Developing Creativity in Retirement: Episode 128

developing creativityI brought Karen Poirer-Brode on the show to not only talk about scrapbooking, but about developing creativity. After retirement, Karen launched a podcast called A Creative Approach Podcast. She shares stories of people who used creativity to their own advantage and worked through challenges with a creative approach. Karen loves storytelling and uses it as an art and way to connect. In addition, Karen also has a blog called Karen’s Corner of The Web. She also spends time volunteering and working as a Scrapbooker.

On Today’s Show we discuss:

  • Karen’s love for scrapbooking, art and photography
  • The spiritual impact of art
  • Scrapbook crops
  • Developing creativity 
  • Family memories around crafting activities
  • How scrapbooking relates to the 6 pillars of retirement

Developing creativity through scrapbooking

Scrapbooking is Karen's way of making stories. She does digital scrapbooking and traditional scrapbooking. Karen's teacher discouraged her from art when she was little and she wouldn't discover that she has a passion for art if it weren't for scrapbooking. Scrapbooking is one of the ways in developing creativity. You can take a photo and tell stories about it in fun ways.

Karen also gives scrapbooks to her family and friends occasionally. There are also groups in scrapbooking and Karen belongs to the creative department. People from different parts of the world get together via webinar and they make scrapbooks together. What a great way to make friends! In addition, you may use scrapbooking to document your travels so you remember the happy memories you experienced.

Scrapbooking is a fun thing to do with your grandkids and a way to connect

Karen shares a story about her childhood and what her mom used to do. Do you remember when you were little and it was raining outside so you had to stay in? Her mom would take out pictures and they would tell stories about them. Karen says it is a great way to have fun with your children and grandchildren even today!

What is a scrapbook crop?

These are events where two or more scrapbookers gather to work in a social circle on their books, cards or other projects. It came from the word “Crop” which means cutting out a part of a picture. They bring all their paper and embellishments. Others bring their digital crops. They bring their laptops and they make scrapbooks together.

Karen Poirer Brode was born in the Canadian Prairie. She lived in Canada until she finished medical school in Montreal. She then became a physician, specializing in OBGYN. After marrying and having a family, she moved to California, where she is today.

One of the websites that offer digital scrapbooking is Get it Scrapped

Connect with Karen



Do you have any ideas for developing creativity? What hobbies mean the most to you? Feel free to share in the comments below

What is a house sitting service?: Episode 120

house sittingHave you ever heard of House Sitting?

My husband and I have a running argument about traveling. I want to travel more. He's concerned about the cost of getting care for our two rescue dogs, Izzy and Winky, and my Moluccan cockatoo Mr. Grant. And it's not just the cost. It's the upheaval that the animals have to go through when we leave. So when I found out about these house sitting websites that are out there, I HAD to dig deeper and learn more.

What is a House Sitting service?

House sitting is the practice whereby a person leaving their house for a period of time entrusts it to one or more “house-sitters”, who by a mutual agreement are entitled to live or stay there temporarily. Either in paid positions or rent-free, in exchange for assuming any combination of responsibilities, such as taking care of the homeowner's pets, performing general maintenance (including pools, lawns, air-conditioning systems etc.), keeping trespassers off the property, readdressing the mail, and in general, making sure that everything runs smoothly just as if the owner was at home. It is reasonably assumed that pet-care is typically a paid service, although some “house sitters” may choose to include this as part of their agreement at no cost or a nominal fee. [1]

I found two people who use house sitting services regularly

The first person I spoke with was Jo Ann Schneider or Josie for short. Josie and her husband have been all over the world! They have been able to travel to places that others only dream about because of the costs. She and her husband are retired, and they receive Social Security among their other ongoing payments. But for most people on a fixed budget, traveling around the world might not be an option. How did they do it? They used house sitting matching services. Josie and her husband had been staying in bed and breakfasts when they found out about house sitting.

“In 2008, we were in Australia and we were staying in bed and breakfasts. I had a book of bed and breakfasts in Australia, and we would look in the book to find a place to stay in a town we were headed towards. In Alice Springs, in the red center of Australia, we booked a bed and breakfast, and we got there and our hostess said, “I'm not the homeowner here. I don't own this place. I'm just house-sitting for them.

We looked at each other and looked at her, and we were very confused. And she explained how you meet up with home owners on websites and that you can go and stay in someone else's home while they're on vacation, and it's an exchange that no money changes hands. It's free to the traveler, and the home owner gets peace of mind knowing that their home and often their pets are looked after.”

Their first house sitting experience was for a young couple in Copenhagen and they stayed in their home for 6 weeks while the couple traveled. However, when I interviewed Josie, they had just returned from an 8 month, around the world, house sitting experience!. They started in Helsinki, worked their way down through Scandinavia, UK, seven countries in Europe, Singapore and Australia, and then back to the US where they live.

I asked Josie how she was able to do this and get the trip scheduled in advance

“We kept adding on. It's logistically impossible to have them all scheduled or committed to beforehand. In an eight-month time period, the people eight months out were not posting their need for house sitters yet. So yes, we had to do it as we went along.”

Not only does the house sitter get to stay for free, but you get to have amazing experiences

“They're all unique and very, very different from staying in a hotel in that you have neighbors, and the homeowners often introduce us to the neighbors. What that gives us is a real look into the local culture. We share dinners, we talk about politics, culture, taxes, and the quirks of the area. It has allowed us to really immerse in a culture that's quite impossible when you stay in a hotel. Our neighbors have taken us on little road trips in the area or hiking, shopping.”

Logistically what happens is the homeowner posts on one of the matching services what they are looking for. The dates of the trip are listed, along with the animals and other details of the assistance that's needed. Once it's posted people apply to the house sitting position. The first time Josie applied for a house sit, the homeowner got over 100 applications!. What made her decide on Josie and her husband? The letter of introduction is what gave her the edge. Now, of course, she still went through an interview process of sorts, but it was really the letter that got her noticed. Josie teaches people how to write their introduction letter on her blog, housesittingtravel.com. She also gives other tips and tricks to traveling such as how to accumulate frequent flyer miles.

But what about the other side? Having people stay in your home?

To get that perspective, I talked with Chris Román. I asked Chris what interested her in exchanging homes?

“When my kids were young, we didn't have a lot of extra money. I couldn't really bear the thought of all four of us stuck in a hotel room together, throwing away expensive food and meals out. We started trading our home with people around the Western United States, and it worked out great.”

I asked her if she was nervous about someone staying in her home

“I think for me the key to finding great people is always looking for somebody that has a number of glowing reviews. It's sort of like Yelp, you look and you can see there's some people that are new to this. Or maybe don't look like quite your kind of people, but there's lots of people where people can't just say enough good things.”

“Yeah, so I begin by looking for people with lots of great reviews, which gives me confidence. Then I reach out to them through the site. You can actually reach out proactively to people in your area that sound good. Or you can publicize on the site you request, and have people apply.  Once there seems to be mutual interest then I typically Skype with them and we get a sense of each other pretty quickly.”

It can't all be good though, right? I asked Chris what her concerns were

You wonder, “Am I going to hear from these people at all? When I come back is the house going to be a mess?” Honestly, I've had someone come to clean the day after we got home both times and the house didn't even need it. They had stripped their beds, put it all out in the laundry, the house was immaculate.

Chris loves to travel. And now with the ability to have people house sit for free, she's able to get out more. In fact, she's even started a blog called Explore Now or Never. Her blog talks about travel tips and how to get out and see more even if you are afraid. She helps you through all of that.

I have to admit, I am in love with the house-sitting idea. I don't know if we would have tried it if we wouldn't have already stayed at an Air BNB when we went to the Pasadena Rose Bowl Parade. But we are going to give it a try!

If you would like to try it out, the service we decided on is called Trusted Housesitters and, if you use my link at RockYourRetirement.com/Sitters you'll get 20% off and I'll get a couple of free months!

Also, if you would like to learn how to build your house sitting profile so you can prove yourself as trustworthy check out this article How to Best Get Your First Set of References for Your House Sitting Profile

This post about retirement and retirement lifestyle first appeared on http://RockYourRetirement.com 

Creating your own adventure in retirement: Ep. 119

Jim Palmer talks about crating adventure in retirement

Have you thought about creating your own Adventure in Retirement?

This podcast episode falls under the 2nd pillar, Significant Other (Be adventurous with your spouse), in the Six Pillars of Retirement. Jim Palmer is a marketing and business building expert and in-demand coach. He is the founder of the Dream Biz Academy and Dream Business Coaching and Mastermind Program. Jim is the host of Newsletter Guru TV, the hit weekly Web TV show watched by thousands of entrepreneurs and small business owners and he is also the host Stick Like Glue Radio, a weekly podcast based on Jim’s unique brand of smart marketing and business building strategies.

Jim started thinking about and living his retirement lifestyle before retirement age. Instead of waiting for his retirement, he is living out a dream now while he continues to work. He and his wife sold their house and put the contents in storage. They are currently living on their boat, which is named Floating Home and traveling up and down the east coast. They are enjoying a more simple life.  He has created a dream business where he works with clients only 3 days a week and travels the rest of the time. He hopes to continue working for many years, beyond typical retirement age and says it will be possible because he hasn’t worn himself out with work that is unfulfilling.

It's time for a big adventure in retirement!

It was Jim's wife's idea to live on a boat but it's Jim who is the “boat guy” as he grew up on boats.

When Jim married his wife, they wanted to have their own boat. However, between work, raising four children, and maintaining a home they never had the chance to buy one. Once their children got married and moved on, and Jim's wife Stephanie said she is done with her job, suddenly they were no longer “landlocked.” They spent a few years trying to decide what they would do and where they would live, They did get a small boat which was big enough to sleep on but not that big. Eventually, his wife suggested they live on a boat. Jim's initial thought was “we're gonna need a bigger boat”

Then their adventure in retirement began. They sold their house, found a bigger boat, and moved on April 15th, 2017. They initially agreed to an an18-month plan. First, they went to New England to see their daughter and grandkids. Then they went to Chesapeake Bay which is their home port, and they are going to go to Florida for their first winter.

So, at the time of this interview, they were almost a year into their adventure in retirement. How is it?

They love it so much! Jim feels living on a boat is like an everyday vacation. It's very relaxing and it is just a simple life. They are now talking about a 5-year plan to continue their retirement adventure on their boat.

What is it like living on a boat?

I personally, know very little about boats and tend to think of it as somewhat similar to living in an RV. Jim and Stephanie's boat is 50 feet long and 14.5ft wide. It has 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms. It's a motor yacht with almost 1000 horsepowers. Jim said they don't want to go on a camping in the waters, they want to feel comfortable. They wanted to have separate space if they need it so it isn't too cramped.

We talked about all of the amenities in Jim's boat and the maintenance and repair that goes along with it. It is quite fascinating! An interesting fact is you don't have to have your captain's license. The fact that you own a boat and can drive it means you are a captain. Both he and his wife have taken courses through the Coast Guard. Jim's job is to drive the boat and do maintenance on the boat. His wife's job primarily is the navigator. She took a multi-day day class through the Annapolis School of Seamanship on how to plot your course. Jim says you never stop learning because things that happen out at sea generally happen quickly and unexpectedly. Fortunately, they have never had any major disasters on their boat but Jim does talk about some scary moments.

What has been the best moments so far?

  • Pulling into New York Harbor and seeing the Statue of Liberty from the water on their own boat.
  • Watching their grandkids run down from the dock onto their boat
  • Jim and his wife have become closer. He says that he and his wife out of necessity, have learned to communicate better and work together.

What has been the worst moment so far?

Jim tells us a story about how one of the engines went down near Atlantic City. The boat is rocking really hard which made Jim extremely nauseous and sick. Yet, he still had to go to the front of his boat, catch a line from the Sea Tow boat and attach it to his boat so they could tow them.

“We are very removed from all of the noise that used to be part of our lives”

Jim says he has discovered through their journeys and meeting others who boat, that there is hope for humanity. When they removed themselves from the big city and visited “Small town America”, they met some of the friendliest people. They take care of each other and look out for each other, and people are very friendly and want to talk to you. He said it has sort of restored their faith in humanity. They also really do not watch  TV and they don't miss it at all. They watch the sunrise in the morning and sunset in the evening, that is their reality television.

We also talked about how they learned to live on a boat, how would someone get started if they were interested and how to buy a boa?. For me, I would have no clue where to even begin or how to live on a boat. He said they read a lot of books from people who have done it. Jim has also written 7 books himself and his last book was based a little bit on their boating adventure in retirement.

Sometimes when you are getting ready to do something big, your mind starts playing the “what if game” which can paralyze you with fear.  If you are thinking about something you can think about all the things that can go wrong but what if you have the adventure of a lifetime?

Do you have a story on how you created your own adventure in retirement? We would love to hear it! Post in the comments below.

If you want to check out Jim's Blog on their adventure in retirement, go to http://ourfloatinghome.com/

Jim's Books

Websites Mentioned in the interview:

Finding Meaning and Purpose in Retirement: Episode 117

Firtz Gilbert talks about finding meaning and purpose in retirement

How to Find Meaning and Purpose in Retirement?

Fritz Gilbert is the Founder of The Retirement Manifesto, a personal finance blog focused on helping People Achieve A Great Retirement.  Fritz will be retiring in the summer of 2018 at the age of 55, after 3 decades in Corporate America (most recently as a Commodity Trader).  He and his wife live in a cabin in the Appalachian Mountains of North Georgia, just a few miles from the start of the Appalachian Trail.  They have a 23-year-old daughter who was married last summer and recently moved to Seattle.  After retirement, Fritz and his wife plan on traveling extensively with their 5th Wheel RV, as well as working with local charities and “giving back” to their community.  They are active in a dog rescue charity and have 4 rescue dogs who will be accompanying them during their travels.

All though Fritz does have a personal finance blog, he thinks all of the other things to think about during retirement are even more important than finances. He calls it the softer side of retirement.

Fritz will be officially retiring June 8th of 2018 and both him and his wife are excited.

How Fritz and his wife are preparing for his retirement?

They are having discussions on how will they live their life after Fritz' retires and how they will find purpose in retirement. They come up with some things that both of them needed to decide.

Here are some examples:

  • Develop an interest/hobby:
    • What are we going to do individually?
      • Fritz's wife started to grow an interest in pottery. Turns out she is a good potter. Fritz will join a group that swims 3 times a week.
    • What are we going to do together?
      • They put up a jar with a notepad next to it where each of them put in activities once a week so that they have 2 years worth of weekly activities. They call it their “Wednesday jar”. What comes out of the jar, they do together every Wednesday. I think the Wednesday jar is a great idea!
  • Create a timeline together
    • As his retirement approaches, they have things planned out like healthcare, they also bought an RV because they wanted to explore new places and spend some time traveling. They have also built a list of each state and things they would like to see or do in each state.
  • Build relationships
    • Because they moved into a new area where they don't know anyone, one of the things that they wanted to do is build relationships. They wanted to build networks with their neighbors by, one example, walking their dogs. They met a few people who also walk their dogs. Another way for them to meet new people is through their church.

Be receptive to doing something that gives you passion and purpose in retirement, but don't obligate yourself to do something until you've settled into your new lifestyle.






What are some ideas you have to prepare for and to find purpose in retirement? Share your thoughts and ideas below in the comments

Contact information for Fritz:  Website- http://www.theretirementmanifesto.com/

Websites mentioned in the interview

(Seasonal employment) CoolWorks or Workamper

Rotary Club

Les and Kathe’s Movie Pass Experience: Episode 112

Movie Pass

What is a Movie Pass?

Movie Pass lets you watch a movie for free! You just have to pay $10 per month to get one and you can watch movies every day. Imagine 30 movies in 30 days for only $10!! How awesome is that?


Advantages of Movie Pass:

  • You can watch new release movies
  • You can watch movies every day for free
  • There are no blocked out dates
  • At theaters where advanced seating is available, you can select your seat in advance
  • You'll save tons of $$$

I wouldn't say disadvantages but here are some things you cannot do with your Movie Pass:

  • You cannot watch 2 movies in a day
  • Members can't watch the same movie twice
  • You can't watch 3D movies
  • Tickets can be bought the same day you are going to watch the movie. You cannot buy days ahead.
  • To reserve your seat, you must be 100 feet away from the theatre

Having a Movie Pass lets you save a lot of money that you can use to spend on other things. You can have a movie date every day and still have some extra bucks to spend on dinner or groceries.

Watching a movie is a great stress reliever and it's super fun! However, there are things that you might be doing in the cinema that might be annoying to other people. Here are some examples:
  • Texting – this one is very common. Did you know that the light on your cell phone is distracting?
  • Not putting your phone on silent mode – this one is really annoying. Imagine you're watching a movie and when it's climax, someone's phone is going to ring in maximum volume.
  • Talking loudly – just like not putting your phone on silent mode.

Les and I became interested in Movie Pass when we visited my parents on the East Coast. We went to the cinema and my parents didn't pay for their ticket! And because of this, we thought, why not get a Movie Pass instead of paying $15-20 per person per movie?

We are sharing this experience because it will help you in your Retirement Lifestyle. You will save a lot of cash especially if you're a movie-goer. You can spend it on other things like one of my personal favorites, cruises. If you love gardening you can spend it on fertilizers or seeds!


After buying your Movie Pass in Costco, you need to complete your registration. CLICK HERE for the registration page.

This post about retirement and Retirement Lifestyle first appeared on http://RockYourRetirement.com

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