The Museum of Life (Editorial, Winter Issue of Museum Magazine, 2006)

Where is your favorite Museum? Do you think of Paris, New York, San Jose or on the road? Do you think of The Louvre or NY-MOMA, the San Jose Museum of Art or the Jack Kerouac Traveling Museum? These are examples of the sublimity and variety of museums in our world. When we add the Exploratorium in San Francisco, The Tech and the Children’s Discovery Museum in San Jose to this mix, the breadth of the diversity is even greater.

How do you act at a museum? Do you walk around and revel in the silent beauty? Do you go to learn about innovative ways to look at and think about things? Do you like to touch exhibits and becomes part of the experience for others? Just as there are many ways that we know the museums we have walked through, we can also see “the museum” as a metaphor for life.

We, here at Museum Magazine, challenge you to look around yourself at any time of the day or night, in any circumstances, and take in your total environment as your own personal living, breathing museum of which you are the curator. This is not a dusty place of collected artifacts that only had meaning in some distant past. This is what a museum can be – action now based on vibrant memories of the past creating a vision for the future.

What do you have in your museum?

Salle Hayden, Editor


Playing Catch-Up at 60 (Article, Over 50 Magazine, Spring 2007)

Oops, I dropped my IRA ball at 35 and now I can’t find it in the tall outfield grass

You are getting near retirement, and feeling giddy with excitement that soon you can leave that desk behind. Then you sit down with the old calculator and a black pen and a red pen to figure out how you are going to pay for your yearly trip to Hawaii. “Uh-oh! Maybe we will take a yearly vacation in the backyard. Or maybe I will just have to work another year – or ten – to support the lifestyle we hope to lead, Honey.”

Well, there is good news and there is bad news. Which would you like to hear first? Let’s start with some good news.

Fact:  In 1974, Congress established the Individual Retirement Account (IRA) system. From 1981, this system has allowed a worker to have an account in addition to Social Security and/or whatever retirement plan is sponsored by the employer. Many employers actually make a contribution toward this account in addition to what the worker deposits.

Your account can be a simply designated IRA savings account in a local bank or credit union, a mutual find, stock investments or a self-directed IRA.

Investing in an IRA can also be an advantage for people right now. Deductions can be taken from your taxes. There are limits as to how much you can contribute each year, but these limits change according to your income and your age.

IRAs are available to anyone, regardless of income.

Now, for the bad news.

If you are nearing or already 60 years old, a traditional IRA will never catch you up to what you could have had if you had started in your 20s. If you had put aside $100 per month for only two years, say from age 25 through 27, by the time you reached 48 years old you would have had approximately $150,000 and now more than a quarter of a million dollars in that IRA.

Now, however, you are making more money than you were when you were in your twenties. If you can start by setting aside $500 each month, it will only seem like a hardship the first few months. If you do not see it, you will not miss it. By the end of the two years (from 60 to 62 years old) of making contributions to your plan, your $12,000 direct deposit will have grown. Leave it there and let the money continue to grow for another 5 to 7 years, and you’ll have an additional $24,000 to $26,000 nest egg to fall back on. This will happen even if you do not make any further contributions. If you continue to contribute, it will only get larger. Additionally, because you are working and earning income, this deduction for your IRA will save you taxes now, and later, when you are drawing on it, save you taxes then too. In a traditional IRA, this is about as good as it gets.

There is another way to score points in this game. The self-directed IRA – using real estate investments to build wealth – is a way to grow funds more quickly for those who are starting later and feel uncomfortable with the stock market. If you are the type of person who wants short term, high rates of return and investments secured with real estate then the self-directed IRA may be just the way to go. You can buy non-traditional IRA investments such as real estate: rental property, commercial property, and/or real estate notes.

But you have to be very careful investing with a self-directed IRA. That’s where the Golden Crest Wealth Management team comes in. We have an experienced team ready to take the field and guide you so you will not make errors in this serious game of preparing for your future. Michael Sims of Gold Crest Wealth Management has the experience and the game plan to coach you.

Well, it seems that there is not bad news here, just a delay in getting the good news to you. And don’t worry. You’re in good company. It seems that nearly half the Boomers have made inadequate plans for retirement, so you may be better off than most.

Take a deep breath and just do it, today!

©Salle Hayden, Feb 2007

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