Amazon.com Widgets

Boomers: How Is Your Ship Surviving Our Current Sea of Economic Stress? Are You Looking for a New Job, Moving In With Family, Planning an Expat Lifestyle? Or Sailing Ahead?

Has Economic Stress Beached Your Plans?

“Ahoy There,” “Hola,” “Aloha” and “Permission to Come Aboard,” Fellow Baby Boomers!

All apologies for the fact that this blog has been “beached” for a couple of months now. The good news is, we’re about to set sail again!

Hopefully You Didn’t Think We’d Gone “Off the Radar.” Or Fallen Off the Face of the Earth…

Actually, the state of the “Boomer Lifestyle” blog ship is sound and all aboard are well! Fact is, we have been off exploring, seeking ways to better serve you.

The good news is that despite months of news stories telling you of the world’s challenges related to huge global economic stress,  there’s been lots of great stuff floating through the blogosphere, as well as the world at large, and we’ve been busy checking it out on your behalf…

Here’s how you can help assure that we’re providing you with EXACTLY what you need to continue to succeed in these turbulent economic times:

Take the Boomer Lifestyle Poll: It’s Both Quick and Painless

Historically, Boomers have had it good financially for quite awhile now. So we’d love to know how you feel you’ve been handling our country’s current levels of economic stress.  We thought we’d ask you — which is why we’ve developed our poll.

It’s just one quick question with multiple choice answers, so it will take you mere seconds to answer. The simple question is:

“As a Baby Boomer nearing retirement age, how has our recent global economic downturn affected your future life and plans?”

The potential responses ranging from the most positive  to the most stressed.

Specifically, you can vote for any one of the options noted below.

(NOTE: The parenthetical comments aren’t part of the official poll responses, they’re just here to focus and augment your thinking as to whether that point is your preferred response) :

  • No change, life is great, thank you very much. (Everything is on target for retirement as planned, and we’re looking forward to years of smooth sailing and great adventures.)
  • I can’t afford to retire, will have to keep working for the foreseeable future. (And you’re saying, “Damn, working until I die sure wasn’t what I had planned as the capstone of my career.”)
  • I’m currently looking for a second job. (If you’re selecting this answer perhaps you’ve heard that there’s a growing market for Baby Boomers as temporary hires, due to the experience Boomers can bring to the table…)
  • I am giving serious thought to retiring abroad. (If you’re thinking of living the expat lifestyle, you’re probably aware that the cost of living is often less, and those who’re doing it tell you that in certain countries it’s possible for you to live well on just your social security check. But you need to know WHERE those places are…)
  • I’m starting a new online business, to recoup our lost funds. (Perhaps your plan is develop your own economic stimulus package by writing a book based on your life knowledge, and market it online. If so, you’ll want to read the great post we have coming up on that topic!)
  • I’m starting a new offline business to recoup our lost funds. (Self-employment is a solid option, but you’ll want to invest in a business coach or other support system. After all, there’s no time left for mistakes…)
  • I’m moving in with my kids to help save money all around. (You’re thinking that this is what your parents and grandparents  did during the Great Depression, and it worked for them.)
  • I’m paralyzed with fear, don’t know where to turn. (You may not realize that you’re having trouble handling the stress. But if you’re eating poorly, napping excessively, drinking or smoking more than usual, or having trouble sleeping, these are warning signs you need to address. In order to get your ship afloat again, you might want to get some help with learning relaxation techniques, adopting a healthy mindset and developing stress management skills.)

Don’t Wait! You Only Have Until June 12th 2009 to Cast Your Vote.

All you need to do is click on the link below, to quickly send your answer to this single question survey.

This is not a test, it’s  a survey. Which means there is no one right answer. It’s simply an attempt to (albeit unscientifically) take the pulse of Boomer Lifestyle readers, to find out how you’re handling the financial challenges the current economy brings us.

The options you’ll find for your response are based on solutions we’re hearing about by watching the media, and reading your stories online. We know that each of the responses represents a percentage of you – we just don’t know — YET — how many of you have opted for each of these solutions. But after June 12th, we’ll tally up the responses and write a blog post analyzing your responses.

Should be quite interesting…

Of Course, We’d Love to Hear From You, Personally.

It’d Be Fantastic If You’d Share Your Story With Our Readers

If you’re game, feel free to post a comment here on the blog, telling your story… We’d especially love to hear any personal stories you’d like to share.

But Don’t Forget to Vote! Now!!

Here’s where to click to participate in the poll’s single question:

Please click to vote

What’s Next?

Once your vote and the others we receive are tallied, we’ll  post our findings.

Early poll returns show 60% of you selecting the “paralyzed with fear” option, which is distressing. But perhaps not surprising. It’s early yet in this recession, and people are still finding their way out of it…

We Have Posts in the Works on Solutions to Assure You Continue to Enjoy a Vibrant Boomer Lifestyle.

They include topics like:

  • How to write a book based on your life experience and knowledge  – and better yet – how to market it successfully
  • What to look for in selecting a foreign country as your future residence – full or part time
  • How to market yourself so that you can find a job without being penalized for your age
  • How why and when to start and operate a (profitable) online business
  • How to make money from a hobby business
  • And loads more of the lifestyle posts you love, on topics like healthy living despite health challenges, vacationing with your grandchildren, helping a parent coping with Alzheimers, dating, recipes and Boomer fun. Even a fun and entertaining post on creative trends in Boomer funeral planning. (Really!)

You know, this is all great stuff you’ll want to read as soon as it’s posted. Why not subscribe to our RSS feed, or go to the top of this page to sign up for our email list, to assure that you don’t miss a single post!

Stay cool! The tide’s rising to meet you!

Boomers, Seniors, Retirees: Need to Replace Income Lost In Recession? Have You Discovered How to Get “Linked In” to the Social Networking Sites to Assist In Your Job Search?

March 25, 2009 by  
Filed under Anne Holmes, Blog, Employment, Work, Money & Retirement

 Job Search Ahead? LinkedIn Is a New Must Do

Does the Recession Find You with a Decimated 401(K), Your Savings Tanked and – Worse – Forced to Look for Work?

If so, you’re not alone. That’s what happened to one of my daughter’s co-workers, a guy we’ll call “Ron.”  Perhaps you’ve known someone like Ron, or had a “Ron” at your office, too. If so, he’d be the guy who’s famous for taking penny-pinching to the “nth degree.”

According to my daughter, Ron scrimped and saved his whole life, building up a huge stock portfolio – with the intent of leaving his former college and several charities major endowments on his death.

She tells me Ron was the epitome of financial prudence. While she’s no slouch when it comes to being economical, she says this guy could one-up anyone when it came to scrimping and saving.

For example, he:

  • Rode a bicycle to work
  • Always ate lunch at his desk – PB&J’s and an apple – every day
  • Never went out for after work drinks with co-workers or ate dinner at nice restaurants

Beyond that, Ron:

  • Lived in a tiny house he inherited from his grandmother
  • Spent his vacations doing home improvement projects
  • Mowed his own lawn, and used a push mower to boot. (“Good exercise and saves the environment,” Ron said.)
  • Never bought clothes unless he had to — and only then on sale
  • Didn’t have a TV, so no pricey cable bill, either
  • Read a lot of books, but never bought them. He was a great patron of his local library
  • Excelled at coupon-clipping…

Yes, Ron was well-paid, and he was a saver. He had big plans for his nest egg, too.  But there’s a sad ending to his story:

  • In order to get the most return for his money, it seems Ron invested all of his personal savings into the stock market
  • And lost it all this past year
  • The mental distress these losses caused him was so great Ron began verbally abusing his co-workers
  • And eventually became so disruptive his supervisors dismissed him
  • To add insult to injury, the firm’s 401(K) hasn’t performed well recently. So Ron doesn’t have much to show there either, due to the timing of his separation from the company. He’s pretty much left to rely on his Social Security and whatever severance pay he might have received.
  • The only ray of hope I see is that knowing how scrappy Ron is, I am hopeful he can get back on his feet again soon…

Wow! What a tale of woe. Hopefully, your personal losses aren’t as huge as Ron’s.

But regardless, you know that because of this economic downturn, many Boomers, seniors and retirees suddenly find themselves  faced with an unanticipated need for funds. Unless you feel up to starting your own business, this means you need to figure out how to return to the workforce…

It’s time for a job search. And though that may be daunting, especially given your concerns over ageism, the good news is that we’ll end this post by discussing some new social networking tools that are guaranteed to help you succeed. Which is a really good thing. After all, you’re concerned that:

  • You’re searching for work during a time when global unemployment is on the rise
  • You’re up against gigantic odds – especially if you’re factoring in any potential for age discrimination and technological shortcomings
  • Not to mention your concerns over generational conflict in the workplace. (You know, hostility you may face because younger workers believe that older workers who refuse to retire are grabbing jobs that should have gone to them – or even to new college grads…)

Don’t Despair. There Is Some Good News. First Off, Boomers and Seniors Actually Have Some Support in the Human Resources Department

Based on experience, HR people – whose job is to make the best hiring decisions possible – know that workers in the plus-50 age range are:

  • Generally more conscientious and harder working than younger workers
  • Less likely to take sick leave; even more unlikely to require maternity leave
  • Usually more perceptive, emotionally stable and motivated
  • Just as capable of learning (which means that a bit of training will negate any concerns related to technological challenges)
  • More capable of evaluating decisions, due to experience
  • Much less prone to making rash/”off-the-cuff” decisions which have to be overturned later
  • Often willing to sacrifice earnings in favor of a pleasant work environment and/or the gratification that comes from making the world a better/safer/kinder place
  • Steady workers, not overly interested in climbing the career ladder at this point in their lives

Secondly, There Are Some Bright Spots On the Job Search Horizon

Steve Pogorzelsko, former president of Monster North America, the company which runs the employment site Monster.com, says the country is already experiencing a shortage of workers in some areas. Particularly:

  • Health-care workers
  • Car mechanics
  • Accountants
  • Auditors

So if your talents fall into those areas, you’re much more likely to find organizations anxiously looking to hire you.

Beyond that, if you’re reading this in the United States, President Obama’s Stimulus Plan is also about to start generating jobs. Monster.com has just published a useful job search list for those positions. Apparently, in addition to jobs in construction and the trades, there will be jobs created in dozens of other fields, including:

  • Finance
  • Energy
  • Engineering
  • And even in “softer” areas, like travel, tourism and hospitality…

Third, You Can’t Ignore the Generational Tension Created By the Tug-of-War Over Who Gets Today’s Jobs – But You Might Be Able to Use It to Your Advantage

Ellen Goodman, columnist for The Boston Globe just wrote a very interesting piece on generational conflict and how the recession is sending mixed messages to older Americans seeking employment. Her piece begins:

“Let me see if I have this right:

Older Americans ought to keep working in order to lighten the burden of Social Security and assorted benefits on younger generations.

Older Americans ought to retire in order to make room for younger generations with their noses pressed to the closed window of the job market...”

A few paragraphs later she says:

“… But if the downturn comes with the seeds of generational conflict over jobs, it also carries packets of social change. There is a chance for the boomer generation to make a virtue – or a revolution – out of the necessity of working longer.

We already know that a growing corps of people in their 50s and 60s are more interested in renewal than retirement. Marc Freedman of Civic Ventures talks about “encore careers” for those who want to leave their midlife jobs and move into work with social value.

Now, he says hopefully, “The one benefit of this economic crisis is to drive home the reality that longer working lives are going to be necessary and desirable. If we can give people a sense that contributing longer is not another set of years at the grindstone but an opportunity to do something they can feel proud of, we’ll have accomplished something significant…”

Speaking of Social Change, Renewal – And Working Toward Significant Accomplishment: Why Not Start Using Some of the New Social Networking Tools to Enhance Your Reach, Increase the Opportunity for Job Search Success?

Of course you already know to use traditional social networking.

It’s as natural to you as breathing, right? As soon as you decided it was time to pull out your resume and start updating it, you no doubt started your networking campaign, letting your contacts know that you’re looking for work, so that they can assist you with your search.  That network includes your:

  • Family
  • Friends
  • Former employers
  • Former co-workers
  • Former classmates

But Did You Know That You Can Reach a Lot More of Your Resources – Faster – Using the Outreach Techniques Offered By Some of the New Social Network Websites?

Currently, the three best job search-related resources are Twitter, FaceBook and LinkedIn. Additionally, you can create a blog, and blog about your expertise and things you feel passionate about. This will also lead you to previously unanticipated income opportunities.

So let’s talk a bit about those three sites:  If you haven’t previously used them, don’t hesitate to jump online and take a look. As you get to know and understand  them, you’ll see that while they’re similar in some ways, each has each has a unique role to play in your job search efforts.

Though they are all focused on social networking, it might help you to think of them in terms of your more traditional social networking experiences. You know, sort of like this:

  • Twitter = A connection you make at a cocktail party.
  • FaceBook = A conversation you have in the hallway at work. Potentially a casual connection, but still potent…
  • LinkedIn = A traditional business meeting. When you’re using LinkedIn, you’ll want to (figuratively) wear your best suit, carry your business cards – and shine your shoes.

Got it? Then let’s talk some more about how you can use LinkedIn:

You Need to Use LinkedIn As Your Professional Networking Site, Where You’ll Post Your Work Experience, and Start Connecting with People Professionally.

Currently LinkedIn.com boasts over 35 million professional users and focuses on a business demographic. It operates with three levels of separation. You can connect to people you know directly, as well as people you might be able to connect with on a secondary and tertiary level.

You can also connect your blog to it, once you’ve got one set up, and send your tweets there, too. (Tweets are the comments you make from your Twitter account.)

Once You set up your LinkedIn connections you’ll suddenly find yourself connected to millions of people. As for current users of LinkedIn, here’s the demographics:

  • Average Age – 41
  • Average Years of Experience – 15
  • Average Household Income – $109,000
  • 46% of its users are Decision Makers
  • Includes profiles of executives from all of the Fortune 500 firms

After you’ve  joined and set up your profile, dig into the LinkedIn platform to find and join “groups” of people with common interests or backgrounds.

It’s easy to find existing groups. Here’s how:

  • First, log in to your LinkedIn account
  • Next look for and click on “Groups” in the left hand navigation bar
  • When you do that, you’ll see a new screen, where  “Groups Directory” and “Create a Group” options show up in a box in the upper right hand corner.

If you click on “Groups Directory, ” you can do a comprehensive search for existing LinkedIn groups related your current affiliations, including:

  • Your Alma Mater –  For example, mine – the University of Wisconsin-Madison – has an alumni group which I joined. So do Cornell, U of Michigan, Northwestern, CalTech, UCLA, UC-Berkeley, etc. Likely your school does too, as there are thousands of college alumni groups listed. If you school is not there, you can start one by clicking on the “Create a Group” tab.
  • National or Local Civic Groups –  I joined a group of Chi Omega Alumni, my national collegiate social fraternity.
  • Non-profits or Charity groups There are literally hundreds of groups here, including Christian Professionals, World Wildlife Fund, Ubuntu Users, American Heart Association, YMCA. No doubt one you’re affiliated with already exists and is happy to network with you…
  • Professional Organizations – There are over 62,000 professional organizations represented in LinkedIn. Everything from Automotive Aftermarket to Republican Professionals, to the World Tourism Network. As a marketing and PR professional , I joined the PRSA (Public Relations Society of America) Counselor’s Academy group.
  • “Employer Alumni” Groups – These are active groups of former employees interested in networking, and there are thousnds of them listed. I found HP Alumni, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel IT Dept alums, and something like 64 different flavors of AT&T/Bell Labs alums. Not to mention GE, IBM, Oracle. It’s a long list…
  • Special Interest Groups – I joined Baby Boomer Marketing Group, Marketing & PR Innovators, ProMarketers, and Relationship Marketing 101. What are your special interests?
  • Groups for Your Ideal Target Market – I found Encore Entrepreneurs, Boomer Nation…
  • Conference Groups – If you ever attended a major conference, like TED, Black Hat Briefings, Dallas TechFest or Defcon, you’ll be delighted to know there are over 4,000 LinkedIn groups related to conference attendees.

Being a group member allows you to see other group members and to reach out and build relationships. It’s sort of like your local Rotary Club on steroids…

No doubt you’ll want to search for groups for your areas of professional expertise, as well as within the areas where your best referral sources participate. Not to mention groups related to the sources of your best clients.

There’s More to Successfully Marketing Your Skills Via LinkedIn, Of Course:

For example, you can do some advanced searching in the “People” tab at the top of every LinkedIn. It allows you to find like-minded people and see where they are affiliated – both online and offline.  This means that you can discover what groups your connections belong to and “Join” them as well.  Which is a great way to position yourself as an expert in the appropriate communities. Something you want to do when your in job hunting mode. It allows you to showcase your expertise, becoming the  “Go To” professional in those groups.

If your curiosity is piqued and you want to know even more about how to leverage LinkedIn here are a handful of recommended books, all handily available at Amazon.com, which will help you better use LinkedIn to succeed in your job search:

In closing, if you’d like to take a look at my LinkedIn account as an example of how to set yours up, go to Anne’s LinkedIn page.

And if you’d like to connect there, just send me an invitation, noting that “BoomerLifestyle” is how we know each other.

Finally, if you’re still feeling mystified by social networking, but would like some coaching on how to use it, drop me an email, giving your name, email address, phone number, particular challenge, and best time to call. I promise to get right back to you so we can discuss how I can best help you.

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!

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!