Apprise’s Five Favorite Reads for the Week of April 23, 2023

five favorite reads learn recipes
Our five favorite reads from the past two weeks. Plus: Learn Healthy New Recipes to Stay Young!

Learn Healthy New Recipes to Stay Young

As the cook in my house for as long as I can remember, I think about food and diet all the time. While it’s gotten harder to cook for my family over the years as our children have developed their own tastes and eating habits, I enjoy cooking.

In some ways, I trace my interest in cooking back to the start of my college years when I was a pre-med student and enjoyed chemistry classes and the related lab experiments, I completed. After that, it could be the result of living on a tight budget when I returned to college after taking two years off to repay the balance I owed after completing my junior year at Duke. I cooked most of my meals as it was a much cheaper way to eat healthy food.

While I have my favorites, I also like trying new recipes, too. I often modify new recipes the first time I try them to accommodate the tastes of my family.

Cooking meals at home allows you to eat healthier meals. It also helps lower your food costs. There’s no reason to think I won’t continue cooking even after my wife and I are empty nesters.

Let’s review some of the connections between cooking and your retirement.

If you truly are what you eat, then what do your meals say about your retirement right now? Do your meals cause you to think any of the following thoughts?

  • Same old, same old?
  • Reheated?
  • Leftover?
  • Stale?
  • Frozen?
  • Boring?

Then maybe it’s time to spice up your weekly meal rotation and improve your Return on Life in the process. Here are four reasons why retirees should embrace their inner foodie and make cooking a more important part of their retirement.

1. Cooking is good for you.

You already know that a meal you cooked yourself is usually healthier than fast food. As you age, it’s going to become more and more important that you diversify your meals with a variety of fresh ingredients so that you’re getting the nutrition you need to stay active and keep enjoying your retirement.

But cooking also stimulates a range of cognitive processes, including planning, problem-solving, multitasking, measurement and math, hand-eye coordination, and memory. Cooking a meal you’ve never made before also provides the satisfaction of learning something new and the opportunity to revise and improve on subsequent tries.

2. Cooking complements your retirement budget.

No, skipping the proverbial $5 cup of coffee every day probably isn’t going to make anyone rich, or make your nest egg last longer. But once you’re living on a fixed income – and, hopefully, spending more time away from home doing things you love – the convenience of carrying out and on-demand delivery could start to add up quickly. Planning out your meals ahead of time can help you control your food costs. And if you skip a few trips through the drive-thru and stick to your weekly budget, you might enjoy a big weekend meal with your spouse even more.

3. Cooking provides purpose.

Many retirees feel lost without the structure and responsibilities of their old jobs. Becoming your household’s chef is a great way to fill in at least three big blocks of your daily retirement schedule. If cooking dinner sounds too intimidating, start with breakfast. Unless you have an early tee time or volunteer shift, you no longer have to rush out the door every morning! Take it easy. Create a new, slower, more relaxing routine to ease yourself into the day, starting a breakfast that you didn’t pour out of a cereal box.

4. Cooking makes connections.

Food brings people together. Taking a cooking class, shopping at a farmer’s market, or reaching out to other aspiring chefs on social media can broaden your retirement social network and connect you to new people who share your interests. These peers and pros can offer some support and guidance as you continue to broaden your tastes and improve your skills.

Of course, the only thing more satisfying than enjoying a good meal you cooked yourself is sharing it with other people. Test out a few new recipes on your spouse or your adult children. When you’re feeling more confident in what you’re making and how you’re making it, invite your friends, family, and neighbors over for some special meals. You could also start a recipe swap or a rotating monthly potluck dinner to make your love of food a more meaningful part of your most important relationships.

And if you decide to invest more of your time and money into cooking, who knows where that passion could take you? Enrolling in a local culinary institute? Learning a new language? Taking a big trip abroad to sample the authentic cuisine you want to bring into your kitchen?

We’d love to hear what’s on your menu for retirement and talk about how our Life-Centered Planning process can make every course more fulfilling.

This Week’s Favorite Reads

This week’s articles address topics such as Social Security Mistakes to Avoid and taking advantage of less-than-perfect opportunities for quality time with loved ones.

Here are the links to this week’s articles as well as a brief description of each:

1. 7 Social Security Mistakes to Avoid.

A recent blog discussed 7 Social Security Claiming Mistakes Frequently Made by Couples. Unfortunately, a knowledge gap exists between the Social Security Administration and its rules and the public. According to this article, 54% of those who are not already receiving Social Security benefits think they know how to maximize their benefits. But the vast majority don’t know all the factors that determine the maximum benefit they can receive. For many Americans, Social Security benefits represent a meaningful component of their retirement income. Mistakes – including some of the more common errors cited in the article – can hamper your retirement. Check the article for some common snafus. You will also find ways to keep those mistakes out of any personal or family discussions.

2. When You’re Too Busy Aiming for It, You Miss the Moments in Front of You.

Do you ever say I want to spend more quality time with someone? It could be with friends, with family, with your kids, or even with yourself. Does our desire for perfectionism get in the way? According to this article, it could. Consider this quote – shared in the article – from Jerry Seinfeld:

I’m a believer in the ordinary and the mundane. These guys that talk about ‘quality time’ — I always find that a little sad when they say, ‘We have quality time.’ I don’t want quality time. I want the garbage time. That’s what I like. You just see them in their room reading a comic book and you get to kind of watch that for a minute, or [having] a bowl of Cheerios at 11 o’clock at night when they’re not even supposed to be up. The garbage, that’s what I love.

In other words, every day is special. Every minute can be quality time, too. Consider the time you spend taking your children to places like school, an athletic event, or music lessons. I know from experience that sometimes your child won’t want to talk to you when they’re driving with you. But sometimes they will. I recall some great conversations with my kids when I was transporting them to one location or another. Another opportunity comes when you drive your kids and their friends somewhere. You don’t need to talk at all. Instead, listen to their conversation. You might learn something about your child that you never knew before.

3. 5 Easy Ways to Teach Children About Money.

Our educational institutions don’t do a good job of educating our children about finances. As a result, the responsibility for that falls on their parents. Talking to your kids about money every day can help set them up for success as adults. According to the article, the conversation should start at an early age. It cites research showing that financial habits tend to be pretty engrained by age 7. At the same time, it’s never too late. I’ve seen changes in the financial habits of some clients after we started working together. Check the article for some suggestions that can help your children grasp important money concepts in a fun way. They also shouldn’t find them overwhelming.

4. How to Log off.

Do you spend too much time staring at your devices? I’d bet that just about everyone does so from time to time. We should aim to cut down on aimless time online. This article provides a mini guide on how to log off. It starts with digging into why you want to log off. Reducing screen time, in and of itself, won’t necessarily make you happier. According to this article, what you’re looking at matters more than how much time you spend on your phone.

Consider setting time limits for specific apps. You can also delete apps that lead you to wander to parts of the internet that you don’t want to go to. Try creating a specific to-do list of what you plan to do when you go online before you start. In addition to these suggestions, the article also offers a three-step process to help you break the cycle of checking an app on your phone to kill time when you’re bored.

5. 53% Of Americans Say They Don’t Have Any Emergency Savings – 3 Tips to Get Started.

Do you have an emergency funds account? Many Americans don’t. Recently, we have had to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic, the highest inflation in decades, and ongoing interest rate hikes. This combination of factors has made it even harder to build an emergency fund. As a general rule, you should have three to six months’ worth of living expenses in your emergency fund account. You might need some time to save six months of emergency expenses. The article shares three suggestions that can help. Paying yourself first can help with the third suggestion.

Bonus Content: Did you have a Facebook account in the U.S. between May 24, 2007, and December 22, 2022? If so, you may be eligible to claim part of a $725 million settlement covering numerous lawsuits alleging that Facebook improperly shared user data without their knowledge. To learn more and find a link to the official settlement website, you can read this article.

Our practice continues to benefit from referrals from our clients and friends. Thank you for your trust and confidence.

We hope you find the above articles valuable. We would be happy to address any follow-up questions you have. You can complete our contact form if you would like to talk to us about financial topics, including your investments, creating a financial plan, saving for college, or saving for retirement. Once you do that, we will be in touch. You can also schedule a call or a virtual meeting via Zoom.

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