, including foreign transaction fees, conversion fees, and non-bank usage fees. While you should avoid frequent debit card activity, being able to withdraw foreign currency as needed, without worrying about pesky fees being tacked on, can be quite a relief. Explore banks that waive these fees.
4. Get the best exchange rate
To ensure you’re getting the most for your money, understand the exchange rate before you arrive and make sure you shop around. You can track rates with the Wall Street Journal or use an app like XE Currency for simple conversion calculations. While exchanging money when you land at the local airport is convenient, it will almost always be more expensive than exchanging at banks or even street kiosks.
To be prepared, you should exchange some currency
before you leave home so that you can at least cover your basic needs upon arrival—a taxi to the hotel, convenience store purchases, and perhaps a latte or a glass of wine after a long flight. Then withdraw cash from an ATM or bank (being mindful of costs) or use your travel-friendly credit card, the latter likely being your best bet. Companies that are most widely accepted worldwide, like Visa and MasterCard, are able to secure competitive rates. And when you’re asked if you’d like to pay in the local currency or US dollars, choose local!
But don’t forget, in some countries, cash is king. While you may be able to get away with using a credit card in most places, have a couple hundred
dollars in local currency on hand “just in case,” with plenty of small bills for tipping.
5. Explore cell service options
Whether you want to completely unplug or make sure you don’t miss a single email, it is critical to understand how your devices will work at your destination. If not, you may come home to a cell phone bill rampant with international roaming charges, or even worse, you may not be able to contact someone in an emergency.
If you’re traveling to a major city, it is likely that you will be able to connect to WiFi (wireless internet) at restaurants, museums, and hotels — often for free. This will allow you to do almost everything except make regular phone calls and send regular texts. Pre-travel, download an app like WhatsApp or Skype to communicate with friends and family over WiFi. If you do plan to rely solely on WiFi, be sure to turn off your cellular service in your phone’s settings.
However, if you are heading to a small town off the beaten path, or if you want to make sure you have service in between WiFi hubs, contact your service provider to learn about your options. If your device works abroad, most providers will
allow you to purchase international day passes or you may be able to buy a local SIM card to stay connected at all times.
6. Protect yourself
Even a perfectly planned trip can still have a hiccup or two. Manage your risk by reviewing your insurance coverage before leaving home. If you’ll be renting a car, see what type of international protection you’ll be afforded and if you need an international driver’s license. Don’t forget to check in with your health insurer to better understand your health and emergency coverage overseas.
And finally, there’s travel insurance, which can cover a wide range of events from theft to lost baggage to a cancelled trip. So, do you need it? The answer is maybe. Perhaps you can self-insure or maybe your travel credit card provides adequate coverage as a perk. But if a snag in plans could spoil a big trip, like a retirement cruise or a major anniversary, having that coverage in place might give you the peace of mind you need.
Now that you’ve spent some time completing your financial checklist, you should feel relieved and ready to experience smooth sailing ahead. Bon voyage!
Rebecca Meares is an avid traveler and has visited over 20 countries and counting. From having her debit card swallowed up by a Laotian ATM to attempting to navigate a remote Greek island with no street names or addresses, she has seen it all and loves sharing her passion for exploring new places. As a Certified Financial Planner™ professional in the Caudle Meares Group at McAdam, Rebecca helps her clients retire and stay retired, so that they may pursue their passions and next big adventure. Come by and share a travel story if you attend the DC Ideal Living Show.
The drive across the Lowcountry marsh in Beaufort, SC, to Lady’s Island to the 400-acre riverfront community of Coosaw Point is both breathtaking and serene. An unrestricted community, residents enjoy vibrancy with a slower pace as told by the stories of two couples in slightly different phases of life.
Dave and Pam Rimer have lived in many places, but found their favorite place in Beaufort, SC, when they moved into their home at Coosaw Point in 2006. They decided to relocate after their son graduated from high school. They toured the Charleston area and spent several days driving around the Lowcountry until they came upon Coosaw Point, and they knew they had found their place. They downsized from a 4,500 square-foot home and now have more time to have fun than maintaining a large home, though Pam added that you can have as large of a home as you’d like at Coosaw.
“The community was small at that time and really just getting started. It was just a sense of what it was going to be,” said Pam. She organizes the community directory and has seen the community’s growth first-hand. Pam says, “We enjoy the mix of ages and people, from newborns to 90. It’s a vibrant community, full of caring neighbors.”
While Dave is “semi-retired,” they find time to enjoy boating as often as they can. With the warmer climate, they have even been boating on New Year’s Eve. Pam and Dave enjoy the people and Pam says, “You can participate as much or as little as you want.” The Rimers particularly enjoy “High Tide Fridays,” where neighbors meet for happy hour.
Next, meet Dee (48) and Marc (47) Robinson who relocated from Colorado just a year ago with their 16-year-old son. They had vacationed to the coast and knew they wanted to retire by the coast one day. Dee said, “We thought why wait until we retire? Let’s see if we can make this work now.” She found a job in Beaufort, and they couldn’t be happier that they made the move.
They are enjoying the outdoors. “Marc likes to stand-up paddle board, while my son and I like to kayak. So, we kayak to Hunting Island State Park. We’ve seen all kinds of wildlife from deer to dolphin. We are hoping to see the sea turtles hatch.”
“It’s a totally different life than in Colorado. Each are beautiful in their own way. It’s particularly wonderful to see the water so much living here. When you go over the bridges, the views are so amazing with the vibrant greens of the saltwater marsh. It’s breathtaking,” says Dee.
The Robinsons enjoy walking along the waterfront in the quaint town of Beaufort and sitting on the swings in waterfront park. They’ve been finding some good restaurants including Plums, Breakwater, and the Foolish Frog, just to name a few.
Dee says, “We made a good decision to take the plunge. We love the style of houses and walking trails. Coosaw Point has a great mix of people. Everyone is here because they love it.”
Keowee Key isn’t your typical community—and it doesn’t attract typical folks.
Located on a gorgeous lake in the South Carolina foothills, 45-year-old Keowee Key has many of the amenities you’d associate with a master-planned community: boating, a George Cobb-designed championship golf course, walking trails, tennis, pickleball, a pool, parks, and beaches. But, instead of being operated by a development company, Keowee Key is member-owned and governed. It’s a nonprofit organization, a municipality with 3,500 residents and its own water and sewer system. A seven-person elected board of directors oversees the community, and residents vote on how they’d like to see Keowee Key change and grow.
With so many opportunities for involvement, it’s no surprise that Keowee Key is home to phenomenal leaders, whose skills have proven invaluable. From strategic planning to fiscal stewardship, fire mitigation to facility renovation, the residents at Keowee Key—many of whom are retirees—play a vital role in shaping their community.
Strategic Planning Takes Center Stage
Margaret Eldridge, Keowee Key’s board president, has lived in the community for 12 years. Before retiring 20 years ago, she had a robust banking career. “I spent time managing the bank’s investment portfolio as well as running the loan administration area. I was also chairman of a state agency that provided financing for low-income housing and economic development activities. A combination of those things helped me understand the most appropriate mechanisms for financing big projects,” says Eldridge, who was also president of consumer banking for a statewide holding company and chairman of a bank.
Keowee Key’s board is proactive when it comes to strategic planning. “Five years ago, we identified the current trends for communities like ours and determined that we needed to renovate our clubhouse, fitness center, and golf course, and add walking trails through the community. We also had to upgrade our IT systems and one of our community pool facilities. Once we put a pencil to it, we had 14 million dollars of investment we needed to do,” Eldridge says. “From a business perspective, we had to create the plan to get that done, a financing plan, the oversight structure to accomplish all of those things in a manner that met our members’ expectations and was concluded on time and on budget … One of my roles was to create the (funding) plan and obtain community support for it.”
Members’ commitment to community improvement as well as their willingness to lead through volunteerism sets Keowee Key apart. “The kind of people who are attracted to being here are folks who have a heart for service. Our county administrator once said they’d have to have 40 more employees in the county to offset all of our volunteer efforts,” Eldridge says.
When she’s not engaged in board leadership, Eldridge is a volunteer instructor at Clemson in the Women’s Leadership Program. “I believe people need to have a purpose,” she says. “I really love my teaching because it gives me an opportunity to help young women and give them some information that gives them a leg up when they go to work.”
Sharing Safety Skills
Keowee Key resident Russ Landis also embraces leadership in retirement. He leads the community’s chapter of the National Fire Protection Association’s FIREWISE program, a U.S.-wide initiative in which community volunteers promote fire safety. An engineer by trade,
Landis worked for 40 years in the manufacturing industry, predominantly with heavy manufacturing, nuclear fuel, and power generation equipment. Eight years ago, Landis retired and moved with his wife from Pittsburgh to Keowee Key, located centrally to the homes of the couple’s four children. As a consultant, Landis spent most of his time on the road. He was looking forward to staying in one place long enough to give back.
Promoting fire safety in an urban woodland interface like Keowee Key is a vital job. “It’s very wooded, and we like to keep it that way. But the risks from wildfire are relatively high because of the density of the forest, so we have to work hard to keep it safe,” Landis says. “One of the ways we help reduce the risk of wildfire is to encourage homeowners to keep their property cleaned up by picking up dead branches and plants and recycling those through chipping activities. We run five of these chipping days a year. Residents who have a quarter-acre lot will gather up twigs, sticks, and vegetation and bring that up to the curb. On chipping day, we dispatch volunteers in pickup trucks to run around and pick stuff up.” The National Fire Protection Agency took note of Keowee Key’s large-scale risk reduction program and filmed the process, showcasing the community as a stellar example of FIREWISE.
Board director David Rosamond is the engineering project manager for the club and bistro remodel projects. An engineer whose career focused on project and construction management, Rosamond worked on the planning and development of projects all over the world until retiring in 2008 and moving to Keowee Key from Moscow.
When the community began considering major renovations and upgrading, it was only natural for Rosamond to get involved. “With my knowledge and background in engineering and construction, I was naturally assigned the responsibility for overseeing everything from contractors to architects. I used all of my skill set I had acquired after 40 years in the business; particularly in the initial phases, my wife said, ‘You spent more time on this project than the ones you used to get paid for.’ But, it was a labor of love.”
Fitness Project Renovation Team Chair Jon Goyert concurs. “I’m surprised sometimes about the number of people who volunteer. It’s very encouraging! I’ve got to think that goes back to people not wanting to sit around, continuing to want to contribute. There are all kinds of opportunities to do what they like to do.”
Along with his wife, Goyert, who has a PhD in Marine Science, worked for many years in the field of environmental analysis, running an office in Florida. While in Florida, the couple volunteered with Habitat for Humanity. They have continued their involvement with Habitat after their move to Keowee Key. Next year John Goyert will serve as president of the local affiliate, and his wife Karen will serve as secretary.
“The type of people we have (at Keowee), they’re all relatively young retirees. They came from a world of working. No one wants to just sit down and watch TV. We want to do stuff … It keeps you active and your mind sharp. I can’t imagine sitting around all day. I’d be bored to tears,” Jon Goyert says.
As Chair of the Fitness Project Renovation Team, Jon Goyert was in charge of the Fitness and Racquet Center renovation, including working with an architectural firm, gathering resident feedback, and seeing the project through. The opening ceremony was held in October 2018, and about 350 people attended. “We came in ahead of schedule and under budget. I think it turned out really well,” Goyert says.
A Walking Trail Partnership
Bill and Lenore Malin are committed to fitness through a different lens—establishing a roadside trails program at Keowee Key. The two ran a commercial building company together until 2005. “We did a lot of embassy work, a lot of restaurant work, just a very varied construction enterprise. Lenore handled the administrative piece and the office, I handled the rest of the ballgame. We worked as a team,” Bill says.
For almost five years, the Malins pushed to get the ROADS and Southside Walking Trail Project program off the ground. When financial support came to fruition, the two got to work as co-chairs, along with a supportive team.
“The community response to the walking trails has been really positive,” Bill says, adding that older residents in particular have benefited from the trails’ accessibility. “The use of the trail is far in excess of what we expected. There are a lot of dog walkers; it’s really crowded.”
In addition to their involvement with the roadside trails program, Bill and Lenore have hobbies of their own. “When I came down here, Bill bought lessons with a local potter for me as a Christmas gift. Now I have my own studio with a kiln and spray set-up for glazing. We do one or two sales a year within Keowee Key. I do the pottery, and Bill makes beautiful wooden trays,” Lenore says. “We love this community, and we’re very happy to be able to contribute something lasting to it. It raises our spirits and makes us smile every time we go out and see someone on the trail.”
Longtime Miami residents Stuart and Nancy Iliffe wound up at the Florida community of the Villages of Citrus Hills through a slip of fate—and now they’re living the dream.
“It was an accident, believe it or not,” Nancy says, laughing. “We never expected to retire. We lived in Miami—we’ve been married for 37 years—and we never even thought about retiring. It’s so hectic there, we were so busy … then we took a trip with another couple to Disney World. Our kids were gone—we thought, let’s go and enjoy it ourselves.”
Close to Home But Worlds Apart
While they were at Disney, the other couple suggested that the Iliffes join them for lunch at a nearby community, where the husband’s sister was planning to move. The Iliffes agreed. “When we looked at the numbers, and what the difference was going to be in our living expenses, we thought—wow, we could retire right now.”
Back home, the Iliffes were doing some online research, and came upon the Villages of Citrus Hills. “We decided to come and have a look. As we were driving in, we said, ‘We’re not buying, we’re not buying, we’re not buying. It’s just a look-see,” Nancy says. “Well, we drove out with a lot.”
Nancy knew her way around Florida real estate—she’d been a real estate agent for over 40 years. She wasn’t easy to impress, but the Villages of Citrus Hills managed to do just that. “The minute we drove in, those big magnolia trees and the hills … it’s a beautifully designed property,” she says. “I’ve worked with developers for years, and I’m very familiar with construction and property sales. We were able to get exactly what we wanted. We went to a model, liked it very much, took the design home to our own architect, and made little tweaks and changes. For a price, we able to retire comfortably.”
Must Have Golf
Nancy’s husband, Stuart, was in the golf business, and it had become a hobby as well as a profession. “He was the distributor for Titleist for South America, the Caribbean, and Mexico for many years,” Nancy says. “He’s a good golfer, and it’s important to him.” The two wanted to retire in a place where they weren’t going to have to sacrifice their lifestyle, and knew that they couldn’t afford to do that in Miami. At Citrus Hills, however, they could live the retirement of their dreams.
“We just joined the club here, with a full membership. My husband is playing golf three days a week. He’s played everywhere, even in the U.S. Senior Amateur twice, and he says this is a really nice facility,” Nancy says. “We can’t be happier with what we’ve done.”
The Pace at Citrus Hills
Retirement definitely hasn’t slowed the Iliffes down. “We’re always busy with something. Tonight we have Trivial Pursuit with friends,” Nancy says. “I’m playing golf, which I haven’t done in years—I’m playing nine holes with three girls in our neighborhood, which I love. I’m picking up bridge again, which I really like. And I just joined the Newcomers Club—in June, I’m going on a beginners’ kayaking trip on the Rainbow River.”
Citrus Hills‘ sense of community has also made a big impression on the couple.
“We’re all transplanted from somewhere else, and everyone on our street is so welcoming. We’re like family already, and we’ve only been here permanently for six months,” says Nancy, who loves to entertain and recently hosted a dinner party for 16 at the couple’s Citrus Hills home. “We’re really overwhelmed with it — it’s so enjoyable.”
To many it is a sanctuary, the most wonderfully versatile piece of recreational equipment ever conceived. A thing that allows you to close your eyes and connect to the ancient swells and rhythms of the sea. A thing that can silently transport you to secret coves and unimaginably beautiful places. A thing that allows you to work as hard as you’ve ever worked and race 32 miles out to Catalina Island in the sport’s iconic championship. Or express your inner “devotional warrior” on your floating yoga mat … your paddleboard. While every long pull on the paddle carries you farther and farther away from the stress of the day.
Jump on Board
Sound inviting? Then seek out a place near you to learn to paddleboard and you’ll begin to understand the enriching hold of the fastest growing water sport in the world and an elixir for those in their silver years…both from a fitness standpoint and an aesthetic one.
Tom Lawn got hooked on paddleboarding as a newcomer five years ago when he bravely decided to paddle out to a shrimp boat trawling just off the tip of the North Carolina coast where he was unexpectedly adopted by a pod of some 80 dolphins following the boat for free snacks. So close Tom could touch them, the pod let him paddle along for a mile or so. And then the board had him.
At 66, Tom is a fixture at St. James Plantation, a 6,000-acre planned community of beautiful coastal landscape in Southport, NC, where he is unmistakable driving the mint condition, aqua blue Dodge van he and his wife Sue bought new in 1977. His paddleboards ride on top of the van, surfboard inside, with the couple’s Llewellin Setter, Esker, calling shotgun.
According to Tom, “Paddleboarding is so many things. It can be spiritual while paddling alone through the pristine backwaters of the bay. Or just family time, with Esker perched on the nose of the board and Sue paddling beside in her kayak.”
Sometimes Jenna Chenevert and Susan Goodwin will just sit down on their paddleboards and eat the lunch they packed earlier back home. Neighbors at Eastman, a welcoming four-seasons community in New Hampshire, the two thrive on the fitness and aesthetic benefits of paddleboarding on the community’s miles-long lake, and all around New England.
Jenna shares that, “It’s amazing how much stand up paddling exercises your core and legs, plus it requires excellent posture. But for seniors, perhaps the biggest benefit is how it enhances your balance abilities.”
Susan particularly embraces the natural beauty that comes with the activity. “I love paddling through the early morning fog on our lake, or for 30-mile stretches on the Connecticut River, where the fall foliage reflected in the water is just stunningly beautiful.”
A Little History
Today’s paddleboarders carry on a legacy that some suggest dates back 3,000 years to Peruvian fisherman who paddled reed boats out past the surf break, then stood up and surfed the fully stocked boat back home. But the earliest actual evidence shows a Polynesian paddleboarder heading out to greet Captain James Cook off Hawaii’s Kona coast in a famous engraving dating back to 1779. It would be his ancestors who brought paddleboarding to light two centuries later on the north shore of Oahu.
You will want to do a lot of research before buying a paddleboard, but generally you’ll be looking at a board that’s 10-12’ long and costs between $500-1,500. A lighter graphite paddle will be worth the investment to your hands and arms on long rides. Make certain, also, that the weight of the board (generally 24-30 pounds) is manageable and that you’re able to lift the board, or comfortably load it on a car rack for transport. There are even inflatable paddle boards that are lighter and easier to manage.
So, if the idea of enhancing your physical and spiritual health, while meeting new friends sounds inviting, just look for the mint condition, aqua blue van and say hi to the explorative new world of paddleboarding!
This 3,600 acre lakeside community is tucked in the Upper Connecticut River Valley in the Dartmouth-Lake Sunapee Region. Two hours north of Boston and minutes from Lake Sunapee, New London, Lebanon and Hanover, residents have easy access to medical facilities, employment, educational opportunities and a multitude of cultural venues.
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