Amazon.com Widgets

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

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

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

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

Curious? Here’s Audrey to tell her story:

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

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

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

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

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

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

How do I make money off my mom?

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

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

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

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

Is Ginger worried about her financial future?

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

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

How Can She Do It?

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

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

Here’s what makes this workable:

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

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

So: Can You Do It?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

…you are NOT alone!

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

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

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

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How about you?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

OK, That Was Easy:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here’s their take on funeral planning:

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

And Here Are Several Other Great Funeral and Memorial Resources:

Final thoughts on Pre-Planning Your Funeral

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

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

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

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

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

Health Comfort Foods - For Real!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

These Are All Delicious Options

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Isn’t that the very definition of comforting?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

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

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

Could You Be a Joint Venture Broker?

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

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

Hopefully that part was not too grim.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So what kind of training  am I talking about?

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

But let’s begin at the beginning…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Is she worried about her financial future?

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

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

How Can She Do It?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Now, as never before:

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

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

Talk about not having a scarcity mentality!!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But do it now. Time’s a-wastin’!

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

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

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

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

Fast forward to the present.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You Wish You Knew How to Write a Book

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But You Already Know This

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

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

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

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

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

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

Amazed?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ready to Start Implementing Your Book-authoring Retirement Plan?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

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

Bracing for Healthcare Reform?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

No, she’s Not Self-Destructive…

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

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

She’s Still Doing What She Can…

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

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

Shelby’s Not the Only One With These Healthcare Consequences

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But This Isn’t Really News, Is It?

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

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

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

Among them:

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

What Action Can You Take – Right Now?

The First Step is to Talk to Your Legislators:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

The 40th Anniversaries of Apollo 11 Moon Landing and Woodstock Offer Baby Boomers A Great Opportunity to Reminisce: Where Were You During the Summer of 69?

July 22, 2009 by  
Filed under Anne Holmes, Blog, Living, Travel & Leisure

Summer of 69 was outta sight

woodstock-1969
Image by raymaclean via Flickr

As a Baby Boomer, What Impact Did the Summer of ’69 Have On You?

Recent retrospective news stories have reminded Baby Boomers that the summer of 69 was a three-month time period few of you will ever forget. It’s probably one of those “litmus test” time periods. You know, the ones where everyone remembers exactly what you were doing at the time you heard.

Like…

  • November 22, 1963, when President John F. Kennedy was shot in Dallas.
  • February 3, 1959, the “day the music died” – when Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and J. P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson died in a plane crash in Iowa.
  • Or 9/11

Those are all negative events, however. For Baby Boomers, the Summer of 1969 generally presents a more upbeat image of thrills and chills…

Where Were You That Summer? What Do You Remember Most?

Personally, I was 17 and spent the summer in Europe with 29 of my classmates, all from Madison East High School.  Most of us were looking forward to enjoying the summer then returning for a triumphant senior year as the “Class of 70.”  Our group had been together since junior high, and some of us had known each other since grade school. We were so psyched about that trip…

The idea came from the fact that we’d been studying French since the beginning of 7th grade. With five years of French language and culture under our belts, somebody came up with the great idea that we should actually practice our skills in France, among the natives.

You know, show off our linguistic skills while we enjoyed:

  • Site-seeing along the Seine (Of course we would spend time in Paris. What trip to France would be complete without the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower? No to mention the shopping?)
  • Bicycling high in the Alps (No, we didn’t expect to qualify for the Tour de France, but we loved the idea of tooling around Grenoble on rented “velos”)
  • Lounging beside the Mediterranean Sea (We weren’t bold enough to seek out a nude beach, but that didn’t stop us from wanting to sunbathe on the sands of Nice)

Next thing we knew we were all preparing for the trip of our young lifetimes.

After all, few of us had ever left the country before, and none of us had previously lived apart from our families for more than a few weeks of camp. We spent the entire school year in anticipation:

  • Attending weekly in-school meetings to prepare us for the trip
  • Working after school jobs to save up our spending money
  • And perhaps most importantly, planning our wardrobes

Thankfully, Our High School French Teacher and Her Husband Agreed to Be Our Chaperones

“Madame” was young and fun, and we knew she wouldn’t cramp our style. With her help, we selected a study abroad program that allowed us to spend time touring London, Paris, Rome, Geneva — plus studying French for a month at the University of Grenoble. ” Quelle idee!”

For most of us, the summer of 69 would be our first time spending any length of time away from home. And back then, calling home if you ran into problems was a lot harder, of course. Neither cell phones nor the World Wide Web had yet been invented.

So short of expensive trans-Atlantic calls placed from a phone booth, our correspondence with the folks back home was limited to letters send via air mail…

The Trip Was Fantastic and We All Did A Lot of Growing Up That Summer

I know I was not the same person when I returned… After all, during that trip we experienced so many new things. Among them:

  • Learning to ride London’s underground railroad – the “Tube. ” (And Paris’s “Metro” too.)
    • We didn’t have subways back home…
    • My best friend Jenny and I felt so adult when we left our classmates for the evening and took the tube to visit family friends in a London suburb.
    • Even cooler, they served us beer and lasagna for dinner! (Have no recall of whether or not it was Guinness, but I do know they mixed it with lemonade and called it a ‘shandy!’)
  • Personally experiencing the artistic masterpieces at the Sistine Chapel, the Louvre, Versailles, Buckingham Palace even touring the Coliseum in Rome.
    • I loved seeing the Mona Lisa, though I was surprised how small it is.
    • For me, the colorful Swiss Guard in the Vatican City was even more impressive than was the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace!
    • However I believe going underground to experience the cool and spooky catacombs of Rome impressed me the most!
  • Taking French cooking classes – conducted in French!
    • These were even more challenging than the language and culture classes we took at the University.
    • And we got to eat our work!
    • I recall creating an apricot tarte that was “to die for”…
  • Shopping at wonderful London department stores, like Harrod’s, Fortnum and Mason, Marks and Spencer.
    • I bought some fantastic patchwork silk fabric in shades of peach, cream and lavender that I stitched into a smashing maxi skirt. Tres chic!
    • Of course, being teens, we didn’t miss the boutiques of Picadilly Street, which was so trendy back then!
    • Remember Mary Quant and the British “mod” fashions? If not, here’s a memory jogger for you: some say she created the “look” of the micro mini skirt and tights…

Budgeting was one of the life skills forced on me by this trip: I spent most of my money our first week out, in those fabulous London shops. (This was before we even got to France.)

I still cherish my purchases, many of which were gifts for family back home: including a piece of Limoges crystal in the shape of a deer and a beautiful hand hammered copper bowl.

Why do I say that? Well, had I not run out of of money,  it might have been years later before I discovered my true entrepreneurial self.  But how I raised money to keep myself supplied with Cokes and snacks for the rest of the summer is the stuff of another post…

Strangely Enough The Most Memorable Things I Learned On That Trip Did Not Happen In the Classroom Nor On a Site-Seeing Tour

No. Forty years later I know that the two biggest things I learned that summer are to take responsibility for myself and my welfare — and to be proud to be an American.

Both of those lessons came as a result of being away from home, from “losing my comfort zone.” Especially through the experience of seeing life back home through the lens of distance – and from the point of view of a foreign press.  You certainly recall that the events of the summer of 1969 were pivotal. Both for Boomers – and for all Americans.

A lot of big news happened that summer. And it took place during a time when a lot of Americans — especially Boomers — were very unhappy with our foreign policy and our presence in Viet Nam. In fact, it would be safe to say we were not at all proud of our country at that time.

But it was very different to be experiencing what was happening back home via the filter of British and French newspapers and French TV. Strangely enough, learning about what was going on in my country while I lived on foreign soil had a galvanizing effect.

Instead of  deciding to “tune in, turn on and drop out,” as Timothy Leary had suggested a few years earlier, my living abroad experience enabled me to see what is wonderful about living in the United States, and actually caused me to became quite patriotic.

Fact is, patriotism was really not something I had experienced before the trip. I’d just taken my American citizenship — and it’s perks — for granted…

Among the news highlights  which so impacted me:

  • Man walked on the moon for the first time. For a week in July the world focused on NASA and the flight of Apollo 11, carrying astronauts Neil A. Armstrong, Michael Collins and Edwin E. “Buzz” Aldrin Jr.
    • Their goals: land on the moon, perform some experiments, collect some rock samples, take some pictures, get home safely.
    • The trip which began July 16th lasted eight days, though they spent less than a day on the surface itself and only 2-1/2 historic hours actually walking on the moon.
    • Soon, the whole world knew that “The Eagle Has Landed,” and that “We Came in Peace for All Mankind.”
  • While most of the world avidly watched the action in the skies, Mary Jo Kopechne and the rest of Robert Kennedy’s former campaign workers – who’d been dubbed the “Boiler Room Girls” – took time out to attend a party on Chappaquiddick Island, off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts.
    • Apparently out of deference to the Kennedy family, the US press embargoed a lot of the facts.
    • Overseas readers learned things which weren’t reported in the US media until much later.
    • These days, with the Internet and more global access to news, I doubt this sort of “media protection” could still happen…
  • And just a month later, in mid-August, we read about how almost half a million people gathered in the rain and mud at Max Yasgur’s farm in Woodstock, New York for a psychedelic celebration of peace and music dubbed “Woodstock ’69″…
    • What would it have been like to have seen those musical greats –  to experience the Woodstock bands in person?
    • Personally, I’m not sure if I could have handled the crowds, the mud, the drugs and the lack of order or sanitation facilities!
    • Still, those Woodstock stories from people who lived it are amazing!

In retrospect, being an American in France when we landed on the moon actually helped rebuild my pride and American spirit. Everywhere we went, total strangers  would come up to us and congratulate us on the Apollo trip.

Instead of feeling like the “ugly Americans” – as we had earlier in the trip — we were suddenly hailed as heroes – even though we personally had nothing to do with the flight to the moon…  That was amazing!

What about you? How did the Summer of 69 impact your life? Where were you? Given where you are now, would you agree with Bryan Adams “those were the best days of your life?”

Why not share your personal “Summer of 69” story here?

With the Michael Jackson Funeral and Other Celeb Deaths Behind Us, Boomers Are Having Grave Expectations: Have You Begun Planning Your Own Unique Memorial Service?

July 15, 2009 by  
Filed under Anne Holmes, Blog, Living, Relationships & Family

Will Michael Jackson Funeral Change Your Plans?

It’s been over a week since Michael Jackson’s amazing public memorial service at the Staples Center, and more than two weeks since the King of Pop died. While he’s still in the news, hopefully his family will be allowed to return to life as usual fairly soon.

Jackson’s untimely death at age 50 —  just as he was launching a comeback – not to mention the very public global mourning that ensued — confirms that in the world’s eyes he WAS truly revered as a king, a sort of internationally claimed musical royal who also worked in his own way, for global peace and harmony…

In many way ways, the mysterious death itself — which seems to have probably been related to misuse of prescription drugs — and the worldwide attention to it, is somewhat reminiscent of the untimely death of another musical king, Elvis Presley.  But that is a story for another day.

Given the parallels, it’s no wonder the televised coverage of the very unique Michael Jackson funeral was the second most-watched memorial service ever measured, ranking up there with former US Presidents,  European royalty and popes.

Apparently the US televised audience for his service was slightly more than 31 million viewers, according to the Neilsen Ratings Service. And millions of additional mourners watched online and overseas.

Believe it or not, the US television audience for Jackson’s service was:

  • Second only to Princess Diana‘s funeral, which drew an estimated 33.25 million viewers spread across eight networks – way back on Sept. 6, 1997. (Yep, as a Boomer you probably remember watching, right?)
  • Larger than former President Ronald Reagan’s mid-day funeral service broadcast, which drew 20.8 million people in June 2004
  • Not quite as large as the audience for a prime-time program on Reagan’s burial that same evening, which drew an estimated 35.07 million viewers
  • Significantly larger than the 8.8 million people who are estimated to have watched Pope John Paul II’s televised funeral in 2005

Those who know these things say that given the steep increase in Internet viewing each year, if all forms of viewing were tallied, it’s likely that overall, more U.S. citizens watched Jackson’s memorial than watched coverage of the funeral events for President Reagan or Princess Diana. Which is pretty astounding when you think about it…

Of Course, Death Was in the News, As Michael Jackson Was Not the Only Celebrity to Die Recently

We’ve also recently mourned the unfortunate death of several other celebrity Boomers – including Farrah Fawcett and Billy Mays. Not to mention several high profile people who aren’t technically Boomers, but who meant something to Boomers. Among them:

  • Ed McMahon
  • David Carradine
  • Karl Malden
  • Heath Ledger
  • Steve McNair

As a result of these recent newsworthy deaths, there’s a good chance the concept of death and its aftermath has recently made it to the forefront of your brain. Perhaps you’ve even begun to think a little bit about your desired end game.

That is, your funeral and what you want to have happen – how you want to be remembered – after you die…

Have You Already Formulated Your Own Personal Funeral Plans?

Even if you’re not a much-videotaped superstar, the format for funerals is not so cut and dried anymore… These days, Baby Boomers are into creating memorable memorial services, that not only celebrate the life you or your loved ones have lived, but offer mourners a memorable funeral experience, while often setting in place the opportunity to leave a legacy.

Beyond that, though not necessarily related to it, there’s a growing concern for finding opportunities to save money on funeral expenses. And a trend toward greener, more ecologically minded memorial services and activities.

This Is Actually a Global Trend

It’s not just Boomers in the US who are looking for a more meaningful funeral experience. According to a recent study by Australia’s National Funeral Directors Association:

  • Only 13%  of adults surveyed report a desire for a very traditional funeral service
  • Of those who report a desire for a funeral service of some type, 68% report that they’d like to personalize the event
  • Nearly 75% say they would prefer to prearrange their own service

While in the United Kingdom:

  • The “green movement” has lead to rapid growth in the number of natural burial sites. In 1993, there was only one ground, now there are more than 220 sites operating, with more planned to open in the future.
  • In 1993 only a handful of crematoria and cemeteries would accept cardboard coffins, but now almost every crematorium accepts them.
  • Cardboard coffins? Yep, there are even “green” coffins made of recycled newspapers…

Why Shouldn’t Baby Boomers — And Not Just Boomer Celebrities — Be the Ones to Change Funeral Traditions? After All, As a Baby Boomer You Have Been Bucking Tradition Your Whole Life:

  • It started with rewriting educational experiences, due to overcrowding in grade schools
  • Moved on as you passed through life’s milestones:  revising wedding vows, birthing ceremonies, retirement expectations
  • Once you and other Boomers became accustomed to working with financial advisers, travel consultants, business coaches, personal shoppers and personal trainers, it only seems logical to employ an events planner to orchestrate your perfect funeral service, right?
  • Obviously, challenging the culture of death just HAS to be a “Boomer Thing”

Which Means That While You Might Not Want to Host a Clone to the “Michael Jackson Funeral,” Who Says Your Own Funeral Service Has to Be Generic, Somber, Grave, or Humorless?

After all, isn’t the purpose of the event to remember a life well-lived? And help those left behind begin the healing process?

Certainly we saw this with Michael Jackson’s memorial program at the Staples Center.

After all, this event brought together not only his family, but also a magnificent cadre of musicians, politicians, sports figures, movie stars – not to mention the lucky lottery winners who represented his fan-dom. In the process we learned a lot about Jackson’s impact on those who knew him. Just to recap and give you some ideas, remember that

In the eulogy portion of Jackson’s service we heard:

  • Singer and actress Queen Latifah deliver a very personal eulogy before reading a poem Angelou wrote for Jackson titled “We Had Him.”
  • “Magic” Johnson tell a funny story about  sharing Kentucky Fried Chicken with Jackson while sitting on the floor
  • Brooke Shields remember Jackson’s love of laughter as she fought back tears and told of his favorite song: Charlie Chaplin’s “Smile”
  • Texas Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee speak on behalf of the United States Congress and the Congressional Black Caucus. She makes the point of Jackson’s  innocence in legal matters, and talks about how he called the world into public service with his music.
  • Motown Records founder Berry Gordy share stories of softball games between the Gordy and Jackson families and explain why Jackson’s nickname, “King of Pop,” didn’t do him justice
  • Civil rights activists Bernice King and Martin Luther King III tell tales of Jackson’s humanitarianism, saying he epitomized the words of their father.
  • Rev. Al Sharpton recall that “In the music world, he put on one glove, pulled his pants up and brought down the color curtain.”
  • Daughter Paris, 11, humanize the event and bring tears to everyone as she choked back her own sobs to lament that  “Ever since I was born, Daddy has been the best father you could ever imagine. And I just want to say I love him so much.”

Of course, you also recall that the musical portion of the event was  as star-studded and magnificent as if you were attending a concert event.

Among the highlights:

  • Stevie Wonder sang his song, “I Never Dreamed You’d Leave in Summer,” originally written for his wife
  • A very pregnant Jennifer Hudson soulfully delivered Jackson’s own “Will You Be There”
  • Usher broke into tears after singing Jackson’s “Gone Too Soon”
  • Brother Jermaine delivered a balletic falsetto of a song Michael loved, the previously mentioned “Smile”
  • An emotional Mariah Carey covered the famous The Jackson 5 hit, “I’ll Be There” along with Trey Lorenz
  • And who could forget the “We Are the World” production number, which seemed to include everyone who’d taken the stage

So Like It Or Not, Given Your Top of Mind Awareness, Now’s A Good Time For You to Think About YOUR Funeral:

You’ve got the very public Michael Jackson funeral event fresh in your mind. And you know what you liked and didn’t like about it.

So why not consider taking a page from his memorial service and making plans to turn your funeral or memorial service from an occasion of loss into an opportunity to celebrate your life, a celebration that supports the healing and growth of those who are going to be burdened by your loss?

You wouldn’t be the first to do this…

The Last Decade Has Seen Funerals Become as Personalized as Weddings

And in Fact, Many Are Now Orchestrated by Party Planners. For Example, Here Are a Handful Of Other Recent Funeral Services That Also Epitomize Boomer Creativity:

  • Robert Tisch, who ran the Loews Corporation, had a marching band at his memorial service and a packed house at Avery Fisher Hall
  • Guests at the reception after Estée Lauder’s funeral were treated to chocolate-covered marshmallows served by waiters bearing silver trays
  • Socialite Nan Kempner – who was perhaps best known for her charitable activities, having raised  $75,000,000 (USD) for the Memorical Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center – planned for her memorial to be held at Christie’s auction house. She also arranged for each of her 500 guests to receive a CD of Mozart’s Requiem. (She’d originally wanted her guests to enjoy  a live performance of the Requiem, but the logistics — full orchestra, chorus and soloists — were apparently more than could be arranged in a timely manner.)
  • Sarah, a client of Britain’s Fantastic Funeral Company wanted her life to celebrated with the same enthusiasm with which she had lived. She began by requesting that her funeral guests dress as if for a wedding. Her service ended with guests dancing and singing along with Norman Greenbaum’s “Spirit in the Sky. Following that, they were treated to a meal at her favorite hotel, which ended with her guests toasting her memory with cake and champagne.
  • Ian Turnbull wants his family and friends to toast him with beer. The dying brewer has created what he calls a “dangerously strong” beer he’s dubbed Brewer’s Swansong, to be served at his funeral. The toffee apple flavored beer will be served in souvenir bottles whose labels declare that it is “a beer to die for.” According to Turnbull, “It is the last beer I will brew.” He plans that all attending his funeral will get a bottle ” of the brew which is currently being matured in a whiskey cask, ready to be bottled and served “when I am toasted in whatever crematorium I am treated to.” Turnball, who has pancreatic cancer, also plans that his brew will help raise funds for cancer research.
  • And then there’s one of my favorite unique funerals: Harry Ewell’s 2003 funeral in Rockland, Massachusetts. Harry was known for the fact that he had driven an ice cream truck for many years. At his funeral, his ice cream truck led the procession to the burial site, and mourners were treated to popsicles at graveside. (That’s his truck in the photo above.)

Personally, I suspect many Baby Boomers want a unique funeral and memorial service because they identify with the sentiment expressed in the lines below, which have been posted online in dozens of places over the past few years, though no one seems to know who originally said it:

“Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, But rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, WOW!!!! What a ride!”

You may, of course,  prefer the alternate versions which incorporate chocolate, champagne or other consumable goodies… But the point is, most Boomers, if asked, will express an intent to live life to the fullest, or as some poet put it, to “suck the marrow from life,” before succumbing to the inevitable. (As in death, not taxes…)

Regardless, If You’ve Celebrated Your Life As You Like It, It Would Be a Shame Not to Celebrate Death With an Equal Measure of Brio and Panache, Don’t You Agree?

So what can you do to help assure that your funeral is exactly what you’d like it to be? Or that you can provide these same assurances of a personalized service for a loved one?

Your celebratory  solution can be a much more simple one, as long as it’s meaningful for you and your loved ones.

Think about it. What can you arrange in advance that will make your service unique?

  • Michael Jackson’s brothers wore his signature sequined glove on their right hand, and sported bright yellow ties, for remembrance
  • Billy Mays’ pallbearers dressed in blue work shirts and khaki slacks, the “pitchman uniform” we always saw Mays wearing
  • Harry Ewell incorporated his ice cream truck
  • Ian Turnbull has his special beer with the unique keepsake bottles

No, it’s not morbid to think this way:

  • By planning ahead you’re making things easier for your loved ones. It is very reassuring for family and friends to have the knowledge that they are carrying out your wishes exactly.
  • After all, there are a lot of decisions that have to be made. And generally very little time in which to make them. If you’ve ever had to plan a funeral for a loved one, you already know how hard this can be.
  • Besides, there’s so much emotion related to the time of death.  You want your family to be able to grieve without having to worry about what songs you’d like played at the service, or whether you really meant it when you said you were going to donate your body to science…
  • Beyond that, planning your funeral in advance means that you will be assured of having the service you’d like to have…
  • And admit it: Haven’t you attended funerals where you came home wondering “What were her children thinking? I’m sure my friend would never have wanted a service like THAT…”

In closing, think about this: You certainly recall those memorable death-defying lyrics from the musical, “Fame.” In fact, you can probably belt out the lyrics yourself whenever you hear the tune, right? After all, that anthem ended so memorably:

“I’m gonna live forever Baby, remember my name Remember, remember, remember, remember, Remember, remember, remember, remember.”

So what are your “Grave Expectations?” How do you want to be remembered?

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.

Next Page »