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Another Good Reason to Drink Coffee

July 26, 2013 by  
Filed under Anne Holmes, Blog, Health & Fitness, Wellness

Comments Off on Another Good Reason to Drink Coffee

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Coffee cuts suicide risk in half, say Harvard researchers (via Raw Story )

A study by the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) concluded that drinking several cups of coffee a day could cut the risk of suicide by 50 percent in men and women. According to a report in the Harvard Gazette, researchers found that adults who…

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Blogger Alanna Parke Kvale, Freelance Writer and Trailblazer, Wrote the Book on Boomer Widowhood

September 14, 2011 by  
Filed under Anne Holmes, Blog, Relationships & Family

Widowhood is not funny

In January 2006, Alanna Parke Kvale, a freelance writer who makes her living creating newsletters, ads, brochures and other content for businesses, started writing a personal blog. And why not? After all, Januaries are always times for new beginnings.

But perhaps it was the topic of the blog that was most significant: widowhood.

Here’s a bit of what she wrote in that first post:

When it comes to writing, everyone says to write what you know; write from your own experiences. And for many years, I did just that, and tried to find the humorous side to everything in my life. Marriage, kids, everyday life, no problem.

I even found the humorous angle to one of my own passions–crochet. I wrote about being a Craft Junkie. I actually wrote several articles, exploring all the angles of Craft Junkie-ism.

I’ve written about the Internet, video games and couch potatoes, all from personal experience, mind you. Recently, I even wrote an article about car repairs and managed to find, yet again, the funny side, despite the expense.

Lately, however, it’s difficult to find any humor in my present circumstances. Because, you see, I’m a widow and Widowhood is not funny, not even a little bit. I’ve looked carefully at every angle, searching for any clue to humor in the subject, but there’s nothing there. It’s simply not funny. What I have learned is that Life is funny; sometimes even hilarious, rib-tickling, sidesplitting, knee-slapping funny. But Death is not, no way, never going to happen, simple as that.

I don’t mean to sound maudlin, it’s just that a writer simply must write about everything they experience. I’ve journaled during this entire period of my life and even that personal writing has been very painful. I tell myself that I need to write about this experience, for myself as well as for others who’ve suffered a loss, or will in the near future. No one can avoid it forever. As yet, I have not found the courage to sit down and put it into words I can publish. It hurts too damn much. I keep thinking soon, I’ll be able to do it. I have to do it. Then the sadness overpowers me and I push the work away, unable yet again to face the pain. It’s hard enough to talk about it, let alone write it down for others to read.

It’s brought with it a depression I’m finding it difficult to deal with. I have wondered if distance from the actual event, time-wise, will help. I’m in the second year, as I write this, but have found it no easier than during the first year. In the first year of widowhood, you’re in pain, but also in shock, so it’s like being anesthetized. The shock wears off in the second year, but the pain is still there, as well as the sadness.

Alanna has been blogging about widowhood ever since. Her blog is, in a way, a journal of her life. And once she got started,  she wrote a book about her experiences, also titled “Widowhood Is Not Funny.” I invited her to talk about the experience, and her thoughts are below.  Enjoy!

 

Becoming a Widow Offers You the Opportunity to Become a Trailblazer

by Alanna Parke Kvale

 

I found an interesting quote recently and thought it was relevant to the new life of a widow.

“Rather than following where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” Anonymous

This feels like our lives from day one of widowhood. We can’t find the path, we’re totally lost in the wilderness.

Others hold our hands for a few weeks, or if we’re lucky, for a few months. But then they wander off, following their own path and we’re left on our own, finding a brand new path and wondering where it will lead. It’s overgrown and frighteningly narrow, only room for one now.

The temptation is to turn back and try to find the others again. We don’t want to be alone, but there’s no one in sight now and we must continue on this narrow path by ourselves.

We have no map, no guidebook and it’s scary all alone. We’re not the first to do this and we won’t be the last.

It’s time to be courageous, find our own way and blaze a trail for those who follow. Let’s not leave our fellow pioneer women alone now. Let’s leave a trail, a map, a how-to guide, something that tells them they are not alone. Let’s help them find their way.

For myself, I’ve taken up that challenge and written a guidebook to try and help. Hopefully, it will make that trail a little wider and a little easier to follow.

Widowhood Is Not Funny is now available for all e-readers and to read instantly on your computer. Whether you prefer a Kindle, Nook, Sony reader or iPad format, you can quickly download your preferred version, and start enjoying this book. Find it online at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Sony and Lulu.

Alanna invites you to visit her blog, post a comment  and tell her how you are doing.

 

 

 

Fishing for a Longer Life: Learn What Eating More Fish Can Do for You – and Enjoy This Delicious, Heart Healthy Recipe

July 6, 2011 by  
Filed under Blog, Food & Recipes, Health & Fitness, Wellness

Fishing For Life

Once again, we bring you a healthful and tasty article from guest author Janet Bond Brill, Ph.D., R.D., LDN, who is a leading diet, nutrition, and fitness expert, as well as the National Association of Baby Boomer Women’s Heart Healthy Lifestyle Expert. She frequently serves as a  nutrition and health spokesperson on national television, radio and is often quoted in print.

Brill specializes in cardiovascular disease prevention. Her first book, Cholesterol Down: Ten Simple Steps to Lower Your Cholesterol in Four Weeks–Without Prescription Drugs has been widely endorsed. You can learn more about her on her here: www.drjanet.com.

Fishing for a Longer Life: Learn What Eating More Fish Can Do for You – and Enjoy This Delicious, Heart Healthy Recipe

by Janet Bond Brill, Ph.D., R.D., LDN
It’s called the “Eskimo factor.”

As early as 1944, scientists began to document that Greenland Eskimos had virtually no heart disease. This phenomenon occurred despite the fact that the Eskimos ate a diet low in fruits, vegetables, and complex carbohydrates. But what they did subsist on was a diet loaded with oily seafood such as whale and seal meat — providing the Eskimos with a huge daily dose of fish oil (about 15 grams), rich in the superbly heart-healthy marine omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids.

Eating fish is key to heart health because it is human beings’ primary source of the cardio-protective fatty acids known to enhance human health: the twin polyunsaturated, or “long-chain” omega-3 fats eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).

Studies show that people who eat a fish-rich diet are less likely to suffer a fatal heart attack and have a greater longevity.
Salmon and other seafood is one of the eight key food groups – along with extra virgin olive oil, leafy greens, figs and other fruits, lentils and other legumes, walnuts and flaxseeds, oatmeal and other whole grains, and red wine — that are part my plan (detailed in Prevent a Second Heart Attack) to reverse heart disease, or build good heart health to hopefully avoid heart troubles. Dark chocolate is a bonus food in this plan. Yeah!

Omega-3 fish fat can protect against heart disease by targeting the three key areas of heart disease vulnerability, medically termed the “trilogy of vulnerability:”

  • Vulnerable Plaque — the root cause of most heart attacks
  • Vulnerable Heart Muscle — prone to electrical disturbances of the heart (arrhythmias); and
  • Vulnerable Blood — prone to form blood clots.

Daily intake of fish fat can boost your heart disease defense system by:

  • Decreasing progression of and stabilizing vulnerable plaque
  • Reducing your risk of sudden death by protecting against arrhythmias
  • Lowering your triglyceride level
  • Fighting inflammation
  • And thinning your blood, omega-3 fats make platelets less likely to stick together and form clots

One additional advantage of frequent consumption of fish in lieu of other types of animal protein is that fish is the perfect diet food –loaded with protein but low in saturated fat and calories. Hence, eating your seafood prescription will also help you control your weight, and being overweight is another major risk factor that ups your odds of a heart attack.

Here Are a Few Ideas to Help You Increase Your Consumption of Healthy Seafood:

  • Go to your local fish monger and be sure to buy really fresh fish — fish that doesn’t have a fishy smell. Don’t be shy about asking to smell the fish before purchasing. I buy fish that’s right off the boat — in bulk — take it home, cut it into individual servings, wrap in wax paper, label, and freeze.
  • If you eat out, frequent a steak house, where you can almost always find salmon or a tuna steak on the menu. Just be sure to order it grilled and simply dressed with a squeeze of fresh lemon.
  • Consider a can of water-packed albacore tuna served over your greens for lunch with olive oil vinaigrette — instead of a sandwich of cold cuts.
  • Contrary to popular belief, both deep-sea cold water fish and freshwater fish from cold waters (such as lake herring, lake trout, and whitefish) are good sources of healthful omega-3 fatty acids. Buy them fresh or frozen; bake, grill, or broil and not deep-fry the fish for maximum heart health benefits.
  • Use of seafood as your protein source of choice is a superbly heart-healthy strategy. You may be surprised at how delicious simply prepared, fresh fish can be. Chef Mario Spina’s Grilled Swordfish, Chef Kern Mattei’s Steamed Red Snapper with Black Bean Sauce, and Chef Julie Korhumel’s Steamed Halibut and Fresh Vegetables in Parchment Paper and Chef Keith Blauschild’s Tuna Romesco are some the delicious recipes in Prevent a Second Heart Attack that feature fish and are sure to please the palate.

__________________________________

Chef Keith Blauschild’s Tuna Romesco
A meaty tuna steak topped with a fresh, spicy, almond-studded tomato sauce.

Four 6-ounce tuna steaks
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 plum tomato, cut in half and seeds removed
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 cup blanched almonds
1/4 cup sun-dried tomato
1/4 cup chopped roasted red pepper
1 pinch crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley

Season tuna with salt and pepper and refrigerate until ready to cook. Roughly chop the tomato. In a skillet heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and almonds and sauté until the garlic turns golden but not too brown. Add the plum tomato, sun-dried tomato, roasted red pepper, and red pepper flakes. Cook until the tomato is soft. Let cool. Place the tomato mixture in a blender and puree until smooth. Remove to a bowl and stir in the vinegar and parsley. To cook the tuna, spray the fillets lightly with nonstick cooking spray. Heat a nonstick skillet or grill to high heat. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes on each side depending on thickness and desired degree of doneness.

Serves 4

NUTRITION per 6-ounce tuna and 1/4 cup sauce:
Calories: 285
Fat: 10 g (< 1 g EPA, < 1 g DHA, <1 g ALA)
Saturated Fat: 1 g
Cholesterol: 77 mg
Sodium: 307 mg
Carbohydrate: 6 g
Dietary Fiber: 2 g
Sugars: 2 g
Protein: 43 g

As Valentine’s Day Approaches, Here’s Word On the Sweet Science Behind Dark Chocolate, a Great Recipe for Dark Chocolate Brownies with Walnuts & Two Heart-healthy Books

January 26, 2011 by  
Filed under Blog, Food & Recipes, Health & Fitness

 As Valentine’s Day Approaches, the Sweet Science Behind Dark Chocolate

Dr Janet BrillToday’s guest author is Janet Bond Brill, Ph.D., R.D., LDN, a leading diet, nutrition, and fitness expert. She frequently serves as a  nutrition and health spokesperson on national television, radio and is often quoted in print.

Brill specializes in cardiovascular disease prevention. Her first book, Cholesterol Down: Ten Simple Steps to Lower Your Cholesterol in Four Weeks–Without Prescription Drugs has been widely endorsed.

Her new book, Prevent a Second Heart Attack: 8 Foods, 8 Weeks to Reverse Heart Disease, was inspired by her father’s death at a fairly young age (69) from his second heart attack, and by her husband, whose heart attack at age 51 made her look very closely at what could be done to make a difference in his life. Dr. Brill lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and three children.

The Sweet Science Behind Dark Chocolate: What Eating Dark Chocolate Can Do for You

by Janet Bond Brill, Ph.D., R.D., LDN

Dark chocolate — with a high content of nonfat cocoa solids — is the new guilt-free super food! The scientific evidence is stacking up linking daily consumption of deep, dark chocolate with phenomenal health benefits, especially on your heart and blood vessels.

Studies show that people who eat generous amounts of superbly-heart-healthy and flavonoid-rich cocoa rarely develop high blood pressure and have a very low death rate from heart disease.

Eating dark chocolate is key to heart health because it is loaded with powerful plant antioxidants called flavonoids.

That is why is it included as a bonus in a plan I developed to reverse heart disease, and/or to build good heart health to hopefully avoid heart troubles. My full program is detailed in “Prevent a Second Heart Attack: 8 Foods, 8 Weeks to Reverse Heart Disease. Valentine Chocolate

The eight key food groups that form the core of my plan are:

  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Leafy greens
  • Figs and other fruits
  • Salmon and other seafood
  • Lentils and other legumes
  • Walnuts and flaxseeds
  • Oatmeal and other whole grains
  • Red wine

Eating your daily sweet treat will make a significant contribution to the antioxidant potential of your diet, as dark chocolate has a higher antioxidant quality/quantity than most heavy hitters — red wine, black tea, and green tea.

Consumption of the dark, flavonoid-rich type of chocolate can improve your blood vessel health by increasing your endothelium’s production of that crucial blood vessel relaxation chemical nitric oxide, rendering your dysfunctional endothelium (the damaged inner arterial layer that instigates and promotes heart disease progression) healthier and more functional.
In fact, research shows that consuming a small daily dark chocolate treat reduces inflammation and promotes more relaxed and dilated blood vessels, especially if you’re diabetic.

To sum it up, consuming just one or two squares (up to one ounce) of dark chocolate (at least 70 percent cocoa) every day can help:

  • Boost your blood antioxidant level
  • Lower your blood pressure
  • Make your dysfunction endothelium more functional
  • Fight inflammation

Here are a few ideas to eat chocolate daily — for you and your heart.

  • Try a nightly cup of steaming, decadent homemade hot chocolate. Put 2 heaping spoonfuls of dark chocolate natural unsweetened cocoa powder into a mug, add a touch of sweetener (you might consider a sugar substitute), and mix together with soy milk and microwave. Top with fat-free whipped topping and you have a delicious, chocolaty, super-heart-healthy sweet treat.
  • Remember, to satisfy your chocolate craving and fortify your heart disease defense strategy simultaneously, think real cocoa. Natural unsweetened cocoa powder has the highest concentration of flavanols compared to other chocolate products (followed by unsweetened baking chocolate), plus is low in sugar, fat and calories, so favor this chocolate choice over solid bars when possible. And don’t forget that milk chocolate and chocolate syrup rank lowest on the antioxidant scale, so avoid choosing them for your heart-healthy chocolate splurge.
  • Look for dark chocolate products derived from single-origin countries or areas. Note that Madagascar and Java cacao beans have been shown to contain double the flavanols compared to beans from other areas.
  • If you prefer a small piece of chocolate, purchase one of the new high-flavonoid chocolate bars (not milk chocolate or Dutch processed) — at least 70 percent cocoa, and limit yourself to one to two small pieces a day. Be sure to check the ingredients list and choose a bar where the first ingredient is cocoa solids or chocolate (not sugar) such as Lindt® Excellence 70% Cocoa Bar.
  • Add a couple of tablespoons of dark cocoa powder to your banana and soy milk smoothie — a luscious addition to a heart-healthy drink.

Isn’t this the best nutrition news to come along in decades? Try my Quick, Healthy (and sinfully satisfying) Dark Hot Chocolate (see above) and my Flourless Dark Chocolate Brownies with Walnuts (see below).

So this Valentine’s Day or any day, enjoy your chocolate…just make sure it is dark chocolate in the appropriate quantity only. It isn’t so hard when you remember that a healthy heart is the best treat of all.

Dr. Janet’s Flourless Dark Chocolate Brownies with Walnuts

Serves 16 — A dark, moist chocolaty treat.

    One 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
    3/4 cup packed Splenda ® Brown Sugar Blend
    1/2 cup quick-cooking oats
    1/4 cup unsweetened dark cocoa powder
    1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
    2 tablespoons ground flax seed
    1 tablespoon espresso powder
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a 9-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Place black beans in a mixing bowl. Add the sugar, oats, cocoa powder, olive oil, espresso powder, flax seed, vanilla, and salt. With an electric mixer blend the ingredients until the black beans are mushed up and the mixture is smooth, about 2 minutes. Scrape batter into the prepared pan, top with walnuts, and bake for 30 to 35 minutes until the edges pull away from the sides of the pan and the middle of the brownies is firm. Let cool before slicing into 16 pieces.

NUTRITION PER SERVING (1 brownie):

Calories: 140
Fat: 6 g (0 g EPA, 0 g DHA, 1 g ALA)
Saturated Fat: 1 g
Cholesterol: 1 mg
Sodium: 89 mg
Carbohydrate: 16 g
Dietary Fiber: 2 g
Sugars: <1 g
Protein: 3 g

Excerpted with permission from Prevent a Second Heart Attack by Janet Bond Brill ©2/2011.

Janet Brill, Ph.D., R.D., LDN, is a leading diet, nutrition, and fitness expert. She is the author of Prevent a Second Heart Attack and Cholesterol Down: Ten Simple Steps to Lower Your Cholesterol in Four Weeks–Without Prescription Drugs. Learn more at www.drjanet.com

Have You Ever Wished You Could Build a Family Business? Audrey Kerwood Shares How She and Her Mom Do Business Together. Hint: Could It Be As Easy As Playing a Game?

Have You Ever Wished You Could Build a Family Business? Audrey Kerwood Shares How She and Her Mom Do Business Together. Hint: Could It Be As Easy As Playing a Game?

Many of you have told us you’d like to make some money, perhaps even start a business that would get you out of the financial mess the recent recession has caused.  Your concerns, of course, are that you don’t know whether or not you have any marketable skills.  As a coach whose expertise is in helping people find a way to do what you love and make money in the process, I often spend a fair amount of time helping my  clients identify their skillsets…

In today’s post, I have asked Audrey Kerwood to tell her story of how she’s making a good living running four eCommerce stores. That is, she sells stuff online. Best of all, she does this with the assistance of her mother and her sister. And, the businesses don’t require her to stock an inventory, or manage a warehouse…

Curious? Here’s Audrey to tell her story:

My name is Audrey Kerwood and I run four eCommerce stores.

I sell a broad gamut of products from replica armor to European wall hangings. I spend most of my time working on refining and growing my business. I am able to do this because my mom and my sister manage almost everything that requires daily attention in my stores. But more importantly, I’m convinced that sharing my business with my family has helped me develop a fuller relationship with my mom and sister.

Audrey Kerwood's mom Ginger Let me tell you about my mom, Ginger:

  • If you had told her a year ago that she would become a regular blogger, my mom would have laughed in disbelief.
  • Now, she chuckles as she gets more and more followers.
  • She’s thrilled that folks want to learn from her.
  • She has knowledge she took for granted and now that raw knowledge is making me money.

Ginger says she’s amazed that people read her blogs. I keep telling her that what she writes about is what people are searching to find – stuff like how to clean a tapestry wall hanging for instance.

  • The win/win is that my mom knows how to clean just about anything that needs cleaning.
  • My customers need to know how to clean the European wall tapestries I sell them.
  • In fact, many others who own wall tapestries need this information too.
  • The cool part is that everyone searching for how to clean their wall tapestry is a target customer of mine, so I make money when my mom blogs about the care of her own wall tapestries.

How do I make money off my mom?

Well, to begin with, I pay her. My mom and my sister are independent contractors I hire to run the day-to-day customer interface with my customers.

It started out with me doing everything. Then my stores got big enough where I couldn’t do everything myself. I had to begin dividing up roles and responsibilities in my business. This happened far faster than I imagined. Within three months I had replaced what I was making at my last job.

  • If you’re like most Boomers, you probably would like to have a way to make money with your daughter or son the way I make money with my mom. Maybe you reverse the roles and you run the store and they work on your business. I can’t tell you who should focus on what or divide up tasks for you that will be based on individual strengths and desires, what I can show you is exactly what needs to get done to make money together, giving you income-generating power for your future retirement.
  • If you want to change your lifestyle and go into business for yourself – and do it fast, I can give you everything you need to know to open an online store. But I want to be clear that fast means 90-days, not overnight. I also want to be clear that most people only work an hour a day, five days a week. This means you can have a store up and profitable in 120-days.
  • This isn’t you selling your stuff on eBay. This is using drop shippers  or wholesalers – first one, then more than one. I can teach you how to find a profitable niche you love, then vet the category for a reliable supply of vendors because you don’t want to build a business around a single supply source, that’s too close to Multi-Level-Marketing for my comfort. I wanted my own business, where I own my whole business. Getting tied to a single supplier removes some of the freedom factor in working for yourself.
  • I love having my mom in my life as much as she is. I get to spend more time with her because we work together. That doesn’t work for some. If you don’t have a smooth relationship, this may be disastrous. For us it works smoothly and consistently. And what I’ve learned over my life from my mom is immeasurable. She’s helped many people in many different ways.

Ginger, a beautiful married woman in her 60s, is a blogger by day, nanny by afternoon and a handful for my dad at night. They play Beatle’s RockBand competitively and my mom usually wins.

Is Ginger worried about her financial future?

Who doesn’t want to recapture the money you lost in the stock market over the last two years, right? But that hasn’t stopped Ginger from continuing to enjoy life. Despite the economy, she is still known for:

  • Spoiling her grandchildren with gifts whenever she sees them
  • Always having the house she wants – she recently replaced her couch and overstuffed chair with something new she liked better
  • Living in a fabulous home with a pool and a huge yard for family events
  • Driving the car of her choice, and
  • Taking her grandchildren for grandparents weekend each year

How Can She Do It?

She plans out her time and her money. She’s always made good use of her time and her money. She isn’t doing me any favors by working for me – I pay her well. And, I’m not doing any favors to her by hiring her. I make money from what she does for me; I know she treats my customers like they are hers and that’s comforting to me. I love having my mom as part of my business.

In fact, working with family members to build something together is one of the best perks you’ll experience when you decide to go into business for yourself. And one I never anticipated when I first got started.

Here’s what makes this workable:

  • My mom knows exactly what she does for me, so there is never a time when she is wondering how to make herself useful
  • Ginger started simple by answering my customer service line. It worked because it was something I desperately needed help with, and something that was easy to learn, because our policies make it easy to say yes to our customers
  • My business is a premium price business with free shipping and we honor our return policies so most customer service callers are happy people who are grateful for courteous help
  • As my mom got comfortable with each new task, I asked her to try something new, like email customer service.
  • Six-months later my mom was blogging and had followers.

If you asked Ginger a year ago she wouldn’t have been able to see herself as a blogger with followers, but she loves it. Now, she’s warmed by how many folks want to learn from her. The knowledge she has is now making me money. Thank you mom. Remind me to give you a bonus 😉

So: Can You Do It?

OK, it’s Anne again. Audrey’s story has inspired so many people, she and a friend Ben Mack, decided to put together a game to help others learn all the terminology needed to run a drop-ship based estore themselves.  Ben is a marketing genius, so I can promise you the game is freaking fun. Something you can play with friends, your kids, or even your grandkids, to learn how to make money with an eCommerce store.

Ben and Audrey call their new game eStoreOpoly,  and they’re just launching it online now. Just when you’d decided you need to change your lifestyle. How convenient, right?

According to Audrey and Ben, there have never been so many GREAT options available for becoming a successful online merchant as there are today. And it’s never been EASIER for you to become a full-fledged ecommerce business owner than it is right now.

But at the same time, there is so much to get confused over. After all, there’s a whole new lingo to learn — and then you have to do stuff like:

  • Setting up shopping carts
  • Finding good merchant account providers,
  • Sourcing quality wholesalers and product suppliers,
  • Identifying the best and most convenient shipping and fulfillment vendors…

Which is a problem in itself. I know all about that. I’ve had clients literally spend over a year simply building their websites and taking photos of their products.

Which just goes to show you  – too much of a GOOD thing can be a problem!

There are SO many choices… SO many possibilities to take into consideration… it can be really tough making sense of it all.

Audrey and Ben want you to succeed in building your own ecommece store – in 90 days or so.

They don’t think it’s an overnight process, but they also know it’s easy to fall into “Analysis Paralysis” without even realizing it!

Audrey says that’s the 2nd most common issue folks write to her about.

So: If you’re feeling frustrated or intimidated about getting your online store up and running…

…you are NOT alone!

But why exhaust yourself  and spend thousands like my friend did just trying to figure out build his ecommerce store?  Hey, you need to start making money faster than that!!

Let Audrey and Ben show you how to get your ecommerce store up and running in 90 days with their great new game – eStoreOpoly.

Until now, building a business was NEVER this fun!! And even better, here’s a chance for you to not only make some money, but share the business you develop with your family, and suddenly you have a great way to leave a legacy, too!

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Grave Expectations: There’s More to Funeral Planning Than Sourcing Free Funeral Program Templates Online. Have You Already Begun Planning Your Own Unique Memorial Service?

January 21, 2010 by  
Filed under Anne Holmes, Blog, Living, Spirit & Faith

Grave Expectations: There's More to Funeral Planning Than Sourcing Free Funeral Program Templates Online. Have You Already Begun Planning Your Own Unique Memorial Service?

NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 20:  Funeral director Pete...
Image by Getty Images via Daylife

A recent article in the AARP Bulletin, titled “The High Cost of Dying,” discussed how easily funeral costs can spin out of control. The article noted that this happens primarily because your surviving relatives — faced with unexpectedly having to quickly put together a funeral while simultaneously grieving your demise  — just don’t have the time or energy to price shop or bargain.

Hey, you can understand: They’re grieving for you, right?

Besides which, it’s human nature to want to provide a loved one with the best funeral possible, as a show of respect, right? This classic skit by Nichols and May really exemplifies the dilemmas grieving relatives experience. You’ll find yourself laughing out loud as you squirm at the man’s discomfort with the sales pitch he’s receiving. After all, she’s not even offering him the option of free funeral program templates!

Sadly, if you’ve recently found yourself planning a funeral, you may believe that not much has changed in the years since they first created it:

The AARP article also points out many people have the impression that the magnitude of the casket is an indicator of socioeconomic status. No doubt that accounts for all those solid bronze caskets still offered in most funeral homes.  (After all, who wouldn’t want to be packaged for death like an ancient Egyptian pharoah, right?)

How about you?

Do you want to exit the world in a solid bronze casket? Or would you rather have a deeply meaningful service that you’ve planned in advance — and the opportunity to leave the money that could have gone for that fancy casket to your grandchildren or a worthy cause?

If you’re more into benefiting family or charitable causes with your worldly goods, they now is the time for you to take action to assure your wishes are met. Why not plan your funeral now — or at least discuss it with your family?

Think of funeral planning as being just as important as the plans families make for a birth, a wedding or a graduation. That you can both enjoy the funeral you’d really like, as well as save your family a lot of future pain. (After all, you’ll be there, both in body and spirit.)

  • Don’t you agree that now — when you’re still hale, healthy and able to speak your mind — is really the best time for you to give some thought to what you’d like to have transpire at your personal memorial service?
  • That way your surviving family members will be saved from the pressure tactics and indecision many currently encounter when talking to a funeral director while trying to give you the send-off they think you’d prefer.
  • After all, you hate to waste money, and you’re well aware that the “traditional funeral” — complete with embalming, viewing in that expensive casket, funeral ceremony and graveside service — is not the only option.

If You Just Want to “Dip Your Toe” Into the Concept of Personalized Funeral Planning, Here Are Some Small – But Extremely Helpful – Things You Can Do:

For starters, how about writing up your obituary now – except for the specifics of when, where and how?

After all,  if you can provide all the “nitty gritty” specifics – such as what high school you attended, or the names of all relevant survivors, this is a real help for whoever is managing your final arrangements.  If you’re famous, the newspapers already have an obit on file for you. Thankfully, for the rest of us, there are readily available fill-in-the blank forms, which will help get you started.

Here are a few you can review. Keep in mind that in addition to the specifics of your death –  which you obviously don’t know at this time – the obituary gives you a chance to tell your story, to create your legacy statement, and get it out there the way you’d like it told:

OK, That Was Easy:

So Why Not Take a Figurative Deep Breath and Jump Into the Deep End of the Memorial Pool? You Know, Spend a Little Time to Plan Your Funeral – EXACTLY the Way You’d Like It?

After all, unless you take the time to write up your plans – and keep them somewhere where they can be found in time – only you know that you’d always secretly wanted something special and personally meaningful, like:

  • To have your funeral procession led by your high school’s marching band
  • A real Irish wake
  • A Viking funeral, complete with a burning pyre floating off to sea
  • A huge send-off party at your country club, with all your friends toasting your life – and maybe you’d like to sign off by treating them to a “hootenanny” and a hot air balloon ride
  • A quiet memorial service after you’ve donated your body to science
  • A service with full military honors. Perhaps you’ve even wondered whether – since you are a war veteran —  you might even qualify to be buried at Arlington National Cemetery?
  • Then again, maybe your dream is to have your ashes scattered over place that holds special meaning for you. Perhaps your dream is to be:

Now’s the time to think about what really appeals to you.

Assuming you’ll want some sort of memorial service involved, you can even pre-determine the specifics including:

  • What sort of coffin you desire. After all, not all coffins are made of solid wood anymore.
    • There are “green” coffins made of cardboard, for example, which can be decorated to suit your personal style.
    • Or you may prefer something natural and recyclable, such as bamboo or wicker.
    • Or – can you imagine – there’s an “ecopod,” that’s actually made of recycled newspaper?
    • And, then there are all sorts of caskets, urns, body bags and shrouds. You could have a unique clay pot specially commissioned, for example. Eco Urns are made from completely natural materials and are fully bio-degradable and are suitable for either burial or cremation.
  • Your funeral budget. Funeral expenses can quickly add up.
    • Few relatives want to worry that they didn’t provide you with the send-off you deserve, so they often spend money on things which might mean nothing to you.
    • Currently you’d need to budget $10,000 for an average funeral in the United States. More if you’re really intrigued with the special events and party planners…
    • If you’re determined to have your money go elsewhere, you may want to join the Funeral Consumers Alliance in your area.
  • Any special poems or readings you’d like shared with your friends and family
  • Your preferred music and songs so that you can set the tone for the ceremony.For example:
    • Do you want your favorite rock music blasting out triumphantly as people enter the service?
    • Or would you prefer a simple flute – or maybe a throbbing drumbeat?
    • Or maybe some Cajun zydeco that merrily sets everyone’s feet a-tapping?
  • Your preferred pallbearers – and you’d like to have offer your eulogy?
  • The funeral venue is important too.
    • Do you feel that a traditional church or funeral home chapel is where you’d like people to assemble?
    • Or maybe you’re an outdoors-y kind of gal, and you’d rather people gather in a lovely bower in the woods.
    • Then again, perhaps you feel drawn to the sea, and you’d like your service to be held on the water, or overlooking your favorite beach.
  • You’ll even have the opportunity to dictate what sort of catering and transport you’d prefer. Here’s where you can let your family know that you’d love it if everyone:
    • Finished off the ceremony by feasting on BBQ ribs and toasting your memory with your favorite micro-brew beer
    • Enjoyed a campfire meal at your favorite national park, complete with hot dogs roasted on a stick and s’mores, or
    • Toasted your memory with your favorite vintage champagne before riding off to the opera in a fleet of white limos
    • Hey, it’s your funeral, as they say… And it’s your last chance to tell your loved ones where you’d like them to go!

One easy way to assemble this information for posterity would be to plan your service and even create the program for it now. Again, there are planning forms available online – and even free funeral program templates.

Heck, you can even order the stock for the funeral programs in advance, selecting your photo, the cover image, etc.

Alternately, you can create a video of your life story, and make it permanently available online or on your headstone. Or, perhaps hand out  CD copies of your video as funeral keepsakes.

Recently Carmen Flowers and Sue Bailey, authors of the recently published book, “Grave Expectations,”  Were Featured on NBC’s “Today” show.

Here’s their take on funeral planning:

Need Even More Help and Ideas? Here’s a Handful of Additional Sources For Funeral Planning  Services:

And Here Are Several Other Great Funeral and Memorial Resources:

Final thoughts on Pre-Planning Your Funeral

As the cliche points out, no one can escape death or taxes. So why not take some time when you are healthy and pre-plan your own funeral? It is a surprisingly simple thing to do and really don’t cost much.

  • If you’re at a loss for ideas, not really sure how you want to be memorialized, the links are great starting points. The book “Grave Expectations” is actually subtitled “Planning The End Like There’s No Tomorrow,” and it’s a fantastic resource for idea starters.
  • Or if you’re not into reading, you can start your planning efforts by contacting a funeral home in your community and ask them to come to your home and discuss what you’d prefer. Once you’ve decided on your arrangements, the company will provide you with a quote, and you can choose to pay for it in monthly installments.
  • As you can see, pre-planning allows you to the peace of mind of knowing that your funeral will be exactly what you want — and the price will be locked in and will not change – no matter how long you live.
  • Given that, you have to agree that pre-planning your funeral is not a bit morbid – especially since it means that when your time comes, your family will be freed from having to make arrangements in the midst of their grief.

Based on personal experience, you know they’ll appreciate the fact that they can focus completely on celebrating your life with friends and family – and of course, their grief! Given that we all have to go eventually, isn’t that really the way you’d like to leave this world?

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Great News! Grab Your Forks and Napkins Because Now Many of Your Favorite Comfort Foods Are Still On the Menu, Even If You’re Newly Diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes

Health Comfort Foods - For Real!

Cool Weather and Comfort Food: You Know It’s Coming, Don’t You?

It’s hard to miss the signs here in the heart of the Midwestern United States.  No doubt the same thing is happening all over the northern hemisphere. With the advent of cooler days, longer nights, football in the stadiums and autumnal color on the trees, it’s time to think about serving up a slew of your favorite cool weather comfort foods for dinner.

(Sorry for talking “fall weather” to you readers in the southern hemisphere, especially those of you in Australia and New Zealand. I know it’s springtime for you… But keep reading,  you won’t want to miss the book I discuss  at the end of the post…)

No Doubt You Have an All-time Favorite Hearty and Comforting Meal

When it comes to comfort foods, my favorite – hands down – is a fabulous beef pot roast, complete with potatoes, carrots, onions, and maybe some green beans.  All slow-cooked or stewed in a delicious tomato-based beefy gravy.  Served with homemade biscuits on the side…  With perhaps a nice hot apple cobbler for dessert.

I’ve always loved preparing this meal for my husband and family, but lately I’ve discovered that it’s a meal your dinner dinner guests probably crave as well.

You wouldn’t believe how many friends and business associates give me major hints that they’d love to be invited over next time I’m serving this up.  These days I’m not afraid to serve it up for company.  Try it! You’ll be amazed at the compliments this homey meal will earn you!

But pot roast isn’t the only star when it comes to favorite comfort foods. Yours might be something else. Perhaps, as the Fall season comes upon us, you find yourself craving one of these other delicious treats:

These Are All Delicious Options

But did you know they they can be healthy choices, too? That’s really good news. Especially so if you’re newly diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes, right?

Healthy choices? Before you got to that last sentence, you were probably crossing your arms, shaking your finger, and giving me the hex sign, right? I know, I know.  If you’re just learning how to live with diabetes, yo’ve probably taken a look at your newly imposed carbohydrate limitations  and decided these delicious favorite dishes are history. Meals that are forever relegated to your “forbidden foods” list…

Good news! The fact is that with just a few — mostly minor — changes to your preparation techniques, you CAN still enjoy these favorite meals. This week’s issue of Diabetic Living Weekly Newsletter is chock full of articles complete with delicious recipes, including “14 Comfort Foods Made Healthy.”

The link takes you to a great slide show-style post, complete with photos, recipes and all the nutrition facts and diabetic exchanges you need.

(If you haven’t yet made acquaintance with this resource, I suggest you check it out right away!)

Just click the link and prepare to start enjoying two week’s worth of  “legal” comfort foods, OK?

But Wait! Are You Looking For Even More  Recipes That Are Both Delicious and Diabetic-friendly?

  • Maybe you’d like to see some diabetic-friendly yet comforting desserts? Like a carrot cake? Or maybe cheese cake?
  • Or perhaps you need recipes that are also gluten-free or low-glycemic?
  • You’re in luck! Here’s an amazing recipe resource I’ve just discovered:  Fun With Gluten-Free Low-Glycemic Food!

This amazing cookbook is by Debbie Johnson, the former owner and executive chef of The Golden Chalice Restaurant & Gallery, in Chanhassen, Minnesota.

Debbie’s mind-boggling claim to fame is that she offered her hungry Golden Chalice clientele delicious food — without telling them that everything on the menu was 100% gluten-free, sugar-free, low-glycemic, organic and allergy-friendly.

  • Many of her guests ate the food and thoroughly enjoyed it – without realizing just how healthy it was.
  • Those who came because they had challenges with their diets would look up at the servers and say things like, “You mean I can eat anything on this menu, anything?”
  • The server would smile and say,  “Yes, you can eat anything you like.”
  • And why not? Debbie’s recipes are delicious and chock-full of healthy fruits and veggies, legumes and certain nuts and seeds, especially sprouted nuts and seeds.

As a Hungry Person with Special Food Needs, Can You Imagine How Amazing It Would Be to Be Able to East ANYTHING on the menu?

Debbie notes: “Our entire restaurant was geared to people with food and environmental sensitivities of all kinds, yet we didn’t advertise the fact on our signage. So locals came in and thought we were just a fine gourmet restaurant. Who wouldn’t? our menu offered only the freshest, organic, foods that were rich, flavorful, and delicious. Desserts were always a must at The Golden Chalice, they were just hard to resist.”

Now You Can Enjoy Debbie’s Amazing Golden Chalice Recipes at Home

The recipes in Debbie’s amazing ebook (yes, you can download it and start checking out the recipes instantly, no waiting for shipping!) are not only delicious but they are helpful for people with everything from allergies, celiac disease and diabetes to IBS (irritable bowel syndrome). And, every recipe contains “healing” food of some type. Not to mention that they are more alkaline.

Perhaps these recipes will become your new definition of Comfort Foods. After all, these recipes are:

  • Delicious
  • Easy to digest, and
  • Leave you feeling both full and energized.

Isn’t that the very definition of comforting?

If you’d like to take a look at one of these great recipes, here’s a gluten-free favorite: Golden Chalice Carrot Cake.

One Last Thing: What’s The Deal With “Alkaline” Foods?

Debbie says her recipes are “more alkaline, ” which might not be a term you’re familiar with.

On the other hand, perhaps you’re aware that some nutritionists are now recommending we all enjoy a more alkaline diet in order to prevent cancer and other diseases? It’s a concept that’s controversial and perhaps still a bit “out-there,” but it’s been getting a lot of attention recently. To help explain what alkaline foods are all about, here’s a clip from CBS News that explains it for you:

In closing: Fun With Gluten-Free Low-Glycemic Food! is a cookbook for people who love delicious food but don’t want to get sick eating it!

Whether or not you decide to subscribe to an alkaline diet, you’re guaranteed to enjoy the recipes. And why wouldn’t you? After all, the book’s title says it all: Fun With Gluten-Free Low-Glycemic Food!

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Is Your Financial Portfolio Still Looking For an Economic Stimulus? Have You Thought of Becoming a Joint Venture Expert? (And Just What Does a Joint Venture Broker Do?)

September 8, 2009 by  
Filed under Anne Holmes, Blog, Entrepreneurs, Work, Money & Retirement

Could You Be a Joint Venture Broker?

Listen Up! Summer’s over. This past weekend was Labor Day Weekend here in the United States. If you’re in the US, it’s likely you used the weekend to cram in a last gasp of  vacation fun.

But if you’re like most Boomers, you probably also took a few minutes to pause and reflect on the status of your job and your income-generating power for your future retirement.

Hopefully that part was not too grim.

No matter the specifics of those quiet thoughts you had about your financial future this past weekend, you no doubt realized that you need to do something different than you have been doing – and do it fast.

I mean, just how long can you keep trying to sell your stuff on E-Bay in order to make this month’s mortgage payment, right?

I Hear You on That One, Some of My Best Friends Have Been Doing the Same Thing:

Some of my own income opportunities have dried up recently as well. That’s why I’ve just signed up for a new 12-week, income generating training program. The really exciting part is that when you come out if this program, you’ll be a certified joint venture broker, and you’ll immediately start generating a very nice income stream.

No Pie in the Sky Here. This is the Real Deal.

Your income generating opportunity is built right in. You graduate from the program and you get projects to work on.

If that sounds interesting, there’s even more good news:  This is something that you could do too.  There’s still time to get into the course, though you’ll have to act fast. REALLY FAST. Class starts Wednesday September 9th. That’s tomorrow as I write this…

(If you’re reading this after that date, there’ll be another class. But you might still try to get into this one, and the price for the training will be going up later…)

So what kind of training  am I talking about?

It’s called the “International Joint Venture Broker Certification Program,” — or as Willie Crawford, one of the trainers calls it for short: JV Brokers Bootcamp.”

But let’s begin at the beginning…

If you’re not sure what a joint venture is, or whether or not you have what it takes to become a joint venture broker let me share one of the big questions I pondered over the weekend:

Have You Ever Profited From Seizing an Opportunity That Was Only Available to You? Or Have You Recognized – and Profited From – an Opportunity That No One Else Saw?

I’ve seen this happen a few times – and when you watch it play out, it’s nothing but awe-inspiring…

As An Example, Let Me Tell You About A Joint Venture Opportunity My Former Stepmother Has Recognized – and Continues to Profit From

We’ll call her Athena, to protect her identity. I’ll also refrain from telling you what city she lives in, other than to say it’s regularly listed in Money magazine’s list of top places to live – as are many of the surrounding smaller communities.

The important thing to know is the  “back story,” that Athena, a beautiful single woman in her late 60s, is a registered nurse who moonlighted in her youth, as a real estate agent.

It’s actually the combination of nursing and real estate sales experience that have allowed her to recognize the opportunity she’s developed into a cash cow.

In fact, you might think that’s an odd combination, but it’s worked well for Athena… especially these days, when the economy has decimated her stock portfolio.

Is she worried about her financial future?

Interesting question: While I’m sure she’d like to recapture the money she lost in the stock market over the last two years, that hasn’t stopped Athena from continuing to enjoy life the ways he has lived it for as long as I’ve known her. Despite the economy, she is still known for:

  • Lavishly gifting her grandchildren whenever she sees them
  • Always wearing beautiful clothes – and owning a shoe collection that is “to die for”
  • Living in a fabulous new home in an upscale neighborhood
  • Driving an expensive late-model car, and
  • Taking extended trips to Europe when she wants to visit her many friends and family back on the Continent.

How Can She Do It?

Her secret is a little joint venture deal she’s developed which regularly tops off her bank account, while she hardly lifts a finger. It’s all based on who and what she knows.  And it’s predominantly passive income, as she barely spends an hour a week actively involved in this venture…

(Remember the adage that it’s not what you know, but who you know? Well, the fact is, both can make you a nice passive income if you know how to play the game.)

Here’s the Unique Deal She’s Cooked Up:

  • First, Athena lives in a Big Ten University town, where there’s a major medical clinic — large enough to draw patients from three states — which benefits from its proximity to the University’s medical school – and which is regularly recruiting new doctors.
  • Though she’s retired and not working as a nurse anymore, she maintains social contacts at that major clinic — including contacts in their recruiting office. Which is significant, since the clinic is always recruiting new physicians.
  • Athena knows that when those new medicos accept a position with the clinic, they’ll end up moving their home and family to the area. A fact which brings her real estate connections to the fore.
  • By staying in touch with her clinic connections — usually by sharing coffee or a meal with them — she regularly acquires a list of the names of the docs who are likely to come on board at the clinic – men and women who are about to become home-buying prospects.
  • Then she turns around and shares these prospect names with a friend who’s an active Realtor.
  • The Realtor gets “first dibs” on contacting the fresh prospects, and does all the necessary leg-work to contact the prospects, shepherd them through the whole moving process – and close the sale.
  • Then when all is said and done the home-buying deal closed — the agent pays Athena a finders fee for sourcing the buyer for her

It’s A Pretty Sweet Deal, and It’s Truly a “Win-Win-Win” Sort of Venture:

  • The clinic gets a new doctor whose family is happy in their new home
  • The doc gets access to an excellent Realtor who helps match needs with homes
  • The Realtor gets a reliable source of really fresh leads; and
  • Athena gets paid for putting the two needy parties together
  • And don’t forget that the clinic recruiter knows that since the Realtor is a competent person who will impress the doctor’s family and help make the transition to the new community a pleasant experience – word of the smooth move will get passed to other clinic staffing prospects – and future recruiting becomes even easier!

I Don’t Know What The Agreed-upon Finders Fee Is:

But typically, a buyer’s agent make three percent on the real estate transaction.

Even if Athena’s Realtor friend only shares a half of one percent with my stepmother, the finder’s fee would still be well worth her time.

As Proof, Let’s “Do the Math” On a Couple of Examples:

  • One half of one percent on a half million dollar home sale is — according to my calculations  — $2,500.
  • And, if the transaction is more in line with the median home price for the community — somewhere in the low $200,000 range?
  • Well, who would balk at making $1,000 for doing just a few minutes work?

I Know, I Know: You’re Saying, “That’s Great For Your Stepmother, Anne, But What’s In This Story For Me?”

After All You’re Neither a Realtor, Nor A Medical Professional. And Perhaps Money Magazine Isn’t “Hot” On Your Home Community, Either

Well that’s where the JV Brokers Bootcamp comes in. Because once you understand how to recognize the opportunities that are just sitting in front of you, as Athena did, then you can use these concepts to find opportunities you can profit from  – right where you live.

And who wouldn’t want to be part of a “win-win-win” scenario, right?

Once you’re trained to recognize the principles, you can readily see — and profit from — the highly profitable joint venture opportunities that are available to you close to home, right in “your neck of the woods.”  And suddenly you discover them everywhere – just staring you in the face, waiting for you to take action on them…

Best of all, these opportunities are there all the time, whether we’re living living in boom times or recession. And many times they can bring you a 6, 7, even 8 figure income.

Personally, prior to learning about Athena’s money-generating scheme, I had thought you either had to have access to big money or participate in big deals in order to profit from participation in a  “joint venture.”

After all, the first time I’d heard of someone profiting from bringing two parties together for mutual benefit, it had been when I discovered that a friend’s father was a big player in the oil industry…

  • Thirty years ago, I had been fascinated to discover that my friend’s father, a man with a degree in petroleum engineering, had become a multi-millionaire by bringing together wildcatters — men who drilled for and found oil — with investors — the people who have the financial wherewithal to fund a speculative drilling expedition.
  • Now I’d understood of course, that the money lenders would get a share of the proceeds when the oil well began producing.   But I had been amazed to find out that my friend’s father got an equal share of the profits – just for putting the deal together — even though none of his own money was on the line…
  • As I saw it, his expertise was in befriending people from two wildly different worlds — and putting them together for mutual profit.
  • I’d always thought that what a sweet deal his was. But again, I’d figured that these sorts of majorly profitable deals were found only places like West Texas, home of the Permian Basin.

It Was Only Recently That I Found Out I Was Wrong.

As my friend and mentor Gina Gaudio-Graves, one of the four founders of Joint Venture University has explained to me:

You don’t have to be wealthy to begin a life as a Joint Venture Broker, though you will likely become wealthy as a result of your efforts.

Why? Because as a joint venture broker you are trained to look at life, business — essentially everything — from a completely different perspective.  Once you’re trained to have this vision, suddenly everything you touch has the potential to become hugely profitable.

Now, as never before:

  • You see opportunity where no one else does
  • You’re able to seize opportunity where no one else can.
  • You’re able to produce far greater results for each and every effort and asset than can anyone else.
  • You begin to strategically focus your mind on JV marketing opportunities as naturally as breathing.
  • You can clearly see how to ethically exploit every resource, every relationship and every deal that crosses your path.
  • You suddenly find that you’re achieving profitability with everything you do.
  • Let’s repeat that one: You suddenly find that you’re achieving profitability with everything you do.

To sum it up, let me just say that according to Gina, “being a JV Broker gives you the ultimate feeling of power, freedom, and security, because you know that the world is constantly generating possibilities for you to profit from.”

Talk about not having a scarcity mentality!!

Here’s the Complete List of the Joint Venture University’s Founding Faculty – Ladies First and Then in Alphabetical Order:

  • Gina Gaudio-Graves – Known all over the Internet as the “JV Queen”
  • Willie Crawford – The “Black Belt JV Broker”
  • Sohail Khan – Dubbed the “Million Dollar JV Dealmaker” after he brokered a single deal that netted him something like $1.8 million, with just a couple of months worth of effort
  • David Preston – The “Legendary Consultant”

As you can see, these people know how to do joint ventures. Between them, they’ve generated millions of dollars on behalf of their clients.

I’d love for you to learn how they do it, so you too, can rise above today’s economy with your very own economic stimulus package.

  • Aren’t you ready to take action to change your financial future?
  • Especially when you can help others in the process?
  • I thought so!!

Now’s your chance to join me and let these proven Joint Venture Experts show you how to become a certified joint venture broker. After all, how else can you legally make tons of money in just 12 weeks?

Don’t wait: All the details you need are in that link.

But do it now. Time’s a-wastin’!

The World’s Beaches and Sideroads Await You: Can Simply Learning How to Write a Book Actually Allow You to Retire Before Age 90, AND Give You More Play Time Now?

Can Learning How To Write A Book Finally Allow You To Retire?

Remember how frustrated you got as a kid when you found yourself stuck in the classroom on a beautiful spring day? All you wanted was to get outside so you could play…

But you couldn’t. Because until that end of day school bell rang, you were tied to your desk, with work to do. You know;  math, and reading and penmanship… The stuff they said you had to master in order to get a good job when you grew up…

Fast forward to the present.

You’re grown up now and toiling away at that job you worked so hard to get.  The job you now can’t afford to leave. Outside, it’s a balmy, breezy summer day, the kind of day that we all dream about – perfect weather for all good Baby Boomers who would still prefer to be playing outdoors, except now you want to be:

  • Sailing
  • Golfing
  • Enjoying a long walk in the country with your sweetie at your side
  • Taking your Harley out for a spin, or
  • (Insert your favorite outside activity here)

As You Steal Another Wistful Glace Out the Window, You Suddenly Realize:

  • It’s taking every ounce of self-control you’ve got to keep you in your office and at your desk
  • You’d love to throw responsibility to the wind and answer your siren’s call
  • But you don’t blow down the door, because — hey, you’re a responsible employed adult and you have work to do

So Is Today’s Scenario REALLY Any Different? Has Your Life Actually Changed?

It’s Times Like These When You Start to Daydream, Just Like You Did When You Were a Kid.

Except Now Instead of Dreaming of Hitting Grand Slam Home Runs,You Find Yourself Fantacising About What Your Life Would Be Like If You’d Paid More Attention to Your Composition Classes, And Felt More At Ease With a Pen…

You Wish You Knew How to Write a Book

You want to be able to put your name on something – like book or movie rights – that both generates a passive income stream and gives you credibility.

You know that owning a piece of intellectual property which opens doors for you while simultaneously churning out income while you sleep is something that gives you the same credibility as a bases-loaded home run provided you back when you were in Little League. Yep. It says you’re “The One.”

The Next Part of Your Summer Daydream Probably Goes Like This:

“Wouldn’t it be great if I had a way to make money while I sleep — Even better if I could also crank out big bucks while I play! Then I might actually be able to afford to retire… And I’d be able to leave a legacy for my family.”

You start to fantasize about how different your life would be TODAY, if you had started writing books A FEW YEARS AGO…

You realize that if you could figure out how to write a book, it would probably vastly change your life, your income and your business. Your change in fortune could even happen practically overnight, as it has for so many people you’ve watched brand themselves with a book and become household names. Among them:

  • Donald Trump
  • Loral Langemeir
  • Robert Kiyosaki
  • Warren Buffet
  • Robert Allen
  • Zig Ziglar
  • Brian Tracy
  • John Maxwell
  • Barack Obama

They’ve All Used Books to Launch Their Current Lives and Lifestyles, Right?

Perhaps no one more successfully than the current President of the United States of America. Think about it: Hardly anyone from outside of the Prairie State had  even heard of the junior senator from Illinois before he wrote “Dreams from My Father,” right?

Before he published that book, he was as inconsequential and invisible to the world at large as are these current junior senators, undoubtedly all good people, but whose names are unknown outside their state:

  • John Kyl (AZ)
  • Jim Bunning (KY)
  • Ben Cardin (MD)
  • Jon Tester (MT)
  • Kirsten E. Gillibrand (NY)

Authoring helped Obama gain the notice that got him invited to address the Democratic National Convention in 2004.  You’ve probably heard that he’d attended the same convention four years earlier, but he had to drive and he didn’t even had enough money to rent a hotel room! No one was asking to hear him speak then!

The rest is a matter of history: he used the phrase “the audacity of hope” in his electrifying speech which gave him visibility. He then expanded on his views in his next book, “The Audacity of Hope,” which doubtless helped propel him to the White House just four years later…

Beyond that, Obama made $2.5 million in book royalties on those two books just last year. And he currently has an authoring contract in place guaranteeing him another half million for a third book.

Talk about profiting from learning how to write a book! When you wonder if authoring really can be a life changing event that can provide you with long-term, ongoing financial security, his story has to come to mind!

But You Already Know This

Perhaps I’m preaching to the choir when I remind you that properly branding yourself and using a book as your business card, gives you:

  • Instant credibility, since authors  are perceived as expert on their  subjects
  • An opportunity to change your life, income, and business overnight
  • A proven way to grow your business and income faster and bigger
  • An opportunity to retire from the workforce, while continuing to generate income via your books as well as a few complementary products or services with bigger price tags

These Days, If You Want to be Able to Afford to Retire, One Great Way to Do It is to Take Action to Become an Author

If you don’t finally figure out how to write a book, you’re always gonna be stuck in the office, with no chance to get outside and do something you love on a beautiful day.  No “hall pass” that gives you the option to go out and play when you want to,  “just because you can”

Don’t Throw Your Hands Up in Despair! You Have it In You to Write a Book Which Can Become the Keystone to Your Abundant Retirement Income!

According to my good friend and writing coach, Ronda Del Boccio, the good news is, you don’t have to be “good at writing” in order to write a book.

Amazed?

Ronda, who’s not only written her own best sellers, but has also personally coached hundreds of people to write successful books,  spells it out simply:

  • You don’t have to be a former “A” student in your native language.
  • You don’t have to be a prolific writer.
  • You don’t even have to be an avid article writer.
  • And you don’t have to hire a ghostwriter or outsource everything, either.

Ronda teaches her authoring students that your book will actually be more successful if it’s crafted in a conversational tone. You know, written as though the reader is a good friend, conversing with you over a coffee.

(Don’t drink coffee?  No problem. “Picture yourself sharing tea, or even a beer with your friends, as you write,” she says.)

Not sure you have a problem-solving book in you? Again, Ronda has an answer to help you get started. She suggests you ask yourself:

  • What “problems” do you solve over and over again for  friends, neighbors, clients, customers or others in your life?
  • What kinds of people do you feel you are best equipped to serve or assist?
  • What are you known for?

Keep in mind that your answer might not be related to your career expertise. It might be that you’re known for helping friends with problems that are hobby-related.

Glowing Sailboat
Image by Extra Medium via Flickr
  • For example, if your hobby is sailing, and you’ve successfully navigated some major water — you’ve crossed the Atlantic, you’ve “bare-boated” in the BVIs, or you’ve  circumnavigated the “Great Loop” — perhaps your authoring forte might come from telling others how you did this, and how they can prepare to succeed in the same endeavor.
  • Likewise, if you’ve trained for and run the Boston Marathon as my friend Scott Sharp Armstrong has, you might write a book, “Boston Marathon or Bust,” to share your knowledge about how to prepare.
  • And don’t despair if the thing you do best is bake. After all, who would have guessed that anyone would choose to write about preparing all 524 recipes in Julia Child’s famous cookbook. And yet Julie Powell did that – and her book, “Julie and Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen,” was so successful it’s now a movie.

Ready to Start Implementing Your Book-authoring Retirement Plan?

You don’t need to work in a vacuum. Help is at hand. Check out Ronda’s main website, Profitable Storytelling. She’s packed it with tons of articles, videos, tips, templates and other resources.

Or, if you want more help, faster, get her book, “Instant Credibility.”

I’m personally working through her “Instant Credibility” book — which comes with a workbook — right now, and I can honestly promise you that it’s working better for me than  all the one-on-one coaching I’d previously received on the topic of how to write a book.

In it, Ronda Covers Hugely Important, Success-generating Topics Like:

  • Why writing your own book is so important for your credibility – AND the growth of your business. This works whether you’re creating a retirement business, or you’re not ready for that yet…
  • A structure for your book that makes it EASY to write. This is a specific plan that you can follow, with action steps in every chapter so you know EXACTLY what to do in each chapter as well as for the book overall.
  • The sad truth about how much of your book people read and how to overcome it. Read this and you’ll understand that even when a reader doesn’t finish your book, you CAN still grow your business.
  • 3 things you must have on your website before you put your book up for sale. Ronda covers the steps a reader takes to decide whether or not to purchase your book. Yes,  there’s actually a specific process.
  • 3 factors that determine whether your prospect is a likely customer.
  • 3 things you can do on the book COVER that will compel your prospect to open your book. One of them will surprise you. Many book authors get the first two right, but don’t do the last.
  • 7 essential elements of every single chapter. Yes, the title is the first! (well DUH of course!)  But the 6th makes you a magnet. And the 7th makes the reader want more.
  • The single most compelling element of any book. You’ll be surprised – and it’s not about the training/content either.
  • The  specific formula that makes writing your book simple. When you have the recipe, it’s easy to fill in the elements of your book in short bursts.

What? Are you still reading this blog? Hey, the sun’s shining somewhere in the world, and you still want to be able to afford to retire, right?

So go get Ronda’s book already! I promise it’ll be the best investment in yourself you’ve ever made!

Besides, it costs less than a nice steak dinner. So as a safeguard against your future and an opportunity to generate passive income so you can finally get out of the office and play — it’s certainly very affordable…

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As Obama Seeks Healthcare Reform, Now’s the Time to Stand Up, Make Your Voice Heard: You Do Want Solid, Affordable Benefits & to Enjoy Excellent Health, Don’t You?

Bracing for Healthcare Reform?

My friend Shelby — who was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes a couple of years ago, at the same time I was  —  confided to me last week that this year, for the first time in her 50+ years, she’s actually put off her normal healthcare maintenance appointments.

She says it’s not because she doesn’t believe in their value. That wouldn’t make sense, as not only does she have diabetes, but her husband’s a 10-year cancer survivor, whose tumor was discovered during a routine physical…  She knows the value of regular health maintenance appointments!

No, her decision is based on financial necessity: she’s been laid off, so money is tight. Oh, she still has health insurance through COBRA, but she says she’s saving that for real medical emergencies. On a preventive care basis, she can’t afford the out of pocket portion her insurance expects her to pay.

This has to be a “bitter pill” for Shelby, after all, she’s:

Woman undergoing a mammogram of the right breast
Image via Wikipedia
  • A proud, professional woman who formerly enjoyed a better than average income.
  • A woman who made sure her kids always got their vaccinations and annual physicals on time
  • A leader in her church and serves on several community boards.

Shelby’s crossing her fingers that she’ll manage to stay healthy, even though she’s:

  • Skipped her annual mammogram
  • Postponed her semi-annual dental check-up, despite the fact that she has a tooth that twinges now and then
  • Canceled her annual eye exam, an even bigger “no-no” for those with diabetes

No, she’s Not Self-Destructive…

Don’t go dismissing Shelby as a self-destructive woman with a secret death wish. That would be misreading the situation: Shelby understands how important it is to practice good health maintenance. After all, she and I met at a hospital-run diabetes management program our doctors referred us to when we were both newly diagnosed.

Back then I was impressed that she attacked the task of learning how to live with diabetes with the discipline of a trained military officer, a technique she learned from her father, who was a career military man.

She’s Still Doing What She Can…

That’s why Shelby hasn’t decided she also needs to:

  • Stop taking her prescription meds for high blood pressure and high cholesterol
  • Drop her physical exercise program
  • Abandon her recently acquired healthy eating habits

Shelby’s Not the Only One With These Healthcare Consequences

According to a Kaiser Family Foundation health tracking poll performed in July 2009, you, too, may have made a similar cost-based medical decision in the past 12 months. Although — in a case of some good news — this survey, showed slightly more improved results over the same poll performed in this past spring.

Which indicates that, to some degree,  Americans may now be  finding some relief from their difficulties in affording health care. Still, fully half of all adults (49 percent) say they have put off some sort of needed care over the past twelve months because of its cost.

Their survey, which attempted to determine whether or not Americans are putting off healthcare because of COST,  reported the following:

  • 33% – Relied on home remedies or over-the-counter drugs rather than go see a doctor
  • 29% – Skipped dental care or checkups
  • 27% – Put off or postponed needed health care
  • 21% – Skipped recommended medical treatment
  • 20% – Did not fill a prescription for medicine
  • 15% – Cut pills in half or skipped medicine
  • 7% –  Had problems getting mental health care

Clearly There’s a Crying Need for Healthcare Reform Here in the United States

Thankfully, Shelby’s a friend, and not a former employee. If she had worked for me, I’d feel even more upset about her situation. Why? As the owner of a small business, I’m the one who manages the  healthcare coverage options for our firm.

I know how hard it has been to keep offering reasonable healthcare coverages for our group, while still managing costs. Our small group premiums have risen a minimum of 11% annually for the past ten years.  Some years the increase has been in excess of 20%.

Given that I do manage an employee benefits portfolio, I have a huge interest in following the news related to healthcare reform. But I suspect that even if my job didn’t involve managing healthcare options, I’d still be interested . After all, I’m also a consumer of these same services.

No matter which side of the benefits desk you claim as yours, if you use health insurance to help defray your medical expenses you know the last few years have been a challenge:  health insurance premiums have risen drastically year after year, no matter whether your employer is a major player or a small “mom and pop” establishment.

No matter where you sit, healthcare costs are out of control.

But This Isn’t Really News, Is It?

The fact is, the United States is the only developed nation on the planet that does not provide universal health care coverage.  We spend twice as much per capita on health care as any other country and yet, when you look at our results — in terms of measurable aspects, such as life expectancy and infant survival — our results are far worse.

Almost a year ago, an article in the the Washington Post that addressed healthcare reform noted that Americans were struggling to pay medical bills and  accumulating medical debt at an increasing rate.

Why? There’s Many Reasons US Healthcare Costs Are Out of Control, And Many Places You Can Point Your Finger for Blame.

Among them:

  • Doctors who over-prescribe drugs and perform unnecessary and/or redundant tests – and the patients who expect this: We all know the name of the game is “cover your rear.” No doc wants to be found negligent. And many patients demand to be sent home with a script. It seems it’s a lot easier for us to pop pills than to actually get our acts together and change our diets, take action to reduce our stress or get more exercise…
  • Insurance companies and health maintenance organizations (HMOs): According to The Commonwealth Fund, which bills itself as a private foundation working toward a high performance health system, “the United States leads all industrialized countries in the share of national health care expenditures devoted to insurance administration. The U.S. share is over 30 percent greater than Germany’s and more than three times that of Japan.”
  • Consumers who “go naked” whether by choice or necessity – that is, people who don’t carry any sort of health insurance, but who are legally guaranteed treatment in hospital emergency rooms: Somebody’s got to pay for the services they receive – and it’s those of us with insurance who do. Hospital costs for these “pro bono” emergency room services — with ER’s offering the most expensive sort of care —  are passed along to you, the insured consumers. But you already knew that, right?
  • The drug companies, which you most likely already suspect are one of the most powerful players in the healthcare industry, though perhaps you didn’t realize just how powerful. How about this:
    • Earlier this month, the National Public Radio program “All Things Considered” reported that during the second quarter of this year — right around the time when the healthcare reform issues started really heating up in Washington — PhRMA (that’s the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America), along with its member companies — the big name firm like Pfizer ($5.5 million), Amgen, Eli Lilly and GlaxoSmithKline (about $3 million each), together spent $40 million lobbying Congress. That’s more than $3 million each week.
    • If you think they were lobbying for better use of naturopathic healthcare methods (as in herbal remedies and nutritional solutions), government-negotiated drug prices or reimportation of drugs from Canada… you must be smoking one of those funny herbal cigarettes.
    • In its favor, however, you need to know that PhRMA teamed up with Families USA to lobby Congress to expand Medicaid to cover everyone who meets the federal definition of poverty and those who make up to 33 percent more, which is about $14,000 a year in income for individuals. Adults without children, whether single or married, would qualify for the first time under the proposed expansion. Cynically, some see this as a great PR move whose sole reason for being is to generate positive public impression…

What Action Can You Take – Right Now?

The First Step is to Talk to Your Legislators:

The healthcare reform debate has been centered in Washington these past few months, but it’s coming home again. Your House members have already left Washington DC for their August break, and your Senators will be heading home soon.

Which means you’ll have a chance to talk to your representative in person at town-hall meetings, or when they come to town to speak in hospitals or at meetings with small business owners.

Now’s your chance to meet with them in person and tell them  what you’d like to see happening.

  • This is especially imperative if you don’t live in a major metropolitan area.
  • You know rural communities are not as well served medically — and it’s especially hard to find doctors who are trained in rural medicine.
  • The lack of health care in small towns is a problem Congress is just beginning to address.

Shelby says the biggest questions she’ll be talking to her legislators about will be related to:

  • Lack of affordable health insurance
  • Skyrocketing medication costs
  • Coverage of preexisting conditions – something that’s especially concerning if you have to find a new insurance provider, as she does…

But whether you live in an urban or rural community, keep this in mind: As a (reasonably) healthy Boomer you’ve got decades ahead of you — and you want to make sure you’re able to stay in good health to enjoy those years.

Here’s some help to get you up to speed:

The Next Step — Just as Important to Your Healthy Outcome  — Is to Take Personal Charge of Your Life and Health:

That’s what Shelby’s just started doing, and she’s excited by how well it’s working.  She started working on her mindset and motivation right around the time she realized she was probably going to lose her job.  Along with pulling out her resume and starting to look at what she needed to do to shine it up…

Thankfully she remembered me talking about my friend Gina Gaudio-Graves, her Miracle Motivational Package, and how it had helped me set goals and put a plan in motion to reach them. So she followed my link in an earlier post and got a copy for herself…

As a result Shelby says she’s been thrilled to discover how to shift her mindset to see abundance in all things — even in losing her job and having to learn how to — temporarily — live on a reduced income.

In fact, she’s all fired up about a book she’s writing and the business she’s starting — all based on sharing the knowledge and expertise she’s acquired over a lifetime… But that’s a topic for another post!

(If you want a great product to help you set out your goals and put together a plan to achieve them,  check out Gina’s fantastic Miracle Motivational Package. You’ll quickly find that you can use it to achieve anything – health and wellness, wealth, success. And just ask Shelby — it really works!)

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