Mountain Views News, Combined Edition Saturday, July 30, 2022

MVNews this week:  Page 12


Mountain View News Saturday, July 30, 2022 



Dear Savvy Senior:

A few months ago, I read a column you wrote on extremely 
cheap smartphone plans for budget-conscious 
seniors. Can you do a similar column for those of us 
who still use basic flip phones? My old 3G flip phone is 
about to become obsolete, so I’m looking for the cheapest 
possible replacement. I only need a simple cell phone 
(no data) for emergency calls when I’m away from home. Penny Pincher

Dear Penny:

For many seniors, like yourself, who only want a simple basic cell phone for emergency purposes and occasional 
calls, there are a number of super cheap plans available from small wireless providers you may have 
never heard of. Here are some of the best deals available right now.

Cheapest Basic Plans

For extremely light cell phone users, the cheapest wireless plan available is through US Mobile (USMobile.
com), which has a “build your own plan” that starts at only $2 per month for 75 minutes of talk time. If you 
want text messaging capabilities, an extra $1.50/month will buy you 50 texts per month.

US Mobile runs on Verizon’s and T-Mobile’s networks and gives you the option to bring your existing phone 
(if compatible or unlocked) or purchase a new device, while keeping your same phone number if you wish.

If your flip phone is becoming obsolete, as you mentioned in your question, you’ll need to buy a new device, 
which you can do through US Mobile if you choose their plan. They offer the “NUU F4L” flip phone for $39 
for new customers. Or you can purchase an unlocked phone through retail stores like Walmart or Best Buy, 
or online. One of the best value flip phones right now is the (unlocked) “Alcatel GO FLIP 4044 4G LTE,” 
available at for $80.

Some other super cheap wireless plans worth a look are Ultra Mobile’s “PayGo” plan (
PayGo), which provides 100 talk minutes, 100 texts for only $3 per month. And Tello’s ( “build 
your own plan” that starts at $5 per month for 100 talk minutes and unlimited texting.

Both Ultra Mobile PayGo and Tello also run on T-Mobile’s network and will let you use your existing phone 
(if compatible or unlocked) or buy a new one.

Senior Targeted Providers

In addition to these super cheap plans, there are several other wireless companies that cater to older customers 
and offer low-cost basic plans and simple flip phones. One of the least expensive is through TracFone 
(, which offers a 60-minute talk, text and web plan for $20 that lasts for 90 days. That averages 
out to $6.66 per month.

Three other providers that are popular among seniors are Snapfon (, which offers a 100 minutes 
and unlimited texting plan for $10. Consumer Cellular (, which provides an 
unlimited talk plan or $15 per month. They also give 5 percent discounts to AARP members. And Lively 
(, maker of the popular Jitterbug Flip2 senior-friendly flip phone. Their cheapest monthly plan 
is 300 minutes of talk and text for $15.

Subsidized Plans

You also need to know that if you’re on a government program such as Medicaid, Supplemental Security 
Income or food stamps/SNAP. Or, if your annual household income is at or below 135 percent of the Federal 
Poverty Guidelines – $18,347 for one person, or $24,719 for two – you might also qualify for free or subsidized 
wireless plans from various carriers via the federal Lifeline program. To find out if you’re eligibility or 
apply, visit

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.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY! …July Birthdays*

Nina Bartolai, Mary Lou Caldwell, Louise Neiby, Betty Hansen, Melinda 
Rogers , Christine Durfort, Shahrzad Azrani, Jeanne Borgedahl, Janet Cox, 
Dorothy Montgomery, Bess Pancoska, Janet Swanson, Barbara Watson, Pat 
Alcorn, Karma Bell, Alice Clark, Dorothy Jerneycic, and Betty Dos Remedios

 * To add your name to this distinguished list, please call the paper at 626.355.2737. YEAR 
of birth not required

SIERRA MADRE SENIOR CLUB Every Saturday from 11:30am-3:30 pm in the Hart 
Park House Senior Center. Join us as we celebrate birthdays, holidays and pay BINGO. 
Must be 50+ to join. For more information call Mark at 626-355-3951.

DOMINOES TRAIN GAME 1st and 3rd Wednesdays, 11:00 am— 12:30 pm Hart Park 
House The object of the game is for a player to play all the tiles from their hand onto one or 
more trains, emanating from a central hub or “station”. Call Lawren with questions that you 
may have. 


Tuesday, 7/21 , 10:30 am—Hart Park House If you enjoy painting, sketching, water color, or 
making some other form of artistic creation please join our new program, PAINT PALS!!! 
Bring a project that you are working on to the HPH and enjoy some quality art time with other 
artists looking to paint with a new pal. 

TEA AND TALK SENIOR BOOK CLUB Tuesday July 20 — 9:00 am Staff has launched a 
new book club series, Tea and Talk, which meets twice a month to discuss the fun, suspense, 
intrigue, love and so much more that each selection will have in store!

FIBER FRIENDS Tuesday, 7/19 —10:00 am If you enjoy knitting, crocheting, embroidery, 
needlepoint, bunka, huck, tatting or cross stitch then we have a group for you! Bring your 
current project, a nonalcoholic beverage, then sit and chat with likeminded fiber friends. We 
meet in the Hart Park House

CHAIR YOGA Every Monday and Wednesday, 10-10:45 am Please join us for some gentle 
stretching, yoga, balance exercise and overall relaxation with Paul. Classes are ongoing and 
held in the Memorial Park Covered Pavilion or the Hart Park House..

HULA AND POLYNESIAN DANCE Every Friday, 10-10:45 am Bring a lei, your flower 
skirt or just your desire to dance! Hula in the Park is back and waiting for you to join in on all 
the fun! Memorial Park Pavilion.

BLOOD PRESSURE CLINIC - Tuesday, July 12 11:00 am - 12:00 pm

Methodist Hospital will be holding a free to seniors clinic once a month in the Hart Park 
House. Walk in are welcome - no pre-registration required.

BINGO: July 14 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm

Come down to the HPH (Hart Park House) for a lively round of BINGO. Prizes await!


A Weekly Religion Column by Rev. James Snyder


Of all the holidays during the year that I like, my birthday is at the 
bottom of the list. Now that I'm at my current age, I prefer not to be 
reminded that I'm getting older. All a birthday does for me is tell me 
I'm just getting older. Who wants to be reminded of that?

Then, the worst part of a birthday is all the candles on the top of the cake.

I'm not sure who came up with the idea of putting candles on a birthday cake. They 
probably were having a very slow day and didn't have anything more to think about.

When I was young, a birthday cake with candles was very exciting. Now that I am 
older, I don't have as much excitement in celebrating my birthday. A birthday cake 
with candles only reminds me that I'm old. Thanks a lot!

When I was young, they would put as many candles on the cake as my birthday. Now, 
they can't find a cake big enough to contain all my candles. Thanks a lot!

The problem with celebrating your birthday is everybody asks you that one horrible 
question. "How old are you this year?" I usually tell them I'm 12 months older than 
last year, but that doesn't float any balloons on my birthday.

One thing happened this year on my birthday, which was sad. My uncle, who was 91, 
died in the hospital. So in a sense, he did me a favor because now, on that birthday, 
people will talk about my uncle's death and his memories rather than how old I am. 
If I see him in heaven, I will shake his hand and say, "Thanks."

As usual, this year, on my birthday, The Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage and I 
went out to celebrate at our favorite restaurant. At first, I was afraid she would tell 
the waitress that it was my birthday, and then they would all gather around and sing 
happy birthday to me. Fortunately for me, that did not happen. That was one birthday 
present that I really enjoyed. nd as we were finishing our dessert, The Gracious 
Mistress of the Parsonage looked at me rather strangely and said, "Do you feel old?"

I'm not sure what she meant by that, but looking at her, I reached out, took hold of 
her arm, gently squeezed it, and said, "I feel old now." I was smiling, but she was not 
smiling. I'm still smiling about that. It's not every day that I can catch her on a question 
like that.

When I got over that little routine, I looked at her and said, "Do you mind if I ask you 
a very serious question on my birthday today?" I don't always get an opportunity to 
ask questions, so I thought this would be a good birthday present.

"Of course," she said, looking at me smiling. "Ask me any question you want to ask."

I should've known she was setting me up, but it was my birthday, and I thought birthdays 
carry certain exemptions.

"Okay," I said as seriously as possible. "I've read where the average woman speaks 
20,000 words a day, and the average man speaks only 7,000 words a day. Can you tell 
me why?"

She looked at me very sternly and said, "Do you want to celebrate another birthday?"

I knew I was in trouble, but then she cleared her throat and said, "I'll answer that question 
for you. This will be my birthday present to you this year."

Maybe, just maybe, I escaped persecution along this line.

"It is a very simple question to answer." She cleared her throat, looked at me with one 
of her looks, and said, "The reason a woman speaks 20,000 words a day and a man 
speaks only 7000 words is because the woman has to repeat herself three times before 
the man hears what she is saying."

With that, she stared at me and said, "Do I need to repeat myself?"

Because one of the things on my bucket list was celebrating another birthday next 
year, I soberly shook my head and said, "No, you don't."

Fortunately for me, the waitress came with our check, and I got up, took it to the cashier, 
and paid for our dinner.

I wished I had never asked that question and hoped she would also forget it.

I paid a heavy price for that question for the next several days. Every time The Gracious 
Mistress of the Parsonage asked me anything, she always concluded by saying, 
"Do I need to repeat myself?"

This was the most expensive birthday present I ever received.

Thinking about this recently come to the conclusion that hearing is a very important 
part of any relationship. Not just hearing, but hearing what is actually being said. I 
wrestle with this all along.

I hear everything The Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage is saying, but I don’t always 
hear it in the right context.

One verse of Scripture that emphasizes this for me is Romans 10:17, “So then faith 
cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”

It is not so much hearing as it is hearing the right thing. My faith in God is based 
upon hearing the word of God. What is God really saying to me? That is the basis of 
my faith in God.


 By Marc Garlett


As anyone who has personally dealt with loss knows, when a loved one dies, 
those left behind face major challenges, not only emotionally, but financially 
and legally as well. Successfully navigating all those challenges becomes a necessary 
part of honoring the life of a loved one who’s passed. Unfortunately, so 
many of us just aren’t prepared for that eventuality when it happens.

Determining Dying’s True Cost

To further shed light on just how vastly unprepared most of us are when dealing with death, in March 
2022 Goldman Sachs released its first-ever “Cost of Dying Report”. The report surveyed more than 2,000 
Americans—each of whom had lost a loved one in the last five years—to get a clearer picture of dying’s true 
cost to families. 

The report looked not only at the financial burden dying brings, but it also examined the cost “in time, 
in stress, in lost productivity, and in strained interpersonal bonds.” Paired with the results of the research, 
the Cost of Dying includes a collection of insights from the study’s advisors, partners, and experts in the 
bereavement field. 

These contributors seek to clarify what we can learn from the study’s numbers and explain how we can use 
the figures to rethink how to best serve the bereaved, “as individuals, as organizations, and as a society.” 
The following are some of the study’s most notable findings, along with corresponding insights from some 
of the report’s contributors. 


Nationally, following a loved one’s death, the total bill—including the funeral and hiring all the other professional 
support—cost families an average of $12,702. The average cost of a funeral was $7,267, and according 
to the National Funeral Directors Association, that cost has risen 7.6% in the last 5 years. 

On top of the funeral, families paid an average of $5,846 to hire additional professionals, such as lawyers, financial 
advisors, and realtors. The average bill charged for these services include the following breakdown:

Professional Services 

 $4,461 real estate professionals

 $3,910 lawyer fees

 $2,456 accountants

 $1,637 therapists or social workers

Notably, the $3,910 in lawyer’s fees was nearly doubled when estates required the court process of probate, 
which was the case for one-third of the families surveyed. When you include lawyers, court costs, and all 
the other related fees, the total cost to complete probate for families averaged $16,800.

Fortunately, by placing assets in a properly created and maintained revocable living trust, assets held by the 
trust will pass to your loved ones without the need for probate or any court intervention following your 
death or incapacity. And that’s especially important in California, where the costs are even higher than the 
national averages.

Paying The Final Bill

So how did families pay for all these expenses? Only 1 in 7 families had any of the costs associated with 
their loved ones’ death paid in advance or were able to use payable-on-death funds. Additionally, more than 
50% of families had to deal with estates that included debt. To foot the bill for these expenses, 36.1% of respondents 
used their own savings or investments, while 42.4% used their checking accounts or credit cards.

For most families, the financial costs associated with loss were exacerbated by a lack of information about 
exactly how much money they should expect to spend, notes internal medicine physician Shoshana Ungerleider, 
MD, in the report’s section on death’s financial cost. Compounding that stress, Ungerleider says, was 
the families’ fear of making a mistake that would make their financial burden even worse.

“A majority of families find themselves unprepared for and under-informed about the real financial costs of 
death, with few available resources for finding out,” writes Ungerleider. “They can spend months or years 
terrified that a wrong move would wipe out their inheritance or even their own savings.”

As an example of what such a mistake might look like, Ungerleider notes that a lack of proper estate planning 
can lead to the deceased’s home being seized after death “to pay off expenses incurred through Medicaid, 
even if the family member who was their primary caregiver is still living in the home.”

This is another area where thoughtful estate planning can be invaluable. It is important to ensure you and/
or your senior parents can qualify for Medicare and other benefits, without putting the family home or 
other assets at risk. 

In fact, your estate plan can – and probably should - include various asset protection tools designed to keep 
your financial wealth out of the hands of third parties, and responsibly in the hands of your loved ones, no 
matter what happens in the future.

Mountain Views News 80 W Sierra Madre Blvd. No. 327 Sierra Madre, Ca. 91024 Office: 626.355.2737 Fax: 626.609.3285 Email: Website: