8. I worry about my dad's health—and the fact that he doesn't.
What we resist persists: When people are pushed, they almost always push back. The more you try to talk your dad into minding his health, the more he'll be able to ignore his physical symptoms and focus on pushing back against your "interference." Instead of nagging him or pointedly substituting steamed fish for steak, take excellent care of your own health and accept him without judgment—or accommodation. In other words, don't coddle him by holding back on normal activities. Let him experience the natural consequences of ignoring his health (breathlessness while playing with the grandkids, trouble concentrating during family poker games) so that he, not you, will be the one who decides he needs to be more conscientious. — Martha Beck, PHD
(Beck is a life coach, author, and O columnist.)
9. I'm afraid my retirement home is going to be a cardboard box. How do I keep from becoming a bag lady?
That's a common fear: In a 2006 survey, nearly half the women respondents said they've imagined ending up homeless.
Concentrate on saving as much as possible for retirement. If you're 30 years old and you invest $250 a month for the next 35 years with an annual average return of approximately 8 percent, you'll have more than $575,000 by the time you're 65. Sock away $500 a month and you'll have $1.15 million. If you're 45 and can put away $250, in 20 years you'll have about $150,000; $500 a month will yield nearly $300,000. No procrastinating and no running up big credit card bills. If you are over 45 and own a home, aim to have the mortgage paid off before you retire. If anyone tells you you'll lose the mortgage interest deduction, set them straight: That deduction is most valuable in the early years of the loan. And in retirement, because you'll have total equity in the home, you can generate income to live on by doing a reverse mortgage (a loan that the lender pays you, based on the equity you have in your home, to be repaid only upon moving or death). To accelerate your mortgage payments, scale back your 401(k) investing so it is just enough to get the maximum company match. — Suze Orman
(Orman is O's financial columnist.)
10. I don't have enough money to travel! I'm afraid I'll never see French Polynesia, China, and other places I dream of.
Waiting to have enough money will keep you securely ensconced at home. Consider the wonders of America that can be yours for a weekend and the price of a tank of gas (expensive, yes, but still cheaper than plane tickets). Tourists come from all over the globe to see our national treasures, but how many New Yorkers don't personally know the beauty of the historic Hudson Valley? How many Seattleites have never visited the Walla Walla wine region? How many folks in Dallas have yet to two-step their way through the old-time dance halls of Texas's Hill Country?
If you're still hungry for something exotic, you can find that frisson of foreign travel right here in North America. You can hear Cajun spoken in southern Louisiana, and French in the historic neighborhoods of Old Montreal and Old Quebec. The past is very much alive in the Gaelic culture of Nova Scotia and in the Amish communities of Indiana, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.
But don't give up your dream of a larger trip. Make a plan, and make it happen. Commit to a specific departure date, and put aside money regularly. Time passes quickly; better to spend it looking forward to your trip than allowing regrets to build. — Patricia Schultz
(Schultz is the author of 1,000 Places to See in the USA and Canada Before You Die [Workman].)
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