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Editor's note to Seniors:  How did SeniorArk come to be?

Robert Fassbach, editor www.SeniorArk.com

Graduate: BA - Westminster College (PA), MDiv - Wesley Theological Seminary (Methodist) at the American University, Washington, DC.   Member of Christian denomination: Presbyterian USA

December, 2014

 

"I  entered  retirement  unencumbered  by  the  burdens  of  wealth.

And I suspect that many of you know just what I'm talking about."

Hi, my name is Bob Fassbach. I'm married and live in a small town in Western Pennsylvania. I'm a graduate of Westminster College and Wesley Theological Seminary at the American University in Washington. Birth date: day before Christmas 1942. Most of my working life has been spent selling real estate and managing real estate offices in the Washington, DC area. I voluntarily left the 6 figure job in 1992 to move to the country, slow things down a bit, and try other things. Some time after moving back to Pennsylvania I  bought  a Sears Retail Dealership and operated the business for six years (hundreds of small Sears Stores are privately owned. If there is one in your town--support it. Those independents really work hard for any return.) The fat 401K sank into the quicksand of that disappointing business, and the IRA was spent on private health insurance for 12 years. A lifetime of savings was gone. One either gets creative in such circumstances, or sinks into despair. I experienced both during two years of four surgeries, including heart bypass, downsizing a home and yard, and struggling with persistent psoriasis and arthritis. My first reactions were the "why me?" ones. How could a guy who has lived a hardworking, decent, life of faith end up like this? I can ask why forever, or accept it, get grateful, and move ahead. I have chosen the latter.

Senior issues have been my total focus since 2005. I have asked, in this SeniorARK website, how YOU have made YOUR resources stretch in retirement. Your responses have been overwhelming, and are showing me, and thousands of others,  how to happily survive a frugal retirement. We have received many letters from readers who have been helped by your sage advice. At a time when many Seniors have seen retirement accounts vaporize, and home prices plummet, you have told us how you survive, even on Social Security alone.

You know, floods happen!!!  Not only in retirement. Not only to Seniors. But to everyone. And the sooner we accept it, the sooner we can begin to rebuild our happiness. Our retirement can be lived in fear, or we can accept the challenges, and turn our circumstance into an adventure. Yes I really mean an adventure - - - my second main point!  We have one shot at Senior years, and we will not live them in fear or anxiety. Now, we don't have to like the difficulties. There is a difference between liking and accepting. And there are other people, institutions, and hopefully this Senior website, that will help us to accept, and then embark on a fearless "Senior-years-adventure". If we don't accept, and  move on as an adventure, we are probably committed to our own Senior unhappiness. In many respects, I think much of life in any circumstance is a matter of attitude. Change our attitude, and we can change our level of happiness. Change our attitude, and we can turn a flood into an adventure!!!  A Senior retirement adventure!!  Life may not be the party we hoped for, but while we're here we should dance. 

About thirty years ago I was in Bethesda, Maryland in the living room of my friends Tony and Jane Smith. Tony was telling me that he had spoken that morning with a buddy in Philadelphia who was near death from a brain tumor. That buddy  was telling Tony how grateful he was for this day. I snapped back, "Grateful for what, he's dying?" "Well," Tony said. "He told me he saw the sunrise this morning, he has the love of his wife and friends, and the eternal hope that comes from his faith in a higher power. He has no time to think about brain tumors. All he had was today, and he wanted to live it to the fullest."  I must have gotten a glazed-over look when I said, "Wow Tony, I don't think I could accept my death that easily."  Tony gave me a look that came from 75 years, or so,  of personal growth and said, "Well Bob, today you don't have to."  Tony's friend was in the midst of an adventure, and at the same time in the midst of a tragedy. Just for TODAY, Seniors, we can decide to look past whatever is going on, and see the sunrise. Our happiness today may depend upon it.

The SeniorARK is not only for those who are rebuilding from a flood, but for everyone who wants to maximize their circumstance in retirement. For those who want to be so filled with adventure and gratitude that there is no room left for dwelling on the negative, even if there is plenty of it to dwell on. It is my intention to build this website into a one-stop opportunity for Seniors and retirees to do just that. Will you help?

AARP can be a good source for Seniors, and I am a member. But how can we accept advice about something like Senior insurance while that same organization is trying to sell it to us? The SeniorARK website isn't selling or charging for anything. We will be a strong advocate for you because we are not beholden to anyone. SeniorARK does have expenses, but we'll figure that out later. Some sponsors or ads for our site might be needed to help pay the expenses in the future. Maybe only donations. Just another SeniorARK adventure! 

And we can't wait for the government to make our retirement a success. Politicians whose primary goal in life is to get reelected, blow with the wind. Senior happiness cannot blow with the wind. And I'm through waiting for the tooth fairy. I've lost all the teeth I can spare.

So let's tell each other how WE Seniors do it. I know you have the answers. You may not even realize you have the answers until you think about it. You are doing something that seems so natural to you that it doesn't seem unique. But other Seniors haven't figured it out yet. And it is making a small, or even a large difference in the quality of your retirement. E-mail us with your story, your tips, your links, and we will pass them on to other Seniors on this site.

Thanks for listening to the ramblings of a frustrated would-be minister who went into business instead. Let's have some fun with this SeniorARK website together, and as Seniors in the midst of an adventure, minister to each other.    

Have a Happy, Healthy, Blessed Month,                                                    

Bob Fassbach                                          

Contact Bob at seniorark@aol.com 

P.S. Up until this point, since December of 2005, SeniorARK has intentionally not generated one cent in revenue. But now, to maintain and improve our service to Seniors, we need a special kind of sponsor. You may know someone like this. Please read.

Please read our  Home - Introduction - Bulletin Board  to see more of what we can do for you.  

And if you are trying to put together a frugal retirement, you may want to read especially:

Food tips,   Utilities tips,  Transportation tipsRetirement Housing on Less than a Shoestring

But remember, there are money saving tips in many more of our sections.                                                                                

                                                       

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www.SeniorARK.com                                                    email: SeniorARK@aol.com