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Doubtless “Survive Economic Meltdown” Wasn’t On Your Bucket List. Hopefully “Startup ‘Second Act’ Business” Was. One Fuels the Other, Of Course. Ready to Get It Going?

December 16, 2008 by  
Filed under Anne Holmes, Blog, Entrepreneurs, Work, Money & Retirement

Bucket List Business - Recipe For Success

Anyone who’s seen the news over the past few weeks knows that the United States is deeply embroiled in a tough economy. In fact, economists recently owned up to the “R” word, admitting recession is upon the land – and has been for the last twelve months. 

To which you undoubtedly want to snarl, “You think?”

Let’s See, You’ve Got:

  • Employers cutting jobs and benefits – left and right
  • The automakers begging Congress to bail them out – just a month after we experienced the mortgage industry bailouts
  • The banks, who’ve essentially quit lending money while the credit card companies are arbitrarily lowering your credit limits – even if you’ve been paying your bills on time
  • Constant stock market blips and dips
  • Not to mention a couple of wars and overall global unrest

Besides which, if your personal finances haven’t already been plunged into the toilet as a result of trashed 401(k) and retirement accounts, it’s likely all the dire news has left you feeling pretty nervous, wondering when the other shoe will fall… 

Maybe a Better Metaphor For What You’re Feeling Right Now Would Be This Unsettling Image:

  • You’re feverishly trying to build a house of cards on the head of a matchstick
  • While simultaneously trying to keep yourself standing upright as you balance atop a rolling log in the midst of a raging river of whitewater
  • Only to look ahead and see a precipitous drop-off as steep as Niagara Falls looming just around the bend… 

You’d Probably Have to Call that a “Triple Threat” or a “Perfect Storm” of Calamities, Right?”

Well, whatever you call it, there’s no doubt that you –  a successful Baby Boomer with an active Bucket List – never placed “live through an economic meltdown” on your list. It wasn’t even anywhere on your radar. Yet, you now find yourself hip-deep in that “opportunity” with few visible options ahead of you. 

So What Can You Do Beyond Wringing Your Hands and Gnashing Your Teeth?

How About Taking Action?

Instead of figuratively hiding under your bed or cowering in the corner, biting your nails as you read or listen to the dismal economic headlines, why not pull out your bucket list and pick out something on it that you can use to create a plan that will allow you to succeed despite the tough times? You know, something that:

  • Sounds fun
  • You enjoy doing, and
  • You could also use to generate some additional income…

Not Sure What That Could Be? Keep Looking at Your List, It’s Really Not That Hard.

If you initially think there’s nothing on your list that you can monetize, look again. Likely there’s something you’ve always wanted to do, something you haven’t made time for – which fits the bill. And it’s probably something you can get going, just by taking baby steps, one at a time.

For example, is there an idea that’s nagged at you over the years, perhaps an idea you’ve had for a better way to do something that’s related to one of your hobbies or passions? You know, maybe it’s an idea for a:

  • Better fishing lure
  • Healthier way to grow garden vegetables in small spaces
  • More effective way to train your pet
  • Field guide to successfully living overseas
  • Golf putter that’s guaranteed to shave 10% off anyone’s score
  • Cook book featuring heirloom family recipes, which you’ve updated to make them healthier

If so, did you ever stop to think that THAT idea might be something you could turn into a business?

Assuming your answer is going to be “yes,” there is some idea that’s nagged at you over the years, here’s your key take away: Once you dust off that idea that’s been haunting you forever, don’t you think now would be a great time to make a plan for how you can finally“get it going?” 

Think of it as your legacy, if you want, the way you will be remembered in the world. But do think about it – NOW.

Especially think about how to use this idea to start up a new income stream – while you continue to work full or part time.

That’s What Jan Bosman Did. Here’s How She Tells Her Story:

Jan Bosman“When I graduated from the University of Wisconsin, I felt had everything I needed:

  • A diploma
  • A diamond ring, and
  • A signed teaching contract

“I’d been trained by the best… I thought I would teach and retire, while managing a family along the way.

“But about 45 years into my scripted life, I had a new vision – a scrapbook for saving old handwritten recipes and the stories behind them. It all began with my love of collecting recipes from friends and family, using them over and over.

“At some point (I can’t give you the exact moment), I began to see the old recipes in my recipe box in a new way. They became more to me than formulae for good meals; they contained memories of the people who had shared them with me over many years.

“With the passage of time, the recipes took on new meaning and, I realized, they really defined my history. As I got started with my idea:

  • I wanted a place to save my special old recipes and tell about them.
  • I wanted to create a place where the recipes could be saved and the stories behind them and their creators told and saved.
  • I didn’t much care if anyone else wanted a book like I wanted; but the design firm I worked with convinced me that if I wanted a book like this, others would want one, too.
  • One of my friends says that the idea was in my heart for 45 years, but I really don’t know
  • I do know that fear kept me from breathing life into this idea for many years
  • I was afraid that someone would think it was a ‘dumb’ one, so I kept silent

Recipe Scrapbook“The evolution of the idea for my recipe scrapbook, Memories of Family, Friends and Food  is part mystery, part motivation.

  • When I started, I just wanted to realize a dream that had been lingering in my head for a very long time
  • Eventually I realized I had to move on the idea or forget it
  • I’d inherited a small amount of money at my mother’s death and I chose to invest it in my dream
  • Alternately, I could have put the money in the bank and let the dream die
  • Instead, I took action. I hired a marketing firm to help me develop and market my idea. I worked with a mentor to “get it going”
  •  I did not begin with a traditional business plan, nor did I work with any business development organizations to get started.

 “What I’ve now learned from my experience is that you never know when you will see life’s patterns in a fresh way.

 “The life I envisioned when I graduated is so different from the life I live. I’m seeing better now than I did then… despite the glasses and developing cataracts. So keep your eyes open. You just never know…”

If, like Jan Bosman, you’re ready to start making your dream a reality, there’s no need to be overwhelmed. You can start with baby steps. But you’ve got to start…

You’ve Just Got to Put One Foot in Front of the Other and Start Moving Forward.

  • Create an action plan
  • Get help to develop your strategies
  • Work your plan

Here’s a fun way to look at it:

 Jan’s Advice for You If You’re Considering a “Second – or Third – Act” in Life:

  • Plan to work hard
  • Be clear on your goal
  • Be ready for surprises – both happy days and disappointments
  • Be ready for unsolicited advice: “Not everyone is going to be as excited about this project as you are.”
  • Self promotion takes a lot of time. But you are the best person to promote your project. You believe in it, you breathe it. And without promotion, “Don’t expect your books to fly off of the shelves.”
  • Fear is real in all its forms. “Sometimes I’m afraid that someone will tell me my idea is ‘dumb.’ Sometimes I’m afraid to succeed. Fear hasn’t conquered me, but I haven’t completely conquered it, either.”
  • Don’t undervalue yourself
  • Be flexible, sometimes that’s the only way to get things accomplished
  • People WILL help you
  • Finally,follow the dreams that haunt you. You will never know yourself well enough if you don’t”

She adds that she has met hundreds of people she never would have met without this project and it has kept her vital after many years in education and a few in the domestic violence field.

“I am a good speaker and have had a chance to bring a message to people about the value of hand writing, dating and signing the recipes they share with others. Then your recipes, too, can live forever.”

Jan’s resulting book is in binder form so that pages can be moved about. She explains that It is intended to be a place where each person can create an heirloom, one recipe and story at at time. On the cover she’s included a picture of some of her mother’s personal items–glasses, tablecloth, recipe box, pearls, recipe cards, antique Jewel Tea Autum Leaves crock. 

Jan’s whole idea with her book is for each person to create their own book in his/her own special way. Sort of a cross between a journal and a recipe card binder – her book consists of: 

  • 15 acid-free 4 x 6″ pocket pages (total room for 60 recipes or pictures or other memorabilia) 
  • 15 acid-free lined, two-sided journal pages
  •  15 lined recipe cards for sharing favorite recipes with others
  • Sample journal page as a model for your writing
  • As one purchaser commented about Memories of Family, Friend and Food, “There are few of the author’s words but plenty of room for yours.”

OK, Back to You: So Hopefully You’ve Pulled Out Your Bucket List and You’re Reviewing It…That’s Great!

If you’ve decided to start thinking about generating some additional income via starting your own business, undoubtedly you’re now wondering about all sorts of challenging stuff, including:

  • Time Management Challenges related to starting up a new business while you already have a job
  • How to keep your Start-up Costs affordable
  • Whether you have what it takes to run a business
  • How difficult it might be to gain Spousal Buy-In
  • Health care costs for the self-employed
  • What steps you’ll need to take for Asset protection
  • Whether you can really turn a hobby into a business
  • Maybe even how much money your idea could actually generate for you, whether you’d need staff to pull off the idea, etc.

Don’t get too stressed over these questions.

They’re all valid concerns, whose answers we’ll discuss in upcoming posts. For now, your main job is to figure out what your goal is with this concept of starting up a business. And – determine which item on your list sounds the most promising… from a business development standpoint.  

Feeling better about the economy now? Thought so!

That’s what happens when you take action!

Whether You Call It Your Craft, Your Calling, Your Profession, Vocation, or Career: Are You Blessed To Be Doing Work You Love? That Is, Have You Found Your Dream Job?

December 5, 2008 by  
Filed under Anne Holmes, Blog, Employment, Work, Money & Retirement

Zen and the Art of Your second Career

Are You Lucky Enough to be Making the Money You Desire While Simultaneously Working at Something You Love?

Or – after all these years in the workforce – do you still find yourself wishing you were able to support yourself and your family while pursing a career path you love; something that feeds your soul and excites you to the point that you can’t wait to jump out of bed in the morning?

Not to mention that it affords you ample opportunity to richly enjoy the lifestyle you deserve?

If You’re a Baby Boomer Still Looking for Your “Dream Job,” the Good News is That it’s Not Too Late to Find Your True Calling.

You can still find fulfillment by following your dreams into your second – or maybe even third – career.

Here’s one Boomer woman’s story as proof:

In 2002, Mary Sheahen, a registered nurse with oncology as her clinical specialty, was a busy Chicago-area healthcare executive who frequently found herself wishing there was some way she could do something related to the wellness side of the healthcare industry.

Which is why when she lost her CEO role in a corporate reorganization, she didn’t see it as a personal failure, she saw it as a chance to do something new and different, something for which she has real passion. As she puts it:

“I’d wanted to be on the wellness side of health care. And – having visited a few spas – I believed that a spa – done well – would serve that need. After all, as a nurse, I had seen the results of stress on illness!”

Mary followed her muse, and in July 2003 she opened Wild Clover Day Spa in the historic community of Galena, Illinois. The spa is conveniently located within the cozy and inviting Irish Cottage Boutique Hotel.

In developing her Wild Clover facility, Mary’s goal was to create a full service day spa – including a hair salon – that is a place her clients will happily seek out in order to get away from the stresses of life.  

Her aim was to create a place where clients of all ages would be able to:

  •  Rejuvenate their minds
  • Care for their bodies
  • Improve their spirits

And anyone who’s ever visited Wild Clover immediately knows how well she’s succeeded:

  • We offer all traditional spa services: massage, skin care, nail services, wraps and scrubs, hair care and group services” (Typical groups they serve include couples looking for romantic getaways, girlfriends seeking weekend escapes, families searching for fun ways to relax and rejuvenate and bridal parties, as well as occasional special programs for breast cancer survivors and victims of domestic abuse.)
  • “We are open seven days per week and focus on both health and beauty.
  • “We consider spa services as a way to care for yourself.”

Here How Mary Summarizes Her Efforts to Get Her Spa Business of the Ground:

  • At the time I was planning Wild Clover, I was on the front end of the spa “boom”. There was just one other spa in Galena and it was struggling to establish itself. As Galena is a resort community, where people are already coming to relax and rejuvenate themselves, I felt the opportunity was there!
  • I found a consultant to assist me and believe this investment was worth every penny.
  • At the time I was doing my research (2002 and 2003), I was on the front end of an emerging business trend so finding a consultant took some work. There are many more spa consultants available today.
  • In true business start-up mode, I created a business plan with the traditional projections for growth. It was helpful and as it’s a living document, we have continued to modify it as we have gone along.
  • Be sure your significant other is on board with you, especially if you are spending communal money – or your retirement funds. My husband is a big part of the spa and we could not do it if he were not.
  • I have learned so much: you have to have guts, persistence and discipline to stay the course when you can and to recognize when you need to course correct.
  • Five years later, I now know so much more than I did then. These days, given my experience, I could actually be a spa consultant!!!

As For How She Overcome Any Fears Related to Taking Her Retirement Money and Using It to Get the Business Started:

“I had a conversation with a good friend who told me that so many people get to the point of launching and then back off and regret it later. He came along at just the right time. I had decided that I would continue planning until something told me to stop…and here I am!”

If You Daydream About the “What If’s” in Your Life and Long to Finally Launch the Career of Your Dreams, Mary Offers This Advice:

  • “Go for it!! The second and third iterations of your career can be the most fun.
  • You have no doubt learned a lot and using those skills will help you in following your dream.
  • Know where your money is coming from.
  • Starting your own business takes guts but is well worth it.
  • I could sell the spa anytime and feel really good about it. We have been open over 5 years and have an excellent reputation…that means the world to me.”

But What About You? Are You, Like Mary, Thriving in a Career That’s A Perfect Fit? Or Are You Still Searching?

  • Even though you’re Baby Boomer chronologically, do you feel sort of like Peter Pan? Still trying to figure out what you want to be when you grow up?
  • Do you have a great job and a fine paycheck, but still find it hard to drag yourself out of bed on workdays?
  • Perhaps you’ve been laid off, or believe you’re facing the potential of a layoff?
  • Or maybe your retirement plans just went down in flames due to the recent economic meltdown?

If Any of Those Scenarios Describe You, Don’t Fret.

If you believe that “work” should not be a four-letter word; that your job should not just put bread on the table but also put a smile on your face, now’s the time to identify your dream job and the career path that will help you make the change.

Especially since, like so many Baby Boomers, you are now realizing that you’re not interested in a traditional retirement lifestyle, too boring.  No, since you’ve likely still got thirty more good years ahead of you, you’ve recognized that you’d really rather continue to be productive and contribute to society. Given ths crucial revelation, it’s not too late to make time for yourself, to FINALLY go after what you really want in life.

Are You Ready to Launch Your “Second Act” Career But Not Sure Where to Start?

One of the first steps is to do your “due diligence.”

Just as Mary Sheahen did, you should find a coach or consultant to assist you. Remember, she mentioned that her investment in a consultant was worth every penny.

I’d have to agree with her. As a coach, I’ve many times been called in to help “pick up the pieces” after people struck off on their own, launching businesses without doing the requisite soul-searching, strategizing and planning. Inevitably these folks have ended up totally miserable, when they absolutely wouldn’t have had to, had they done their research. 

Generally, “calamity happens” when people select a business that doesn’t match their skill-sets or interests. This is a tragedy that doesn’t have to happen, but too often does.

Here are a few examples:

  • A former faculty member at a medical college decided to buy and run an Indian restaurant.
    • He was Indian, so that part made some sense. 
    • But unfortunately, his personality is a bit abrupt, and he’s not at all comfortable with activities like greeting guests and making sure they are comfortable, happy and satisfied.
    • Nor did he enjoy crucial tasks like planning menus, ordering food or chef-ing. 
    • (Apparently, he went for the idea because he likes eating in good restaurants and there wasn’t a good Indian restaurant in his town!)
    • Obviously this is NOT a good enough reason to become a restaurateur!
  • Another case with an equally unhappy outcome involved an antiques dealer who bought a bed and breakfast, because she fell in love with the beautiful historic home and wanted to live there and decorate it.
    • The only way she could afford the mortgage was to continue running it as a B&B…
    • Fast forward a year and she’s learned that she has absolutely no interest in or aptitude for the business end of of inn-keeping.
    • Especially the parts that have to do with being a host and short-order cook for a half dozen strangers on a daily basis.
    • Not to mention the requisite changing of bed linens and swabbing of toilets!
    • Or the marketing effort required to even have guests to serve…
    • (Cash flow – which she had never investigated – was not such that she could afford a staff to handle these tasks. Not too many B&B owners can… )
  • And in a third case, an author client decided to start up a magazine because she loved to write and had great ideas for content.
    • She used an inheritance to rent on office, buy equipment and hire writers and photographers.
    • Sadly, her capitalization plans were totally inadequate.
    • (They relied on ad sales which didn’t happen.) 
    • That scenario ended in bankruptcy.

These Examples Are Not Here to Dissuade You From Pursuing Your Career Dreams. On the Contrary, They’re Here to Persuade You That You Really Must Do Your Research:

  • At a minimum, start by talking to people who own the sort of business you want to start. Find out if they would do it over again, as well as what they see as the potential pitfalls, and how you might be able to learn from their experience.
  • Better yet, try “job shadowing” someone in the area where you want to start your own business. Quite often, you’ll find business owners who are willing to let you work in their business for a month or two, while you “learn the ropes.”
  • Alternately, checkout a company called Vocation Vacations, which allows you to “test drive” new careers while on vacation.

Actually Vocation Vacations is a fascinating resource for you, since its sole reason for existence is to help people like you figure out what’s next, careerwise:

  • Founder Brian Kurth offers dozens of business owner coaches you can work with to “test drive” the new career of your dreams, while on vacation, and…
  • If you’re not sure what your dream job is – or want help to understand where your strengths and interests lie  – and how to use them to find the job and lifestyle of your dreams, check out their coaching package that includes the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® (MBTI®) Complete Assessment PLUS working with a professional career coach who can help you evaluate the results and determine your course of action.
  • If you’re not ready to invest in one of Vocation Vacation’s mentored vacations, there are a number of free resources on their web site, as well.
  • Or, you can read Brian’s newly released book, Test Drive Your Dream Job: A Step-by-Step Guide to Finding and Creating the Work You Love. This book is both a fascinating chronicle of Kurth’s personal journey to creating his own dream job AND a hugely useful sourcebook. You’ll find it especially helpful if you’re not in a place where you can afford a mentor or if you would prefer to set up your own new career “test-drive.”
  • Best of all, the book gives you:
    • Lists of questions to ask potential mentors
    • Charts to help in establishing an action plan
    • Reality-checks about money, health insurance and the impact a life-change might have on your relationships.

(All Really Important Stuff!)

Kurth also includes anecdotes about successful dreamers and profiles of people who needed a dream-adjustment. Again, this is hugely useful information. 

In fact, this book is so important to your finding the perfect second career that – if you do nothing else after reading this post – I urge you to grab a copy of this book and read it cover to cover! “Test Drive Your Dream Job: A Step-by-Step Guide to Finding and Creating the Work You Love.”

What have you got to lose? Especially when you remember this life affirming mantra: “It’s OK for me to want to be doing work I enjoy that also makes me money!”

Since Baby Boomers Are Also Known As the “Sandwich Generation” Is It Any Wonder You Are Feeling Like A Panini? You Know, Hot, Overloaded and Grilled Under Pressure?

Sandwich Generation Choices Squeezing You?

Yesterday’s post in the New York Times blog New Old Age, and a conversation with my friend “Lisa,” who’s just uprooted herself and her family – moving halfway across the country to assist her in-laws – got me to thinking once again about the challenges of Sandwich Generation Boomers.

It Also Reminded Me That It’s Been Just Over a Year Since My Sister-in-Law Died of Breast Cancer.

Which means our family is finally gotten past the first year of significant post-Joanna anniversaries.

You know what I mean:

  • “This is the first Thanksgiving since Joanna died.”
  • “It’s my first birthday where Mom won’t be baking me my favorite birthday cake.” 
  • “The first Christmas where she isn’t running around wearing those funny reindeer antlers on her head, and incessently playing holiday music, while she creates unique hand-made cards and effortlessly puts her personal stamp of approval on the entire holiday celebration.” 
  • “Too bad Joanna will never get to see her granddaughter get married or hold her first great-grandchild.”

And this thought process got me to thinking about how hard caring for a loved one during a prolonged illness – or assisting them through their slide into eventual death  – really is for everyone involved:

  • Being there for “Joanna’s” last few months and eventual death and watching her decline was heart-wrenching. 
  • But just as painful was watching her three adult daughters – each already juggling two jobs apiece, plus school-age kids and spouses – deal with the challenges of trying to be there – physically and emotionally – for their mother as well as their families and their jobs.
  • If you’ve lived through it, you know how emotionally draining this is. How you get to a point where you desperately wish you could actually clone yourself so that you can be in two – or more – places at once.  Because you know that since you can’t – someone or something you care about is going to be slighted.
  • What an emotional “lose-lose” proposition this often is for everyone involved.

No wonder the Times blog post, Adult Children, Aging Parents and the Law attracted 81 reader comments before it was even 24 hours old. You know dealing with multi-generational needs is the primary challenge of the sandwich generation.

So clearly discovering that 30 states have laws on their books governing adult children’s fiscal responsibility to their aging parents is an issue that really strikes home. 

I recall sitting in the visitors lounge at the hospital, joining the conversation as Joanna’s daughters talked options with the hospital social worker.

It had became clear that Joannna would no longer be able to care for herself at home, and that her husband wasn’t physically up to the challenges either. So her loving but time-challenged daughters worked to quickly come to decisions for her welfare while continuing to juggle their family responsibilities. Meanwhile they were also:

  • Trying not to stress out too much over what was going un-done at home and work
  • Watching their vacation and sick days get eaten up
  • Encouraging their kids to “Stop by and visit Grandma” before after-school activities or after work – so they’d have a chance to see them, too!

Thankfully, there are options, in most cases.

Which is a good thing, since according to Pew Research Center reports, there are roughly 10 million Sandwich Generation Boomers in the world: adults who are raising kids or supporting an adult child while giving a financial hand to an aging parent.  

The Good News Is, There’s Plenty of Help Available  – Once You Know Where to Look:

  • From local programs to national organizations, from books to Web sites, a veritable cottage industry has sprung up to assist sandwich generation Boomers in juggling the demands of raising kids while also caring for your aging parents.
  • Some of these services are a direct response by the government to meet the needs of the country’s burgeoning senior ranks – with you, the taxpayer, footing the bill.
  • Others are the work of smart entrepreneurs who’ve seen a business opportunity.
  • Still others come from fellow boomers wanting to share what they’ve learned as they’ve personally grappled with these issues.

Lisa mentioned that she’s been working with a “housing advisor counselor” who was very helpful.

This resource has been a boon as Lisa and her husband devotedly seek a new home for her mother-in-law, who is recovering well from her stroke – thankfully – and her father-in-law, who has Alzheimer’s. Lisa’s challenge is made tougher by the fact that her father-in-law can’t figure out why they keep taking him along while visiting nursing homes!

To start with, her mother-in-law will move from the hospital into a board and care facility: a place that offers residential care for seniors in need of assistance. The goal in these homes is to provide long-term care for seniors who seek independent living in a safe, comfortable and dignified environment. Amazingly, the resident to staff ratio is about 2-to-1.

Not all of these homes can handle Alzheimer’s patients, however. That’s presenting Lisa with an extra challenge.

Even Though Lisa and Her Family Have Been Successfully Finding Resources, She Still Expects it Will Be at Least Three Months Before They Are Able to Move Back Home.  

Three months living out of a suitcase, away from the comforts of home!

That made the challenges my neices experienced seem easy. After all, at least they had the benefit of living in the same major metropolitan area. Clearly the challenges of  long-distance assistance magnify the difficulties in these situations – perhaps as much as tenfold.

According to the US Department of Labor, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides certain employees with up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave per year. It also requires that their group health benefits be maintained during the leave.

But while this act protects you from losing your job, and maintains your healthcare benefits – you have no income coming in during this time! And the FMLA only applies if you work for certain types of employers. (Specifically businesses employing over 50 people.)

Yikes!

Here’s Exactly What the FMLA Website Says:

  • FMLA is designed to help employees balance their work and family responsibilities by allowing them to take reasonable unpaid leave for certain family and medical reasons. It also seeks to accommodate the legitimate interests of employers and promote equal employment opportunity for men and women.
  • FMLA applies to all public agencies, all public and private elementary and secondary schools, and companies with 50 or more employees. These employers must provide an eligible employee with up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave each year for any of the following reasons:
    • For the birth and care of the newborn child of an employee;
    • For placement with the employee of a child for adoption or foster care;
    • To care for an immediate family member (spouse, child, or parent) with a serious health condition; or
    • To take medical leave when the employee is unable to work because of a serious health condition.
  • Employees are eligible for leave if they have worked for their employer at least 12 months, at least 1,250 hours over the past 12 months, and work at a location where the company employs 50 or more employees within 75 miles. Whether an employee has worked the minimum 1,250 hours of service is determined according to FLSA principles for determining compensable hours or work.

So Where Does the Money Come From? How Do You Pay Your Mortgage, Buy Food, Cover Your Day-to-Day Expenses During Times When You’re Involved in These Crucial Family Events?

With – Or Without – FMLA Benefits, You’ve Still Got to Cover Day-to-Day Living Expenses, Right? With – Probably – Not Too Much In Savings?

Lisa’s a bit luckier than most when it comes to this aspect: She’s an author who has mastered the art of generating residual income online.

Which means she knows her income will continue to find its way into her bank account, even though she’ll most likely be forced to take a break from generating new literary products for the duration. That is: She knows money will continue to flow into her bank account while she’s on the other side of the country assisting her in-laws – even though she has no plans to “show up for work” for the next three months!

Even Better, From a Financial Standpoint: 

  • As long as Lisa has a laptop and a functional Internet connection she can be in communication with her publisher and her clients, whenever she has time: Even if that’s 2 AM on Thanksgiving morning! 
  • So if the muse strikes and she chooses to toss off a couple of chapters for her current novel, or a write a post to her blog – she’s only a “mouse click” away from taking these actions. Even if she’ finds herself sitting in the waiting room at the hospital waiting for her mother-in-law to finish a procedure when the muse shows up!
  • Since she’s also an advocate of online banking, Lisa can handle her finances froma distace as well! After all, the income she’s generating is depositing automatically, so she always has available funds.

Whether You’re Living Out of a Suitcase or Not, Having a Reliable Portable Income Sounds Incredibly Wonderful, Doesn’t It?

Sort of like enjoying the lush life of a movie star who lives off her residuals?

Living off income that comes in from work she did in the past? It’s entirely possible for you to enjoy this lifestyle, too, as you know. We’ve talked about this before, actually.

You see, Lisa is one of Gina Gaudio-Graves’s apprentices.

She took Gina up on one of her first “30-Day IM Challenge” contests. And though Lisa didn’t win the challenge, she was hooked on the many benefits she discovered in the process.     

Lisa Didn’t Decide to Start Building Her Online Business BECAUSE of the Potential That Her In-laws Might Become Ill.

Of course not! 

But the fact that she did take the entrepreneurial plunge, and learned how to effortlessly generate residual income online DOES MEAN that she’s not financially stressed while helping her mother-in-law recover.

And that’s a wonderful ancillary benefit.

The latest 30-Day IM Challenge started this past Sunday!

It’s not too late to sign up and start learning how to build your own totally portable cash machine.

Go check it out now! It takes time to start this sort of a business into motion.

It’s sort of like pushing a flywheel.

  • At first you expend effort, but nothing happens.
  • But you keep the pressure on, and finally the flywheel moves almost imperceptably.
  • But you keep pushing, keep the pressure on.
  • And suddenly that heavy flywheel is moving effortlessly.
  • In fact, it takes on a life of it’s own!

What are you waiting for?

As a Baby Boomer, you’re automatically part of the Sandwich Generation. If you haven’t had to take time away from work to help a family member yet, chances are that opportunity still awaits you somewhere in the future.   

You owe it to yourself to check out the 30-Day IM Challenge.

After all, it’s free.

And talk about over-delivery!

Now More Than Ever: Boomer Consumers Want The Chance to Make Your Own Financial Choices

November 11, 2008 by  
Filed under Anne Holmes, Blog, Work, Money & Retirement

Boomers Want Choices When Making Big Decisions

In these times of financial uncertainty and economic meltdown, the last thing you want is to find yourself with your back up against the wall, unable to make crucial buying decisions and financial choices for yourself and your welfare. My friend Marilynn Mobley over at Baby Boomer Insights really understands this.

Well the fact is, as a executive VP at a well respected public relations firm, Marilynn has made it her business to understand Boomer psyches – especially understanding what motivates Boomers to make financial choices, or what marketers call “buying decisons.” 

She wrote a post in her blog yesterday that really spoke to me – and will probably speak to you. Which is why I had to share it with you. Her topic,  essentially, is what motivates Boomers to buy.

Her (slightly abridged) title:

Boomers want choices, will reward (punish) companies based on the choices offered them

If You’re Not Familiar with Marilynn, You Need to Understand That She Calls Herself the “Quintessential Boomer,” – So She’s Speaking From Personal Expereince as Well as Her Research 

By way of proof, let me share with you a bit about her. In a nutshell, here’s Marilynn:

  • Lives in a big city suburb (somewhere near Altanta, Georgia)
  • Married (to the same husband ) for 25+ years
  • Owns both a primary residence and a second home on a lake 
  • Careerwise, she’s an exec at a highly respected PR agency 
  • Mother of two college-aged daughters
  • Likes to take weekend getaways with a few favorite girlfirends 
  • Has had some significant medical challenges over the years, but is grateful for her access to wonderful doctors and great health care 
  • Loves luxury cars, spas and frozen margaritas

Besides That, According to Her Official Blog Bio, She’s Also:

  • Curious
  • Fun-loving 
  • Bold
  • Unafraid of learning about and using new technology

What makes her thoughts and opinions even more valuable is that a good part of her day is devoted to providing her clients with insights into the habits of the Baby Boom generation, and she’s been blogging about this for quite awhile now…

Marilynn Began Her Post by Noting That:

“In the research, speaking, writing and reading I’ve been doing about boomers over the past few years, one thing that always sticks out in my mind about us is that we’re all about choice. We want real choices in everything from the biggies, like whom we’ll pick for President, to little everyday choices that end up deciding the fates of brands.”

And Concluded With This Comment:

“… I do believe that boomers are going to increasingly look for ways to exercise their choices, especially when it comes to anything involving money. For too long companies have looked at us as open checkbooks who can be bought for a nostalgic song and ads showing an attractive model with a touch of gray hair. No more.”

In between, she writes about three significant buying decisions she’s made in recent weeks, and how they were all made based on how the merchant’s policies and procedures either allowed her to make a buying choice – or DIDN’T, as the case may be…

The buying decisions were significant, we’re not talking about choosing to buy organic free range eggs as opposed to your basic generic caged hen eggs, or even choosing one movie over another at the cineplex, although I’m sure you’d agree that the concept of having the ability to make a choice is still significant there, too.

No. Marilynn was Talking About Buying (Or Not Buying):

  • A new car – her decision was largely made by phone and email, because the dealer from which she’d purchased her last car stayed in touch, listened, and responded as she had requested. In other words, allowed her to buy via her choice of buying modalities
  • Auto insurance from a new agent – she exercised her choice to change vendors because her old agent made assumptions and took her business for granted
  • Service from her (by now former) cable company – she dropped them because they accidentally mailed her a hugely enticing new customer offer that wasn’t available to her as a current customer. And they didn’t apologize or offer her the same choice when she contacted them 

Don’t you identify with Marilynn on this need for choice in your buying decisions?

Isn’t Having a Choice Something You Consider a Buyer’s Right?

  • It’s been a long time since Henry Ford famously opined that “You can have any color, as long as it’s black,” when discussing his philosophy with regard to selling his Model T Fords at the cheapest possible price.
  • Perhaps he said that around the same time pioneering department store retailer Marshall Field advised retailers that they needed to “Give the lady what she wants.”
  • Then again, leave it to Baby Boomer comedian Tim Allen to put his twist to the concept of choice. Apparently he said:  Women now have choices. They can be married, not married, have a job, not have a job, be married with children, unmarried with children. Men have the same choice we’ve always had: work, or prison.”

Marilynn’s post doesn’t delve into our Boomer psyches to the point of discussing WHY having the ability to make choices is so important to Baby Boomers. but if that intrigues you, why not grab a copy of C. J. R. Simons fascinating book “Boom Babies and the Gospel of Choice: Making Choices, Reclaiming Power and Creating Change.”

In the book, Simons delves into the social and historic reasons why Baby Boomers are so darned intent on retaining their power of making choices. He notes that somewhere between young adulthood and middle age, the Baby Boom generation moved from a position of “I make choices” to “Someone makes choices for me.” Which is why, he says, Boomers are now working so hard to return to the position of “I make choices.” He makes some very interesting points.

So What’s Your Take On the Concept of Maintaining Your Options for Choices in the Buying Arena?

  •  How important is it that a retailer recognizes your need for convenience? For example, what if you had access to a mortgage broker who made housecalls? Or a doctor who did, for that matter? Do you yearn for the old days of at-home milk delivery?
  • Are you more likely to buy if you have the opportunity to choose a product’s make and model? Or do you sometimes feel overwhelmed by the available choices?
  • Have you ever walked away from the purchase of something you wanted and needed because you didn’t have a choice in any particular aspect of the transaction?  

Finally, is there actually such as thing as too many choices? When?

Have You Ever Seriously Considered the “Expat Lifestyle” – You Know, Daydreamed of What It Might Be Like to Live, Work Or Perhaps Actually Retire Overseas?

Wonder What It Takes To Retire Overseas? Yes You Can!

Do You Sometimes Have the Feeling That You Really Need to “Get Away From It All,” As In Take a Break From the World As You Currently Know It?

You know: you aren’t just dreaming of taking an extended vacation to some exotic locale, but you actually find yourself fantasizing about what it might be like to take up permanent – or semi-permanent – residence in another country? 

Like that couple you might have recently read about, who decided to escape the rat race and retire abroad before they were even 40: They sold everything they owned, raised $500,000 and moved to an island in the Caribbean, where they’ve been “living happily ever” after for the last 18 years… and living like royalty, to boot! 

Perhaps you, too, have wondered what it might be like to retire overseas: to trade in your expensive, traffic-clogged life for a quieter, more affordable one. 

  • Maybe you’ve imagined yourself on on a verdant, mountainous Caribbean island where you might find lush views out every window and sand crabs meandering across the roads.
  • Then again, maybe you’ve seen yourself in somewhat more urban surroundings, perhaps dining on a fabulous three-course dinner with abundant wine, while attentive waiters linger nearby awaiting your next request. Could this be Paris? Or maybe you’re in Buenos Aires?
  • Or perhaps you were so taken by the exotic scenery in the “Lord of the Rings” movies, that you like to imagine yourself riding horseback in the wilds of New Zealand?

No matter which is your dream, your getaway vision always involves somehow transporting yourself to entirely new and exotic surroundings:

  • Sort of like Hemingway did decades ago, when he moved his authoring operations to Spain, land of bullfighting and sport fishing.  
  • Or maybe like what the Danish author, Isak Dinesen, did when she moved to Africa. (Remember, her story, chronicled in “Out of Africa,” begins: I had a farm in Africa at the foot of the Ngong Hills…”   (What Boomer woman doesn’t remember the scene in the movie where Robert Redford helps Meryl Streep shampoo her hair while they’re out on safari… )
  • Then again, maybe your vision is more like that of poet, cook and travel writer Frances Mayes, the real-life person whose story of buying a house in a foreign country was so well portrayed by Diane Lane in the movie, Under the Tuscan Sun. 

Keep Reading If You’ve Ever Screamed, “Stop the World, I Want to Get Off.”

Moving – or even retiring – overseas is no longer a radical notion. More and more, Baby Boomers are looking into retiring offshore in an effort the get the most from their retirement dollars, while having the adventure of a lifetime.  Actually, Americans are choosing to emigrate for a variety of excellent reasons:

  • Adventure – what’s more adventurous than leaving behind life as you know it for a new one in an exotic locale?
  • A better climate – maybe you’ve had it with snow shovels, now you’re looking for unending days and nights of temperate tropical breezes
  • Lower cost of living – your retirement savings can afford you a better lifestyle than you would be able to achieve in the US
  • Financial freedom – a way to sidestep recession. Living offshore can mean you can “retire rich” on a middle class budget, never outlive your nestegg
  • Investment opportunities  – an opportunity to grow your investments tax-free or tax-deferred
  • Healthier lifestyle – a way to live better, healthier, and with less stress

Of course, Boomers aren’t just dreaming of basking in the sun on those beaches of the world: we’re talking “retirement” in loose terms here. Let’s focus on how you might have imagined yourself living very affordably overseas while you generated a nice side income for yourself by doing something you love, like:

  • Running a small restaurant on the beach
  • Operating a beachside dive shop, renting out your yacht while you and your spouse serve as crew or giving surfing lessons
  • Exporting local handicrafts back to the US or elsewhere
  • Working long distance for your current US employer
  • Running your own company, via your mobile “laptop office”

Which Countries Offer the Best Living and Investment Options for Potential Expats? 

The fact is, thousands of Baby Boomers are finding themselves dreaming of living a life of retired splendor in another country — and many of them are doing more than just dreaming about what it might be like to retire abroad – they’re actually taking action. You’ve probably even had friends who spoke to you in glowing terms about the benefits of retiring permanently in an exotic-sounding county like:

  • Argentina – Think European-style living at a fraction of the cost
  • Croatia – Sun-kissed islands, great sailing, temperate climate: The best of traditional Europe…Non-traditional prices
  • Dominican Republic – An extremely affordable Caribbean lifestyle, and several large expat communities
  • Italy – Tuscany may be calling, but if you’re American, Canadian or Australian, you don’t have the right to work or live in Italy. So this one is a tougher call
  • Malaysia – If you ever considered Asia, it’s easy to buy property here and they have a “Malaysia My Second Home” program for expats
  • New Zealand – Tight immigration laws, wide range of climates, but English-speaking, and oh! the scenery
  • Nicaragua- Stunning natural surroundings and more afforable than Costa Rica 
  • Panama – Many expats say the this is still the world’s best retirement option. Find out why – and if you agree
  • Poland– Great scenery, growing economy, newer member of the EU, tourism is rising, and there’s a lot of foreign investment
  • The Philippines – Another great Asian opportunity with the economy recovering well, but land ownership laws aren’t as welcoming
  • Uruguay – Some say moving here is like rediscovering the good life of 1950s small town America

Then again, maybe you were wowed by the scenery when you watched the recent Olympics and you’re thinking of moving to China. Obviously, an emerging superpower, China is expected to become the world’s largest exporter by 2010, so there are great investment opportunities here.

More potential financial opportunity comes from their growing tourist economy. Maybe you imagine yourself setting up shop as a travel writer, photographer, importer or consultant

Of course, since it’s still a Communist country you can’t own Chinese real estate outright; but you can buy a 70-year leasehold option on property.

Most likely you’ll agree this country has to be categorized as an opportunity only the most adventurous will choose! 
 

Look Before You Leap: Doing Your Research

Obviously there’s a world of exciting options out there – literally something for everyone. But whatever your reasons for leaving your current lifestyle behind, it’s always best to investigate as much as possible in advance.

Before you sell your home and kiss the grandkids goodbye, you need to do your homework. You absolutely must learn everything you can about the countries you’re interested in.

Experts advise the best thing to do is start with research, and then visit the country you’re interested in several times as a tourist, ideally visiting during different seasons of the year.

These Are Probably the Most Crucial Topics You Need to Research:

  • Climate
  • Crime
  • Cost of living
  • Healthcare
  • Insurance
  • Taxes
  • Residency requirements
  • Visa and other documentation requirements
  • Local laws regarding work and foreign property ownership
  • Rules regarding taking your important “stuff” with you: furniture, cars, PETS

How-To Advice to Retire Overseas From Someone Who Actually Did It 

Jacqueline D. Brown, who currently has a show on public access TV in Los Angeles called “Southern Latitudes,” dreamed of living on a tropical island, and moved to the Fiji Islands for a year that turned into five. Prior to that, she lived in South Korea for a couple of years, teaching English as a Second Language (ESL). 

On her return to the US, many people asked her how she did it: How was she able to give up everything and move to a place she barely knew?  To answer, she drew up the following her list of ten steps you must take before you decide to move abroad, no matter where you want to go:

10 Steps To Move Abroad, Wherever You Wish to Go:

  1. Ask yourself, whether or not this something you really want to or can do? Talk is cheap. Can you really give up your friends and move thousands of miles away to a place where there’s limited television and yours is the only cell phone around?
  2. Pick a place. It’s important to choose the right place. If you’ve always wanted an ocean view, this is your chance. Or if only the hustle and bustle of city life satisfies you, expect to find it only on a smaller, more manageable scale. Be honest with yourself about what you want. Do your research.
  3. Decide on a moving date. It’s best to have a definite date for your move. This way you are working toward a goal that is realistic and tangible.
  4. Determine how you are going. If you just can’t leave your things behind, renting a container on a freighter is best. You can accompany your things or fly days later when they are expected to arrive.
  5. Do your research. Contact the tourist board or embassy to ascertain residency requirements. Currently in Fiji, you can only stay as a tourist for 90 days but can return the next day for 90 more. Do you need a Visa? Start the process three to six months before you go.
  6. Simplify your life. Clean out your closets and give away or sell things you don’t need or can get there. If you plan to work, take original diplomas. I had a copy of mine but that was unacceptable when I was offered a teaching position.
  7. Maintain your health. Depending on where you are going, the medicine and dental care may not be what you are used to. Get a complete physical, your needed shots, and a dental checkup. Do you have enough medicine? Take enough to last until you find a doctor. Can you order medicines online?
  8. Use the Internet. Here you can find land or houses for sale. Also, if you read the local newspaper online, you can get a feel for the place: food cost, apartment rent, weather. The State Department’s web site will tell you if there are any warnings or problems in the area.
  9. Cut emotional ties. It’s said that if you can make it past the first six months in a foreign country, you will probably stay. After the newness and excitement wears off and reality sets in you’ll find yourself alone without family or friends. This is now your home. You can’t click open your cell phone and call back to your former home every day. My relatives and friends cried when I was leaving for the airport. But I had made up my mind. Although I would miss them, I wanted a new life, a new adventure. Once settled in your new home get to know your neighbors. Hang out with expats also. You’ll appreciate talking to someone with a similar background who will understand what you are saying without your having to give a long explanation.
  10. Make a checklist. Make a list of everything you are selling and everything you are taking, including your tickets and passport. As each thing is done, check it off. I made a list of things I was selling: furniture, appliances, books, some clothes. I took the list to work, made copies, and passed it around. My co-workers picked what they wanted and put it on layaway with me. Just before I left, they paid and picked up their goods.

Some Good Online Resources to Help You Get Your Research Started Are:

Fascinated By the Possibilities in What You’re Reading?

Look for another post on living the expatriate lifestyle coming soon. There’s just too much to cover in just one post! 

Next up:

  • How hard it sit to take your car? What about moving your furniture?
  • How long does it take to get the necessary visas?
  • How do you handle prescriptions and health insurance?
  • Can you really do this?

“Joe the Plumber” Isn’t the Only Entrepreneurial Wannabe: Haven’t You Wondered Whether You Could Successfully Fund Your Retirement by Starting Your Own Small Business?

Small Business Owner Wannabe? Yes You Can!

If you watched the third and final presidential debate earlier this week, you heard both candidates talking abut how their economic development and tax plans would benefit Joe Wurzelbacher, aka “Joe the Plumber,” a Toledo, Ohio man who’s considering buying the plumbing business where he currently works – for somewhere between $250,000 and $280,000.

Both candidates attempted to make the case that their plans for taxation and business development would benefit more Americans. Who won the debate – and the hearts and minds of Americans – will be determined in mere weeks now. But that isn’t the main point of this post: Helping you decide whether or not to buy or start your own small business is.

See, “Joe the Plumber” Is Not the Only Baby Boomer Considering the Entrepreneurial American Dream of Business Ownership. Likely You Are, Too!

For many Baby Boomers, born between 1946 and 1964, the concept of retirement has a very different meaning than it did a generation ago. Many of you are looking into starting your own business to support your retirement – or semi-retirement. Actually what some people are starting to refer to as “unretirement.” And why not?

After all, several recent studies indicate that roughly 63% of non-retired adults in the United States plan to work into the time periond that used to be called retirement. Why? Your reasons may be different, but here are some popular ones:

  • Two-thirds of you say your key reason is that you enjoy your work and you want to stay mentally engaged
  • About half of you have a concern over not having enough money to cover your basic living expenses once you are old enough to collect Social Security
  • The current economy has left many of you with decimated home values, mountains of bills, and vanishing 401(K)’s
  • Only 28% of you report confidence in your ability to pay for projected medical costs – especially since many of you won’t have health insurance after you retire -and you can easily expect to live another 20 to 30 years

On the Plus Side You Can’t Ignore the Very Real Benefits Of:

  • Your years of valuable work experience
  • Your maturity and judgement
  • Your health and vitality

Actually, There Are as Many Reasons for Starting a Small Business as There are Americans Reaching Retirement Age

At the very least you have to consider:

  • Corporate layoffs
  • The need to supplement your current income
  • Your desire for a more flexible lifestyle
  • Your recognition that advancing technology has leveled the playing field for many small businesses
  • The very real opportunity to realize your personal ambition to be the boss and reap the rewards

It All Adds Up: More and More Boomers Find Financial and Personal Fulfillment in Running Your Own Small Business.

“[Boomers] stand at the portal of advancing age more driven by their desire to stay engaged with achievements and family relationships than by the value of their portfolio,” says Carol Orsborn, an author and expert on marketing to Baby Boomers. Here are some other relevant facts:

  • A study by Merrill Lynch and Harris Interactive found that 45% of Americans approaching retirement never plan to completely stop working
  • You can often deduct some of your health insurance premiums from taxes if you’re self employed and Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) offer more savings.
  • Americans over the age of 50 make up a disproportionate share of the self-employed workforce, about 40 percent compared to 25 percent of the overall workforce according to a 2002 AARP study
  • Americans in their 40s and 50s expect to “retire” at age 61 but will continue to work until around age 70 according to Merrill Lynch and Harris Interactive. During these 9 years, many of you believe the ideal work arrangement is to “cycle” between periods of work and leisure (42%). And only 17% of you hope to never work for pay again
  • The top-10 most popular franchising industries according to a report in USA Today are: fast food, service, restaurants, building and construction, business services, retail, automotive, maintenance, food retail, and lodging
  • A new franchised business opens up in the United States every 8 minutes, according to Price Waterhouse Coopers.  Average initial investment is $250,000
  • Only 37% of the Boomer generation indicated that earning money was an important reason to keep working according to Merrill Lynch and Harris Interactive.  67% thought challenge and mental stimulation would motivate them to continue to work. The same study found that of Boomers who plan to continue work, nearly two-thirds want to pursue a different line of work.
  • The number of franchised business in the US has grown to 850,000 from 760,000 in the past six years according to an International Franchise Association report. The number of “franchise concepts” has grown to 2,500 from 900 in 3 years
  • 75 industries use franchising to distribute goods and services according to Price Waterhouse Coopers

Undoubtedly it’s facts like these that led the US Small Business Administration (SBA) to unveil a new section of their web site earlier this month, aimed directly at you, the country’s most rapidly expanding group of entrepreneurs.

The new Small Business oriented site is designed for you if you are a 50-plus entrepreneur seeking information on starting, growing and expanding a small business.

“The SBA is working hard to increase opportunities for small businesses of the Baby Boomer generation at every stage of their business development through better technology tools and effective services through the agency’s district offices and resource partners,” said SBA Acting Administrator Sandy Baruah in a statement. “We believe 50-plus entrepreneurs will drive significant new business growth in the coming years.”

The new site has been designed to help you evaluate the pros and cons of business ownership after age 50 and provides advice on how to treat different phases of business growth. It includes a series of free online course on topics like:

  • Small Business Primer: Guide to Starting a Business
  • How to Prepare a Business Plan
  • How to Start a Business on a Shoestring Budget (Trump University)
  • Franchising Basics
  • Technology 101: A Small Business Guide

In addition you’ll find:

  • A tool to you measure your business readiness
  • Information on borrowing and credit
  • Encouraging success stories from other Baby Boomer small business owners

There’s Also a Section Called “Bootstrapping Basics” That Offers Training Tools Such As “Traits of the Successful Entrepreneur”

Here, you learn that:

  • Just as not every idea is well suited for a shoestring start-up, not every person is well suited to be a bootstrapping entrepreneur
  • “When it comes to starting a business on a shoestring budget, two of these traits are especially important. An entrepreneur must be passionate about his start-up business. It can be long time before you really start reaping the rewards of your business, and it can be easy to let other endeavors distract you. Your passion is what will keep you focused on moving your idea forward
  • “Too much caution can stand in the way of a successful start-up.”
  • A bootstrapping entrepreneur must also be something of a risk taker. You must be willing to experiment. If the first thing you try isn’t working, you have to be able redirect your efforts and try another approach.”
  • “Successful entrepreneurs share some common traits that help them meet the particular challenges starting a business puts before them. They include:
    • Passion
    • Tenacity
    • Persistence
    • Self-reliance
    • Risk-taking
    • Focus
    • Curiousity

The SBA’s Self-Paced Training for 50-Plus Entrepreneurs Is A Good Idea, But It Lacks Passion – and a Mechanism to Keep Your Focused and Moving Forward.

If you’re serious about building as business to support your retirement there is no time to waste. You need to get started now, and you need to get training from a reliable resource which will keep you focused and moving forward with passion.

In my opinion, you’ll be much farther along in your business development efforts one month from now if you work with Gina Gaudio-Grave’s program, The 30-day IM Challenge instead of using the SBA’s self-paced training.

What Have You Got to Lose? It’s Priced Right, and A Stronger Program

In the past I’ve recommended Gina Gaudio-Graves free 30-Day IM Challenge program and I stand behind that recommendation. Also free, it gives you all the knowledge you need to succeed with your own business, whether you decide to go home-based or not.

In Addition to the 750+ Pages of Training, Plus Recordings and Videos, the 30 Day IM Challenge Gives You Weekly Group Phone Calls and an In-depth Forum, Where You Can Ask Questions of Gina’s Apprentices, Who Are All Successful Graduates of the 30-Day IM Challenge.

So, if you’re considering starting a small business to supplement your retirement income,  the only questions still left for you to answer are:

  • Do you want to succeed?
  • Do you have what it takes to own your own successful business?
  • If not, are you willing to work hard to acquire it?
  • Are you ready to launch yourself into prosperity despite the gloomy economy?
  • Or would you rather stick your head in the sand and wait until things are “easier.”

If you opt for the last option, keep in mind that while you wait your chances for enjoying a comfortable retirement will be steadily shrinking…

“Joe the Plumber” is not waiting. Don’t you hold off either!

Nest Eggs Shrinking, Home Prices Falling, Financial Anxieties Blooming: Should You Put the Brakes On Retirement Planning and Power Up Those Dreams For a Business of Your Own?

Is The Economy Choking Your Retirement Plans?

Are You Worried About the Economy?

Who isn’t? After all, if you haven’t already experienced major losses, you’ve been hearing from a host of respected financial experts – like Brett Arends who writes the “ROI” column in the Wall Street Journal – who are wringing their hands, while telling everyone to “bite the bullet,” and “stash your cash” as they frighten you with stories of a pending depression, should our economy continue spinning into freefall.

Meanwhile, as the news flows, the Dow pumps up and down erratically, sort of like your blood pressure.

In case you missed today’s column, Arends wrote:

Cut everything.

Drop your cable package and TiVo. Say goodbye to Applebee’s and Starbucks. Cancel the ski trip.

Slash every single penny you possibly can from your household budgets and start building up cash.

Yes, I’m serious. The shocking collapse of the rescue package on Capitol Hill threatens a disaster on Main Street. Unless this gets reversed almost immediately, it could turn a slowdown into a slump, and a slump into a depression.

It’s hardly possible to make any sensible recommendations about investments or other financial matters until we get a better sense of what will happen next.

Ordinarily in a panic like this I’d be urging people to invest. My usual approach is that the worse people are panicking, the more aggressively you should buy. And that might still be the right thing to do.

But the political and financial situations right now are chaotic.

So you need to get an iron grip at least on one thing you can actually control: Your own personal budget. 

Whether or Not Everything Will Actually Sort Itself Out Without Further Disaster is Small Potatoes for Baby Boomers.

You’re not so much concerned about having to slash your Starbucks budget as you are terrified over the impact this economy will have on your retirement planning. Worse, you realize there’s the potential that you’re going to have to forget about retirement entirely.

Perhaps you’re even mentally trying on the smock of a  megastore greeter or a burger flipper and contemplating the prospect of standing on your feet and smiling at strangers for the next two or three decades – just so you can qualify for group health insurance.  Slaving away day after day, year after year, until you keel over dead. Not a pretty image, right?

Getting back to present day reality, certainly the numbers are not good. Bear markets are particularly tough on people who are close to retirement. Especially if that nest egg you spent years building up has suddenly lost a good part of its value – or vanished entirely.

But as discouraging as it is to think about having to rebuild your portfolio via working a few more decades, these are thoughts Baby Boomers need to consider, according to financial planners and researchers.

They point out that even if the real estate market hadn’t tanked, and the banks hadn’t failed, many Boomers had already been jeopardizing their futures by  ignoring the retirement planning process and as a result, grossly underestimating how much money will be needed to fund two or three decades of retirement. Because of these major miscalculations, many Boomers were already leaving the work force carrying nest eggs with premature expiration dates.

Consider this: Even before the current financial meltdown, less than one-quarter of workers age 55 and older — just 23% — have savings and investments totaling $250,000 or more, according to a study published in April by the Employee Benefit Research Institute in Washington. About 60% have less than $100,000.

So the most important economic point Baby Boomers must be thinking about RIGHT NOW is this:

At This Time In Your Life, There’s Only One Economy That Matters: YOURS

The bottom line is, our global financial system is in rough shape and the final consequences are still a murky mystery. But that is largely out of your control. Even though you may have already  experienced significant financial repercussions, you must let this point guide you at all times:

“At the end of the day, it DOESN’T MATTER what “the economy” does, all that matters is what YOU do.”

When the headlines are blaring doom and gloom, it takes a strong mind to stay focused on what matters most: The reality is, it doesn’t matter what “the economy” does: All that matters is what YOUR personal economy does.

With that in mind, right now is the best time to take charge of your financial life, and take on the challenge of retirement planning like never before. When you do that, according to Loral Langemeier, you’ll find that it’s not only possible to survive in this economy, you’ll actually be able to thrive.

Now, considering that the stock market had the biggest one day dollar decline in its history just a few days ago, the concept of thriving instead of just barely making end meet, is a truly wonderful. After all, it was that shock that might have had you swallowing hard and considering what it might be like to have to stay in the workplace a few more years, just to bring your personal financial base back to where it was… 

Now, if you decide you want to continue working for an employer, that’s OK, as long as you stay in the workplace on your terms. After all…

Many Financial Experts Have Suggested That Our Country’s Pending Economic Woes Could Be Overcome if Baby Boomers Would Choose to Work Longer – Especially When Considering the Challenges Related To: 

  • Supporting Social Security and Medicare
  • Overcoming the workforce brain-drain and labor gap anticipated by 77 million Baby Boomers retiring in a short period of time  
  • Alleviating the need to draw down on federal benefits, or liquidate investments, home equity and savings to fund two of three more decades of living, and as a result leaving more money for your children’s inheritance
  • Putting an end to intergenerational warfare and the now-popular sport of “Boomer bashing“
  • Potentially injecting $3 trillion into the economy each year, resulting in a 9% increase on Gross Domestic Product by 2045

On the other hand, the best way to get out of debt and be financially free is to create new money and build wealth. And you’ll never do that as an employee. Short of investing your earnings in the market, that means finding some way to generate income on your own, even if you start small, simply by selling items you own but no longer need on eBay or Craig’s List.

Once you get comfortable with the concept of finding ways to create more money, you can thumb your nose at Mr. Arends, and the other financial experts who’ve been advising you that you’ll have to give up your Starbucks, TiVo, that upcoming ski trip — or date night with your spouse or friends.

Meanwhile, Guess What? The World Didn’t End When the “Great Financial Bailout” Failed to Materialize On September 29th. No, the World Continued On, and People STILL Need to:

  • Eat…food on the table continues to be a constant requirement for everyone
  • Enjoy solid roofs over their heads…
  • Look after their kids…
  • Advance their careers…
  • IN fact, they still need to pursue any one of the million-and-one things we human beings need to do *regardless* of the financial weather outside.

In Other Words, Day-to-Day Business Goes On, Even When Wall Street’s Business Goes Down the Drain.

Don’t let the headlines pull your attention away from that major reality:

The world goes on and people still need businesses and organizations to support their endeavors.  So perhaps now’s actually the perfect time to dust off those long dormant dreams of starting your own business.

After all, if you start a “third act” or retirement business as a cash machine to fund your retirement planning, you – and no one else – are in charge of your wealth building efforts. You call the shots with regard to your hours and your involvement.

  • If you choose your business niche properly, there’ll be an ongoing need for your product or service, no matter what happens on Wall Street.
  • In other words, once your business is set up, the money keeps generating, while you work or play as you please.
  • You can even give the business to your kids, or use it to fund charitable work in your name.

Worried About Starting Up a Business In A Down Economy?

Here are some facts that will help you keep your head together and focused on the real financial opportunities awaiting you in the days ahead:

First: The Speed of Our Economy May Have Declined, But It Won’t “Flat-line”

Few people realize that many of the successful companies of our time were started in the depths of the Great Depression. There are thousands of them large or small. (You can prove this to yourself with your own Google search.)

In fact, “Down Times” are great times to start businesses if you do it the smart way. Why? Several reasons:

  • Costs are lower
  • Skilled help is easier to find…and
  • A lot of your potential competition disappears from the marketplace

Second: There Will ALWAYS Be People Who Have Money to Spend. The Real Concern Is, Will Your Business Know How to Find Them? 

For example, looking to the Great Depression of the past as a worst case scenario, if you were wandering the Dust Bowl in the depths of the 1930s, you probably would have been wise to move somewhere else.

  • And it’s true that there was massive, brutal unemployment during the Great Depression 
  • Twenty-five percent of all American households were without a breadwinner
  • (You probably know that, you’ve heard the stories from your parents. No one has to tell you what a scarring experience the Great Depression was for millions)

But here’s the reality…

  • 75% of the country was employed
  • These people were cautious with their money and they demanded real value, but they spent money every day on all kinds of things, even movies
  • Whole new industries like broadcasting, automobiles and Hollywood reached their financial critical mass during the Depression
  • Thousands of successful new businesses were started. Others grew massively

Third: Smart Business Owners Thrived During the Great Depression – And If Another One Comes, They Will Do So Again.

Here’s another amazing fact:

FEWER businesses failed in 1929 than failed in 1928 and 1927. 1929 was, of course, “D Day” for the Depression. That’s when the sky fell for “the economy.” And yet, on the micro-level – where we all live – there were *fewer* business failures.

Why?

  • Smart business people are flexible, can adapt to the times, and find today’s opportunities.
  • Owning a smart business (or better yet, several smart businesses) is the greatest financial security there is.
  • It’s also the only reliable source of true wealth financial experts recognize.
  • But owning your own business is serious. It’s not something to play at. Nor, realistically, is business ownership something that will effortlessly bring you riches overnight.

So let’s get real: 

Here’s Your Bottom Line: Whether You’re Running Your Own Business Now, Or You’re Currently An Employee Who’s Seriously Thinking it’s Time to Start Your Own Business, Will You Be Smart Enough to Survive the Coming Days?

If you’re smart about business, there’s someone – and something huge – you need to know: Gina Gaudio-Graves and her fantastic, FREE business development coaching program, the 30-Day IM Challenge.

Gina Gaudio Graves kicked off her third 30–Day IM Challenge this past Tuesday, September 23rd. But it’s not too late for you to get some FREE business startup help from one of the best business development coaching programs around.

What, you haven’t yet heard of Gina Gaudio-Graves and Her 30-Day IM Challenge?

Here’s a Little Bit About Gina:

  • Prior to a disabling car accident, she enjoyed an extremely busy legal career as a litigator. But an accident left her unable to get out of a hospital bed and wheelchair for almost 10 years. During that time, she turned to the internet as a way to spend her time and afford her medical bills
  • Eventually she experienced a miracle cure which allowed her to get out of bed and walk without aid. Doctors can’t explain it and she still has no feeling in her legs
  • On her feet again, Gina spent the next 4-1/2 years organizing Joint Ventures for some of the most successful people on the internet. People like Shawn Casey, Willie Crawford, Henry Gold, David Garfinkel, and many others
  • As a Joint Venture Broker, she earned the reputation of “The JV Queen” because her promotions were so hugely successful!
  • Today she is a coach and mentor to entrepreneurs looking to build a business using the power of the internet.
  • Whether the internet is the business owner’s only presence or their secondary presence, her information products and coaching programs show them how to get bigger results, faster
  • Gina’s areas of expertise include:
    Mindset
    Strategic Planning for your Online Business Presence
    – Product Creation and Planning
    – Joint Ventures and Strategic Alliances
    – Strategic Traffic Generation
    – Strategic List Building
    – Web 2.0
    Blogging
    – and many other aspects of building a business using the power of the internet
  • These days her mission is to help 1,000,000 entrepreneurs learn to live the life of their dreams through owning their own business, by the year 2013.
  • That’s why she came up with the idea of offering a free 30-Day Challenge, conducted online, allowing her to teach entrepreneurs EXACTLY how to build a business that will be a success!
  • Beyond that, she has a variety of paid information products and an Apprentice program, which is hugely successful 12-month long group coaching program.
  • Further, she also provides one-on-one coaching to a very a limited number of highly qualified students
  • Perhaps the thing that is the most impressive about Gina is the success percentages her students achieve. They are off the charts!

The most important thing you need to know right now is the success rate of Gina’s students: It’s doubtful any of the “big name” experts can point to as many real student success stories as she’s helped create in just a few years.

The 30-Day IM Challenge Gives You the Knowledge You Need to Succeed With Your Own Home Business.

So the only questions still left to answer are:

  • Do you want to succeed?
  • Do you have what it takes to own your own successful business?
  • If not, are you willing to work hard to acquire it?
  • Are you ready to launch yourself into prosperity despite the gloomy economy?
  • Or would you rather stick your head in the sand and wait until things are “easier.”

If you opt for the last option, keep in mind that while you wait your chances for enjoying a comfortable retirement will be steadily shrinking…

Remember: There’s never an easy time to make money – and there’s never a hard time to make money…

There’s only the right time which is always NOW

You can still register for the 30-Day IM Challenge RIGHT NOW, for FREE and learn to live the life of your dreams through building a business using the power of the internet. You’ll find all the details at: 

www.BoomerLifestyle.com/go/30day

The 30–Day IM Challenge will walk you through every step of the process, one small step at a time.

The 18+ Lessons – Totaling More Than 750+ Pages – Covers A Variety of Topics Hugely Critical to Your Success, Including:

  1. Time Management, Mindset, Goal Setting & Strategic Planning (You MUST have these foundations in place before you start anything else!! Gina explains why.)
  2. Choosing Your Target Market and Your Products (i.e. What is your niche?)
  3. Your Profit Funnel (i.e. What products will you sell?)
  4. Your Web Presence (i.e. Setting up Your Blog, why she recommends you use WordPress, and how to do it!)
  5. Resources for Creating Your Web Presence
  6. Increasing Your Traffic (it’s all about having a traffic generation SYSTEM that you repeat every day)
  7. Building Your Business on a Solid Foundation (without a solid foundation, your business is going to fail!)
  8. Avoiding the “Price Wars” Game (Find out why competing on price will not only decrease your profits, it will also decrease the demand for your products! Gina shows you why you MUST avoid this at all costs or your business will NEVER succeed!)
  9. Developing Your USP (That’s Unique Selling Proposition, and she explains the why and how)
  10. Building Strategic Relationships (With the development of Web 2.0, the internet is all about relationships. Build them strategically and you’ll totally DOMINATE your market every time!)
  11. Copywriting (Good copywriting skills must be learned. Without the right message, your business won’t succeed, no matter how much traffic you generate!)
  12. Traffic Generation and List Building (These go hand in hand! Gina shares tips and tricks)
  13. Using Blogs, Forums, and Article Marketing (Just because everyone is talking about Web 2.0 doesn’t mean that you should forget about the good ole’ days when Forums and Article Marketing were the ONLY way to drive traffic! They are just as effective today! And when you combine them with Web 2.0 strategies, look out!)
  14. Tying It All Together With Information Products (Remember — the Internet is the “Information Super Highway”. People are online because they want INFORMATION, not “stuff”. So give it to them — AND — make loads of money in the process!)
  15. Joint Ventures and Strategic Alliances (As “The JV Queen”, Gina shares her strategies for building some of the most profitable joint ventures online!)
  16. And Much, Much MORE!

Plus, as a 30-Day IM Challenge Member, You’ll Have Access To:

  • All of the Lessons
  • The IM University Classroom (the forum where IM University students are actively discussing their businesses and what they’re doing to build them)
  • The daily podcasts with tips for implementing all that you’re learning

Even Better, After You Register For the Challenge, You Can Upgrade to Become a Gold Challenge Member, Where You Also Get:

  • The LIVE Weekly Teleconferences with Gina’s personal help in building YOUR business and critiques of your website(s), blogs and business plans.
  • You’ll get mp3 recordings of all four calls too.
  • You’ll even get mp3 recordings from all 8 of the calls held for the 1st 2 Challenges, for a total of 12 mp3 recordings in all!
  • Since the topics don’t repeat from one Challenge to the next, this means you’re getting three-times the content!
  • As much help as you’ll need to rapidly get your business up, running, and actually getting RESULTS!

This is a True Win-Win-Win Scenario

First, you win no matter whether you’re:

  • Brand new to the concept of operating your own business and you’re still kicking around ideas for what kind of business you want, or
  • You’ve already got a business up and running but it’s just not seeing the kinds of results that you dream about

Either way,  the 30-Day IM Challenge will help you build a business that can quickly bring you a 5–figure monthly income!

  • You’ll learn how to keep your new funds generating, reliably, month after month – no matter what the market does
  • Set your business up right, and this “third act” cash machine will keep churning out income, even if you choose to be off saving the rainforest, or cruising the world! 
  • And of course, you’ll be providing value to your grateful customers, the people who buy whatever it is you end up selling. (And this WILL happen, because Gina will have taught you strategies to identify and serve ravenous markets, who are starving for whatever it is you’re offering.)
  • Plus, you can set up your business to allow you to leave behind a legacy for your kids or a favorite charitable cause

Now if that isn’t reliable long-term retirement planning, what is?

In closing, keep this in mind: Gina’s current 30-Day IM Challenge may already be underway, but there’ll be a new one starting in a month or so! Why not check it out today! There’s no charge, it’s free! All you’ll be investing is a bit of your time…

Do nothing and time’s a-wasting! And retirement is calling!

Tick Tock!

Bucket List Redux: Is Starting Your Personal Dream List Frustrating You? Or Maybe You’ve Got the List, But You Can’t Figure Out How to “Make It Happen?”

September 16, 2008 by  
Filed under Anne Holmes, Blog, Work, Money & Retirement

Start Your Personal Dream List

Clearly the desire to create a list of things you want to experience before you die; a “dream” – or “bucket” – list is popular with Baby Boomers. It’s also exciting many of you who are a bit older…

After our recent post about making a Bucket List,” one of our readers shared his story of his lifelong dream of sailing a boat around the Eastern half of the United States. He said he’d envisioned the trip this way:

  • He’d start in the Midwest, sailing from the Upper Mississippi River down to New Orleans
  • Then he’d sail out into the Gulf, around Florida via the Intercoastal Waterway
  • Next lap would be up the Atlantic Coast, into the Chesapeake Bay
  • Continue west into New York, down the Erie Canal
  • Onward through the Canadian Heritage Canals and through the Great Lakes
  • Finally he would complete the circle, sailing back to the Mississippi River

Amazingly, He Actually Completed His Dream Trip This Summer, At the Age of 78. Along the Way, He Found Out That:

  • He DIDN’T invent this trip, it’s been done before, and is actualy called the “Great Circle Route,” or America’s “Great Loop”
  • You can’t sail down the Mississippi due to the height of a sailboat’s mast, and the inevitable bridges. (So he had to change the vision an bit, and make the trip in a power yacht)
  • It’s best to have on-board help for navigating the locks and tying up the boat, so this is not a trip to make alone
  • You can’t actually get all the way down to New Orleans via the Mississippi – the opportunities for gas purchase run out
  • The trip took years to plan and arrange, and parts of several years to complete
  • It was the adventure of a lifetime; in fact, sometimes he and his one or two man crew experienced an adventure a day
  • He’s already hard at work on the next item on his dream list… hand-building a sailboat large enough that he can live on it!

The story of this man’s dream trip was so fascinating and inspiring, we will be sharing it with you in an upcoming post. Sign up for our RSS feed or join our email list, so you can make sure you don’t miss it!

Meanwhile, Lots of You Report You’re Excited About Creating Your Very Own “Bucket List.” But You’re Challenged In Two Ways

You’re Either:

  • Feeling a bit anxious over your ability to create a “worthy list” OR
  • Wondering how you can help make your dreams actually happen!

No worries! Read on to find out how you can readily overcome both of these frustrations and go happily on your way, proudly checking experiences off of your very own list

Many People “Get Stuck” After Listing Just a Couple Dreams. Here’s How to Come Up With the Other 95 Items You Want to Add to Your List.

  • First, realize you’re not alone. As intriguing as it is to have a bucket list, many people have trouble building theirs.
  • Maybe it’s because you aren’t used to identifying what you want to achieve in life.
  • Or maybe it’s because you’re unsure what’s realistic to include. In that case, you might decide to put off creating your list until you’re “crystal clear” on what you want.
  • This is NOT a good idea – procrastination never gets anything done – and you might be missing some fantastic opportunities along the way.

So here’s how to get started building a list you can’t wait to launch into…

First, don’t allow performance anxiety to stop you from creating your bucket list, just start.

It may help to tell yourself that you are merely creating a preliminary rough draft. There’s some freedom that comes from knowing nothing is set in stone. You can ALWAYS add, delete, or modify as you go along.

Start by Spending Some Time Brainstorming with Yourself. Here’s How to Get Going:

  • Begin by setting a time for your personal brainstorming session
  • Find a place where you won’t be interrupted, ideally an inspirational place, but that’s not required
  • Provide a notepad and pens, a tape recorder or a computer. Some way to take notes
  • Get seated so you’re comfortable
  • Pour yourself your favorite beverage, tea, coffee, whatever. Gotta keep those brain cells hydrated!
  • Set your kitchen timer for thirty to forty-five minutes. Realize you can spend more time if you wish, but you want to begin with this as a minimum
  • Take a few deep breaths to clear your mind. Relax, focus and prepare to have some fun thinking about wonderful possibilities
  • If possible, play some Baroque music in the background. Pieces like Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons” and Pachbel’s “Cannon” have been shown to slow brainwaves down to the Alpha range, the brain frequency which has been linked to increased creativity
  • Do not criticize or evaluate what you write down during the brainstorming process: you’re trying to open yourself up to possibilities
  • Write down whatever comes into your head, it doesn’t matter how wildly impractical the idea seems
  • Mentally agree to silence your internal critic, that little voice in your head that might be saying: “You can’t do that”; “That’s silly”; “I can’t afford that.”
  • Push the limits on what you currently think is possible for you and think outside the boundaries of your current life
  • Once you get going, don’t stop at 100; write down as many things as come to your mind
  • Later you can sift through the list you created and narrow it down to 100

Give Your Brain a “Kick Start:” Begin By Reviewing this List, Which is Merely a Starting Point… Designed to Get Your Creative Juices Flowing!!

  1. Run in the Boston Marathon
  2. Kiss someone passionately in public (maybe give yourself bonus points if you do this on a blind date!!)
  3. Test drive a Ferrarri
  4. Write a script for a TV show
  5. Set foot on each of the seven continents
  6. Attend the Richard Petty Driving Experience
  7. Volunteer abroad for a month
  8. Visit a real “Blues Bar” in Chicago
  9. Enter and Win a recipe contest
  10. Volunteer at a soup kitchen
  11. Learn to dance the tango (extra “points” for learning in Argentina)
  12. Send a message in a bottle
  13. Speak publicly on something you’re passionate about
  14. Make love on a train
  15. Help build a house with Habitat for Humanity
  16. Learn a new language and practice speaking it with natives
  17. Buy a boat and learn to sail
  18. Be a contestant on a game show, like “Jeopardy”
  19. Serve on a jury
  20. Write that novel you have tucked away inside you
  21. Become someone’s mentor
  22. Sleep under the stars
  23. Attend a state fair
  24. Make bread from scratch
  25. Skydive
  26. Learn to play a musical instrument
  27. Teach others how to do something you love, share the joy
  28. Research your family heritage and document it for your children
  29. Learn to surf and practice your “hang ten” skills at all the best surf beaches of the world
  30. Donate to a favorite cause anonymously
  31. Visit all the European capitals
  32. Cruise America’s “Great Loop”
  33. Spend the night in an historic hotel (maybe give yourself extra points for “experience a ghost?”)
  34. Take a hot air balloon ride
  35. Learn to paraglide
  36. Meet a U.S. President
  37. Start a business
  38. Become a millionaire
  39. Take your grandchildren on a once-in-a-lifetime trip
  40. Dance naked under the Northern Lights during the Summer Solstice (again, give extra points for doing this while summering with the Laplanders in Norway)

Finally: Whatever Your Bucket List Includes, Here’s How to Make Sure The Items On Your Dream List Actually Happen!

In a prior Bucket List post, you read a review of Jack Canfield’s book, Key to Living the Law of Attraction.” There, Jack identified one of his best keys to making dreams become reality: Vision Boards.

Vision Boards are a highly effective tool. Perhaps you saw the movie “The Secret,” where Jack tells the story of how he actually purchased the exact same house he had placed on a vision board a few years prior. And, since he hadn’t realized he had done this, how emotionally moved he was when his young son helped bring this to his attention.

Yes, vision boards work. But if you want to experience “vision boards” on steroids – if you want to REALLY jump start your bucket list and perhaps start living your dreams in as short a time as 90 days – you should actually make your very own Mind Movie.

Of course, the Mind Movies website offers you a series of six free generic mind movies which you can watch twice a day to help you manifest your bucket list.

But, if you’d prefer to create a powerful Mind Movie all your own, with your own visuals, affirmations and music, you can do that, too. So imagine the power of watching a three minute movie twice a day that’s totally created to help you manifest everything on your bucket list!

And it’s easy to do yourself,  because the highly affordable Mind Movie creation kit comes with video tutorials that will help you to quickly and simply build a 3 minute slideshow/movie of your perfect life. Watch your Mind Movie every morning and night to help manifest through the Law of Attraction everything you want to be and everything you want to do.

The Mind Movies Concept Takes Setting Intentions, Creating Treasure Maps, Vision Boards or Dream Boards and Repeating Affirmations to A New Level

If you’re familiar with the concept of the Law of Attraction, if you understand that THOUGHTS BECOME THINGS, you can instantly understand how Mind Movies will help you:

  • Focus on what you want instead of what you don’t want
  • Create positive statements that are full of joy and gratitude and state them in the present tense
  • Remember to have an Attitude of Gratitude
  • Engage yourself in the process rather than just stating the affirmation
  • Take the Necessary Action to Make Your Dream Come True!
When you make a Mind Movie, you are able to take your ideas from the abstract “wish” state into reality in a very short time. Your Mind Movie will help you pull your dream into reality, because it uses visuals and music to helps you align your deepest strongest feeling and emotions and put it all together:
  • The desire
  • Your description of it
  • What it looks like
  • What it feels like

So Here’s to Activating Your “Creative Muse” and Getting on Your Way!

“You’ll be on your way up!
You’ll be seeing great sights!
You’ll join the high fliers
who soar to high heights.”

~ Dr. Seuss “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!”

Do You Have a “Bucket List?” You Know, A List of Things You Want to Do Before You Die?

September 8, 2008 by  
Filed under Anne Holmes, Blog, Work, Money & Retirement

The concept of a bucket list was popularized by the recent buddy flick of the same name, in which two terminally ill middle-aged men, one a corporate mogul, the other a mechanic (marvelously played by Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman) bust out of a cancer ward in order to experience life to the fullest before they die.

If you’ve seen the film, you know the two meet while sharing a hospital room, and don’t initially hit it off, which adds to the movie’s comedy.

Their adventure begins when Freeman, the “mechanic,” tells Nicholson, the “mogul,” about a challenge his college philosophy professor had set forth: to make a list of the top things you’d like to accomplish before you die – and actually experience them.

Before We Know It, They Are:

  • Hitting the tables in Monte Carlo
  • Climbing the pyramids
  • Riding Harleys on the Great Wall of China
  • Stalking wild animals on an African safari
  • Downing obscene amounts of caviar, and
  • Tearing up the road in supercharged cars

All in the name of experiencing life to to fullest before they meet the grim reaper. Thankfully, the movie ultimately sends its two wanderers to the people, not the places, who matter. “Find the joy in your life,” Freeman tells Nicholson before the credits roll. Great advice for all Baby Boomers.

Have You Thought About Creating Your Own List of Ultimate Experiences?”

You know, a list of:

  • Places you want to travel
  • People you want to meet
  • Things you want to do
  • Experiences you want to encounter, maybe even
  • Stuff you want to own

It isn’t complicated.

You simply start a list titled “100 things I Want to Do Before I Die” and keep going until you reach at least 100. It doesn’t have to be a fancy list. (In the movie, Morgan’s list is written on a sheet of yellow notepad paper. And initially he throws it away…)

But don’t throw yours away. The important thing is that you write it down and keep it in a safe place, where you can refer to it frequently. Then if you really want to get serious, go public with the list.

Most likely the first 25 or so will come easy, then the next 75 will probably be a bit more challenging. But don’t let that stop you.

Probably the first 25 things you think of will be basic simple stuff and not too much of a stretch. You know, fairly predictable goals like:

  • Lose weight
  • Drink more water
  • Start an exercise program
  • Plant a garden in the spring
  • Join a club
  • Look up your best friend from high school on Facebook
  • Write a Letter to the Editor of your newspaper
  • Organize your closets… or
  • Make a plan for retirement (Yikes, that last one’s a “biggie,” how’d that get in with the easy ones?)

Then, once the easy stuff is out of the way, you are forced out of your comfort zone and you have to start dreaming. Now you’re listing things that aren’t goals, they are possibilities.

Now You’re On to Things You Would Want to Do if Nothing Stood in Your Way…

Maybe you’ll decide to include popular Baby Boomer legacy-building experiences like:

  • Start a retirement business (there it is again, that concept of planning for retirement; maybe you really ought to work on that one first!
  • Stop procrastinating
  • Write a book
  • Fall in love
  • Learn to be happy
  • Go on a road trip with no predetermined destination
  • Take a hot air balloon ride
  • Get married
  • Go on an Alaskan cruise
  • Witness a miracle
  • Meet the Dalai Lama
  • See the Northern Lights
  • Mend a relationship
  • Buy a Harley and learn to ride it
  • Take your grandkids on a memorable trip – one kid at a time

You Need to Start Your Bucket List Action Plan Now

If you’re not sure how to get your bucket list started, don’t worry. Here’s help! Check out “Jack Canfield’s Key to Living the Law of Attraction: A Simple Guide to Creating the Life of Your Dreams.” A fantastic book, you’ll find it’s also a quick, easy read.

In the book, Canfield, who you may remember from the movie “The Secret,” not only explains the Law of Attraction and how it pertains to your life goals, he also clarifies that crucial part from the movie about how whatever you focus on expands.

Once you understand this crucial concept, you’ll immediately know how to make your “bucket agenda” a reality. (The book also explains why you don’t want to allow limiting thoughts and beliefs to enter your mind.) But here’s the “big stuff” that’s really helpful. The book:

  • Includes easy to use worksheets that help you set goals and come up with your own personal bucket list. (Canfield calls it a “dream list.” But whichever you call it, it’s the same thing…)
  • Introduces you to the concept of creating a vision book and a gratitude journal
  • Provides you with a 24 item list that gives you with the key to unlocking the law of attraction and creating the life of your dreams
  • Is quite simply a fabulous tool for creating your own list, whether you end up calling it Your Bucket List or Your Dream List.

Finally, Canfield’s book explains how to use Affirmations, Visualization, Attitude, Prayer and Action to make your dreams reality!

Can’t beat that!

So grab the book right now and GO FOR IT!

MAKE IT HAPPEN!?

Not that time’s short, but why not see how many items can you check off your bucket list this year?

In the End, You’ve Gotta Say, “Just Do It!”

Start making your bucket list today. If you already have a list get it out, review it and add to it.

After all, you can’t kick the bucket if you’ve still got stuff on your list, right?

So what’s on your list?

Wanna share?

Daring New (Non-“PC”) Topic for Cocktail Party Conversation: “Do YOU Think You Will Have Enough Money When It Comes Time to Retire?”

This very provocative question is of the type that my socially correct mother raised me not to ask: Everyone knows it’s socially unacceptable and completely impolite to discuss topics like how much money someone makes, or how well off they are. Questions like that are “Totally CR and SU,” as we used to say in college: “crude, rude and socially unacceptable.”

But the point is, we are starting to ask this question of each other, and I say this is a good thing.

If we don’t talk and plan, we’ll end up unpleasantly surprised, as many of my Boomer-aged coaching clients have discovered.

Consider one of my former clients, a dentist from Indiana who sold off his practice for slightly more than $1 million at the young age of 61, and then began looking at his options. Only to discover that a million dollars doesn’t go as far as it once did – especially since he still had school-aged children living at home.

  • He quickly realized that unless he took massive action of some sort, he was in no condition to maintain his current lifestyle.  Especially since he was in good health and had every reason to suspect he would live for another 30 years!
  • Thankfully, he was quite entrepreneurial, and we quickly came up with several business concepts based on his professional expertise, which would generate a steady passive income stream, and would not require him to get back into the daily grind of seeing patients in a clinic setting.
  • I’m happy to say he is living the good life, these days!

Will YOU have enough money when it comes time to retire?

Too often these days the answer is “no,” even if you diligently started planning for retirement in your 20s. A recent but unscientific poll I saw showed that only 28% of us felt secure enough to answer yes when asked this question.

Another survey I found noted that 63% of Americans 50-59 worry about having enough money to retire.

And 80% of us Boomers plan to work in retirement — and I don’t mean doing meaningful volunteer work, which is also popular — I’m talking about people who want to get paid for their labors.

Why? Well, two-thirds of us told Scudder Kemper that we are “worried about having enough money in the future,” and no wonder: we realize that the money we planned on for retirement just isn’t going to be there! Often the problem is not that we Boomers failed to plan – though that does happen – but that the backdrop against which we did our planning shifted. For example:

  • Even the diligent savers among us were affected by the stock market decline of 2001-2003, which eradicated roughly $7-8 trillion in shareholder wealth, much of it held by us Boomers. And of course, if you’ve started investing in the market again, you’re aware that the last few months haven’t done that well for us, either! Clearly the timing for major withdrawals is a huge concern
  • Then there was the famous “dot-com” crash, which ate away roughly $279 billion on 401[K] assets and huge chunks of other retirement savings
  • Not to mention that many of us are financially savvy enough to know that 401[K] and IRA/retirement money statements can create a false sense of wealth, since – with the exception of Roth IRAs – these funds will be federally taxed on withdrawal
  • For others of us, the challenge came because our employers lopped off 50% of the work force, dropped pension plans,  were bought out by a foreign national – or went out of business. Downsizing, right-sizing, off-shoring, you get the picture.

Or, the financial challenges might be brought on by death, divorce, illness, or unexpectedly finding ourselves caring for our aging parents, our children and grandchildren – or all three! No wonder 50+ consumers outspend younger adults two to one! Currently:

  • 22% of us financially support an aging parent
  • 24% provide for an adult child, aged 18 or more – many of these being “college re-bounders” who come home to live in order to reduce their own living expenses
  • 43% of all singles are 45 or older
  • Collective Boomer debt is estimated at roughly $2.5 trillion
  • The top monetary concern of Boomers considering retirement is “being unable to afford health insurance”

What is the solution?

  • Arrange with your employer to work longer?
  • Figure out how to effectively reduce your standard of living?
  • Win the lottery?
  • Start a business, perhaps based on life experience, which allows you to generate income without “working” in the traditional way?

What if you decide to Work Longer?

According to an article , “How Much Longer Will Boomers Need to Work?” which is posted in the August 11, 2008 issue of US News & World Report, “The typical American retires at age 63. Those fortunate few who have traditional pensions, retiree health insurance, and a fully loaded 401(k) will probably be fine.

But if you haven’t saved enough to fund 30 years of retirement-and as we’ve seen most baby boomers aren’t even close – the obvious solution is working longer.

Some experts correctly note that there are huge benefits for the health of the nation of we work longer. Specifically:

  • The Economy (not to mention Social Security and Medicare) needs the money
  • The Nation’s Employers need both our brains and our bodies – to stave off brain drain and a pending labor gap. Especially in the fields of health care, biosciences, energy and the federal government, where 44% of all workers will be eligible for retirement over the next five years
  • We Boomers are healthy enough to work and will be so for several more decades
  • Future Generations will benefit from a rosier future – because Boomers working longer will alleviate the need to draw down on federal benefits, or liquidate investments, home equity and savings to fund two of three more decades of living, and as a result more money will be left for Boomer children to inherit
  • It will probably put an end to intergenerational warfare and the now-popular sport of “Boomer bashing
  • It’s a common sense solution that could inject $3 trillion into the economy each year and result in a 9% increase on Gross Domestic Product by 2045

But how much longer will we Boomers need to work to finance a secure retirement? It depends on who you ask:

  • “For those workers who can work, the way to a secure retirement is to keep working until 66,” says Alicia Munnell, director of the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College and coauthor of Working Longer: The Solution to the Retirement Income Challenge. Social Security currently replaces 39 percent of preretirement income for the average earner retiring at age 65 after the Medicare Part B premium is automatically deducted. But those who retire at the same age in 2030 can expect Social Security to replace only 30 percent of earnings, according to Munnell’s calculations. “Retirees in 2030 will have to work two to four years longer to maintain today’s level of replacement income,” she says.
  • Marc Freedman, founder and CEO of the think tank Civic Ventures and author of the book Encore: Finding Work that Matters in the Second Half of Life, says that Boomers should try to work until at least age 70. The share of households prepared for retirement would nearly double from 31 to 60 percent if early Boomers currently between the ages of 54 and 63 delayed retirement from age 65 to 70, according to a McKinsey & Co. analysis.
  • While Tamara Erickson, author of Retire Retirement: Career Strategies for the Boomer Generation, says Baby Boomers should plan to work until a minimum of age 70 and up to 85 or 90 if they can.

Hmm, still “punching the clock” at age 70; I can see appreciate those advantages for both the workforce and the individual…

But I’d be looking for an option which would allow me to work on my terms. Ideally I’d like to incorporate:

  • Limited hours
  • Opportunities to work from home
  • A paycheck whose size I have some ability to control and the opportunity to REALLY get paid what I’m worth
  • The ability to take off for a week or two at least every quarter…

I wonder how well perks like these, as well as options like retention bonuses, bridge jobs, phased-in retirement plans or delayed retirement subsidies will go over with my younger co-workers?

How Possible is it to Reduce Living Costs?

Many of us anticipate that “financial belt-tightening” will be the answer: That’s why last April, Forbes.com carried an article about a sub-group of Baby Boomers they have nicknamed the “U-Boomers.”

A group they labeled “Financially unprepared, yet undaunted and uncompromising,” the Forbes authors note that this group shares all the optimism and expectations of their wealthier counterparts, yet this group — incorporating 24 million middle-class American households – is approaching retirement with lofty lifestyle aspirations, a thirst for new products and brands, and limited financial resources.

None of this group will be living a “Lexus Lifestyle” in retirement. Think more in terms of the recent commercial where the wedding guests are exclaiming over the lovely backyard garden reception featuring Martha Stewart-branded products purchased at Wal-Mart.

According to the article, the “U’s” will account for almost 25% of total U.S. consumption by 2015, which leads the authors to suggest there will shortly be a massive market for products and services that meet discriminating u-boomer tastes at affordable u-boomer prices. (Obviously the copywriters who wrote that Wal-Mart commercial were listening!)

Note also that the article points out that the “U’s” are the largest segment of the baby boomer generation, sandwiched between roughly 10 million well-to-do households with high hopes for a comfortable retirement and the financial resources to pay for it, and 11 million disadvantaged households that are deeply pessimistic about the future.

But the concept of reducing you standard of living is one you surely hope to avoid, so let’s not accept this option!

Realistically, What Are Your Chances of Winning the Lottery?

Well, it obviously works for some, we see those excited winners on the state-run lottery commercials all the time…but wining is nothing you can bank on.

And since there’s no guarantee — and history shows that the odds of lottery winners actually holding on to their winnings and effectively investing them is slim to none — you’re going to “take a pass” on this option.

So Maybe the Best Option is to Start Up a Business of Your Own?

This is the best option for generating income at this time in your life.  And starting up your own business makes sense, considering that the stage is already set for lengthier Boomer careers, thanks to the increasing acceptance of older workers. What better time to dust off your dreams and start taking control of your life and future? After all, you’ve got experience, your children are grown, you’re healthy and you’ve still got decades of good life ahead!

And Boomers DO want to work. What else would you expect from the generation that mainstreamed working women, has such a strong work ethic, embraced 24/7 connectivity and coveted the MBA degree? And where better to call the shots than in a business of your own? Especially since Boomers have also been called the “me generation,” due to recognition of the fact that we’ve always made our own rules.

Actually, the Boomer penchant for defying convention, if expressed as an extended working life, could be the offsetting – and saving – factor in the economic doomsday scenarios that have been passed around lately. And it really works, since more Boomers working longer translates into additional contributions to the Social Security coffers, more income tax revenue, fewer Medicare payouts and a delay on draws from the Social Security system.

But if you’re providing those benefits to the economy while working in your own business, it finally gives you the chance you’re sought our entire working lives – to do it your way.

  • A recent Towers Perrin/AARP Study, “The Business Case for Workers Age 50+” concluded that older workers are more engaged and motivated to exceed expectations than younger workers, and that declining physical skills such as manual dexterity are more than offset by skills that improve with age, such as verbal communication, tacit knowledge and experimental innovation. All skills that are much needed in business start-up situations. And moreover, starting a business of your own allows you to profitably leverage your life experiences.
  • A 2005 survey by Merrill Lynch revealed that almost 80% of workers age 40-58 plan to work in retirement, and roughly 60% look forward to the challenge of trying something new
  • Recent AARP research found that 69% of today’s workers age 45+ plan to continue working past age 65
  • Globally, Boomers are starting up businesses at a rate higher than any other demographic.

Now, you might say I’m biased in my opinion about the values of business ownership, since I’m a coach who works with Baby Boomers who want to start a business based on leveraging their life experience.

But I’m not the only one promoting the benefits of working in one’s own business, as opposed to being an employee. “Millionaire MakerLoral Langemeier has written books and developed a series of programs and workshops that are perfect for budding Baby Boomer entrepreneurs, because they teach ordinary working people how, in as little as a year, they can:

  • Quit your job and start doing the things you love
  • Control and then eliminate debt, no matter how much you owe
  • Live your life on your own schedule rather than that of an employer
  • Engage in business ventures that generate passive income
  • Substantially decrease your tax burden
  • Form trusts, corporations and partnerships to protect your assets, and create a non-stop revenue stream

So, here you go: WHETHER or not you are going to have enough money to afford to retire, consider helping out the economy and giving yourself the gift of having something meaningful to do with the next few decades of your life – dust off those dreams and start planning your own business start-up! Who knows, you might become the next Colonel Sanders, Oprah or Martha Stewart!

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