I’ve managed to conquer yet another mini-milestone in the form of a birthday.  Looking back, I remember my father hitting various points in life as he aged, and I can state without any doubt whatsoever that I view those happenings much differently today than in years past.

Yesterday, my ten-year-old daughter quizzically shouted, “Wow Dad, you’re really old!”

“Compared to you I’m ancient, but much younger than Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck.”

My wife Marea ignores my attained age and instead is planning for a small group of us to have dinner at an upscale restaurant Monday night.  I thought since it’s my birthday, we could stay home, have a BBQ and maybe watch the presidential debate and some football.

My request was simply ignored and I will be going out to dinner.

I also have a trifling issue with gifts.  Unlike Marea, who will drop hints about gifts she would like to receive, I unequivocally stress my desire for a gift-less birthday.

My gift list is quite basic: a healthy loving family.

What are my expectations?

Taylor will probably make me a present I’ll cherish forever; Marea will pick me up some new clothes I don’t need; and my sons will buy me golf balls that will vanish a few weeks from now.

I shared a better idea. “You should pool your gift dollars, buy me one share of the SPDR Dow Jones Industrial Average ETF (DIA) every year, and we’ll watch it grow over time.


Another battle lost.

When thinking of milestones, my parents really only had one retirement landmark date, and that was at age 65.  My father retired from Raytheon (where he worked his entire married life), filed for original Medicare (Parts A and B), and signed up for full Social Security benefits. Raytheon also provided them with a pension and a high end supplemental insurance policy that also included prescription drug coverage.


In our complex world, we have a variety of important dates to ponder.

Age 50:

  • AARP membership
  • Auto insurers begin to offer insurance discounts
  • Sweat glands shrink leading to a reduction in sweat
  • Note that $300,000 in retirement savings with additions of $12,000 annually,
    growing at 6% will generate $1,166,670 at age 67

Age 59 1/2:

  • IRA assets may be withdrawn without penalty but there will be tax consequences
  • The brain loses 50,000 neurons per day

Age 60:

  • Theatre discounts
  • Experience fewer colds
  • Note that $600,000 in retirement savings with additions of $12,000 annually, growing at 6% will generate $1,008,948 at age 67

Age 62:

  • Earliest age to file for Social Security benefits
    • Payments will be reduced by some 25% of full benefit amount
    • Likely to also negatively impact survivor benefits

Age 65:

  • Eligible for Medicare benefits
  • A 50% reduction in taste buds
  • One in three seniors experience hearing loss

Age 66 or 67:

  • Qualify for full Social Security benefits
  • An affluent 66-year old couple may earn $47,940 annually in Social Security payments
    leading to a total of $1,728,237 in gross lifetime benefits

    • Average American couple currently earns $26,112 annually in benefits

Age 70:

  • Eligible for maximum Social Security benefits
  • Seniors are generally happier than the rest of us

(For more info on how we change with age as highlighted above, see “Aging Carefully: 9 Things That Happen to Your Body (Some Aren’t So Bad!)” at


Life is undeniably more complicated nowadays, but if we take the time to plan for the future, everything will fall into place for the person you see in the mirror.  Just wondering, do you picture yourself as that person you observe in the mirror every day?

As far as my big day is concerned, I’ll have dinner with family and a couple of good friends. Plus, next weekend I’ll probably be wearing a new golf shirt and have a pocket full of new golf balls.

And finally, according to HistoryNet, Senator Kennedy and Vice President Nixon participated in the nation’s first televised debate on September 26, 1960.