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Retirement Tips and RV Stuff Newsletter
Issue 2012.03         Mar 2012
Publisher, Bob Hoffman -
Back Issues at -
PRIVACY STATEMENT: This newsletter's email addresses are never sold or otherwise made public.
If you're receiving this by email and don't want it, just email me and I'll take you off my distribution list.
If you're on my list, it's either because you signed up for the newsletter, you went to Leon High School about the same time I did, I met you recently in Mentone, Alabama, or we're friends from sometime in the last 70 years.

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(NOTE - If you click any link in the newsletter, it will open a new window so you can easily return to here by simply closing that new window)

If you're one who reads my newsletters, you'll probably note that I've not sent one since July 2010. So what happened? Well, about that time I got busy with Joyce on the Art Gallery @ Mentone, in addition to my several other pursuits, so decided to terminate those activities that occupied a lot of time and provided no income -- like my newsletters and my travel log updates. Well, it's now nearly 2 years later and I'm having second thoughts.

What's causing my newsletter-production rethink? The answer is simple - Chuck Woodbury. Here's a guy that's only slightly younger than me and he's been putting out his RV Travel newsletter every week for about 20 years and a quirky travel newspaper 10 years before that. His newsletter is emailed out to over 100,000 people every week and I, for one, read it from top to bottom every week. So, I was reading it last week and I thought to myself "self, how come Chuck can do this every week and you can't keep up a simple monthly newsletter?"

As it turns out, although Chuck produced his Out West newspaper on his own and probably did the RV Travel newsletter alone for years, he now has a significant staff of undoubtedly younger, more energetic people that do most of the work on it. He still writes a very interesting introductory section each week and I'm sure he reviews most everything, but much of the great information is produced by his staff. One thing that continues to impress me is that he still apparently remains an avid RVer after all these years.

Another thing Chuck has going is that he's been fairly successful in selling advertising space, so he actually has income from his newsletter. I made a feeble attempt at advertising starting about July 2007, but had little success/income. I've reworked the ads on the left to include some interesting stuff from Amazon, so I'd appreciate it if you'd check them out and maybe click on one if you're interested.

All that being said, that's what primed me to attempt to get back into the newsletter business. And since we're doing very little RV travel these days, I've decided to concentrate instead on Retirement Tips. So on to the topic ...


I've heard that there are two inevitables - death and taxes. I propose there are at least two other possibilities - old age and retirement. Now, if you're unlucky enough to miss old age, then retirement is obviously not a concern either. But if you're reading this newsletter, and you don't kick off prior to "enjoying" old age, then you ought to be interested in what I might have to offer relative to retirement.

If you're over 30, you should be thinking about and planning for retirement. I guess I've thought about it all my life. My first retirement was from the US Post Office at age 21 and I've retired 3 times since, at age 43, 50, and 59. Now I'm 70 and am still sort of retired. Some might call me semi-retired, or self-employed, or even an entrepeneur. Whatever others think, I call it retired. There were several things that I looked forward to avoiding in retirement: setting the alarm each morning, blow-drying my hair, wearing a tie, and fighting traffic to/from work each day. As long as I'm avoiding those, I'm retired.

I've done a fair amount of philosophizing about retirement on this Retirement Tips website, in my RV Blog, in my Retire and Travel - 20 Years Later book, and in previous newsletters. In upcoming newsletters, I may repeat some of that same pholosophizing, but I'll try hard to avoid it. Since I'm finding that I learn a little more about old age and retirement each year, I have no doubt that I'll be including a fair amount of new stuff.

One thing I've noted through my years of writing and website-building is that most of you have a relatively short interest span, so writing long dissertations is fruitless. If you've gotten this far, I applaud you. Look to my next newsletter for (hopefully) some useful and possibly entertaining Retirement Tips.

On my first writing of this newsletter, I excluded all sections below except Ramblings. After review, I decided I want to keep that intermediate stuff.

Read on for notes on my Latest Site Updates, Art News, and wrapping up with my RAMBLINGS.

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During the past two years of no newsletters, I've made almost daily updates to one website or another. I've also created a couple dozen new websites, including several Mentone-related. Check out my corporate website listed below:

-, my corporate website, listing all of the sites that I've built and am currently maintaining. It also shows you how CHEAPLY I could build a site for you!

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I invite you to visit the Miracle Pottery website - one of the most elaborate that I've created to date, mostly due to the inclusion of extensive online sales.

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We first opened the Art Gallery @ Mentone in Mentone, Alabama, on July 2, 2010. We then closed early August, then returned in October through early December. In 2011, we opend in early June and closed in mid-August. In 2012, we hope to be having another of our annual Grand Openings in May or June, then remain open to mid-August (after the World's Longest Yard Sale). We invite all who receive this newsletter to visit our website and our gallery at your earliest convenience. Keep watch on the website, where we'll post announcements when we decide on an opening date.

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As always, I plan to close these newsletters with some chatter about something that's bothering me, exciting me, or that I simply feel the need to talk about.

One biggie that alternates between aggravating me and mystifying me is the topic of social media - primarily Facebook. About a year ago, I wrote a blog entry My Views on MySpace, FaceBook, Twitter, etc. After watching Facebook continue to gain popularity, then actually go public with what I believe was the biggest IPO in history, I began to wonder if I needed to get serious about it.

I "joined" Facebook several years ago with a fake name, just to give myself access to the media. And that's the first thing I don't like about it - if you're not a member, you can't access much of anything. To me, that's like building a website with great information on it, then forcing people to sign up before they can access it. And I don't think Zuckerberg built it that way to provide privacy - he was smart enough to realize the value of being able to proclaim the number of users/members and this was the only easy way to ensure that he could get that data. That's worked well for him, as high member count impresses advertisers, and I believe they were his only real source of income until the IPO. Now I hear that some large number (1000?) of his employees will become overnight millionaires, so the concept is difficult to criticize in that regard.

As I was saying above, I recently decided maybe I should get serious about looking into Facebook. It's obviously popular and I'm seeing many businesses using it to provide a platform for making announcements that get to the public very quickly. They can announce daily specials or sales or something else that will cause viewers to spend money on their product when they otherwise might not. I myself don't really have a business that would benefit much from daily announcements to a captive audience, but I do websites for some businesses that would. My getting proficient with Facebook would therefore provide me with another "revenue stream" relative to my website business.

I've dabbled a little in trying to learn more about Facebook, but haven't really made much progress yet. I'm wondering if I might not be better off finding someone who already knows all about how to use it, how to set up accounts that can be accessed by non-members, how to post daily announcements, etc., then hire that person to assist me when needed.

Following that blog entry mentioned above, I included an online survey asking whether you use Facebook and what your opinions of social media were. Of the 94 responses in the past year, only 26% say they're on Facebook. That's a much smaller number than I expected, but maybe it's biased by the types of people that read my RV-blog. I was surprised to find a few years ago that 60% of those taking my big Retirement Survey in 2002-2006 were living in RVs. Maybe I'd be equally surprised to find out who's reading my Blog and this newsletter. Maybe another survey someday ... so, why not now? Please answer Web Poll on the left - click as many answers as are appropriate.

If you're at all intrigued by Facebook and you've not seen the 2010 movie "The Social Network", I recommend it highly. It really shows how the thing got started and the character of some of the players. I've included some Amazon links to rentals and purchases in the left column.

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PS - Check that left-hand column as you scroll back to the top of the page. You might find something you need :)

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Email to sign up for the next newsletter, coming whenever I'm in the mood again.
Permanent Mailing Address: R. Hoffman, 1033 Jacaranda Circle, Rockledge, Florida 32955.
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