Favorite Blogs And Blog Posts Of 2016
When I started my job with Reverse Mortgages.com, Inc. in the fall, I was new to the world of blogging. Though I’d read plenty of blogs and understood the concept, I’d never blogged before. Okay, I tried it a few times but stopped after a couple of attempts. Who would be interested in what I have to say?
Then I was hired to write a blog. My first step to becoming a more confident blogger was to start reading other people’s blogs and find my own voice. I honestly don’t know how many blogs I subscribe to, but I can say that over the past four months, I’ve read a lot of blogs and developed some favorites. Most of the blogs I read cover aging-related issues, but I follow some that cover retirement and finance, and, of course, a few about blog-writing. These are some of the blogs I look forward to receiving as well as some favorite posts from each:
Two easy favorites:
- The Squared Away blog from the Center for Retirement Research (CRR) at Boston College: I admit to being a research geek, and I appreciate the way Squared Away presents CRR’s data. Key findings of CRR research studies arrive in my inbox neatly packaged with clearly written summaries. A click to the CRR website yields the full report. The website offers access to CRR’s aging-related research: briefs, working papers, special projects and the blog. A favorite blog post from 2016: “Caring for Her Elderly Parents 24/7,” an article about one woman’s role as a full-time caregiver.
- Next Avenue, produced by Twin Cities Public Television for the PBS System: This blog is a favorite because it provides posts across a variety of aging-related categories from health to finances to employment and caregiving. One of my favorite posts of 2016 from Next Avenue came from a guest blogger, Max Richtman, one of Next Avenue’s 2016 Influencers in Aging: “Why We Must Combat Ageism in America.” Check out Next Avenue’s 2016 Influencers in Aging and prepare to be impressed by what these 50 movers and shakers are doing for the field.
Blogs about aging:
- Time Goes By, written by Ronni Bennett, a former radio and television producer and writer as well as the managing editor of CBS News’ first website. She says her anger over forced retirement in her 60s prompted her to start blogging in 2004. I appreciate her sense of humor and her passion as an advocate for aging-related issues.
Bennett, now 75, refers to her blog as “what it’s really like to get old,” and her posts provide a realistic glimpse into the life of an older adult. “Dilemma: Finding a Primary Care Physician” from November is one of my favorites. Bennett describes her experience in trying to locate a new primary care physician who accepts both Medicare and new patients.
- SMART Living 365, written by Kathy Gottberg, explores “ideas and experiences that help to create a meaningful, sustainable, compassionate and rewarding life for herself and others.” Gottberg’s blog posts are organized in five down-to-earth categories: sustainable, meaningful, aware, responsible and thankful. One of Gottberg’s ideals is “right-sizing,” which she distinguishes from “down-sizing.” She describes right-sizing as a means for individuals to identify what matters to them and work toward that goal in terms of home and lifestyle.
A post from December 2016 about the Danish cultural concept of hygge aligns with Gottberg’s ideal of “right-sizing.” As the winter months are upon us, hygge brings comfort, coziness and “content togetherness,” as Gottberg puts it.
- 86 and Holding, is the humorously misnamed blog by Edith Lank, who maintains a syndicated real estate advice column at the age of 90. According to her bio, she has written the blog for five years and is not changing the title. I’ve read Lank’s column over the years, enjoying her straightforward advice about real estate, so I was happy to find her blog a couple of months ago.
Lank’s blog might not draw a lot of traffic in terms of comments, but her stories about life in her younger days and her experiences today are worth the read. She recently posted about finding a set of DOS journals on floppy disks dating from 1983. I truly enjoyed her post, “Life Before Google,” which details a story from her 1993 floppy disk archives about ordering flowers.
- Senior Planet offers a wide variety of posts written by a number of authors on issues related to aging. I was directed to Senior Planet by Ronni Bennett’s blog (Time Goes By) with a link to the exceptional post, “I’m Not Aging ‘Well’–I’m Getting Old, Goddamit” by Erica Manfred. Manfred’s essay outlines the ageism that’s inherent in focusing on those who represent the outliers in aging—the 75-year-old marathon runners and skydivers—as opposed to the everyday stories of people who “live well” despite their physical limitations.
Retirement and finance
- Penelope Wang’s finance stories and her weekly Retire with MONEY posts on MONEY magazine’s website are favorites. Her Retire with MONEY entries give a synopsis of MONEY’s stories on a related retirement topic and provide links to more stories of interest.
- The Retirement Cafe by Dirk Cotton is a plain-spoken, yet data-driven blog billed as “retirement planning for the unwealthy.” I am completely new to the topic of retirement financing, and I like Cotton’s blog in part because it’s straightforward and relatively easy for a non-finance person to follow. Cotton’s post, “Trump, Monte Carlo and Insectivores” from November gives a great overview about probability, statistics, social science and election polling, which he tracks back to probability of success in retirement planning.
- Honorable Mention: The Retirement Manifesto, founded by Fritz Gilbert, is a recent find. Like Cotton’s blog, I like Gilbert’s writing because it’s plain and clear. I’m cheating a bit by giving his Jan. 3 post a nod. No, it wasn’t a 2016 post, but it’s an important wake-up call: “Are Baby Boomer Retirements Doomed?”
Blogs about blogging and writing
- There are so many blogs about blogging, and as green as I am, I’ve come to appreciate Amy Lynn Andrews. I like her style and approach. I also like receiving her weekly “Useletter,” a compendium of tips, tools and other resources any blogger or self-employed person might use. The Useletter will appear in your inbox on Saturdays if you sign up for it on Andrews’ website. In a recent Useletter, Andrews explained how she trademarked the word “Useletter.”
- The Center for Plain Language has a blog that covers topics on clearing out the gobbledygook in writing. Anyone whose writing would be used and applied by the public should be a regular visitor to the Center’s blog and website. In November, guest blogger Carolyn Boccella Bagin, founder of the Center for Clear Communication, outlined the common problems people have in completing forms: “Why You Should Care About Bad Forms.” If the public can’t understand it or use it, you will not get the information you need from them.
Favorite blog posts of my own?
Yikes, I don’t know that I’m confident enough to put my posts up there with the likes of Ashton Applewhite, Ronni Bennett or Erica Manfred. I finally was brave enough to share one of my blog posts with my Facebook friends for the first time last month, and that was a post about the actress Carrie Fisher’s death. I got positive feedback about it, and the company’s Facebook page got a lot of activity, so that felt good. Another post I was proud to write was “Knock and the Door Will Be Opened to You: Pauline’s Story,” which is the story of my work with a former older adult client.
So, there you have it from a new blogger. These are some of my favorite blogs so far and some of my favorite posts from 2016. Do you have any favorites? Tell us in the comments!