30 April 2010

Personal Technology: Overdrive

Wi-Fi and MiFi and WiMAX and hotspot and air card and airport and router and modem and, well, all that stuff. They all address that burning question: how can I get on the Internet on the road?

Last year, I went the air card route. It's a little USB stick that connects a laptop to the web. Initial cost was about $100. Discounted monthly fee was $40+. I'm using past tense because I canceled the account this week. I definitely liked having an air card. On 3 or 4 occasions, it genuinely saved me: I was able to conduct crucial work on the web. And at least a couple of times a month, it provided a convenient link.

On the downside, it ever only worked on one laptop, a unit running Windows XP. It never provided a connection for my Mac, Windows Vista, or Windows 7 laptops.

OK. That's all the whining behind my personal technology. Here's the fun stuff:

My new mobile Internet solution is the Overdrive. It's a little black box that receives Internet from Sprint's 3G and 4G network... and then broadcasts it to 5 mobile devices near me. To take advantage of this Wi-Fi, those devices must have my password for connection. Cost was about $100 with discounts and the monthly charge is $60. I know, I know.

So, if you're scanning the list of available wireless networks on your computer and you see "Bold" in the list, look for me. I'll be within 150 feet of you, holding my overdrive.

Disclosure statement: I have no relationship with Sprint other than as a customer and I have not received any compensation or free product for mentioning this product or service. (This blog's only monetary reward comes through google.adsense links, which are selected by Google, not by me.)

© 2010 Mary Bold, PhD, CFLE. The content of this blog or related web sites created by Mary Bold (http://www.marybold.com/, http://www.boldproductions.com/, College Intern Blog) is not under any circumstances to be regarded as professional, legal, financial, or medical advice. Or education advice. Or marital advice. Or even a tip.

26 April 2010

Boomer Numbers

Boomer numbers for 2010:

The first boomers were born in 1946. This year, they turn 64.

The last boomers were born in 1964. This year, they turn 46.

OK. Maybe not the most earth shattering set of numbers you'll ever know. Earth shattering was supposed to be 2011. That's the year the leading boomers will reach age 65, a classic age for various qualifying events. The Great Recession may make age 70 more pertinent for Social Security retirement, taking the edge off 2011.

Another view is this: starting in 2011, every year will bring new boomer numbers in terms of retirement, Social Security, Medicare, exemptions or reductions in property tax (in some locales). Every year, a new wave of boomers will qualify for those events. And that annual wave will occur 18 times.

© 2010 Mary Bold, PhD, CFLE. The content of this blog or related web sites created by Mary Bold (http://www.marybold.com/, http://www.boldproductions.com/, College Intern Blog) is not under any circumstances to be regarded as professional, legal, financial, or medical advice. Or education advice. Or marital advice. Or even a tip.

23 April 2010

Beautronics: Boomers May Not Be Familiar

Granted, I am not aware of many advancements in the beauty industry but I daresay most boomer women have not tuned into beautronics. That's Barbie's maker's term for the electronic supports for beauty-making.

In short, you can stick your finger into a special printer for d├ęcorating your nails. Rather, a child can. Barbie images as well as holiday motifs are ink-jetted on the nail in seconds. This costs some hundreds of dollars.

Web reviews of beautronics cite only one problem: users have a hard time sitting still so the pumpkins are sometimes blurry.

© 2010 Mary Bold, PhD, CFLE. The content of this blog or related web sites created by Mary Bold (http://www.marybold.com/, http://www.boldproductions.com/, College Intern Blog) is not under any circumstances to be regarded as professional, legal, financial, or medical advice. Or education advice. Or marital advice. Or even a tip.

19 April 2010

From Underwater to Foreclosure: One Anecdote

Most boomers grew up to believe bankruptcy was a sad, sad event. We feel sympathy for people who go through the process. Outside of a few cynical jokes about billionaires who file for such protection, we don't laugh when we hear that a friend has hit hard times and taken that route. Foreclosures? We grew up with no belief at all.

Regardless of what we know about sub-prime mortgages, we are now developing a new understanding of the foreclosures in our neighborhoods. How much of the turmoil is individual responsibility and how much can be attributed to the mortgage industry? That will be easier to say in retrospect. You know, 10 years from now.

In the meantime, I'd say the mood about foreclosures is not as sympathetic as about bankruptcy. Although the contract approach ("my mortgage is nothing more than a contract and my business decision is to walk away from that contract") has logic to it, most homeowners don't support their neighbor taking this route. All values drop as the number of foreclosures in a neighborhood go up.

But in some communities, the contract approach is losing its stigma. That's because so many homes are being foreclosed. I refer to Las Vegas, of course. Here's one explanation that a realtor shared with me:

You live in a $300,000 home, which you purchased at the peak of the housing bubble. You are able to make the payments on your $280,000 note. But you know you're underwater (your note is greater than the house would sell for) because the city's foreclosures are numerous and values have dropped dramatically. Those are the effects of the housing bust.

You notice that the house across the street from you is REO (real estate owned or bank-owned, meaning foreclosed) and listed at $150,000. You apply for a mortgage to buy it "as an investment."

As soon as all the paperwork is completed, you move into that house, paying monthly on a much smaller mortage. You stop making payments on your first home (the one with the $280,000 mortgage) and eventually your bank forecloses on it.

You've moved into a highly similar home, reduced your monthly housing cost, and kept your kids in their familiar school. There is a price to pay: just as it takes time to "recover" credit-wise from bankruptcy, the foreclosure will affect your credit for years.

Are all foreclosures the result of a calculated choice like that? Of course not. But anecdotes like this one help explain how foreclosures are normalized in people's thinking.

© 2010 Mary Bold, PhD, CFLE. The content of this blog or related web sites created by Mary Bold (http://www.marybold.com/, http://www.boldproductions.com/, College Intern Blog) is not under any circumstances to be regarded as professional, legal, financial, or medical advice. Or education advice. Or marital advice. Or even a tip.

16 April 2010

Best Tax Day Story

Lots of folks filed taxes yesterday. Some of them announced it.

A family friend related that a call from one relative was to report that a third relative had gotten his taxes filed on time. Facebook said it was so.

Not such a big deal, right? People announce all sorts of daily tidbits on facebook. But how the report got to facebook is the important part of the story: the tax-filer clicked the facebook link in his tax preparation software. The announcement was immediately created and posted.

In case you care, the tax filer is in Gen Y. But I think this is not dependent on generation.

© 2010 Mary Bold, PhD, CFLE. The content of this blog or related web sites created by Mary Bold (http://www.marybold.com/, http://www.boldproductions.com/, College Intern Blog) is not under any circumstances to be regarded as professional, legal, financial, or medical advice. Or education advice. Or marital advice. Or even a tip.

12 April 2010

U-Haul and the Shared Culture

U-Haul doesn't just move people around the country...it also tallies up the trips and destinations. Publishing the results once a year produces a list of the Top 50 U.S. Destination Cities. For 2009, the top choice of moves over 50 miles was Houston, Texas. Actually, three Texas towns made it to the Top 10 (San Antonio in 4th position and Austin in 5th).

It was the 2nd position city that caught my eye: Las Vegas, Nevada. Most of the time, our actions reflect culural (or societal) trends. The great myth of America is that we are individualistic. We are much more social than we imagine and we are far more socialized than we would care to admit. And since I ascribe to Group Socialization Theory for a number of explanations of human behavior, I turn in that direction again. Society made us think of moving to Las Vegas. We only thought we used logic to make that decision.

To make a really good analysis of the socialization aspects of relocation, I'd like to have all the U-Haul demographics. But here's one prediction: Las Vegas moves are largely the thing of retiring boomers. The city welcomes newcomers, especially those who are not seeking employment.


Disclosure statement: I have no relationship with U-Haul and I have not received any compensation or free product for mentioning this service. (This blog's only monetary reward comes through google.adsense links, which are selected by Google, not by me.)

© 2010 Mary Bold, PhD, CFLE. The content of this blog or related web sites created by Mary Bold (http://www.marybold.com/, http://www.boldproductions.com/, College Intern Blog) is not under any circumstances to be regarded as professional, legal, financial, or medical advice. Or education advice. Or marital advice. Or even a tip.

09 April 2010

Androgynous Boomers

The photo doesn't appear to be at all related to the principle of increasing androgynous perspective by men and women as they age. But it is. When Tom Bold was on duty for keeping the house staged, that included decorating with flowers. His report: I went to the store and asked myself, "What would a woman get?"

That reflects typical development. At a younger age, he might have asked the same question but not necessarily made the right choice.
(No offense is intended toward all the men who arrange flowers expertly at any age.)

© 2010 Mary Bold, PhD, CFLE. The content of this blog or related web sites created by Mary Bold (http://www.marybold.com/, http://www.boldproductions.com/, College Intern Blog) is not under any circumstances to be regarded as professional, legal, financial, or medical advice. Or education advice. Or marital advice. Or even a tip.

05 April 2010

Clutter Creep: Selling Your House

The stager warned us, "Yeah, I know people start dragging their stuff back in after I send it out."

I refer to it as clutter creep. The house is staged. The clutter is gone. You're on task: always ready to show the house on a half-hour's notice. But you get tired of dragging the vacuum cleaner in from the garage. And you really need the play yard for visiting children. And then there are the shoes that are just so much more handy when they're downstairs....

The goal becomes showing the closet with some bare shelving and some bare floor. Note that the holiday clutter has not returned!


© 2010 Mary Bold, PhD, CFLE. The content of this blog or related web sites created by Mary Bold (http://www.marybold.com/, http://www.boldproductions.com/, College Intern Blog) is not under any circumstances to be regarded as professional, legal, financial, or medical advice. Or education advice. Or marital advice. Or even a tip.

02 April 2010

When vintage is on the mind...

I went to Las Vegas looking specifically for vintage (boomers know that stands for the 1950s, '60s, and '70s... not just "old"). So, when I checked into a motel on I-40 on my way to Nevada, I laughed out loud when I opened the door to my room. How fitting!

My next laugh was when I took time to actually read the sign on my door: I was in a suite. And my next laugh was when I noticed that mine was not the only suite.

It's entirely possible that another person might recognize meaning in the name of the suite. I'm guessing sports but I can honestly say that I'm happy to accept it at face value.
© 2010 Mary Bold, PhD, CFLE. The content of this blog or related web sites created by Mary Bold (http://www.marybold.com/, http://www.boldproductions.com/, College Intern Blog) is not under any circumstances to be regarded as professional, legal, financial, or medical advice. Or education advice. Or marital advice. Or even a tip.