5 Good Retirement Tips for Boomers

MediaA special section on Retirement appeared in the Sunday, March 5 edition of The New York Times. In it were a number of informative articles, including making a retirement plan, when and how to save, reinventing careers and repurposing skills, working past the age of 65, and a perspective on Baby Boomer farmers in Iowa who see the land as their retirement plan.

Also in that section, retirement expert Kerry Hannon shares five good retirement tips to implement if you are in your 60s and beyond. You can read more detail on each of these tips in the article here:

1. Get a grip on your retirement income sources

2. Take control of fixed monthly costs

3. Consider working beyond your official retirement age

4. Shift your investments to a more conservative asset mix

5. Plan your withdrawal rates.


Think Creatively about Supplementing Your Income

OnaWhimSome Boomers on the way to retirement want to earn supplemental income, but they aren't sure just how to do it. One way is to think creatively about how to leverage your experience and passions and turn them into income opportunities. For instance, I live in an area known for its arts and crafts community. An acquaintance of mine retired from the software business and always had an interest in woodcraft. He took some classes, practiced for awhile, and now sells wooden pens, pendants, and ornaments at local shows. Another retiree did the same thing with handcrafted jewelry.

Nancy Collamer, a wise coach who specializes in retirement careers, offers some creative ideas in an article published in the March 5th edition of Woman's World. She says the experience you gained in a previous work setting can be applied to a new role. "You may have been an office manager," says Nancy, "but what you really loved doing was organizing the company picnic every year. Maybe now you can work part-time as an event planner!"

Other ideas: Become a tour guide in your own city, rent out your driveway for parking if you live near an event venue, or even rent out yourself as a baby or pet sitter. And if you like to drive, there are services such as Uber and Lyft just for you. "Uber, for example, is making a concerted effort to hire people over 50 because they're seen as more reliable," says Collamer.

Collamer also suggests checking out websites that help you learn about and find new jobs, such as Fabjob.com ( a site that you can use as an idea starter to explore new career directions) and Flexjobs.com (a site that lists a wide variety of flexible, part-time positions).

Be sure to sign up for Nancy's excellent email "Second-Act Newsletter" at her website, MyLifestyleCareer.com.

Done with Your Career? Consider Consulting

OnYourOwnAs Boomers transition from a full-time career to part-time work in retirement, they have a real opportunity to be a consultant, at least for a period of time. Depending on their field, some Boomers can even make consulting a long-term business. I can tell you from personal experience that consulting is a good way to ease out of a full-time professional career into part-time work during retirement. 

"Consultant" is a term that used to mean a professional with a consulting firm, but nowadays, a consultant can be anyone with professional expertise. Respected retirement expert Kerry Hannon shares these four tips for individuals who want to consider becoming a consultant when their primary career ends: 

  1. Become a member of a local industry association or organization. Join industry groups on LinkedIn. Attend industry and professional meetings and conferences. Keep an eye on the association job boards and let other members know you’re seeking consulting assignments.

  2. Contact your local Chamber of Commerce to help you reach small businesses in your town. These organizations often don’t have funds to hire someone full-time, but may need your expertise and experience. Also check out temporary agencies that specialize in placing experienced professionals in short-term gigs.

  3. Know your rates. Research what other consultants in your field charge. Many consultants have websites where they publish set rates or a range. You might also ask fellow consultants straight out what they charge. Whatever your source, set your rates accordingly based on your experience and skill set.

  4. Market your services to nonprofits which have a mission that resonates with you. They often hire project-based or contract professionals. Consider offering your services pro bono to develop your relationship and gain references for future jobs.

This is excellent advice, part of a longer article about "Working in Retirement" that you can access on Kerry's blog here: http://kerryhannon.com/?p=6125

Buy the eBook Edition of "Let's Make Money, Honey" at Half Price, March 5 - 11

LMMH book cover-jpg BooksMarch 5 through 11 is "Read an eBook Week." To celebrate, Happily Rewired is offering the eBook edition of Let's Make Money, Honey: The Couple's Guide to Starting a Service Business at half price -- just $3.50 -- if you order it through Smashwords. You can get the book in any format for any device, including a PDF. 

If you've ever thought about going into business with your spouse, this is the book for you. It tells the story of how my wife and I started a small service business and sold it seven years later. You'll find plenty of advice about what to do and what not to do when starting a business with your spouse. It has received excellent reviews and I know you will find it helpful.

To get your copy at half-price, simply go to: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/568837  When you place your order, enter the code RAE50 and you'll pay just $3.50 instead of the regular price of $6.99. This offer is only good from March 5 through 11 at Smashwords so order today!

The Good News and Bad News About Longevity

MusingsYou've probably seen news about current actuarial reports projecting increased longevity. For men and women who reach the age of 65, their life expectancy is now over 85 years of age (86.6 for men and 88.8 for women).

This is both good and bad news for Boomers. The good news is we'll live a lot longer past what was once the traditional retirement age of 65. The bad news is some of us could very well run out of money.

That's why you might want to read retirement expert Mark Miller's excellent article in The New York Times, "How to Make Your Money Last as Long as You Do." In it, Miller discusses a number of steps Boomers can take for "mitigating longevity risk," among them:

  1. Create a budget projection that accounts for non-discretionary expenses
  2. Recognize when it is wise to begin drawing Social Security benefits
  3. Consider continuing to work full-time or part-time
  4. Consider an annuity.

Miller's article includes specific information about each of the above steps. It also includes an interesting table that shows three scenarios for the possibility of a retirement plan failing.

This kind of information is essential for Boomers to consider and digest. It also reinforces the fact that most Boomers would do well to work with a financial advisor who can help plan the best retirement savings and lifestyle strategies so you won't run out of money in your later years.

Have You Discovered OLLI?

OnaWhimOne of the blessings of being retired is the time now available to you for educational pursuits of your own choosing. Most retirees no longer need to take courses to fulfill degree requirements; instead, they can take courses purely for enjoyment. If you're fortunate enough to live near an "OLLI," there is a whole world of educational opportunity available.

OLLI, or the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, is a program of the Bernard Osher Foundation, which provides post-secondary scholarship funding to colleges and universities. Currently, there are OLLIs operating on the campuses of 119 institutions of higher education around the country. You can find a list of these institutions here

The programs and courses offered by each OLLI vary based on the volunteers who participate. This is because the basic structure of an OLLI is for volunteers to teach the classes and work at various functions for the institute, while seniors who attend classes pay a generally reasonable membership fee and "tuition" to take a few courses per semester.

If you're thinking that these courses are traditional or boring, you couldn't be more wrong. Often, OLLI courses are an eclectic mix of subject material -- everything from issues of the day, to classic movies, to architecture unique to the area. It all depends on what volunteer instructors think up, and on what OLLI members suggest.

Getting involved in an OLLI in your area offers other benefits as well. In addition to courses, many OLLIs host meetings, presentations, workshops, and cultural and social events. OLLIs also provide volunteer activities. The colleges and universities with OLLIs on their campuses often allow senior students to take advantage of other campus perks, such as using the library and dining halls. OLLIs are a great way to connect with other seniors in your community, especially if you are new to the area.

Looking for a way to stay involved, informed, and invigorating? Maybe OLLI is for you.



About Marketing to Boomers

MusingsI spent the majority of my professional career in direct marketing and advertising, disciplines in which practitioners always work hard to fully understand the characteristics of target audiences. Not surprisingly, there are some marketing firms that have not only figured out that Boomers are a fertile target audience, these firms also specialize in marketing to Boomers.

One such firm, Coming of Age, is an industry leader. Established by Jim Gilmartin in 1991, Coming of Age positions itself as  "The Baby Boomer & Senior Marketing Agency." Jim writes frequently about the Boomer audience, and a recent column of his for MediaPost caught my eye. In it, Jim pinpoints some of the characteristics of the Baby Boomer Consumer, demonstrating rare and fascinating insight into this audience.

Since my assumption is that most readers of my blog are in fact Boomers, I thought I would share Jim's perspective with you. He highlights these six characteristics:

  1. Baby Boomers are less subject to peer influence than are younger consumers.
  2. Baby Boomers tend to be less responsive to sweeping claims in marketing messages as they age.
  3. Baby Boomers tend to be quicker than younger consumers to reflect a lack of interest in or negative reaction to an offered product that doesn't make an emotional connection.
  4. Baby Boomers tend to show increased response to marketing appeals reflecting altruistic values.
  5. Baby Boomers spend more time in making purchase decisions.
  6. Baby Boomers often project what seems to be contradictory behavior.

I think Jim really hits the nail on the head. I encourage you to read his entire article here. Even though it is intended for marketing professionals, it will give you a real understanding of the implications of these characteristics -- and maybe, just maybe, allow for a little self-reflection as well! 

Help for Older Job Seekers

OntheClockHere are two great resources for any Boomer who is looking for work this year:

  1. MyLifestyleCareer.com

    This website/blog is run by Nancy Collamer, a speaker, coach and author who specializes in answering the question, "What's next?" for Boomers. Available on this site is a wealth of information, including a great compendium of articles entitled "My Top 16 Second-Act Career Posts of 2016."

  2. RetiredBrains.com

    This website directly targets retirees seeking employment. The site includes sections concerning work from home, part-time employment, starting a business, and more. Also available is information about retirement planning, retiring abroad, retirement locations, etc.

Another useful website is http://9livesforwomen.com/ Geared especially to women, this site offers 9 focused blogs, including one entitled "Fending Off Retirement." The website also connects to The Flexwork for Women Alliance. The alliance lists national and regional firms whose mission is to help women find flexible work.

In addition, a very interesting article that recently appeared on CNN Money lists the top 100 jobs in America on the basis of "big growth, great pay and satisfying work." While this article describes these jobs as full-time careers, it would be valuable for retirees to scan the list and determine (1) if you have a skill set that matches any of the jobs and (2) how you could apply your skills to potentially working part-time in any of these careers. Keep in mind that employers who are looking for full-time workers in specific areas may be more than willing to consider part-time workers who have experience and the appropriate skill set.

The "Big Three" If You Work Past Age 65

MusingsOne thing we can all be certain of: Boomers will continue to age. In our society, 65 has been known to be a magic number for retirement, but the Boomer generation has changed the very nature of retirement with a desire (and often times a need) to work past the age of 65.

In a past post on his retirement blog, RetirementRevised.com, Mark Miller helpfully reminds us all of the importance of the "big three" if you work past the age of 65, namely, Social Security, Medicare and RMDs (Required Minimum Distributions).

"Working longer is a great way to get the most out of Social Security," writes Miller. The good news is that 66 is the "full retirement age" for Boomers. The importance of this age for working Boomers is that your job earnings after age 66 will not reduce your Social Security benefits. In other words, you can earn as much income as you wish and still earn the full Social Security benefits to which you are entitled. Keep in mind that the later you take benefits up until the age of 70, the higher the benefit amount. However, there is no advantage to waiting past the age of 70, since that is when your benefits max out. Go to SocialSecurity.gov for complete information on Social Security benefits.

The age of 65 is an important marker for Medicare, which is government-supported health insurance. Writes Miller, "...it’s important to sign up sometime in the three months before your 65th birthday up through the three months following, because failing to do so can lead to expensive premium penalties down the road." Medicare offers a number of "parts" or options, so be sure you know what kind of insurance coverage you want, because you will have to pay different premiums for different plans. Medicare is also linked to Social Security, so certain Medicare premiums can be directly deducted from any Social Security payments you receive. Go to Medicare.gov for complete information about Medicare. 

Whether you are working or not, Required Minimum Distributions, or RMDs, must be taken from IRAs and other qualified retirement plans beginning in the year you turn 70-1/2. From then on, you must take an RMD each year. The amount of the RMD depends on your own financial situation; this is an area in which a financial advisor can be most helpful.

The "Big Three" will probably be of the utmost importance to ALL Boomers as they age, but they have particular implications for Boomers who work past the age of 65.

How Will Retirees Fare This Year?

MusingsMore Boomers are working at least part-time, so fewer Americans of retirement age depend solely on Social Security for their income. Still, retirees are more than a little concerned about how a new political regime in Washington could affect their financial future.

While not all prognosticators take the risk of being very specific, this article by Charlene Oldham appearing on NextAvenue.org does an excellent job of counting off fifteen distinct ways retirement could change this year. Among them are:

  1. Interest and mortgage rates could go up
  2. Some mutual fund risks could increase
  3. Tax cuts are likely
  4. Health care costs will rise
  5. Inflation is more likely
  6. The future of Social Security is less clear.

This would be a good time to review all of your investments (particularly retirement accounts), sources of income, and expenses. It is an especially good time to consult with your financial advisor, or get an advisor to assist you.

Oldham's article is important reading for every Boomer, so check it out here.