Diary of a Seasoned Life – What to Do with Used Furniture

If you ever took any economics classes, you have heard of the laws of supply and demand. If the supply is high and the demand is low, the prices are low. If the supply is low and the demand is high, the prices are high. I am sure many of you have felt the later the last couple of weeks when you went to the gas pump!

We are a couple of years into an ever increasing supply of furniture and other used household items coming on the market and very few buyers. There are many reasons for this, such as, many large retailers offering new, relatively inexpensive furniture in mass quantities. The public will buy these pieces knowing that they are not meant to last a lifetime. It is really like disposable furniture. Another reason is that there are many baby boomers starting to retire and looking to move into smaller homes. They have a large home full of furniture, some of which, was passed down from previous generations. Much of this furniture was well made from well known furniture manufacturers and may have cost thousands of dollars when bought new. When these empty nesters are ready to downsize, they are finding it very difficult to sell the furniture. Many auction houses, estate sale services, antique and used furniture dealers, and even charitable organizations are becoming selective with what they will take and some are even flat out refusing to deal with furniture at all. There is just so much of it out there right now and will continue to be the case for years to come.

So what do you do, if you have a number of pieces to unload?

  1. Lower your expectations of what price you can expect to get for even the good quality pieces.  Dining room tables, china cabinets, large bedroom suites, entertainment centers, sofas, recliners, and armoires are the least desirable pieces today. I have personally seen entire sets of dining room furniture (table with extra leaves, 8 chairs, and a china cabinet) sell at auction for under $100 in the last couple of months.
  2. Consider donating the pieces to a charity like Habitat for the Humanties or The Salvation Army. The write off value for tax purposes may be greater than selling it outright.
  3. Can the furniture be re-purposed in order to make it more desirable with today’s styles and trends? If you have the time and willing to put in a little work, it may pay off in the end. Darker stained woods are less popular right now and a trend towards lighter colors has developed. Antiqued or painted furniture in white, ivory, gray, and even blues and greens is red hot in retail stores and vintage shops. Many dealers are buying vintage 70’s and 80’s furniture cheaply and then doing this rustic treatment and successfully selling what otherwise would have been undesirable for 5-10 times what they paid.
  4. Inquire with dealers in your area about any desire they have to purchase your pieces. Smaller items like plant stands, blanket boxes, benches, rockers, secretaries and small desks, drop leaf tables, end tables, coffee tables, shelves, game tables, and the like are easier to sell.
  5. Hold your own sale and advertise the pieces in your ads using Craigslist, Facebook, garage sale listing sites, or even phone apps.
  6. Hire a professional service or auction house to hold a downsizing sale for you. You will have to pay them a commission, but they do the work and generally have the ability to market the sale on a broader scale. (Seasoned Life Transitions is happy to help with this: www.seasonedlifetransitions.com )

One important thing I must point out about re-purposing furniture. Do not do this type of technique on a true antique unless it has already been devalued by damage or poor restoration. This suggestion is meant for a way to bring life back to an old piece of furniture that otherwise may end up in a junk pile or at Goodwill. There are some Victorian pieces that were mass produced pieces that are acceptable to refinish this way, but be careful about those decisions.

Diary of a Seasoned Life – Becoming a “Certified Antique Appraiser”

For more than 30 years I was known as “The Tapelady” and considered an expert in the adhesive tape industry. When I was about to close on the sale of my tape business and move forward with my plans to start Seasoned Life Transitions, I felt it was important that my new role of helping people recognize and sell things of value needed to be supported by a level of expertise beyond just a hobby or interest turned into a business. On New Year’s Day, I enrolled in Asheford Institute of Antique’s online course to become a certified antique appraiser.

It had been 35 years since I had any kind of formal classroom education and taken exams, so I was a bit nervous as to whether I could do well.  The course plan stated that the amount of time it takes to complete the course ranges from 8 months to 2 years.  I was committed to studying and completing the course by the end of the summer.  After studying how history and the progress of people and industry are intertwined with the ever changing styles and periods of furniture; how cultures evolved and new items came into being; how to care and restore antiques; different types of business structures within the antiques community; buying & selling antiques; and the appraisal process, I am happy to say that I have completed the course!  I made A’s on all of my 6 exams and submitted my final essay. Once my essay is graded (and I passed), I will receive my official diploma and PACC (The Professional Appraiser Code of Conduct) certification.  I have also committed to taking an additional 15 hour course to receive my USPAP (Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice) certification, once I have received my diploma.

My hope is that with the training and credentials I have received, I can add the same level of expertise to future clients of Seasoned Life Transitions. It is my goal to help people feel confident that I am capable of helping them and accessing the true value of their cherished possessions. To start more real world experience, I am setting up a free informal appraisal table at various events over the next month. I will be at the Royce City Senior Center on Wednesday, Sept. 13; Rockwall Senior Health Fair at The Center in downtown Rockwall from 9 am – 2 pm on Wednesday, Sept. 20; Fate Senior Center on Wednesday, September 27; and the Rockwall Housewives Event at The Landing at Chandlers in Rockwall the evening of Wednesday, October 4. Bring your favorite collectible (smalls only please) for a free assessment and valuation!


Diary of a Seasoned Life – Coping with a Death

It should be safe to say that all of us have lost a very dear loved one or friend in our lifetime. As we get older, it seems more frequent. My first memories of loss would be that of my grandfathers. Both of them passed away when I was under 10 years of age. Today I only remember being around them when they were alive and what was endearing of each one instead of the funerals. Children are often more resilient in dealing with loss than adults.

As I got older I had to learn to deal with grief after losing my grandmothers, beloved pets, aunts, uncles, cousins, friends, and my father. Losing a spouse, child, or beloved parent can be some of the more devastating experiences. Many people deal with grief differently. There are some who do not deal with it at all.

Men tend to fall into this category most often. They may feel that showing any emotion is showing weakness or they mask their pain by staying busy and ignoring the hurt. Most grief experts emphasize the critical importance of a man’s awareness of his own grief, his conscious relationship with it, and his ability to feel it. A man needs to allow grief to move through him so that his natural energy and innate masculine power will not be blocked and withheld, both from himself and the world.

Most people just want to know how to make the pain go away. To answer this, I have to quote Dr. Laura Schlessinger. When she is asked from callers how to get over the pain of loss, she says, “I can’t cure normal. The pain you feel after losing someone is normal.”  You have to feel it. You have to learn to cope with it. In time, the pain will become less and less. It just takes time.

Having a support mechanism is crucial. Find someone with whom you can talk, whether it be with a friend, pastor, therapist, or family member. If talking with strangers is more comfortable, find a grief support group in your community. Just finding that you are not alone is sometimes a big help. I  reached out to Pastor Gunnar Ledermann of the Divine Peace Church of Rockwall, Texas for his insight concerning death. I asked, “Do you recommend support groups, and if so, what is your experience with them and how they have helped those grieving?” He answered, “Yes, I do recommend Christian support groups who help people by giving them a place to vent their frustrations to those willing to listen and share the load of their burdens. The pitfall of many groups is that they are Christian in name, only in that, they attempt to help people by giving them a set of steps or rules by which they can improve their state of mind, but this only adds to someone’s burden. Rather, a Christian support group listens to those who are grieving, grieves with them and gives them the ultimate comfort that Jesus has overcome death by his resurrection. Those who hope in Jesus, do not have to fear death and get to look forward to being reunited with their loved ones in heaven.”

He sent me a copy of a sermon he gave at Easter time. Below is an excerpt:

“Jesus came to this world to suffer and die because that is what all of us do. All of us live in this world for a while, then we die. We die for the same reason we experience hardships in this world because of sin. Sin is evil, it is doing something that is bad. When someone does something bad, they deserve punishment. God tells us that the punishment he demands for sin is death. Death means separation from the living and death in sin means separation from God, but God doesn’t want us to be separated from him. God loves us, so he sent Jesus into this world to rescue us.

Jesus had to come into this world to suffer and die, but he didn’t do anything bad, he wasn’t sinful. Instead, he lived a perfect life, so he didn’t deserve to die. Because he didn’t deserve to die, he died as a sacrifice. He made a trade, one perfect life of the Son of God for all the sinful lives of mankind. That was the plan God revealed in his Word from the beginning and that is what Jesus did. God said that he would punish Jesus for our sins, then treat us as if we had lived Jesus’ perfect life. Credited with Jesus’ perfect life, we now appear good before God and look forward to resurrection and life.”

People who have lost someone need to hear this message. “This is the only message that is stronger than the pain that death causes. Jesus’ resurrection stopped the tears of the women. He showed them that they hadn’t lost him, but he had won them the victory over death. Jesus’ resurrection meant that those women would someday be resurrected and reunited to live with Jesus forever in heaven.

We cannot live in this world without Jesus. We cannot live without him in our lives or we are merely surviving until we die. When we remain connected to God’s Word, then we see what Jesus’ resurrection has done for us. Jesus has freed us from finding our only hope for life in this world. Jesus frees us from our sins and death so that we can live in this world at peace knowing that when we face death, it is not the end. Jesus told us that he would rise from the dead and so will you.”

After my father passed away, there were many times that I felt he was Guardian Angels are With Us Allwatching over me. I have had many dreams about my grandmother in which she is comforting me in times of stress. These experiences were strong and seemed so real. I asked Pastor Ledermann about guardian angels. He commented, “We all have angels guarding us at all times. They are God’s messengers who help us. They are a great comfort. The great comfort in Matthew 18 is also how passionate God is for all those who believe in him. He wants those who know him to remain faithful, so his cautions in this chapter are to remain faithful in the study of his Word, not to change his Word and not to lead others astray by changing his Word.”

In closing, it is normal to grieve and it is an important process one must go through in order to move on with life. Your loved one would want you to continue on and remember what was good and special about your relationship. God wants you to have faith you will be with them again someday.

P. S.  Divine Peace Church Rockwall is located at 305 S. Fannin St (the wedding chapel) in Rockwall, TX 75087. The website is: divinepeace.com. You can email Pastor Gunnar Ledermann at gunnar@divinepeace.com .


Diary of a Seasoned Life – Facts About Collectibles

There is frequent misuse of the terms antique, vintage, and collectibles by people who post things for sale on the internet or display things in antique malls and fairs. A large percentage of what we see are truly just second hand merchandise. I thought I would share some facts about collectibles and antiques and help clarify the differences.

Question:  Why do people collect things?

Answer:  There are many reasons a person desires to collect something and why they choose the items they collect. The most common reason is the type of item triggers emotions from a time or place, which is often from childhood. The items they desire to collect could remind them of the past and provides an avenue to relive that cherished time. Others may collect out of a need to have nice things to covet. There may have been a tragic event that triggers the need and having these newly acquired items comforts them.  Collectors have an appreciation for craftsmanship, quality, and historical significance. Many collectors learned the art of collecting and the thrill of the hunt from a friend or family member. In any case, collectors appreciate the process and are always keeping an eye out for that prized piece to help complete their collection.

Question:  What qualifies as a collectible?

Answer:  A collectible can be anything one desires to collect. They do not have to be old or vintage, but just a group of items a person acquires because they love them.

Question:  What is a true antique?

Answer:  The North American government considers a  “duty free” antique as items before 1830, carpets before 1700, string instruments before 1800, etc. These were periods before the machine age and made from hand craftsmanship. Other experts use the 100 year rule to classify an article as an antique. If an item has been restored, at least 60% of the item must be original to still be considered an antique. There are also three key factors that compose an antique, which are (1) Beauty, (2) Rarity, and (3) Historical Significance.

Question:  What is the difference between vintage and antique?

Answer:  The term vintage refers to post Victorian era items and can be desired collectibles. Most experts consider items up to 99 years old as “vintage” and antiques as 100+ years old.

There are so many categories of collectibles. You can name just about anything and someone or a group of people collect it! It is way more than just furniture, coins, stamps, and art. Some of the types of items that are expected to become more popular as a collectible in the near future are items related to photography, telephones, radios, and other “electronics”. The technology has changed so much over the decades that the older forms are becoming more extinct.

In photography, for example, when film became obsolete in the last couple of decades, the cameras of old became more desirable. A collector will want those early forms of cameras and photos to show the progress of the media and its equipment. Old cameras and photos of interesting subjects, especially if historically significant, will become increasingly more valuable in the future. Prices for these items are fairly attainable for beginning collectors, so now may be a good time to get one started. This same school of thought can apply to some of those other items, too.

Then there is the opposite side of collecting, which is knowing the value of items you have before you sell them. Dealers are going to garage sales and estate sales, as well as, watching listings for sale on the internet through Ebay and Craigs List. They are looking for items that people are selling that they can resell for a nice profit. Why should they be the only ones making money? If you have something that you are unsure about what it is or whether it has any value, it may be worth your time and trouble to do a little research. You can, of course, always contact someone like me who can appraise your items, but just a little research on the internet may give you enough information to know if something is of value.

For appraisal questions, you can ask a question in our Advice Column or contact me at seasonedlifetransitions@gmail.com .

Diary of a Seasoned Life – The Most Frequently Asked Medicare Questions

Did you know that nearly 10,000 people in the United States turn 65 each day? The total number should reach 83.7 million by 2018. This trend is expected to continue until 2030.

Since many seasoned life people are on Medicare or will be signing up within the next decade, I thought I would share some information from someone who knows much about the subject. Guadalupe “Lupe” Gonzales, a licensed independent insurance agent specializing in Life and Health insurance with clients in Rockwall, Dallas, Tarrant and Collin counties, is considered by many companies who serve seniors in Northeast Texas to be the local expert. Lupe and his wife Diane reside in Rockwall, Texas. He is also bilingual, an active member of his church and his community, several veteran’s organizations and a retired veteran of the United States Marine Corps.

Many people have the misconception that you are automatically enrolled once you turn 65. That is not correct. I asked Lupe when is the best time to start checking into enrolling in Medicare and any supplemental policies for the first time?

Answer:  “That is a vast question with many possible considerations. In a word, as early as a year is certainly not too soon.”

In researching for a little more information, I found that 3 months before your 65th birthday is the most recommended time. It allows for the time it takes for the enrollment to take effect with the most minimal time one may go without coverage. Some people who are still working at age 65 and receive other health insurance and are not taking social security payments, will want to look into holding off enrolling until beyond 65. It all depends on the insurance company and your group plan. Check with your agent or human resources manager.

Lupe said the most frequently asked question he receives concerning Medicare is, “WHY DOES IT HAVE TO BE SO COMPLICATED?”

Answer:  “Knowing where to look and what questions to ask will focus your inquiry and may reduce the stress and make your life much easier. That being said, everyone at every stage of Medicare beneficiary status, to include those of us who care for loved ones, should consider their individual statuses and needs.  I believe these 7 tips that I included may be the most immediate concerning Medicare.”

Lupe’s 7 Tips for Simplifying Medicare
  1. Review your Medicare insurance plan yearly.
    1. Has your situation or that of your loved one’s living conditions recently changed?
    2. Has your financial situation or medical condition changed in the past year?
    3. Does your current plan meet your needs?
    4. Has my plan changed? If so, how?
    5. Is your doctor or that of your loved one going to continue accepting your current insurance plan?
  1. Review your prescription drug plan’s formulary, at least
    1. Even if you’re happy with your Medicare insurance plan, your prescription drug coverage may have changed. It is not uncommon for drug plans to add, modify or discontinue co-pays and coverage of some prescription drugs.
  1. Read all mailings from Medicare and your insurance plan.
    1. If you’re in a Medicare plan, your plan will send you a “Plan Annual Notice of Change” (ANOC) each fall. The ANOC includes any changes in coverage, costs, or service area that will be effective in January.
  1. The Annual Enrollment Period (a.k.a. “Open Enrollment Period”) is October 15th through December 7th.
    1. This is the annual period for enrollment, making changes to your Medicare Advantage Plan (Part C) and/or your Prescription Drug Plan (Part D).
    2. Medicare beneficiaries who have maintained (only) their Original Medicare
    3. (Parts A and/or B only) and have enrolled in an individual Part D, Prescription Drug Plan are also affected by this enrollment period. (See attached weblinks)
  1. If you are a Veteran you be eligible for additional healthcare options.
    1. Having both Medicare and the V.A. greatly broadens the veteran’s medical coverage and will give you broader coverage when it comes to the doctors, hospitals, and providers you can use.
    2. Veterans are entitled to use both VA and enrollment in a Medicare Advantage or stand-alone Prescription Drug plan. If you ever need to use a non-VA hospital or pharmacy, you’ll have more options available.
  1. If you are a caring for a loved one, get organized and be proactive.
    1. Is your loved one now receiving Low Income Subsidy (Extra Help)?
    2. Could they now qualify for Medicaid?
    3. Become familiar with basic Medicare terms, definitions and resources (see below web links)
    4. Locate your loved one’s insurance card, Social Security cards, medical documentation and have them readily available.
    5. Go online or contact a trusted insurance agent and setup an insurance review of any changes that may affect them. Most are happy to help.
  2. Helpful websites, links & phone numbers:









I hope this is helpful information. If you have more questions or need an insurance review, please reach out to Lupe. He can be contacted directly via email (GonzalesInsurance71@gmail.com) or by phone (972) 514-2160.

He also asked me to add the following disclaimer:

I am a licensed and commission-paid insurance agent that represents the various carriers with whom I am contracted to represent. As a professional insurance agent, I do my best to answer all questions regarding Medicare plans however, I do not represent Medicare nor any of its affiliates. Furthermore, For the most up to date information I urge readers to refer to the attached links.”

Diary of A Seasoned Life – Taking on the Caregiver Role

What is a caregiver? According to the National Alliance for Caregiving, a caregiver is an unpaid individual involved in assisting others with activities of daily living and/or medical tasks. Formal caregivers are paid to provide these services.

Statistics from NAFC and AARP state that there were 43.5 million caregivers in 2015 and 75% were female. Of the number of male caregivers, 40% use paid caregiving services.  A much smaller percentage of women caregivers use a service and 57% report they do not have a choice in the matter, although admit much of the lack of choice is self-imposed. 43% feel it is their personal responsibility because no one else will do it or insurance will not pay for professional help. 12% report pressure from the care receiver and 8% report the pressure comes from other family members.

The average age of a caregiver is 49 years old and the loved one receiving the care averages an age of 69 years. Spouses of caregivers average an age of 62 years. The average number of years a person remains a caregiver is 4 years in duration. 40% of these caregivers are in high burden situations, too, spending over 21 hours per week caring for their loved one.

I reached out to Steve Hanson, President/Owner of Home Care Assistance in Rockwall, Texas for advice he could share with caregivers or people who are considering taking on the responsibility. He wrote a blog on his website: www.homecareassistancerockwall.com about the 7 Things to Consider Before Becoming a Family Caregiver.

  1. Your emotional & physical health
  2. Financial Implications
  3. Your relationship with your loved one
  4. Changes in Living Arrangements
  5. Accepting Support
  6. Time Constraints
  7. Your loved one’s special needs

I can tell you from my own personal experience in taking on the responsibility of caring for my 80 year old mother, this is all very true. Once I transitioned from caring for her while she was living in either a skilled nursing facility or assisted living to moving her into my home, the stress and burden was increased significantly. The affect on my own life has been at times overwhelming. I am one of the few female caregivers that made the decision to hire professional help. I do not believe I would have any sanity left, if I had tried to do all of it on my own.

I asked Steve about the importance of these “caregivers” to give themselves a break and what factors they should consider when deciding if hiring a care giving service is right for them. Steve said, “It starts with accepting that you cannot control the health effects of aging. Your parents will go through several changes and in most cases your roles are reversed. As they go through these changes, they may not always be aware of the impact they are having on you. More importantly, as you take on the caregiving role, you put your parents care before you and that is not healthy. Caregiver burnout is real!

He offered the following information and advice:

Caring for the Caregiver is Very Important:

  • The Family Member feels the pressure of the added responsibly
  • Begins to try to do everything
  • Tries to balance family, work and caregiving
  • At first this works, but then as the care needs increase, signs of caregiver burnout become visible – Rushed, Stressed, Tired, Anxious, just to name a few
  • Caregiver Burnout is more common than you think:   46% of caregivers suffer from depression
  •  It can impact your health for many years  

The Five Leading Signs of Caregiver Burnout:   

  1. Less energy
  2. Sick and run down
  3. Exhausted even though you sleep
  4. Neglect your own needs because you’re too busy or don’t care anymore
  5. You feel helpless or hopeless

How to Care for Yourself While You Are Caregiving:

  1. Nap when our loved one naps-instead of cleaning or doing chores
  2. Stop at your favorite coffee shop-take 20 minutes to relax
  3. Take a deep breathe-a deep breathe can help relieve some anxiety and stress
  4. Go outside-fresh air does wonders to relieve stress
  5. Take some time off-get some relief, even if it is for an afternoon or evening
  6. Hire a caregiver to help share some or all of the responsibilities

I would also add that it is important to maintain your personal relationships, career, and hobbies. It is very easy to fall into a routine of daily care for the loved one that takes up the vast majority of the day. Day after day of this will be taxing on anyone. Your work and relationships will suffer just as much as you do personally. Do not be afraid to ask for help from a variety of sources that can include those other family members who put the pressure on for you to be the caretaker!

Hiring a caregiving service such as Home Care Assistance is definitely helped me be able to continue with my work and maintain personal time. You can hire a service like this, in most cases, for a minimum of 4 hours. They can come every day or just a few days. I have also discovered that some of the assisted living facilities have adult day care. This can be an option if you need to go on vacation or be out of town for work. If your loved one had the forethought to get long term care insurance, then much of the cost should be covered by the insurance company. If they did not, your sanity is worth the cost of whatever you or your loved one can afford.

Diary of a Seasoned Life – Is an Auction an Option for Downsizing?

If you have never experienced a live auction, I highly recommend you add that experience to your bucket list. I attended my first auction as a kid when we had calves to sell or buy. I do not remember much about them, since I probably didn’t pay much attention. As a young adult, I started going to antique auctions looking for that great piece to add to my home or collection. I enjoyed learning the process and the thrill of winning a bid on something special for a good price.  There are many different types of auction houses and the type of merchandise they sell can vary. The majority of the auction houses will take anything from antiques, collectibles, art, and household items that a client wishes to sell. The items can be vintage, new, slightly used, or genuine antiques. Some clients may have only a few items to sell and some may have an entire household or container they need to move. The auctioneer will catalog the items and display them at the auction site until the sale. In many cases, it may be weeks or even months before the items actually go under the gavel. If you are in a hurry, this option may not be the best avenue for you to clear out your items.

The auctioneer will charge you a commission for selling your merchandise. This typically ranges from 20-35%. The auction may or may not market any specific items before the sale. The better quality items in the higher end auction houses or unique collectibles in a specialty sale can often see the most pre-sale attention. The more interest the auction house can stir will most likely result in more people bidding, which in most cases, drives up the pricing and the auction house’s commission.

My attendance at auctions has been extremely limited the last 20 years due to a lack of desire to keep acquiring more things. My antique appraisal class from Asheford Institute assigned a field trip to go out and attend an antique auction and visit some of the local antique stores or malls. I went to several in the last week. What I learned is that the vast majority of what people are selling as “antiques” or not anything but vintage pieces or items that have passed their day. There is so much stuff out there for sale, it will blow your mind. These items will some day be antique and even may be collectible now, but 80% is just someone else’s junk. Much of the furniture out there that is becoming antique is the Victorian and Art Deco period. I saw some beautiful pieces, but most of them were apparently not selling. Prices in most places were slashed to 50% or more off.

The one place that did seem to be selling their pieces was actually taking these old vintage furniture pieces and modifying them in ways that make them more appealing to the younger shopper. The craze right now seems to be refinishing furniture and accessories in chalk paint to make them more rustic or shabby chic. I have to wonder how much of this has been influenced by Joanna Gaines from Waco. She has this “modern meets rustic” country decor that she demonstrates on the HGTV show, “Fixer Upper”.

The auction was even more astonishing in the lack of interest in furniture and most items that were up for sale that night. The auction house had reservation signs on most of the seats, so it appeared the place would be packed. It was not. Most of the seats were empty. There were some deals to be had, if you were looking for the type of items on the block that night. I previewed the items the day before and picked out what I thought were some of the nicer pieces. My assignment was to do my own assessment of the items and write down what I thought was the value. When the items actually sold, I could compare how accurate or not my appraisals were.

I was pretty dead on with what items I thought were the best quality and desirable. Even with that said, the prices were very low. As a buyer, that is great for profit potential. As a seller, that was bad news. The most expensive piece of furniture was actually a pair of early Victorian chairs from the 19th Century. They sold for $250 each. One very important thing that I noticed was the lack of proper identification and presentation of some of the items. I noticed on preview day, three serigraphs that were quite large in size and framed by an artist named Lillian Shao. Since they were a style that appeals to me, I did some research on them and found that several of her pieces were being sold online and in art galleries for $600 (unsigned smaller prints) to over $2000 for signed prints. These prints were custom framed and more than 50″ tall. When the auctioneer had them on the block, he called them “really nice Erte’s” and told a brief story that a lady in Dallas had brought them in to sell at auction in addition to “some others in the back for a future sale”. He mentioned that “she paid a lot of money for them”. Two of them sold for about $495 each and one of them for about $600. I am quite sure that “lady in Dallas” was regretting her decision to sell them at auction (or at least this auction).

Not all auctions will yield such disappointing results, nor is it likely that most of your cherished belongings are going to create a bidding war and sell for above appraisal. Just because you paid $1200 for that sofa 20 years ago, you cannot expect that you can sell it for that now and certainly not more. It is even hard to get charities to take furniture that you want to give them in today’s market.

Be realistic about what you have and whether it is something that is still desirable by the public. Is it something that is now considered a vintage collectible or true antique? Can it be modified to be more appealing to a buyer? Are you willing to take time to find the right buyer? All of these factors will play a big role in its true value today.

P.S. Be sure and check out some of the collectibles for sale on my consignment website, www.collectiblesclearinghouse.com .

Diary of a Seasoned Life – Are You Ready When Life Comes Knocking?

Are You Ready for a Life Event? What is a Life Event?

  • Marriage
  • Divorce
  • Children Arriving
  • Children Leaving
  • Illness
  • Disability
  • Loss of Income
  • Economic Downturn
  • Death

Combing two households later in life happens more than you think. Here are a couple of facts:

  1. 70% of people who get a divorce will wind up getting married once again at some point in their life
  2. Census Bureau estimates that 10 times as many widowers as widows over 65 remarry, though there are fewer older men than older women.

Splitting up a household statistics:

  1. 40 to 50 percent of married couples in the United States divorce
  2. 60 percent of all second marriages fail

Not good news for those 70% who went down the aisle a second time!

Your kids are becoming adults and moving out, so now what?

  1. 36% of Boomers will move or plan to move when they become Empty Nesters
  2. 44% of Boomers who moved or will consider moving from their old Empty Nest cite wanting a smaller house and one that requires less maintenance

Believe those kids that graduated from school and left the nest are on their own? What about your parent? Look at this:

  1.  26% of adult children move back home
  2.  40% of Boomers anticipate that their adult children will move back in  with them.
  3.  30% anticipate that their parents will move in with them

Changes in our own or a loved one’s health can occur at any time. Illness, Disability, or Death are definitely important events one should properly prepare to handle:

  1. 1 in 1.7 people will experience a traumatic event in their life
  2. 70 percent of people over age 65 need some long-term care
  3. 37 million Americans are classified disabled
  4. 50% of these disabled Americans are 18-64 years old
  5. 1 in 4 people become disabled before retirement
  6. 1 in 265 people die of an heart attack every  year
  7. 1 in 1.5 adults do not have a living will
  8. 1 in 135 people will die within a year

All of these events in addition to forced early retirement, layoffs, and economic downturns can lead to financials stresses and loss of income. Take a look at these statistics:

  1. 42% were forced into retirement because of health problems
  2. 4% were forced into retirement due to company downsizing and company closures
  3. 18% were forced into retirement to care for a sick spouse
  4. 13% were forced into retirement due to an outdated skill set
  5. 22% were forced into retirement for other reasons
  6. Only 64% of private-sector workers have any formal retirement plan, and fewer than half sign up for one
  7. The U. S. has experienced 33  recessions in its history. That means that one occurs about every 5 years.
  8. American household wealth is $7.7 trillion less than it was before the last recession

Now I know you are saying, “You have sufficiently stressed me out and I hope you have some solutions for all of this!” All of these statistics are why I started this blog and my company, Seasoned Life Transitions. I want to educate people about what they can do to prepare for these life events and help them find the resources needed to prepare in advance, so that when life comes knocking, you are less stressed and can more easily navigate through the tough patch. To start with, you need the following:

  • Proper Insurance
  • Will, Living Will, or Living Trust
  • Power of Attorney
  • Adequate Savings
  • Income Sources
  • Future Care Wishes
  • Appropriate Living Accommodations
  • Allocation of Personal Possessions
  • Designate a Primary Caregiver

I am in the process of developing a network of professionals in the area that have expertise in all of these areas. My plan is to put together a seminar for clients and potential clients of all of these professionals to come and get valuable coaching and education in one place at one time to help people start the process. Let me know what you think and if you are interested in attending one of these seminars or being a part of the network.

Diary of A Seasoned Life – Is Retirement For Me?

Many seasoned life people struggle with the decision of how long to remain working. Is retirement for me? Retirement used to be the ultimate goal in a person’s life. You have put in your years of hard work and now it is time to rest, play, and travel. There may also be other factors that lead a person to retire including illness, disability, spouse or other family member illness, or just plain old burn out.

In any case, retirement should be planned and thought out. The number one thing to do before deciding is to evaluate your financial situation and determine whether you can afford to retire. This will probably mean meeting with your accountant and financial advisor. If you don’t have either of those, I highly suggest you seek one out. These professionals can review your current income, savings, retirement savings, expenses, and future expenses versus income to determine if you can afford to retire or if you still have more preparation to do.

Another important thing to evaluate is your lifestyle. Does your travel plans, hobbies, and current living situation match with the amount of income you will have after you retire? Will retiring mean sacrifices? Travelling around the world and supporting expensive hobbies costs money and not everyone has set aside enough savings to cover all this on top of every day living expenses, health insurance, taxes, and children’s college education.

Let’s say you can afford to retire and travel a few times a year. What about the rest of the time? Especially if you had a career that was high level or involved being social with others, you may find life after retirement boring and meaningless. Unless you keep yourself busy socially or stay active in your community through clubs or volunteering, continuing to work may be important in order to feel like you have a purpose in life. Determining whether this will apply to you will require some self evaluation and awareness.

I have spent 34 years of my life in a career that involved interacting with people on a daily basis. I always had goals, deadlines, quotas, and expectations to strive towards. I am also a person who enjoys a routine and structure. I do not see myself retiring. Money has always been a motivator for me. Not earning an income is something that makes me extremely uncomfortable. I also have a high energy level and do not think of myself as unable to do physical things. Staying still for very long is hard for me. I still feel like I have things to accomplish and to offer, so that is why I do not see retirement for me any time soon.

What about you? Do you know if you are ready or soon will be?

Diary of a Seasoned Life – Life is Unpredictable

No matter what end of the spectrum you are located among the generations included in the “seasoned life person” category, I think the importance in planning ahead should be considered. Early baby boomers and pre-baby boomers often have the idea that their children or grandchildren will eventually divide up their things when they are gone, so why should they divest now? Later baby boomers think that they have plenty of time to deal with that issue. In this blog, I will hit some of the hard facts that both groups need to consider seriously.

You can hang your hat on the fact that life is very unpredictable. You can think that because your parents or other relatives lived to a ripe old age, that you will, too. This you cannot hang your hat on. Genetics can play a role in predicting one’s future, but there are plenty of other factors that can affect that future. Lifestyle, stress, amount of exercise and physical activity, smoking, drinking, diet, exposure to risk, and frequency of health checks all play a role and can be a game changer. Another big factor we do not often consider is what we cannot control – actions of others that cause harm. Any of these can create what I call a “life event”. “Life events” are an illness, accident, disease, disability (permanent or temporary), or death that occurs to a loved one or yourself.

My father was an active man who exercised and did not smoke most of his adult life. His father, grandfather, brother, and several uncles were heavy smokers and all died in their sixties of heart attacks. He always thought he would never live beyond 65. He lived until he was 76. What he did not expect was that cancer would be his life event. My mother was a woman who lived independently and seemed to be going strong all the way up to 79, when a stroke happened. With the exception of her older brother, stroke was not something other relatives suffered. Cancer was what she feared. My sister-in-law is only 58 years old and her parents are both living in their mid-eighties. She never expected to find she had a clogged artery known as “the widow maker” and needed treatment immediately.

Have a discussion with your spouse, parents, or children about expectations and plans if something were to happen to you. Take control of how you want things to be concerning your care, finances, home, business, pets, and belongings. Make a plan and visit with professionals who can assist in the preparation of documents or executing a plan. Part of this plan should include what to do with your cherished possessions.

Seasoned Life Transitions can help you consign those valued collectible pieces that you may find out your loved ones do not want after all. We can market your items to collectors, including telling the history and story of the piece, in hopes of finding them a new home where it will continue to be cherished. You can use the money to fund your future.

Consignment Website

Our consignment website, www.collectiblesclearinghouse.com is now live. Check it out! We are also accepting consignment collectibles to add to the website. Please contact me if you have items you would like to consign. The toll free number is 866-653-9669.