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November 2014 Free Events

smashed pumpkin11/1 12 noon to 4pm 6th Annual Pumpkin Smash
Scraps-to-Soil, Idaho Spring Baseball Fields, 101 Idaho Springs Road East

11/1 Pre-School Nature Nuts: Wild Symbols of America
10:15 – 11am and ll:15am – 12noon
Lookout Mountain Nature Center

palette11/1 Denver Art Museum
100 W. 14th Ave., Denver

11/1 9am – 5pm Denver Botanic Gardens at Chatfield
8500 Deer Creek Canyon road, Littleton


alarm clock

   11/2    Daylight Savings Ends


11/2 12noon – 4pm Boulder History Museum
1206 Euclid Ave., Boulder


tiger  11/3, 11/14 and 11/20 Denver Zoo
2300 Steele St, Denver


vote  11/4 Election Day


11/4 4 – 8pm Denver Children’s Museum

Art week11/7-15 Denver Arts Week
With more than 300 events at more than 100 museums, galleries and arts districts all over The Mile High City, it’s easy to feel a little overwhelmed by the sheer enormity of Denver Arts Week.  Includes First Friday Art Walk.

balloon festival11/7 – 9 Arkansas Valley Balloon Festival (Rocky Ford)
Rocky Ford High School
Balloons launch right after sunrise each morning, weather permitting. Visitors are welcome to walk out with the balloons while they launch. Bring your camera and enter your photo in our photo contest. Information: 719-469-1894 http://www.hotairballoon.com/Arkansas-Valley-Balloon-Festival/

11/7 Four Mile Historic Park
715 S. Forest Street, Denver 80246

11/7 5 – 9pm Museo de las Americas
861 Santa Fe Dr. Denver
Joining the many diverse art galleries and museums that make up the Santa Fe Arts District, Museo de las Americas opens its doors to visitors on the first Friday of each month free of charge. Art-walkers along Santa Fe Drive may visit the Museo for free from 5-9pm and enjoy drinks and our current exhibition.


bird walk11/8 8:30am Bird Walk
Quincy Reservoir, 18350 E. Quincy Ave., Aurora 80015
Enjoy a morning bird walk with a knowledgeable Naturalist. Ages 8 and older.
Liz 303-326-8445

Travel back to 1859…for free! Enjoy a tour of the Four Mile House Museum – a Denver Landmark, panning for gold, and meeting our many farm-animals! On the first Friday of each month, Four Mile Historic Park is offering free general admission, courtesy of the support provided by your Scientific & Cultural Facilities District. 720-865-0800 www.FourMilePark.org

big horn sheep11/8 Bighorn Sheep Festival
Georgetown Community Center, corner of 6th and Argentine
Come to historic Georgetown for a full day of celebrating Colorado’s wildlife. Watch for and learn about Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep; take a nature hike; learn from the experts; listen to stories; get the kids involved in activities just for them; relax—enjoy Georgetown’s friendly atmosphere. Childrens activities and crafts, music, wildlife programs, hikes, tours and more. Be sure to stop by the Bighorn Sheep Viewing Station and the Georgetown Gateway Visitor Center as trained volunteers with binoculars and spotting scopes help viewers locate the head-banging sheep and offer a brief lesson on the animals!


Chirstmas bow11/8 9am Winterfest
Evergreen High School
Winterfest is a one day community festival of handmade gifts and more held indoors on “Main Street” of the Evergreen High School. Winterfest has an excellent reputation as one of the best indoor holiday shows in the Denver area with a fabulous selection of gallery quality fine art, as well as unique crafts, for the holidays. Performances by the Evergreen Chorale and Evergreen Children’s Chorale add to the festival spirit, and Santa’s Workshop keeps the younger crowd busy with holiday craft activities while parents shop.

Art week11/8 10am – 9pm Night at the Museums
Dinosaur Ridge, West Alameda Pkwy., Morrison
Dinosaur Ridge will be open for Night at the Museums with free exhibit hall admission to Trek Through Time from 10am to 9pm, and free hands-on activities for the kids – fossil sifting and dinosaur track painting – from 5pm to 9pm. Bear Creek Lake Park (City of Lakewood) will have telescopes on site to gaze at the stars. For a $3 fee, explore the Dinosaur Ridge tracksite by flashlight with a guide.
For more information contact: Amber Cain at amber_cain@dinoridge.org or 303.697.3466 x107. Websites: www.dinoridge.org and http://www.denverartsweek.com Presented by Friends of Dinosaur Ridge and Denver Arts Week.

veterans day     11/11 Veterans Day


11/11 and 12/3 Molly Brown House Museum
1340 Pennsylvania St
As more and more historic properties were demolished in the 1960s, a group of preservation-minded Denver citizens joined efforts in 1970 to rescue the home of Titanic survivor Margaret Tobin Brown — a.k.a the “Unsinkable” Molly Brown. Enjoy a guided tour of this famous Titantic survivor and Denver


11/12 9am – 5pm MOA – Museum of Outdoor Arts
1000 Englewood Pkwy., Englewood 80110


note11/14 7:30pm  /Concert at St. John’s Episcopal Cathedral
Jeri Jorgensen, violinist and Cullen Bryant, pianist – 7:30pm November 14
Violinist Jeri Jorgensen and pianist Cullen Bryant perform sonatas by Beethoven, Brahms, and Stravinsky. Jorgensen, first violinist of the Da Vinci Quartet from 1980-2004, is a member of the performance faculty of Colorado College and formerly adjunct faculty in violin and chamber music at the Lamont School of Music of the University of Denver. Bryant is among the most active chamber and collaborative pianists in New York City, maintaining a schedule of over 70 recitals a year. Freewill offering.

flower pink11/14 Denver Botanic Gardens
York Street

palette11/21 6 – 9pm Art Night in Lafayette
ARTiculars, 401 S. Public Rd., Lafayette
Please join us to explore the world of art in a series of fun-filled, hands-on workshop and demos during our openings on the third Friday of each month    http://www.particularsart.com/events/

11/22 2 – 7pm Starlighting
Downtown Castle Rock
The Starlighting ceremony will begin promptly at 5:00 PM and the lighting of the Star will be at approximately 5:30 PM.

santa claus11/22 3:30pm Holiday Lighting Celebration
Centennial Center Park, 13050 E. Peakview Ave., Centennial 80112
Bundle up and bring your friends and family and join in the fun! Enjoy local school choral groups, photos with Santa, holiday treats and top the evening off with the lighting of our 20-foot tree!

11/22 9 – 11am Colorado Freedom Memorial
756 Telluride St., aurora 80011

santa claus11/23 5 – 6:30pm Switch on the Holiday
Pearl Street Mall/Courthouse Plaza, Boulder
Caroling followed by Santa counting down to the grand illumination of the Pearl Street Mall, the County Courthouse and the star on Flagstaff Mountain.


cornucopia2   11/27 Thanksgiving



cangle flame11/28 5:30pm Candlelight Walk
Littleton Main Street

11/28 5pm Last Friday Gallery Walk
Downtown Evergreen

cangle flame11/28 6 – 8pm 31st Annual Candlelight Walk
Main Street Littleton
Gather at Town Hall Arts Center, Bega Park or Bradford Auto Body for free hot cider and music from 5-6:30 p.m. Children can also enter their name into a drawing to flip the huge switch that lights all of downtown. Bring your camera for a photo with Santa at Town Hall Arts Center.
Candles may be purchased for $.50 and donations of non-perishable food items for Interfaith Community Services will be accepted. Additionally, toy donations for the Arapahoe Santa Claus Shop are encouraged.
Get your holiday shopping done downtown that day as Main Street will be open to pedestrians, but closed to traffic at 4 p.m. Santa begins his march down Main Street at 6:30 p.m., starting from the courthouse.

12/1 Denver Museum of Nature and Science
2001 Colorado Blvd., Denver


Avoiding Family Squabbles Over Your Estate

by Kevin Wingert of American Retirement Planning
What steps may help assets transfer without a fight?
Should you rely on “will power” to bequeath assets? The more complex your estate, the more ill-advised that choice becomes. Having only a will in place when you die may not be enough. As MarketWatch noted recently, research from the Williams Group (a major estate planning firm) indicates that estate fights reduce inherited wealth for as many of 70% of families.1
Inheritance is no simple matter. In a simpler world, an individual with a $3 million estate could pass away and simply leave $1 million each to his or her children – enough said, over and done. But life isn’t so simple: one heir may deserve more money as a result of a disability or fate dealing out hardships, while another may truthfully deserve less due to his or her behavior, or his or her financial success.
If you feel one heir should receive more of your estate than another, that wish needs to be articulated in your estate planning. Stating these wishes before you pass away (the why, the how, the how much) and letting your heirs know how you feel isn’t cruel – candor now is preferable to confusion and in-fighting later.
Beyond money, what about possessions & real property? Homes, businesses, raw land, antiques, artwork, collectibles, heirlooms, and pets: your children and grandchildren may have different perceptions of their future value, and disagree on their destiny. Being clear about who is going to get what today (and why specific decisions are being made) may help defray potential legal challenges tomorrow.
Consider leaving some things up to the kids. You could call in appraisers to set values for your real and personal property, make a list of those assets and their values, and subsequently allow your heirs to take turns choosing the possessions or properties they want to inherit. If a squabble breaks out between heirs over this or that item, you can settle it with a family auction – that item goes to the highest bidder when you pass away.
Also, consider a revocable trust. More people should, as wills have basic shortcomings. If they have any imprecise language or lack in terrorem clauses (which threaten heirs that challenge them with disinheritance), they can invite lawsuits and other battles. If the author of a will is elderly, a spouse, ex-spouse or children could try to assert that the author had insufficient mental capacity at the time of authorship or wrote the will under undue influence.2
Wills are made public; they are probated. While there are many non-probate assets that pass directly to a designated beneficiary or a joint tenant (jointly held bank accounts with right of survivorship, jointly titled real property, POD accounts, most types of IRAs and workplace retirement accounts), other assets do not. The length of the probate process varies by state. It takes weeks in some states, months in others.3,4
Probate requires money as well as time: even if you have named the most capable executor
around, the court costs and lawyer and appraiser fees involved may still eat up as much as 5%
of your estate (if you’re a millionaire, that’s $50,000). Mostly, those fees go for basic clerical
Assets within a revocable trust can avoid probate (assuming they have been properly
transferred into the trust, of course). Upon the death of the grantor who established the trust,
the grantor’s appointed trustee distributes the assets within the trust per the grantor’s wishes,
no probate involved. The chance of a family fight over inherited assets lessens.5
Living wills? Those can prove quite valuable. You may not die suddenly, and you could be
incapacitated for a period just prior to your death. Should that be the case, a living will (also
called an advance directive) can articulate how you want to be treated. Additionally, a health
care proxy document can appoint someone (known legally as a health care agent) to authorize
doctors and nurses to carry out those directions. A health care proxy is also crucial in instances
when a younger individual becomes severely disabled.5
Opt for more control. When you pass away, your money will have only three possible
destinations. Percentages of it will go either to your heirs, to charity, or to the government. If
your estate planning goes no further than a will, you could be inviting a dispute and things may
not turn out quite the way you want. While creating a revocable trust can cost ten times as
much as creating a simple will, it may be worth every penny in the end.6
1 – blogs.marketwatch.com/encore/2014/09/29/how-to-prevent-family-feuds-when-it-comes-to-your-inheritance/ [9/29/14]
2 – nolo.com/dictionary/in-terrorem-clause-term.html [10/9/14]
3 – nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/why-avoid-probate-29861.html [10/9/14]
4 – nyparenting.com/stories/2013/5/fp_askattorney_2013_05.html [5/13]
5 – money.usnews.com/money/personal-finance/articles/2012/07/17/how-to-avoid-fights-over-inheritance [7/17/12]
6 – nhmagazine.com/July-2013-1/Wills-Trusts-and-Estate-Planning/ [7/13]

Be Ready for that Unexpected Early Retirement: 8 tips

Five Things Daughters Need TO Know About Their Parents FinancesBy Rodney Brooks, USA TODAY 7:44 p.m. EDT September 24, 2014
Unexpected retirement can be a lot easier if you plan for the unexpected, financial advisers say.
That retirement you’re looking forward to in five years: Be prepared for it sooner than you expect.
Numerous surveys have shown that people think that they are going to retire later than it happens. The two big reasons: health issues and losing your job.
According to the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI), 47% of American retirees in a 2013 survey retired before they planned, mostly because of health or disability.
Unplanned or unexpected early retirement can create havoc with your retirement plans. Some who had to retire early weren’t quite ready financially: Those five or 10 additional years of saving for retirement were no longer possible. Some may have had to take Social Security earlier than expected. And, as we all know, the earlier you take Social Security, the lower your monthly check.
“I have several clients and families who have gone through this,” says Greg Sullivan, with Sullivan, Bruyette, Speros & Blayney In McLean, Va. “What we are always doing is trying to keep our clients prepared for the unexpected.”

Top retirement financial concern: Health care bills

Others are not prepared psychologically.
“Don’t leave your retirement to hopium,” says Kimberly Foss, founder and president of Empyrion Wealth Management in Roseville, Calif., and author of Wealthy by Design. “Hopium is a foolish hope. It allows people to ignore sometimes unexpected realities, such as unemployment. It keeps people from making a proper plan. If they do ignore it, it leads to financial ruin.”
Some advice on how to be ready in case unexpected early retirement happens to you:
• Do an assessment. Sullivan says you should look at cash flow, balance sheet, insurance and estate plans to get an idea of where you are today and the impact of earlier-than-expected retirement.
• Plan for the unexpected. “If you pre-rehearse those types of contingencies, you are far more likely to make good decisions in an emotional moment,” says Joe Sicchitano, head of wealth planning for SunTrust Bank. “Faced with unexpected retirement, your life is in turmoil. If you thought about it, you can make good decisions.”
It’s not that different from helping children who are afraid of monsters in the closet, Sicchitano says. “The best solution is turn the light on, and see how big he is, how scary he is.”
When you know your fears, you can react to them and plan for them, Sicchitano says. “Start with the question, ‘What are you afraid of?’ That can take a number of different turns. I’m afraid of early retirement. I’m afraid of if inflation gets unwieldy, or an unexpected health concern. What if the market tanks when I retire? We can give any client the ability to toggle these scenarios and see how that scenario affects them personally.”
• Build an emergency fund. “You want to make sure you’ve built an adequate emergency fund,” says Marc Freedman, president CEO of Freedman Financial in Peabody, Mass., and author of the book Retiring for the Genius. “Six to 12 months of your living expenses,” he says. “If you are 55 and faced with retiring soon, you should be able to do that.”
• Consider what you want in retirement. Once people get into their 50s, they need to look at how early they can retire, based on what they want, says Joe Franklin, president of Franklin Wealth Management in Hixson, Tenn. “Determine at what age you are independent enough to say, ‘I can keep working if I enjoy it or leave if I don’t like it.'”
• Reduce debt. “The more you can lower your committed expenses, the more flexibility you have,” says Sicchitano.
• Maximize contributions to your 401(k) and minimize fees. Jerry Schlichter, partner in the St. Louis law firm of Schlichter, Bogard & Denton, says the more attention you have paid to your retirement plan, the better you position yourself for an unexpected retirement. “You want to avoid paying fees that will deplete those assets. The Department of Labor has said a 1% difference in fees over a work life expectancy of 25 years will make a 28% difference in the retirement assets you have. Watch your fees, and make sure they are appropriate. Your company has a duty to make sure you are paying reasonable fees.You should look at what those fees are.”
If and when that unexpected and unwanted retirement does happen, here are eight tips on what to do.
1. Prepare for a range of emotions, says Janet Taylor, a New York City psychiatrist and consultant with AARP’s Life Reimagined. “Feel them and process them, but avoid feeling compelled to act on your feeling immediately,” she says.
“Relax,” says Freedman. “Don’t panic. What you may not be able to do tomorrow, may be an opportunity to do something different down the road.”
2. Examine your budget. “Make sure you are comfortable with how much it costs to support your living expenses,” says Freedman. “Many people don’t know what they spend. Grab your bank statements. Look at the total withdrawal number, add up six months of total withdrawals, multiply by two (giving you a year) and divide by 12.”
When you are faced with a surprise entry into retirement, you have to identify your fixed expenses and your discretionary expenses, Freedman says.
3. Set up a time to talk to human resources, if possible. “Assess your resources and sources of support,” says Taylor. “Lean on them.You are not alone.”
4. Look at your current lifestyle. “Look at your current living environment and say, ‘Can I support this lifestyle?'” says Freedman. You might have to downsize a bit. “Maybe it’s stopping the support you are providing to your children and grandchildren,” Freedman says. “There are a lot of things you can consider.”
It may not be easy, says Sullivan. “We can get you to be financially independent, but you have to make some major changes. Some people will go into denial and keep living as they were and not making changes, because it is an emotional issue. You know it will be a train wreck if they keep going that way. Counseling them on the emotional side is just as important as the financial side.”
5. Do not raid your 401(k). “It still is best to conserve assets in your 401(k) plan if at all possible because they are tax deferred, and you may pay penalties,” says Schlichter. “It should be the last resort for an employee unexpectedly laid off.”
6. Consider an encore career. “Maybe you look at unexpected retirement as a gift — as a chance for something you always wanted to do,” says Sicchitano. “Retrain and enter a new chapter. Our first question is how retired are you going to be?”
7. If you are retiring for health reasons and are unable to work, visit the Social Security Administration. “You can apply for disability benefits,” says Freedman. “It’s the main reason Social Security was built. It was really a widow’s, orphan’s and disabled person’s benefit. If you can’t work for health reasons, you can apply for disability benefits and collect at whatever age you might be. If you have young children you can collect checks for them, too.”
8. “Pay attention to your physical health,” says Taylor. “Changes can be stressful. Monitor your sleep and strive for healthy diets and regular exercise to combat stress.”

3 Little Mistakes That Can Sink Your Retirement

Interesting article about retirement

dollar sign Walter Updegrave @realdealretire
Oct. 15, 2014
Cultura RM/Korbey—Getty Images/Collection Mix
Big mistakes are easy to catch, but even a small miscalculation may jeopardize your retirement portfolio. Here are three common missteps to avoid.
We think it’s the big mistakes that cost us in retirement, like hiring an unscrupulous adviser or funneling savings into a risky investment that goes belly up. Major errors can certainly hurt. But the smaller seemingly sensible decisions we make without really examining the rationale behind them can also come back to bite us in the…
1. Relying on an unrealistic rate of return. Clearly, the higher the return you earn on the money in 401(k)s, IRAs and other retirement accounts, the less you’ll have to stash away in savings each month to build a sizable nest egg. For example, if you start saving $600 a month at age 30 and earn a 7% annual rate of return, you’ll have $1 million by age 65. Bump up that rate of return to 8% a year, however, and you have to put away only $480 a month to hit the $1 million mark by 65, leaving you an extra $120 month to spend. Earn 9% annually, and the monthly savings required to get to $1 million shrinks to just $385 a month, freeing up even more for spending.
Problem is, just because a retirement calculator lets you plug in a higher rate of return or a more aggressive stocks-bonds mix, doesn’t mean that loftier gains will actually materialize. Shooting for higher returns always involves taking on more risk, which raises the possibility that your aggressive investing strategy could backfire and leave you with a smaller nest egg than you expected. That can be especially dangerous when you’re on the verge of retirement.
For example, just prior to the financial crisis, nearly one in four pre-retirees had more than 90% of their 401(k)s in stocks. A pre-retiree with a $1 million retirement account invested 90% in stocks and 10% in bonds would have suffered a loss in 2008 of roughly 33%, reducing its value to $670,000—enough of a drop to require seriously scaling back retirement plans if not postponing them altogether. No one knows whether recent market turbulence will be a prelude to a similar meltdown. But anyone who has his retirement savings invested in a high-octane stocks-bonds mix, clearly runs the risk of a experiencing a significant setback.
A better strategy when creating your retirement plan is to keep your return assumptions modest and focus instead on saving as much as you can. That way, you’re not as dependent on investment returns to build an adequate nest egg. To see how different savings rates and stocks-bonds mixes can affect your chances of achieving a secure retirement, check out the Retirement Income Calculator in RDR’s Retirement Toolbox.
2. Factoring pay from a retirement job into your planning. It’s almost become a cliche. Virtually every survey asking pre-retirees what they plan to do in retirement shows that the overwhelming majority plan to work. Indeed, a recent Merrill Lynch survey found that nearly three out of four people over 50 said their ideal retirement would include working. Which is fine. Staying connected to the work world in some way can not only offer financial benefits, it can also keep retirees more active and socially engaged.
It would be a mistake, however, to factor the earnings you expect to receive while working in retirement into your estimate of how much you have to save. Or, to put it more bluntly, you’re taking a big risk if you assume that you can skimp on saving because you’ll be make up for a stunted nest egg with money from a retirement job.
Why? Well for one thing, what people say they plan to do in 10 or 20 years and what they end up doing can be very different things. You may find that the eagerness you feel in your 50s to continue to working may fade as you hit your 60s and 70s. Or even if you wish to work—and actively seek it through sites like RetiredBrains.com and Retirementjobs.com, it may not be as easy as you think to land a job you like. Maybe that’s why the Employee Benefit Research Institute’s Retirement Confidence Survey finds year after year that the percentage of workers who say they plan to work after retiring (65% in the 2014 RCS) is much higher than the percentage of retirees who say they have actually worked for pay since retiring (27%).
So when you’re making projections about income sources in retirement, keep work earnings on the modest side, if you factor them in at all. And don’t fall into the trap of believing you can get by with saving less today because you’ll stay in the workforce longer or rejoin it whenever you need some extra cash in retirement. Or you may find yourself working some type of job in retirement whether you like it or not.
3. Taking Social Security sooner rather than later. Although a recent GAO report found that the percentage of people claiming Social Security at age 62 has declined in recent years, 62 remains the single most popular age to begin taking benefits, and a large majority still claim benefits before their full retirement age. But unless you have no choice but to grab benefits early on, doing so can be a costly mistake.
One reason is that for each year you delay between 62 and 70, you boost the size of your benefit roughly 7% to 8%. You’re not going to find a low-risk-high-return option like that anywhere else in today’s financial markets. More important, waiting for a higher monthly check can often dramatically increase the amount of money you receive over your lifetime. That’s especially true for married couples, who can take advantage of a variety of claiming strategies to maximize their expected benefit.
For example, if a 65-year-old husband earning $90,00 a year and his 62-year-old wife who earns $60,00 claim Social Security at 65 and 62 respectively, they might receive just over $1.1 million in today’s dollars in joint benefits over their expected lifetimes, according 401(k) advice firm Financial Engines.
But they can boost their estimated joint lifetime benefit by roughly $177,000, according to the Social Security calculator on Financial Engines’ site, if the wife files for her own benefit based on her work record at age 63, the husband files a restricted application for spousal benefits at 66 and then switches to his own benefit based on his work record at age 70.
Although you may not think of it this way, Social Security is, if not your biggest, certainly one of your biggest and most valuable retirement assets. And chances are you’ll get more out of it by taking it later rather than sooner and, if you’re married, coordinating the timing with your spouse.
Walter Updegrave is the editor of RealDealRetirement.com. He previously wrote the Ask the Expert column for MONEY and CNNMoney. You can reach him at walter@realdealretirement.com.

What is the next step?

passportAre you thinking of retiring abroad? Become an ex-pat? What are the issues?
Is the cost of living in the US too much for your retirement income? Do you want a comfortable lifestyle at an affordable price? Always wanted to try a different culture?
Choosing to live in another country has many areas to think about. First of all, what country and why? Beach?  Inland?  Cost of living is most likely the first concern. How about the language? What is the health care like and what are the costs and quality? How easy is it to get back to the US if you need to? Should you rent or buy? Mountains or sea shore? Live in an ex-pat community or with the locals? What is the infrastructure of the community? What are retirement bikethe tax implications for the US and your adopted country? Where will you keep the bulk of your funds? Who will take care of US issues for you? Do you renounce your US citizenship or apply for dual citizenship or residency? Is this a permanent home or a few months out of the year?
We subscribe to a publication called “International Living.” It is full of ideas on where to find your new home and why. It is written by retirees who are living in the location and gives a fairly good idea of the local scene.
retirement globeLast month I wrote about starting your dream business. Is this a place where you can combine your dream business and dream location?
I have always thought I would live outside the US for the bulk of the year and try different cultures each year. Now my thoughts have changed and I want to be close to the children and grandchildren and they are all right here. As we travel the world, we are looking for a place better than our home in Colorado. So far we have found places where we would like to spend more time, but we are not ready to move.
What are your thoughts as retirement comes your way? Ready for a change or stay where you are? Retirement brings options and a chance to try something new. What will you choose?