Mountain Views News     Logo: MVNews     Saturday, January 19, 2013

MVNews this week:  Page 13



 Mountain Views News Saturday, January 19, 2013 


Dear Savvy Senior: Are there any services that you can 
recommend that help pre-retirees decide when to start 
drawing their Social Security benefits? My wife and I are 
still a few years away from retiring but want to carefully 
weigh all our options to make sure we get the most from 
our benefits. 

Approaching Retirement

Dear Approaching:

Deciding when to begin collecting your Social Security 
benefits could be one of the most important retirement-
income decisions you’ll make. The difference 
between a good decision and a poor one could cost you 
tens of thousands of dollars over your retirement, so 
doing your homework and weighing your options now 
is a very smart move.

What to Consider

As you may already know, you can claim Social Security 
any time from age 62 to 70, but the longer you 
wait, the larger your monthly check. However, there 
are many other factors you need to take into account 
to help you make a good decision, like your current 
financial needs, your health and family longevity, 
whether you plan to work in retirement, whether you 
have other retirement income sources, and if you’re 
married, your spouse’s situation. 

You also need to understand the dizzying array of rules 
that can affect your Social Security benefits, and factor 
in the various strategies that can increase your benefits 
if you’re married, divorced or widowed. 

To help you compare all your options, there are a number 
of online tools and services that have sprung up 
in recent years that can help you make an informed 

Online Tools

To get started, your first step is to go to the Social Security 
Statement web page ( 
and get your personalized statement that 
estimates what your retirement benefits will be at age 
62, full retirement age (currently 66) or when you turn 
70. These estimates are based on your yearly earnings 
that are also listed on your report. 

Once you get your estimates for both you and your 
wife, there are several online tools you can turn to that 
can crunch hundreds of calculations to compare your 
benefits under various scenarios and different ages to 
help you figure out your optimum claiming strategy. 

Two free sites are Analyze Now ( 
which offers a robust decision-making tool called the 
“Strategic Social Security Planner,” but requires Microsoft 
Excel to use it. And AARP’s Social Security Benefits 
Calculator (, which 
is a less sophisticated tool but very easy to use. 

Or, if you don’t mind spending a little money, there 
are higher-level services like Social Security Choices 
( which provides a comprehensive 
customized report for only $30 to help single, 
married or widowed pre-retirees identify their best 
claiming strategy. Or Maximize My Social Security 
(, which charges $40 
for their report, and takes into account the thousands 
of different factors and combinations to help you maximize 
your benefits. 

Personalized Advice

If, however, you want or need more help, there are specialized 
firms and financial advisors that can advise 
you for a fee. 

One of the best is Social Security Solutions (socialsecuritysolutions.
com, 866-762-7526), which offers several 
levels of service including their “Premier Plus” 
plan that runs multiple calculations and comparisons, 
recommends a best course of action in a detailed report, 
and gives you a one-on-one session with a Social 
Security specialist over the phone to discuss the report 
and ask questions. The fee for this service is $125. 

Premier Social Security Consulting (premiersocialsecurityconsulting.
com, 800-518-0761) is another option 
that offers several consulting packages, ranging 
from $75 to $295. 

Or, you can get help through a fee-only financial adviser 
who specializes in Social Security analysis and 
charges on an hourly basis. To find someone use the 
Garrett Planning Network (garrettplanningnetwork.
com, 866-260-8400), which offers the services of 300 
independent advisers nationwide. The cost for a Garrett 
advisor ranges between $150 and $300 per hour. 

Send your senior questions to: Savvy Senior, P.O. Box 5443, 
Norman, OK 73070, or visit Jim Miller is a 
contributor to the NBC Today show and author of “The Savvy 
Senior” book.


By Pat Birdsall

FYI: “Slowly, She’s Getting Up.”


Pat Birdsall, who normally writes this section of the paper, underwent hip replacement surgery 
on Wednesday. I am happy to say that she is doing well and we hope she’ll be back in front of the 
computer real soon. If you wish to send her greetings, email her at:

In the meantime, she’d like to remind you to stay fit! Take advantage of the fitness programs available 
for free at the Sierra Madre Senior Center:

 On Wednesday, from 11:00 to11:45 am, Teryl Willis offers Chair Yoga. She focuses on senior 
yoga techniques that are geared toward gentle movements, breathing techniques and balance 
improvement. Hmmm? On Friday, longtime volunteer, Lisa Brandley, conducts a free Strength 
Training class from 1:00 to 1:45 pm. The class utilizes light weights (supplied), for low-impact 
resistance training. No excuses, right?

 I need to give my guardian angel a well-deserved rest…as it is, he or she is now sporting double-
strength support hose and has put in ads in the Penny Saver for several stand-by angels. Wish me well!


HELPFUL HINT: After boiling Pasta or potatoes, cool the water and use it to water your 
houseplants. The water contains nutrients that your plants will love. 



This is a true account as recorded in the Police Log of Sarasota, Florida. An elderly lady did her 
shopping and upon returning to her car, found four males in the act of leaving with her vehicle. She 
dropped her shopping bags and drew her handgun, proceeding to scream at the top of her voice, 
“I have a gun and I know how to use it! Get out of the car!” The four men didn’t wait for a second 
invitation. They got out and ran like mad. The lady, somewhat shaken, then proceeded to load her 
shopping bags into the car and got in the driver’s seat. She was so shaken that she could not get her 
key into the ignition. She tried and tried and then it dawned on her why. For the same reason she did 
not understand why there was a football, a Frisbee and two 12 packs of beer in the front seat! A few 
minutes later, she found her own car parked four or five spaces farther down. She loaded her bags 
into the car and drove to the police station to report her mistake. The sergeant to whom she told her 
story couldn’t stop laughing. He pointed to the other end of the counter where four pale men were 
reporting a carjacking by a mad, elderly woman carrying a large handgun. No charges were filed. If 
you’re going to have a senior moment, make it memorable!

 ~ ~ ~ 

 Did you hear about the scientists who crossed a sheep with a porcupine? They got an animal that 
knits its own sweaters. (Groaning is recommended) 



HAPPY BIRTHDAY! … January Birthdays…

Mary Tassop, Judy Webb-Martin, Mary Bickel, Marlene Enmark, Ross Kellock, Ruth Wolter, 
Sue Watanbe, Sandy Thistlewaite, Bobbi Rahmanian, Fran Syverson, Shirley Wolff, Judy 
Zaretzka and Becky Evans. *To add your name to this distinguished list, please call the paper 
at 626.355.2737. YEAR of birth not required.


Quote of the Week: If you cannot be a poet, be the poem. ~ David Carradine


ACTIVITIES: Unless listed differently, all activities are at the Hart Park House 
(Senior Center) 222 W. Sierra Madre Blvd., Sierra Madre

YMCA San Gabriel Valley Intervale Senior Café: Monday-Friday at 12:00 Noon

(Participants are urged to arrive no later than 11:45 A.M.) 

All seniors 60 and up can take part in the lunch program. There is a suggested donation of $2.00 
for those 60 and over and $3.75 for non-senior guests. Daily reservations are necessary as space is 
limited. Please call 24 hours in advance...626.355.0256


 Free Blood Pressure Testing: On the 2nd Tuesday of the month 11:00 am-12:00 pm: A nurse from 
Methodist Hospital, Arcadia volunteers to do the readings. No appointment necessary.


Bingo: Every Tuesday afternoon from 1:00 pm- 3:00 pm Cards are only .25c each! 

Free Chair Yoga: Every Wednesday morning from 11:00 am-11:45 am Volunteer Teryl Willis offers 
this class that focuses on senior yoga techniques. It is geared toward gentle movements, breathing 
techniques and balance improvement. No reservations are necessary.

Free Legal Consultation: Pasadena attorney Geoffrey Chin volunteers on the 2nd Wednesday of the

month. He focuses on estate planning, trusts, wills, probate, conservatorships and business law. 
*Appointments are a must! Please call: 626.355.7394 to make yours* Conflicting court schedules can 

 occasionally cause cancellations.

Birthday Celebrations: The 2nd Thursday of the month the Senior Center celebrates the birthdays of 
our patrons at 12:30 pm. Please join us for free cake and ice cream and “celebration.” (The cakes are 
provided due to a generous donation from the Sierra Madre Civic Club.)

Game Day: Every Thursday at 1:00pm. Poker is usually the game of choice, or should I say chance? 
Board games and other card games are also available. Outside, on the patio, a beautiful, one-of-a-kind 
chess table is anxious for players.


Free Strength Training Class: Every Friday from 1:00 pm -1:45 pm. Conducted by long-time 
volunteer, Lisa Brandley. The class utilizes light weights for low-impact resistance training. Weights 
are provided by the Sierra Madre Senior Center. It’s a great way to stay in shape and to socialize with 
your peers. (Gossip included)

Senior Citizens Club: Every Saturday at the Hart Park House (Senior Center). Brown bag lunch at 
11:30am; Club meeting at Noon; Bingo 12:30- 3:30 pm. Only .25c per card… For more information 
call Pat at 626.355.7290.


Autry National Center-Guided Tour (Griffith Park, Los Angeles) 
Date: Thursday, January 31, 2013

 Time: 9:30 am- 3:00 pm

 Meeting Location: Hart Park House Senior Center

 Cost: $20.00 (does not include lunch)

Don’t miss a visit to this historic museum which explores and shares the stories, experiences and 
perceptions of the diverse peoples of the American West. A one hour guided tour will be given upon 
arrival followed by lunch on your own at the Autry Café and/or independent exploring of the vast 
collections of art and artifacts. For more information please visit 

* And, “save the date” for the following excursions…more information on each is forthcoming…

Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandise Date: Friday, February 22, 2013

Description: View actual costumes from movies released in 2012, including 2012 Academy Award 
Winner for Best Costume, The Artist.

Jeopardy Taping at the Sony Lot Date: Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Description: Attend a taping of America’s favorite quiz show. Test your knowledge while host Alex 
Trebek challenges the contestants.


Senior Movie Program: FREE movies are shown on the 2nd and 4th Wednesdays of the month. The 
films, one contemporary and one vintage, are chosen by the seniors themselves. January’s selections 

January 23- The Sound of Music (1965) In Rogers and Hammerstein’s greatest collaboration, a feisty 
postulant named Maria (Julie Andrews) is sent to care for the unruly, motherless Von Trapp children. 
She soon tames them…and finds herself falling for their stern father (Christopher Plummer). The 
Oscar-winning director Robert Wise used stunning Austrian locations to transform the popular stage 
musical into a cinema classic in which the hills truly seemed to come alive.

(Run time is 174 minutes) Start time: 1:00 PM 

All movies are shown in Sierra Madre’s City Council Chambers, 232 W. Sierra Madre Blvd. 

VIM AND VIGOR-Who Could Ask For Anything More?

How’s winter treating you? 
We’ve made it past the holidays, 
and the daylight is slowly 
increasing. Some people like 
the cold, but I prefer summer. 
There’s probably a host of winter 
activities to distract us from these dark nights, but 
I’ve yet to find them. It’s times like these when I 
start scrolling endlessly through the tabloidesque 
“Mail Online” articles. And every so often there’ll 
be a boredom-busting gem in 
the mail. This week, it was a 
“The Vermont Country Store” 

 The Vermont Country 
Store is essentially a seller of 
bygone items ranging from 
retro candies to neck-toning 
wraps. Current specials 
include the “Milk House” 
heater, one of those boxy, top-
heavy floor lamps that used 
glowing orange wires to create 
warmth, and occasionally lit a 
shag rug on fire.

 A great variety of clothing 
is also available. There’s 
a colorful collection of muumuus, slimming 
microfiber undergarments for both sexes, and 
blankets that can be pinned around your neck. The 
ice scraping quilted mitt was especially interesting. 
Imagine an oven mitt with a small rake at the end. 
Good for the winter, Halloween, and anytime you 
have a hard to reach itch!

 I could imagine myself enjoying most of the edible 
goods. Things like chocolate and butter cookies 
never go out of style. There was also a good spread 
of spiked candies, such as Finish vodka cordials, 
rum balls, brandy cordials, and non-specific 
liqueur filled chocolates. However, a couple items 
seemed to be unlikely candidates. Barley-flavored 
hard candy might not go over big when competing 
against Snickers.

 Some of the kitchen gadgets seemed possibly 
helpful. A wearable kitchen timer lets you know, no 
matter where you are, that it’s time to take out the 
roast. But many accessories were too task-specific 
--the crank apple corer and the poached egg holder. 

 The best part of the catalogue is always the health 
and wellness section. You can feel like a spring 
chicken again with “Spring Chicken” rub. Massage 
it into any part of you that 
feels worn out. It’d probably 
also work as a marinade for 
stewing foul and other tough 
meats. Don’t worry about 
sagging skin; as long as you 
can wrap an elastic bandage 
around it, there’s hope of 
rejuvenation! You’ve seen 
your coworkers and relatives 
wearing those metallic 
bracelets intended to improve 
circulation. Well, now there’s 
the “Third Wedding Ring!” 
No, this isn’t some symbolic 
renewal of vows. Slip this 
acupuncture piece of jewelry 
on your finger, and stop snoring --naturally. I don’t 
know what the acupuncture aspect is, nor do I wish 

 And finally, there’s the elixir of youth -- “Vim 
& Vigor!” All you need to hear is the name and 
you know it must be potent stuff! An ounce a day 
keeps the doctor away. At least that’s what the bottle 
claims. It sounds like Geritol, which I’ve never 
tried, but have sources “in the know,” who say it’s 
at least 12% alcohol. So, if your liver can survive 
Vim & Vigor, there’s a good chance you’ll outlive 
whatever viruses the season may throw at you. 
Just remember, what doesn’t kill you makes you 
stronger. Live long and prosper in 2013!