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April 21, 2017

It’s National Park Week, and you can enjoy free admission Saturday and Sunday to the more than 100 parks that usually charge an entrance fee. Even better, if you are 62 or older: Pay $10 for a senior pass and get free entry every day for life. Just don’t wait too long to buy your pass. The price will rise at some point, to a still reasonable $80, under terms of a law passed last year. Got a favorite national park getaway? Rocky Mountain National Park neighbor Estes Park, Colo., was No. 2 among U.S. destinations in MONEY’s Best in Travel 2017 rankings, and a tour of five Utah parks made our 2015 list of classic road trips. If you’ve ever dreamed of—or cringed at a spouse’s suggestion of—a park tour via recreational vehicle, you’ll enjoy writer Joel Stein’s humorous saga of “Eight Nights, Five American Parks, a Family of Three, and One RV.” Happy trails to you! (By the way, I’ll be off on travels of my own the next two weeks and my colleague Elizabeth O’Brien will be filling in on this newsletter.)

Best wishes,

Karen

P.S. If you like this weekly update, please pass it on to a friend! And if you got it from a friend, sign up here for email delivery each Friday to make sure you don’t miss the next issue.

THIS WEEK'S RETIREMENT NEWS, INSIGHTS AND ADVICE

Seniors Can Get Lifetime Access to National Parks For Just $10. But Not For Long

The cost of the National Park Service’s senior pass is going up to $80, but the government hasn’t said exactly when. If you’re 62 or older, buy a pass now in person or get it by mail by paying an additional $10 fee. MONEY

Want to Retire Early? The Simple Math—and Magic—of Lifestyle Stagnation

“Stagnation” is not usually a positive thing. But blogger “Ms. ONL” writes that keeping a lid on your expenses, which she terms “lifestyle stagnation,” is key to socking away larger and larger sums as your income climbs. You may not be able to avoid rising bills for rent or taxes or food, of course, but being mindful about avoiding what is often called “lifestyle creep” is indeed important. MARKETWATCH

Clipping Coupons and No Debt Led to a Dream Life in Manhattan

Widow Sandra Baxteris enjoying a renaissance—at age 82,” Darla Mercado writes. Don’t miss the video in which Baxter explains how decades of frugal living with her late husband gave her the financial freedom to shape a retirement life she loves. One lesson she learned over the years: “Your possessions possess you.” Now, in a small but pricey New York City rental apartment, she relishes a simpler life without the pressures of owning a big home. CNBC

This Is the Biggest Reason to Work After You Retire (Besides Money)

If you are lucky enough not to need to work in retirement, you may still want to get a part-time gig. Conrad Martin took a job at a hardware store after he retired at age 59, thinking he might stay for four or five years. Fifteen years later, “I’m still there,” he says happily. Read his explanation of why. MONEY

I Joined Airbnb at 52, and Here’s What I Learned About Age, Wisdom, and the Tech Industry

Chip Conley, a former hotel company CEO, was twice the age of the average Airbnb employee when he joined the tech company in a senior strategy job. It was an adjustment in many ways, and he offers up an inspiring vision of a new work role for people of his generation. He says a boomer can find satisfaction and deliver value as a “modern elder,” a person “who serves and learns, as both mentor and intern, and relishes being both student and sage.” HARVARD BUSINESS REVIEW

Navigating Social Security Filing Strategies

If you were born before Jan. 2, 1954, you still qualify to file a “restricted application” for Social Security at your full retirement age. If you are married, that allows you to claim only your spousal benefit, while making it possible for your earned benefit to grow with delayed retirement credits for a few more years. Social Security spokesman Andrew Sarlata runs through some of the program’s ins and outs with Christine Benz, Morningstar’s director of personal finance. MORNINGSTAR

The Best Way to Keep Your Retirement on Track - Even When the Market Stinks

Your retirement-account balance has been buoyed by strong stock returns in recent years, but many market watchers expect performance in future years to be lower. Contributor Walter Updegrave explains how to keep your retirement saving on track even when markets don’t cooperate. MONEY

Where to Find Great Volunteer Vacations

“Voluntourism” lets you combine travel with volunteer work. Columnist Glenn Ruffenach suggests five organizations to look into if you are interested. THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

Boston Marathon's First Woman Kathrine Switzer Competes 50 Years Later

It was a big week for Kathrine Switzer, a 70-year-old athlete, speaker and writer: She made it to the finish line in the Boston Marathon (in four hours and 44 minutes) exactly five decades after she competed as the first numbered, registered female participant in the race. Don’t miss the 1967 photo of the race official trying to pull the number off her back. BBC

YOUR RETIREMENT QUESTIONS ANSWERED

You Can Sometimes Undo an IRA Withdrawal

 Q: I took money out of an IRA. Can I change my mind and put it back in?

 A: In many cases, once you’ve pulled money out of the tax-advantaged wrapper of an individual retirement account, you can’t reverse course and pump it back in. But there are a few times when you can do exactly that. READ MORE

ABOUT KAREN

Karen Damato is an assistant managing editor at MONEY, overseeing coverage of retirement and taxes. She joined MONEY in 2016 after a long career as a writer and editor at The Wall Street Journal. You can email her at karen.damato@moneymail.com and follow her on Twitter @DamatoK.

 
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