West Palm or Bust

Top-down cruising in West Palm Beach

My wife and I purchased a condo in Palm Beach, FL in 2017. It started as a family vacation home but has quickly turned into our likely place for retirement.

While she hails from Virginia and I was born and raised in Maryland, we have lived and raised our family in the Syracuse, NY area for over 25 years. That equates to 25 mostly brutal winters. We have both had enough.

Yes, Florida is becoming passe as a retirement destination and the state has its fair share of challenges including oppressive summer heat and the occasional hurricane, but in the year and a half that we’ve been traveling there, we have fallen in love with the Palm Beach and West Palm Beach areas. And anytime you actually close on a property 1 day from hurricane landfall when everyone is evacuating and everything still turns out fine, you know that the strength of your dream is forged in fire.

Public art in downtown West Palm Beach, FL

One of the reasons we have fallen in love with the place is the ample public art and murals that bring the town alive and pop with visual stimulation. It forces you to stop in your tracks, gaze, and contemplate.

Angela blends her beauty with the beauty of urban art.

West Palm Beach and adjacent towns like Lake Worth offer a variety of urban art, murals and sculptures. Mix it with great restaurants, mild weather, gorgeous beaches, and a vibrant cultural scene and you have the makings of our version of a dream retirement destination.

Clematis Street – downtown West Palm Beach

Our most recent visit offered an opportunity for us to give the place an “empty nest” spin. With the eldest daughter out on her own and the youngest living on campus, we were able to give our future a dry run. It was an extended weekend of discovery. New places to dine, new beaches to visit and there is always art right around the corner.

Winter in the northeast can be such a life-less time of year, especially for a child of the south, and each subsequent winter drives me deeper into seasonal depression. South Florida’s mild temperatures, blooming vegetation, and swaying palm trees seem to be the perfect remedy for us.

Future Self

Photo by Lisa Mathews

Do me a favor. Close your eyes and think of your future self. Are your eyes closed? Good. Visualize yourself at 57, 62, 65 or even 70 years of age. What are you doing? Where are you living? Specifically, how do you spend your days? Walks on the beach? Enjoying hobbies? Are you living your best life? Are you retired or still working? Now think about whether or not you have the resources to live life comfortably.

A GoBankingRate.com survey on retirement savings revealed that 42% of survey respondents reported having less than $10,000 saved for retirement, including 13.7% who said they had $0 saved. If you count yourself among them, you have considerable ground to gain if you want to just take care of your basic needs in retirement. The changes that you make today can help you live more comfortably tomorrow.

In this episode of Life in HD podcast, I speak with Vicki R. Brackens, President and Financial Planner at Brackens Financial Solutions Network and registered representative of LPL Financial, member SIPC. Vicki helps us map out some strategies to reduce debt and start saving. We also tackle the common excuses people cite as reasons they can’t save. Take a listen. Your future self with thank you.

Target Audience: people who find themselves behind in saving for retirement.

Focus: establish what you’ll need – understanding the Social Security piece of the pie – reducing debt – eliminating excuses – vehicles that will help you grow your nest egg.

Music – “Pixels” by Drake Stafford under Creative Commons license.

More on Vicki Brackens

Part 2 – Change Your Diet, Save The World

Photo by Catherine Singleton

Americans consume, on average, over 222 pounds of meat per person per year. And that big juicy rib eye steak that we enjoy has an impact on our environment. From deforestation to polluted water to methane-producing livestock, the meat and dairy industry’s impact on the planet is massive and contributes roughly 60% of agriculture’s greenhouse gas emission.

Can adopting a vegan or vegetarian diet or reducing the amount of meat that we consume reduce our impact on the planet? To help me make sense of the connection between the demand and consumption of meat and the increase in greenhouse gasses, I am joined by Robert M Wilson, Associate Professor of Geography at Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. Part one of this episode explored how reducing meat in our diets can produce better health outcomes for our bodies. This episode explores how the same can have better health outcomes for the planet. Thanks for listening.

Music in this episode is Ultraviolet by AA Aalto under creative commons license.

Change Your Diet, Save The World

By Unknown – This image was released by the National Cancer Institute, an agency part of the National Institutes of Health, with the ID 2413

Are you a resister? The kind of person that is resistant to change but you actually want to change that behavior? Well you are in the right place. This season of the Life in HD podcast is devoted to change both big and small.

This is part 1 of a 2 part series on reducing meat consumption for a healthier lifestyle and healthier planet. That’s right, by simply reducing the demand for red meat, you can improve your health outcomes and limit the environmental impact that the meat industry has on our planet.

If you’ve ever considered moving to a more plant-based diet, now would be a good time to make that change. To help us think through it, I chat with Ruth Sullivan a registered dietitian at Syracuse University. She helps us understand the health benefits of a plant-based diet and guides us on the best way to get started if it’s the change we want to make. Then I check in with Karen DeVose, a busy higher education professional on her recent decision to live a meat-less lifestyle. It’s an informative discussion. Just push play on the audio player and absorb the info.

Music in this episode is Ultraviolet by A.A. Aalto under creative commons attribution license.