Considering the Rising Cost of College, Is It Worth Going Back to School?

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Feb 25, 2019

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For some seniors, college was a long time ago, and the last thing theyre thinking about is going back. The idea of continuing to learn is attractive; constantly changing industries can make going back to college a necessary move.
Regardless of age, college can improve your career options. It can also give you the opportunity to completely switch gears and go after a totally new career. Many graduates consider an advanced degree program, but theres one big obstacle in the way. Whats in the Way? The biggest obstacle of going back to school is cost. Many returning students are looking to acquire an advanced degree, but costs are higher for advanced degrees. Returning students often rely on financial aid like federal student loans and other private options. The days of getting a job to put yourself through school are gone - in their place are things like student loans. Additionally, senior students have other pressing financial obligations such as health care, medications, mortgage payments, and more. The added cost of school can end up being too much. It Is Worth Making the Investment? For many, the $150,000 average cost of a graduate degree is outweighed by the higher salary and advancement opportunities overtime. An advanced degrees cost is only worth it if you have a clear path for how that degree will help you in your field. Going for a whole new field may end up offering you a lot of debt in return for limited direction in your new career. However, there are options for seniors to make college more affordable. There are scholarships for seniors going to grad school. They can be competitive, but theyre excellent for defraying costs. Your employer may be willing to pay for graduate school. Many employers offer tuition reimbursement or voucher programs. You could also check into specialized financial aid packages that include grantsbut skip the student loans and other high-priced long-term financial aid. Conclusion Going back to school can end up costing a lot of money without a lot of return for senior students. If you can find the best balance of ways to help cover that cost without going into debt, however, then the skys the limit as to what you can do. Editors Note: This article was submitted by Andrew who is a Content Associate with LendEDU and may be reached at

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A Guide to Senior Storage

If you are a senior moving into asenior residential living community, or if your family has a senior loved one who is planning such a move, there's a lot to take care of beforehand. One of the major things to work on is finding storage for furniture and other personal items that cannot stay in the home, perhaps due to its impending sale. Many senior living facilities have limited space for residents' personal items, or they might havelimits imposed by state laws, which means that many treasured possessions must be either given away, thrown out or put into storage. Even if a facility has virtually unlimited space for personal things, it's still a good idea to store some of the bulkier and heavier items in a safe place until you're sure the new community will be a permanent home. By taking this route, you'll at least save the trouble of having to move everything twice if a change of facilities is required.Its important to find a good senior storage facility for your items. Seniors have somewhat different storage needs than people in other age categories, and there are several criteria a storage site should meet to be a good match for senior customers. Knowing how to spot a good senior storage facility when you find it saves time, money and effort. Starting early, asking the right questions and finding the right storage facility for yourself or a senior loved one helps reduce the strain of a move for those already struggling with a difficult transition period.Whats Special About Seniors Storage Needs?Seniors often have unique needs when it comes to looking for storage that younger adults may not have to think about. Where many people look for storage units to hold surplus items that are taking up space in their homes, seniors are frequently looking to store most or all of the items in their homes. The transition into assisted living facilities or other senior living arrangements often results in the need for a place to store a houseful of furniture and a lifetimes worth of keepsakes. Even when packed as efficiently as possible, this vast quantity of belongings can take up a lot of floor space and require a larger-than-usual storage unit.Moving into a new home, even if its justdownsizing into a smaller house or apartment, can be an expensive feat to accomplish for seniors living on a fixed income of Social Security and a pension. The cost is somewhat lessened if the storage is temporary, which it often is for seniors who intend to recover their things after they settle into a new place. Yet those savings are sometimes offset by the seniors need to hire professional movers who can handle the heavy items for them. This dynamic of circumstances causes seniors to need more space than younger adults, though often for less time.Things to Look for in Senior Storage ArrangementsMeeting seniors needs for storage requires some unique concessions on the part of the storage facility. Extra space for large amounts of furniture, for example, helps keep all of a seniors household items together. Flexible pricing, or even a veterans discount, can be beneficial for many seniors and families trying to budget a move.Flexibility is also helpful a few months after signing the initial contract when the senior is settled in and has the space to move some items out of storage and into their new home. It may be that a smaller storage unit is more appropriate after the couch, bed, dresser and several boxes of keepsakes have been transferred to the senior living community. Larger storage sites that have many different-sized units available make it quick work to shift the remaining items to a smaller and less expensive unit. This option is also much easier when rent on the unit is month-to-month from the start, instead of a fixed-term lease that requires you to rent a specific unit for a year or more.Some storage facilities offer valet service to help move items into or out of a storage unit. Some even offer van or truck delivery for a nominal charge. Valet service is especially attractive for many seniors, even those who have family members who live close enough to help with such a move.One studyfound that seniors in America are up to five times more afraid of becoming a burden to their loved ones than of dying. A storage facility with a convenient and affordable valet service provides seniors with the option of handling item relocations by themselves. This helps them take more control of their affairs and lessens the embarrassment that occurs when they feel theyre imposing on loved ones.Warning Signs to Watch Out ForIts always a good idea to start your search for acceptable senior storage as early as you can; theres a lot to research before the move. As you investigate storage facilities, you might notice characteristics that lead you to believe the site is not a good match for you or your senior loved one. Dont be afraid to go with your gut impressions. Common warning signs include:Rigid pricing or unit policies that impose a one-size-fits-all approach to senior storageLong-term lease requirements that force seniors to rent more space than theyre likely to need in the near futureInadequate security at the site, given the cash value of expensive items and heirlooms that are being storedRestricted access or bad site layouts, which can make it difficult for movers to get close to the unit when moving bulky items such as couchesPoorly sealed units that are not ventilated or climate-managed, which can expose irreplaceable items to moisture, mold and other hazardsPuddles of water inside public areas of the building, which indicate that leaks might be present within the units themselvesHow to Shop Around for Great Senior Storage FacilitiesThe importance of finding a great storage solution for a senior cant be overstated. It takes time and research that may include physically visiting the sites youre considering, to inspect them in person. Start your search online by looking up storage facilities located within a convenient distance of either the senior facility youve settled on or the home of a family member who can help with the move. Glance over the sites features and amenities and make a ranked list of the facilities you are considering, based on factors that matter to you, such as price, location and security.Once you have a list of at least three to six potential sites, call and make an appointment to visit each of them. If you have the time, consider showing up unannounced a couple of days before your scheduled appointments to observe how the places normally operate on a daily basis.Site managers often view these inspections as selling opportunities, so its a good idea to explain upfront that you are still investigating multiple locations. Ask to be shown the larger units, which you may need at first, and then check out the smaller options, which may wind up as your long-term choice after the final move. Look for evidence of leaks and gaps in the structure of the units, as well as dents or scrapes on the doors that could indicate frequent break-in attempts or other trouble. Try to gauge how much room a truck would require when backing up to the units youre looking at and whether any obstacles could cause maneuvering difficulties. Finally, ask about price structures, flexibility in changing units, lease conditions and whether the facility offers discounts to senior citizens, veterans or their surviving spouses.Final Questions to Ask When Youre Researching Senior Storage OptionsApart from inquiring about pricing discounts, consider asking the site manager some of these questions to get a fuller idea of how your storage choice is likely to work out:Does the site offer extra-secure storage options for valuable items such as jewelry collections, art or military medals? What about insurance on these items?Does this facility report unusual events, such as fires, leaks or break-in attempts, to residents in a timely manner? How will you be informed of such events? Are police reports or other formal documentation of these events available for customers to see?If a senior client falls behind in their payments, how long is the grace period before the facility seizes their stored items?Are on-site staff available to assist seniors with limited mobility? Will they help carry items out? Are there fees for this service?Does this facility limit the frequency of visits?Has this facility ever had an issue with bedbugs, toxic mold or other hazardous materials that could damage a seniors cloth furniture, clothing or other personal items?Can vehicles be stored at the location? Is there a parking space right next to the rented unit or are there units large enough to accommodate vehiclesandpersonal belongings? Is there a discount available for this?Can people other than the listed renter, such as a seniors next of kin or caregiver, collect items or access the site without the senior being present? How are those permissions granted and documented?

ASK SHIP - Your Monthly Medicare Q&A

Q: I have wanted to change my Medicare Advantage plan, and I was told I could during the Annual Enrollment Period. When is this, and how do I change my plan?A: The Medicare Annual Enrollment Period is October 15 December 7. During this time, you can make changes to various aspects of your Medicare Advantage and Part D drug coverage. Changes made during this time will take place January 1, 2022.One of the best tools to help you during the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period is the PlanfinderTool located at It takes you step-by-step through available Medicare Advantage and Part D prescription drug plans while taking your prescription drug costs into consideration.Another great tool for beneficiaries is You can register for online access to your preventive health information and track your preventive services, get a calendar of the Medicare-covered tests and screenings you are eligible for, and print a report to take to your health care provider.If you have already created an account on, you will use that same username and password to log into the new Plan Finder there is no need to create another account. Another great resource for Medicare beneficiaries is SHIP! The State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) provides free, impartial assistance with Medicare questions. SHIP Counselors are thoroughly trained and are located throughout Indiana. See a list of our Indiana locations at can meet with a SHIP Counselor by phone, virtually with an online meeting, and in some areas, in person. SHIP Counselors are able to help walk you through the online Planfinder Tool. SHIP offers events throughout Indiana. You can find a current list of events SHIP on Facebook at SHIP often hosts Live Educational events that assist Medicare beneficiaries.If you or someone you know have questions about the Annual Enrollment Period, the Planfinder Tool,, or any other Medicare related topic, contact SHIP at 1-800-452-4800, 1-866-846-0139 TTY or online at You can also find us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube.

Meet Joe & Bella, a One-Stop Shopping Site for Residents

After Jimmy Zollos grandmother fell one too many times despite in-home care, his family made the decision to move her into an assisted-living community. That evening, as his family navigated their new world, they were approached by Joe and Bella, two other new residents. With a touch of humor, they warmly introduced themselves and offered a helping hand.As it turned out, Joe and Bella were widowed Holocaust survivors who found each other later in life. Two weeks later, Jimmy's grandfather, who was suffering from Parkinson's, moved into the same community. Joe and Bella were there again, offering reassuring smiles, plenty of advice, and some much-needed company. From that day on, and for the many months that followed, Joe and Bella ate every meal with Jimmys grandparents and quickly became a part of the extended Zollo family, joining them for holidays and special occasions.As Jimmy explains, his family quickly realized that they needed all sorts of new things for his grandparents, but lacked a good understanding of what to buy and where to buy it. Coincidentally, his marketing-insights firm was in the midst of conducting a large-scale project for AARP, Procter & Gamble, and other clients to deeply understand caregivers needs.Jimmys personal and professional lives intersected. So, together with a host of caregiving experts, Jimmys family launched as the first one-stop shopping site for older adults and those who care for them.Joe & Bella offers everything from comfortable clothes to creative gifts, and from personal-care essentials to new tech that allows for safer and more effective caregiving. The shopping site features brands that understand the distinct needs of care recipients and caregivers.Joe & Bella partners with care communities by donating a percentage of each purchase made by family members to their communitys Employee Appreciation Fund to recognize and reward their frontline workers.Heres more information about how Joe & Bella partners directly with care communities.Noted aging expert Lori Bitter, president of the Business of Aging, explained that until Joe &Bella, there was no single retailer that offered pretty much everything a familycaregiver needs.As a reader of this newsletter, youre invited to use promo code QUIRKFIRST10 to receive 10% off your first purchase at including sharing this code with somebody special.This article was submitted by Jimmy Zollo. Jimmy is the Founder of Joe & Bella and Collaborata and may be reached at