Oct 30, 2013

When Reality knocks, will you move or buy a chairlift?

I am all about living a positive life and most of my writing reflects my Pollyanna attitude. Playing golf, walking, shopping, travel and pursuing any interest that crosses my mind is the way I would live forever if I could. But when I took a big fall, reality came to call. Facing the truth about my mobility was hard. That is when I began looking into a way to purchase an affordable stairlift.

Look at this beautiful chairlift. (image: Fcerrato)
I had fallen on the golf course here in Arizona and sprained my ankle severely. After I regained my dignity, I visualized what I would do if I had been at home in Oregon and had to navigate the stairs we climbed to get to our bedroom and laundry. What was I going to do about all those stairs if I didn't get well? All I could see was me crawling up and down the steps several times a day. I am not a small woman so my husband definitely could not carry me. (Poor man!) Moving to a new house crossed my mind immediately. But my inner Pollyanna did not fail me. I knew there had to be a way. Then I began to think about how we might be able to find an affordable chairlift that could be installed in our condo. The one I looked at out of the UK even had a possibility that would have suited our curved stairway. It seemed like such a reasonable solution to my problem and did not involve moving out of my home. I don't like to move!

I am in love with gadgets anyway. I even look at the small carts people use to move around here in the RV resort where I spend my winters. Some of those carts are red and have a little fringe here and there.  I kind of want one of those but it is not time...yet. Still they look like fun.

I think this really is all about the stages in our life and facing what we must do with some sort of humor. We didn't need to put the stairlift in but if we had, my grandchildren would have thought I was very cool.  I liked that idea a lot. I could just see the line up by the stairs in my house when we had a family dinner so they could watch me using my new ride. Besides, I think I would look good sitting there.

And I do know that we will be faced with this sort of issue sometime down the road. I feel much better having a plan of action in place.

So, when the wake-up call comes, what will you do? Will you find a way to make that stairlift into a carnival ride? Will you buy a small red shiny golf cart to get around your world? I urge you to hook into your inner Pollyanna and get some fun out it.

Have a wonderful day.


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Oct 29, 2013

3 ways Your Unused Gift Cards Can Make Christmas Better

I am always looking for ways to give more at Christmas time. Although our list is not horribly long, we do have 12 grandchildren. We want to be generous with them. In the past we have given gift cards or cash to family and friends but we are finding that there are ways to give better gifts. Here is how it works.Take a look at any gift card you have received but have not used. I bet you have some. It is estimated that over 2 billion dollars worth of gift cards went unredeemed during 2012.  If you are smart, you will find a way to put those cards to use. That is where you might want to use a company that will buy your gift cards. 

  1. Gift Card Exchange: If the gift cards you are re-gifting are for stores that are not convenient you can get extra value for the card by exchanging for an Amazon gift card. 
  2. Cash for Gift Cards: If the person you are buying for really needs a cash gift, sell the unwanted gift card and give cash. Make it easy for them.
  3. Buy Gift Cards:  Buy your gift cards at a discounted price. (I had to ask myself why I hadn't been doing this all along.) 
  4. If your credit card company does not give cash see if there is a gift card possibility. You may be able to sell the gift card for cash. Here is an interesting fact:
Even though rewards are exciting, many consumers don’t use them. A national GMAC Mortgage survey concluded that while over 50% of respondents in a recent national survey of American consumers reported having at least one or two credit cards that offer rewards, more than 41% of such reward cardholders either rarely or never bother to use their rewards.
I think all of these hints can be made a reality by using a compnay like Gift Card Rescue.com program. They will buy your unwanted cards from you, sell you cards at a discounted price and even help you exchange unwanted cards for an Amazon card at an increased value. They have cards from companies like Target, j.jill, Macys and Best Buy just to name a few. When you go to the webpage, you can see what people from the New York Time, The Wall Street Journal and other money writers have to say about the program. Just click on their icon at the bottom of the page and you will be directed to the articles written about this business.

When they contacted me about writing something for my readers, I did some research. I like the idea so I will be doing business with them over the holidays. It seems to me it is a win win idea. Give it a try and let me know how you like it.


Unused Cards: Information from Time.com

Oct 27, 2013

Candy Chang's food for thought...what is your discipline?

Have you ever thought about how you have changed since you retired? Maybe you went back to school to learn to be something totally different. Or have you created your own "Discipline" combining skill that you had learned from other stages and ages?

Remember when you were in college and you studied a discipline like math or art or accounting? It seems that we can create our own discipline combining talents we already possess. That is what I want to talk about today.

It all started with my email and a link to SumbleUpon. The next thing I knew I was looking at a weblog posted by an artist named Candy Chang.

First of all I want you to know that I am not acquainted with Candy Chang. But I do know that I love her website and better yet I love the range of her creative nature. She has given a TED talk so you know she is remarkable. She has done everything from a chalkboard on her house grown into a book to an exhibit in Las Vegas called Confessions.

After the death of someone she cared about, she painted blackboard paint on the exterior wall of her house and asked the simple question, "What do you want to do before you die?" She left chalk I think because the wall filled with statements from people passing by and soon other walls began to spring up around the world. Hence the book.

But the simple 2 minute YouTube video you see above touched me more than all of her projects put together. The video leads us down to the garden path so a place where you will ask yourself about what you are good at...do you have a specific discipline that you excel at or are you like the rest of us...eclectically blessed. Jack of all trades as it were.

As I write about the retirement stage of my life I am more and more convinced that our happiness is directly related to what we learn or master as we age. We don't usually take up the harp if we have no knowledge of music. Yet I have known people to do just that. That person is very unique and wonderful I think. They have a clear picture of what harp playing will bring to them as they learn the discipline.

I took up writing when I was around 60 years old. I had been a teacher and did a lot of writing for my work but I had never really let myself just write what I wanted. First of all, I wanted to see my words in print somehow. Not that I thought anyone wanted to read but still I needed that kind of gratification. Then along came blogging and I was feeling hopeful.

Do you know what almost stopped me from ever beginning? My typing skills. While I knew I had the words and the ideas, I did not trust myself to put them into a blog because I knew that I was not a good typist. In order for me to practice one discipline, I had to be very good at another.

But write I did, day after day. The discipline of typing my words and rereading to correct was just what I needed. I learned and improved and worked. I had found a "Discipline" of my very own making.

So what discipline have you created at this time in your life?

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Oct 25, 2013

Did you hear about the guy that bought a house next door to the Halloween Haunted House?

House for Sale...as is! Very quiet and isolated! (Gary Langley Photo, 2013)
This may be everyone's worst nightmare. You find the perfect house and it turns out the neighbors are yellers and night owls. It would be enough to make anyone cranky I suppose. I was reading about a guy that bought a weekend house out at the shore or someplace equally a expensive sounding. The house was down the street from a small theatre company. All the neighbors had screen porches so they could enjoy the summer evening. It was just perfect.

It all started I think, when the neighbors visited until all hours of the night on the porch in the summer.

Then Halloween came and the theatre company opened their haunted house. Evidently the actors were very good at their jobs because the screaming began as soon as the doors opened and continues until the haunted house closed. That was bad enough but at least they were only open in October. He could stand that...then this year they decided that, since they were such a huge success, they would extend the haunted house season and open in September.

The poor man was beside himself. Can't you just imagine? But I suppose we could all tell similar stories.

I lived next door to a man once that I swear had to be a hit man for the mafia. He scared me to death. My children weren't perfect and he and his little moll wife were threatening to say the least.

Another time we lived next door to a couple that we had known in a previous life. We were there first but it doesn't really matter. He was a wife beater and she was a screamer. We knew what was coming and come it did. Thankfully they didn't stay for long or we may have moved...I don't remember.

When I was a child, our neighbors were equally as unusual. The guy three houses down not only beat his children but he was known to chase his wife with a butcher knife. He never did kill anyone but it was touch and go there for a while. Oh, I might add that our town policeman did not drive and weighed about 135 soaking wet. If anyone was in trouble they just took care of it themselves! I think we kept our doors locked...a lot!

When we moved into that house...my parents dream house, the one they had saved for all of their married lives...the man next door was raising pigs and got all his good stuff from the city dump. I suppose there wasn't much of a choice in houses to buy or surely my parents would not have purchased that house. My mother was new in town so she was the person designated to visit the City Council and get the pigs removed. My parents planted a very high hedge of lilacs so they couldn't see the backyard city dump pickings.

I can tell you right now that when we buy a house these days, we check all the angles and give it some thought. HOA restriction have saved us a lot of trouble because you know that the people next door can't set up a car repair business in the driveway or the street in front of your house. Honestly, I am a very forgiving person but I don't want the neighbors painting their house sky-blue-purple-yellow. I want them to keep their yard cleaned up and hold the noise down late at night. The longer I live, the more I like some enforceable rules. And I don't want the neighbors turning me into a mean cranky old woman.

So the man that bought the house at the shore has decided to join them since he can't beat them. He acts in the theatre company now and maybe stays up late and talks loud. He says he is doing what Emily Post recommends...do what everyone else is doing! He truly has my sympathy.

Incidentally, the story was in the NYTs and it was called Face to Face with my Mean Inner Old Man.

Have a wonderful day.

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Oct 24, 2013

A Travelers Guide to Retiring Abroad

With the cost of living going up in the United States, Florida is becoming further and further out of reach as the go to for retirees. Many who are retiring now are retiring abroad and believe it or not, this can be attained by just about anyone. The number of people who have retired outside of the U.S. has more than doubled since 2006 and have a budget at low as $40 a day. This can actually be a very financially savvy way to retire. Most retirees want somewhere a little warmer with less expensive housing and more affordable healthcare and this is doable in most countries outside of the U.S. Many of the inexpensive and appealing countries available lie in Central and South America, India, and Southeast Asia.

If retiring abroad is an option that appeals to you, there are some factors that you should consider when choosing your destination. 
When considering another country, while it may be much less expensive than the United States, you will want to budget out your expenses. Create a realistic retirement budget to see how much you will have to work with, regardless of where you are. You should budget according to sources of income that will be guaranteed to you such as Social Security and your pension. To do this you can get assistance from a 401K counselor, a financial planner, or do it yourself with a retirement calculatorTake into account any debt or bills you will have to pay. Don’t forget relocation costs.

Before leaving the country, set up direct deposit and automatic payments through your bank to help eliminate any complications that could arise from dealing with manual payments.
When dealing with money abroad, your assets can stay in the U.S. and get managed online but to avoid having your account frozen or getting charged currency exchange fees it would be wise to open an account locally in the country you have chosen and make regular transfers from your American Bank.

Health care
Medicare won’t cover you in another country but it is possible to attain health care overseas at much more affordable prices than those in the U.S. In many countries, paying out of pocket is much cheaper than the cost of visiting a doctor in the U.S. with insurance.
f you have special medical needs, consider one of the many countries with thriving medical fields.
Some international hospitals for medical tourism are located in South Korea, Turkey, Thailand, Costa Rica, Malaysia, and India, where you can save anywhere from 30 to 90% of the cost of treatment in the U.S.

Calculate the tax impact.
You will still have to pay U.S. taxes even though you are living abroad. The IRS taxes citizens on income no matter where they live. If you give up your citizenship, which some people do, you will still owe income tax as a nonresident alien. Income taxes are charged even if their assets are moved with them although some countries like Canada and Mexico have treaties that prevent double taxation.
Social Security
Should you wish to receive your Social Security by mail, the Social Security Administration has the ability to send your payments to many of the world’s countries however there are some countries that do not apply to this. The SSA cannot send payments to you if you are living in Cuba, North Korea, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, or Vietnam. On the chance that you qualify for an exception for one of these countries (Cuba and North Korea excluded), you are required to go to the country’s U.S. Embassy to pick up your payments each month. 

Language Barriers
Hanoi's Busy Night Life
If this is a deterrent for you, know that there are communities of English speaking retirees and that English is spoken and on the rise in most countries around the world as English is the most commonly spoken international language.

Some seniors may reach a point where they can’t or do not want to drive. Consider what forms of local transportation there is to get around before deciding on a town or city. If traveling is something you want to do often during retirement, whether it is long distance or just through the country you have decided to settle in, it may be a good idea to settle down in close proximity to an airport or train station.
Politics and Religion
Some people may want to retire in a community of like-minded individuals and if this is the case, you may want to do some research on the beliefs, government, and political ideologies of the countries you are interested in. 

Try It First
Before moving to a new country, be sure to visit it for more than a week or two before committing to a new home. To establish whether or not this location is a good fit for you, try it out in order to see if the advantages outweigh the disadvantages for your personal preferences.

Author’s Bio: Louis Mack is a seasoned retirement planner who has turned to writing to share the knowledge he has collected through many years of experience with a broader audience. When he’s not writing about retirement, he’s more than likely casting a line somewhere.
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Oct 23, 2013

The New York Times Can Still Make Me Laugh!

I subscribe to the NYT's online. It costs me $20 a month and I often question the wisdom of paying for the news from them. And then they put something on the front page that makes me laugh. I am a sucker for a good laugh and I will in fact pay $20 a month just on the off chance that there may be one coming soon.

And here it is...Giving a Wife Her Front Yard Burial...No Matter What. The first paragraph went like this:
STEVENSON, Ala. — James Davis figures that his first mistake was asking permission. If a man promises his wife he will bury her in the front yard, then he should just do so.
New York Times Stevenson Journal (Notice that Mr. Davis has left a place for his name on the grave marker. WOW!)
I know...I should not laugh at this but, see, I am 72 so I live very close to the time when I will be telling someone where to put me. Oh, I promise it will not be the front yard of our home. Still, if I were inclined, I suppose I could make some wonky request on my death bed while under the influence of a pain killer! Thankfully, I live in Oregon so I don't think it would be allowed, especially if someone asked permission. In that part of the world people don't normally bury other people in the yard unless there has been a crime. Alabama is still a little ambiguous on the matter.

The inscription on Mrs. Davis's tombstone cannot be seen but I did speculate about what it might say. "She wanted to be buried here"  or "I told you not to step on the flowers".

I've often thought about what they could put on my tombstone if I did get buried in my front yard or any place for that matter. Please know that the whole idea is ridiculous because I really don't want one of those. (Write that down someplace please.) But, if I did, I have several epitaphs chosen already. I have always loved the famous "I Told You I Was Sick!" that appears on the tombstone of Mike Milligan. Another one that tickled me was what Margaret Daniel's family put on her tombstone:
She always said her feet were killing her but nobody believed her. (Wintersong)
When I am much in demand around I house, I often tell anyone that will listen that my tombstone is going to say "And She Was Somebody" because they will always scream "Will somebody get me some toilet paper?" That "somebody" would be me. Another famous tombstone went one line further...it said:
I was somebody.Who, is no businessOf yours. (Wintersong)
I wouldn't say that because it would be rude and I don't want people to know how I REALLY felt.

Mr. Davis, our front lawn cemetery keeper, looks like a determined man. We can surmise that he is honest because he did ask for permission to do this. On the other hand he might be just a tiny bit stubborn. What do you think? 

And what about Mrs. Davis...why did she want to be buried in the front yard? One has to wonder if she liked the yard or if she wanted to spend eternity keeping an eye on Mr. Davis. I'm just saying!

I am telling my family to do whatever makes them happy. If they really need a grave marker, it is okay with me. There is a tombstone somewhere that says "This Ain't Bad Once You Get Used To It". I just cannot wrap my mind around that one. In fact, I have a feeling that I won't care much when the time comes and getting used to it? Well you tell me. 

As you can see, I am still laughing at life and death. Life is good...death might be same. Who knows! I am always content no matter where I land.

As a final thought I need to tell you to laugh at life. It is very short and who needs to be sad? Not me. And, yes I do know that I have a dark humor. What can I say?


Note: Google wanted me to put Sponge Bob Square Pants in the label section. Who am I to argue with them?
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Oct 21, 2013

10 Photographs of Road Trip from Oregon to Arizona

It rained 6' that week. My garden had gone to sleep and all the flowers had been dead headed. The trees were only beginning to show a hint of the cold that was to come but I felt like a snow goose ready to fly south.

I don't think it was about the rain or even the cold though. I think is was about the people that inhabit my life. Children were off to school. Parents were going into that rainy season working mode and we needed to go out into the world in search of new scenery and flowers that were just beginning to grow.

I like the road trip from Oregon to Arizona. It gives me a chance to bring my soul along with me. When I fly, it takes two or three days for it to arrive. In the meantime, I am walking in a dream. Driving takes three days so it is all good.

The change in scenery as we travel along allows a gentle transformation.
Entering the Columbia Gorge at Sunrise (Oregon) (iPhone)

East end of the Columbia Gorge...the desert begins (Oregon) (iPhone)

Wind generator above the Columbia River (iPhone)

Restaurant in Salt Lake City overlooking the Wasatch Mts. (iPhone)
Las Vegas skyline. (Sony SNX-5N - telephoto with digital telephoto)

Arizona Strip between Utah and Nevada just outside St. George, UT
Virgin River on the right. (iPhone)

Wickenburg, AZ. Small plaza with restaurant (dive) and small shops. (iPhone)

Near Wickenburg...fall colors take my breath away. (iphone)

Scoring the good chairs by the pool in our resort winter home.
We are the first to fly south! (iPhone)
Our park model...winter home on the corner of beautiful and friendly! (Sony NEX-5N)

So here we are in Arizona. Life is good, we are busy and friends will be coming very soon. My garden is growing with more flowers than I even dreamed.


Note:  All of these photos, save the one of our park model and the pool, were taken as the car flew down the freeway at 75-80 miles per hour. It all depended on the speed limit. It is amazing what our cameras can do anymore. I love it!
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Oct 17, 2013

10 Best Travel Application for a Smart Phone

If you are on the road like us, you know that your smart phone (my iPhone) can save your bacon....over and over. My husband and I just finished our journey from Oregon to Arizona. I know what a difference that device has made for us.  Here are the 9 we used just on this trip plus one I want.
  1. Gas Buddy mobile app...this app can find you when you are on you phone. It gives you a list of gas stations that are nearby along with the price of gas. It can make a difference...for us it was $.20 per gallon. Over the length of a trip it is significant.
  2. Twitter mobile app...I follow local Twitter, keep in touch with people on the fly.
  3. Instagram App allows me to post photos to twitter and facebook. If you are a blogger, you know that being personal and up to date is important.
  4. Facebook mobile app...this one is for family more than anything. But I do have a lot of followers. Timing is important for twitter and facebook.  Be sure to post when the most people are using the apps.
  5. FourSquare is a social app that will actually find deals in the area for you. We have scored free appetizers, desserts, etc.
  6. Around Me mobile app will tell you about places to eat and will list motels/hotels along with the rates they are charging. It has the information for connecting to online booking for the motel. It comes in very handy.
  7. Blogger mobile app...if you are a blogger, it is nice to be able to post a short post on the road. Blogger lets me do that with my iPhone.
  8. Yelp...this is a site that gives you the inside scoop on restaurants and entertainment. We like to use it when we are planning a special night out.
  9. MapQuest or Google Maps...I do not like getting lost. I try really hard not to have that happen. It can be difficult even with Map Quest or even a Garmin. How did we travel before we had those devices?
  10. PLUS: A Mobile Hotspot. This little function can be a lifesaver.
If you know of something I am missing, let me know!

Instagram edited photo

Instagram edited photo
I want a barbque to tow behind our vehicle...or not!

Oct 15, 2013

Travel With a Smart App

Zooming along!

We travel a lot. When we are on the road, the GasBuddy.com App. Here in Utah we save 21 cents per gallon at the same chain by going 14 more miles. It's a no brainier!

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Oct 11, 2013

Why Retiring Overseas Could be the Best Financial Decision You Ever

Quality of Life in the UK, Pensions and the Top 3 Dream Retirement Spots 

Guest Blogger, Mario Vitanelli is a writer and blogger who specializes in international politics and finance, retirement and investment for  www.QROPSGroup.com. His areas of expertise include European, Asian and the Med region's economic policy; SIPP schemes and QROPS. When away from his keyboard, he enjoys photography and appreciates the rest of the Vitanelli family’s endless patience with his football dependence.

There’s nothing like starting off an article with a couple of depressing facts. So here they are: a recent analysis found that the UK ranked the second lowest in the whole of Europe for quality of life. Only Greece was rated more poorly. No doubt in response to the discontent suggested by these polls, one out of every eight Brits expressed their desire to live somewhere that isn’t Britain. Perhaps you’re among these discontented? If so, where would you want to go?

Everyone has different tastes; divergent interests, aspirations and goals and everybody paints their own unique picture of the perfect place. As such, maybe the best way to go about pinning down these dream expatriation destinations is by exploring the countries with the highest quality of life. It’s generally agreed that the best barometer for ranking quality of life is the United Nations’ “Human Development” rating (HDR).

Before we peruse the three nations which rank highest on the HDR, it should be pointed out that an innate, unfortunate paradox regarding the best places to live is that they tend to cost a bit. So, included among the criteria will be a rating of said nation’s QROPS (Qualified Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme) program- as many expatriates are pensioners and because having the solid economic buttress a pension provides may prove a must in your new home nations. (And they’re one of my specialties.) Without further ado, here are the top three HDR-ranking countries:

From Trip Advisor

Pros: Ranked number one, Norway is also one of the most open-minded and accepting places on Earth. They had a bipartisan governmental women’s rights party formed back in the ‘80s, the 1880s. They were the first independent nation to give women the vote, the first to offer civil unions for same-sex couples (as well as many anti-discrimination laws and full marriage rights now) and the first to sign the UN’s ILO-Convention 169, protecting the rights of indigenous people. They have a social safety net that’s virtually unrivaled, cradle-to-the-grave, and beautiful landscapes- majestic fjords, dramatic mountains above beautiful meadows teeming with life, crystal clear glacial lakes and fast-running streams.

Cons: That cradle-to-the-grave protection ain’t free. Norway funds it with high taxes and the cost of living there is anywhere from 40-60% higher than the UK. (Although Norwegians are also paid one of the highest per capita salaries in the world.) Then there’s the sun- from late spring to midsummer it sets anywhere from four hours a night to not at all, and from late fall to early winter it shows up anywhere from a few hours a day to not at all. Then there’s the snow- in the winter there’s a lot of it. Everywhere.

QROPS: Considering the cost of living, the Norwegian QROPS is actually quite forgiving. There is no tax on pension income and pension inheritance is allowed. Without substantial non-pension savings or a good job in Norway, however, that pension should probably be pretty big to support you.


Pros: A beautiful, exotic country with a friendly, English-speaking popularity. Their beers are very big, the scuba diving, snorkeling, hiking, biking and [insert any outdoor activity here] is amazing. The wildlife is incredible and often absolutely unique to the Land Down Under. Life expectancy is the fourth highest in the world.

Cons: Unfortunately, a really, really disproportionate percentage of the unique and incredible wildlife specimens in Australia can kill you. It’s the only place on the planet where venomous snakes outnumber nonvenomous ones. There are also something like 500 species of poisonous spiders in every Australian household. OK, that may be an exaggeration, but there are definitely a bunch of poisonous spiders. The aforementioned beautiful, crystal turquoise blue waters hemmed by shining white beaches are haunted by deadly sea snakes, killer crocodiles, hungry sharks and horrifying jellyfish. Of course, chances are tiny that any of these nightmare creatures will get you, but they’re there.

QROPS: Australia is a great QROPS jurisdiction, the second most popular in the world actually, with 23% of all recognised pension schemes in Oz.

The United States of America

Pros: The US is the richest nation on the planet, so that’s definitely going to bump up that quality of life. It’s also a fantastically diverse nation both as the population and geography is concerned. The Nation of Immigrants is home to many ethnic populations that outnumber their place of origin’s current inhabitants and a walk through an American city will often feature food, commerce and culture from all over the globe. Furthermore, the terrain ranges from the… ranges, plains and Rocky Mountains out West to the tundra of Alaska to tropics of Hawaii and much in between.

Cons: While walking through those American cities, be sure to keep a close eye on where you’re feet take you. Due to the American infatuation with firearms, violent crime in the States can be very violent indeed. Prepare yourself for the plus sized- cars, motorways, food portions, etc.; although some may consider that more of a pro than a con, I suppose. And depending on where you go, there are definitely local culture-shortages that can prove vexing to foreign urbanites.

QROPS: Unfortunately, the Land of the Free and Home of the Brave does not have great QROPS offerings. In fact, they have virtually none at all. If you choose to expatriate to the States, and many do, you will definitely want to consider an alternate QROPS jurisdiction like Malta, Gibraltar, the Isle of Man, etc.

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Oct 10, 2013

Crowdsourcing, NakedWines.com and Cellar Rats

I have never met a cellar rat I didn't like! In case you don't know, those are the people making very good wine in the basement or the bathtub but do not have the money to fund marketing a business.  

That is where Tim, my Naked Wine guy, comes into the picture. (Naked Wine is a "crowd sourcing" or "customer funded" system run by NakedWine.com.) He calls me occasionally and my husband and I discuss what we want shipped to our house. It arrives in a day or two. As a result of that exchange, a "cellar rat" somewhere is being support with money and a place to market their product. 

An article in Forbes talked about how the money from this organization helps winemakers:
With seed money to get started, winemakers are now able to focus on the core of their passion — winemaking, not financing. “Because winemakers don’t have to waste their time and money selling to us, they make a profit, with massively reduced risk,” says Gormley. “And we get great wines at an exclusive price.” from Startup Aims to Democratize Winemaking, Forbes, Erica Swallow
We have received some very good wines through them. Even the ones that are not 10's are still very good. I like this way of buying wine. I am democratic after all. I am hoping to visit some of these wineries in person one day.  It would be such a lot of fun.
This case included 4 free bottles! NakedWine.com likes
us a lot! It cost us $40 because we are valued customers.
The normal price would be $140. 
We loved the label of the o'mg 2012 that was included in the case we received today. We weren't sure if the name referred to the text message abbreviation, OMG, or the O'connell gang that owns the winery. The back read like this:
When we started making wine in the south of France, we had no idea what we were in for. We were eager to work hard in the vines and in the cellar, but we didn't realize all the paperwork, the sales meetings and the endless cold calls hoping some restaurant manager would agree to taste test our wine... 
O'Wines would not have been the same without the Angels (Naked Angels). And we've never met an Angel who wasn't happy to taste test the wine? 
If you're ever in the south of France, come and visit the vineyard you supported. The wines taste even better out here. www.ovineyards.com/visits
We heard about it the Naked Wine Angels by word of mouth. So now you can become a part of the process too. Mention my name if you decide to join. I don't think I will get anything but I want them to know I am on their side!

Wine is on my mind and I thought of you first.


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HOW TO BE A SNOW BIRD...answers and lists!

I published this article 4 years ago but most of it is still relevant. I hope it is helpful. I love being a snow bird. But I wish someone h...