Cost of Senior Pass Increases at National Parks

Today, August 28, 2017, the price of the America the Beautiful – The National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Senior Pass has increased from $10.00 to $80.00.  The last increase was back in 1994.   According to www.nps.gov, the National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Senior Pass increased as result of the Centennial Legislation P.L. 114-289 passed by the US Congress on December 16, 2016.  The cost for the lifetime Senior Pass is now in line with the annual America the Beautiful Land pass which is also currently $80.00.

For those seniors on a budget, there is also an annual Senior Pass available for $20 that is valid for one year from the date of issuance.  The www.nps.gov website also states that Four annual Senior Passes purchased in prior years can be traded in for a lifetime pass.

All current senior passes will remain valid lifetime passes and all benefits will stay the same.  However, if your pass becomes lost or stolen, you will need to purchase a new one at the $80.00 price.

Lassen National Park
Lassen National Park

Even at the new $80.00 fee, the Senior Pass is still a good deal for those who enjoy visiting National Parks on a regular basis.  It is available for purchase by all US citizens or permanent residents 62 years or older.  The pass will provide the pass owner and passengers in noncommercial vehicles access to more than 2,000 recreation areas and covers entrance and standard amenity (day-use) recreation fees.  It also provides discounts on some expanded amenity recreation fees.

If you’re looking to purchase a senior pass, view the complete list of sites where the pass is available (PDF) or visit the USGS store to buy the pass online or find instructions for purchasing by mail.

Microsoft Office 2016 for Seniors – Creating and Saving Documents

Whenever you start a new project in Word, you’ll need to create a new document.   You can create a new word document from the New page of the Backstage view or from the New Blank Document icon on the Quick Access Toolbar.

Available Template Gallery Choices from the Backstage View are:

  1. Blank Document – document formatted with standard settings that contains no content
  2. Installed Templates – content and design templates that come with Office Apps
  3. Office.com Templates – represent categories of common types of files that you can download and customize

Create a New Blank Document

  1. Click the Blank document template to create a new blank page. Word will display a new blank document in the application window.

Creating a new blank document in Word 2016

Create a Document from a Template

Word provides you with dozens of templates that you can easily download to help you create many different types of documents.  These templates are already pre-formatted with text and graphics so all you have to do is fill in your personal text and images and you’ll have a business letter, memo, brochure, flyer, newsletter or report nicely formatted and ready to go.  Let’s try it now.

1. Click the File Tab, then click New to display the New page of the Backstage view.  You will see some of the installed template thumbnails  next to the Blank document option
2. Click any thumbnail to open a preview window that displays a sample document page

Create a file from a template in Word 2016
3. In the preview window, click the Create button to create the document.  A new document will appear with the template you selected.

Create a template in Word 2016

You can also use the search bar to find the exact template you are looking for. In the example below, we’re using the search bar to search for a newsletter template.  When you find a template you like, select the template exactly as explained above to preview it.  You can also search by the categories listed on the right side of the page.

Search templates in Word

Open an Existing Document

The Start screen that appears when you first start Word displays a list of your recently opened files, so if it appears on the Start screen, you can open it directly from there. You can also open files residing in folders on your computer as demonstrated below:

1. Click the File Tab to go to the Backstage view and then click on Open
2. Click Browse to launch the Open dialog box and then navigate to the folder where the document you want to open resides.  (Alternatively, you can choose Recent Files, OneDrive or This PC to open files stored on your computer or OneDrive.)
3. Double click the file you want to open

opening-files

Saving Your Files

Saving your work is important if you want to keep what you’re working on and you’ll want to save it in a location that you can easily recognize so you can find it later.  With Word 2016, you can now save files in the Cloud using OneDrive, or in a folder on your local computer.  Some people prefer to save in the cloud as it provides them with a single place to store and access files as well as an automatic back-up system.  OneDrive is Microsoft’s cloud-based storage solution and you’ll need an account to use it.  For the purposes of this lesson, we’ll be saving to our local computer.

There are two ways to save a file, the Save As and the Save option.

  1. Save As command: Always use the Save As option the first time you save a file.  You would also use the Save As command to save a document under a different name or location
  2. Save command: Use the Save command to update already saved files with changes.  The Save command updates the current version of the file.

You can save a document for the first time in one of the following ways:

  • Click the Save button on the Quick Access Toolbar
  • Click the File tab to display the Backstage View and then, on the navigation bar, click the Save or Save As command.  Let’s try it.

To Save a File

  1. Create a file from a template as explained above and then click the File tab to display the Backstage View
  2. Click Save As
  3. Click the Browse folder and in the Save As dialog box, navigate to the folder where you want to save your file
  4. In the file name box, enter a name for the file and use the default file type
  5. Click the Save button

saving files in Word 2016

Walkable Communities for Retirees

As more and more baby boomers continue to retire, experts believe the demand for walkable neighborhoods will continue to grow.  After years of commuting and driving from point A to point B, many retirees just want to be able to walk or bike to basic services or be able to take public transport to just about anywhere they want to go.  According to a recent study by the George Washington University School of Business, the end of sprawl is in sight as some of the nation’s largest metropolitan areas are focusing on building walkable urban developments.

This trend doesn’t necessarily help retirees looking for affordable, walkable, urban communities as these areas are now demanding higher rental premiums, according to the study, making it unaffordable for many retirees.  This is evident in Walkscore’s latest 2016 list in which New York, with a walkscore of 89, comes in at the top as America’s most walkable city followed by San Francisco which boasts a Walkscore of 86.

Walkscore.com ranks cities on a scale of 0 to 100 with 90–100 being a walker’s paradise, 70–89 as being very walkable,  50–69 as being somewhat walkable, 25–49 as car-dependent where most errands require a car to 0–24 as car-dependent where almost all errands require a car.  In their latest 2016 City & Neighborhood Ranking, Walkscore rates 141 cities in the US, Canada and Australia with a population of 200,000 or greater that have an average Walk Score of 48. In addition to the Walkscore, they also show the transit score and bikescore for each city.

So how can you find a walkable and affordable community to retire in? You could start by viewing Walkscore’s latest city rankings and detailed information on each neighborhood here or if you have a particular city or town in mind, visit walkscore.com to start your search .  Walk Score is available for any address in the United States, Canada, and Australia. They’ve ranked the largest 3,000 cities and over 10,000 neighborhoods so you can easily find the walkscore, bikescore or transit scores for your city.  Once you locate the city, you can drill down and see the detailed information for each city and search for apartments to rent or houses for sale.

8 Places to Retire & Get the Most Bang for Your Buck

It’s so important to save for our retirement. Many people start paying into pensions in their early 20s to ensure they have enough money for when they retire. However, even with that, many people will not have enough money to cover all their expenses by the time they retire and many people are now moving to countries where they can get more out of their savings.

Check out the storymap below from Easy Life Cover for a complete overview of the best countries to retire in to ensure you get the most out of your savings. There are age, income and residency requirements in most countries, but if you meet the criteria, you may be surprised to learn that in some of the countries, $200k has the potential to last up to 30 years! Even in the some of the most expensive cities like Bangkok, Thailand, the cost of living can still be 50% to 60% less than in larger US cities such as New York and Chicago.  Keep in mind that some countries do require a visa.

If your retirement savings aren’t as much as you’d hoped for, there is always the option to start your life over and have a great standard of living in many beautiful countries around the world.   Also, many of these countries offer special programs designed specifically for retired people such as discounts on utilities, hospital services and flights.

Storymap compliments of Easy Life Cover

When will I get my first social security check?

Many people are confused about when they will receive their first social security check after applying for early retirement at age 62 and rightly so! In some cases you may have to wait for more than 2 months after your turn 62 before you will receive your first social security check, depending on what day of the month your birthday falls on

When will I receive my first social security checkThe first thing to understand is that turning 62 doesn’t make you immediately eligible.  According to the Social Security Administration, you have to be 62 for one FULL month before you become eligible to receive benefits. In other words, you have to be 62 and one month old before you are eligible to receive your benefit.  Social Security benefits are then paid the month after they are due and according to the Social Security payment schedule.

For example, if your birthday falls on October 10th, 2016 you will be eligible for social benefits on November 10th, 2016 when you are 62 years and one month old.   According to the Social Security Administrations website, Social Security benefits for a given month are paid the following month they are due,  so in this example, paid in December.  But that doesn’t mean December 10th.  Social Security has a payment schedule as to which day of the month you will get paid depending on what date your birthday falls.

  • 1st – 10th of the month – You’ll be paid on the second Wednesday of each month.
  • 11th – 20th of the month – You’ll be paid on the Third Wednesday of each month.
  • 21st – 31st – You’ll be paid on the Fourth Wednesday of each month.

It’s a good idea to take a look at the Schedule of Social Security Benefits Payments to get a good idea of when you will receive your first check and on what date of each month.  Below you will find links to the 2016 and 2017 schedules.

Schedule Of Social Security Benefit Payments for 2016

Schedule of Social Security Benefit Payments for 2017