Books

Is Consulting for You?

OnYourOwnI remember a time when a professional became a "consultant" for a brief period of time while looking for full-time work; sometimes, in fact, "consultant" was a code word on a resume for "on my own until something better comes along." Nowadays, however, consulting is not only a legitimate career path for the self-employed, it is also a viable second career for older professionals.

There are numerous potential benefits to becoming an independent consultant, not the least of which is the very word "independent." Benefits include the potential to earn high income, setting your own schedule, and re-purposing skills you already have and expertise you developed during your first career.

Still, consulting isn't a "slam dunk" for everyone. Writing for NextAvenue.org, Jonathan Dison, author of the book The Consulting Economy, has some sound advice for you before you consider plunging into the world of consulting. He talks about four lessons he wished he had learned before he became a consultant:

  1. Trust is everything
  2. Become indispensable
  3. Know the skills that are in demand
  4. Know your tax write-offs as a consultant

This article is a must-read if you're considering becoming a consultant. If you'd like a copy of Jonathan's book, you can purchase it directly from Amazon below.


5 Steps to Help Ensure Adequate Retirement Income

Guest Post by Merilee Kern

MusingsWhile plenty of people are duly committed to saving for retirement through 401k, IRA or other nest egg-inducing personal finance plays, however devotedly and even over many years, it turns out several may actually be suffering a false sense of security. 

“For many years, financial planners have espoused general formulas for determining the amount of income retirees will need, the most popular being the ‘70 percent rule’ that suggests that retirees will need to replace just 70 percent of their pre-retirement income to provide for their living needs in retirement,” notes Ray LeVitre, CFP, author of 20 Retirement Decisions You Need to Make Right Now; and founder/managing partner at Net Worth Advisory Group — a firm specializing in retirement financial planning

“That may have been an effective guideline a few decades ago when the rule was established; however, for many retirees, relying upon it today may be fraught with financial peril."

According to LeVitre, modern-day aging cost considerations include:

  • A male turning 65 years old today can be expected to live another 19 years versus 11 years in 1970; for women, they can expect to live another 23 years

  • The chances of retirees or an elder family member requiring some form of long-term care is 7 in 10.

  • Many of today’s retirees are carrying some form of debt into retirement, including mortgages, consumer debt and student loans.

  • Although inflation has moderated somewhat since the 1970s, lifestyle costs, such as housing, food and transportation consume a larger portion of a retiree’s budget today.

  • Although health care cost increases have slowed, the rate of cost increases continues to be well above the general rate of inflation.

I asked LeVitre what baseline, foundational steps those within 15 years of retirement can do to enhance lifetime income sufficiency. Here’s what he had to say:

  1. Track your expenses now. You should begin to track your living expenses and gradually adjust your budget to smooth out your consumption between your living requirements now and your requirements in retirement.

  2. Start living like a retiree now. Taking it a step further, you could take the approach of changing your lifestyle now to reflect how you expect to live in retirement. That might mean downsizing your home now, reducing your leisure travel, driving more efficient cars, and generally adopting a more frugal mindset.

  3. Increase your savings. Any combination of the first two steps should generate steady increase in excess cash flow which should be saved for retirement. Pre-retirees within 15 years of retirement should target a minimum of 15 percent of their earnings for contributing to their retirement.

  4. Start exploring your Social Security options. Retirees who are able to postpone their Social Security benefits until age 70 can significantly boost their lifetime income; and additional Social Security planning for spousal benefits could increase it further.

  5. Don’t invest too conservatively. Although the natural inclination is to reduce your exposure to risk-based investments like equities the closer you are to retirement, reducing your exposure by too much, too soon could stunt the growth of your capital. To ensure lifetime income sufficiency, today’s retirees should always have some exposure to equities. A broadly diversified, well-balanced portfolio of equities, bonds and cash offers the best opportunity to maintain the necessary growth of capital needed while minimizing volatility over the long-term.

LeVitre also underscored that, regardless of your planning method or process, it would be a mistake to succumb to standard formulas or a generalized approach to retirement planning.  

“Right now, your retirement vision—formed by your specific needs, wants, attitudes and beliefs—rests in your mind, and it will undoubtedly change as your outlook and priorities change,” he says. “But, you should always base your income needs on realistic assumptions.” So it’s time for America’s aging population to do a collective fiscal-future reality check. 

Merilee Kern, MBA, is an influential media voice and communications strategist. As the Executive Editor and Producer of "The Luxe List International News Syndicate,” she’s a revered consumer product trends expert and travel industry voice of authority who spotlights noteworthy marketplace change makers, movers and shakers. Merilee may be reached online at www.TheLuxeList.com. Follow her on Twitter here: http://twitter.com/LuxeListEditor and Facebook here: www.Facebook.com/TheLuxeList.


July Half-Price Sale on Business Book for Boomer Couples

LMMH book cover-jpg BooksIf you've ever thought about going into business with your spouse, you need to read Let's Make Money, Honey: The Couple's Guide to Starting a Service Business. The book has received excellent reviews from book reviewers and readers alike. It tells the story of how a Boomer couple 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. Included are details about planning, financing, outfitting, and launching a service business, as well as operations, marketing, sales, customer service, and managing growth. Useful tools to help couples assess their business interests and business compatibility are also included. 

For the month of July only, 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. 

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 SSW50 and you'll pay just $3.50 instead of the regular price of $6.99. This offer is only good from July 1 through 31 at Smashwords so order today!


Partners in Life and in Business

OnYourOwnIf you and your spouse have some basic business skills and you are leaving the traditional workplace, you might consider running a business together. Partners in life can be partners in business, although it does take a clear recognition of the differences.

My wife and I ran a small service business together after I left my professional career as an advertising executive. We used that business as a bridge from full-time work to part-time retirement. An unexpected bonus was that we were able to sell the business after seven years.

So what does it really take to start a business together? One of the most important things is setting boundaries. In our case, we tried to be as specific and detailed as possible in divvying up who did what, basing the decision on who was best suited to which area and tasks. We agreed early on that each of us would have responsibility for certain areas, but part of our mutual responsibility was keeping the other person informed about our respective areas. 

It may seem mundane, but you and your partner should sit down and put on paper every single function of your business and assign one of your names to each. Both of you should keep copies of the list so there is never a misunderstanding. It is also important to determine which decisions can be made individually and which should be made together. For example, any decision about financing your business should be a joint decision; which bills to pay when, however, probably doesn’t require dual decision-making.

Another area where boundaries come into play is personal versus business time. Being in business together often makes it difficult to separate your business lives from your personal lives. It is a real comfort to know that you can talk about business matters with your partner after business hours, but that can cut both ways. Hard though it is, try to turn the business switch off when you leave the office for the day (especially if the office is your home). You both need some breathing room away from the business – time for yourselves to talk about other things, to spend time together having fun, and to re-connect as a non-business couple.

Cover openWe were so invigorated by our experience being in business together that we wrote a book about it: Let's Make Money, Honey: The Couple's Guide to Starting a Service Business.

As a reader of Happily Rewired, you can get a copy of the print edition of this book for just $10.95 -- $6.00 off the regular price of $16.95, a 35 percent savings!

To take advantage of this special offer, you must order the book here: www.createspace.com/5616668  When you check out, enter this code: GKYC7AGA to get your $6 per copy discount.

If you have ever considered going into business with your spouse or significant other, this book is a must-read. It has received rave reviews from reviewers and readers alike. 

Save $6 on the print edition when you order now!


Get Your Copy of "Second-Act Careers" for Just $1.99

BooksRetirement expert Nancy Collamer's excellent book, Second-Act Careers, is available in eBook form for just $1.99 (regularly $11.99) for a limited time. The book, subtitled "50+ ways to profit from your passions during semi-retirement," features Nancy's great advice about how to leverage your current background and experience into a "second-act" career. Chapters include:

  • Build Multiple Streams of Expert Income 
  • Create an Information Empire
  • Start a Small Service Business
  • Pursue a Business-in-a-Box Opportunity
  • Trade Your Time for a Paycheck
  • Make a Living While Making a Difference
  • Get Paid to Travel
  • Ten Reinvention Lessons Learned
  • Envision the Life You Want
  • Look to the Past for Clues to Your Future
  • Ask, Analyze, and Assess
  • Research the World of Possibilities
  • Try It Out!
  • Some Final Tips on Creating Your Second-Act Career

This offer is only good until May 28, so buy your copy of the eBook now by clicking below! 


What is Your Retirement Path?

BooksIn her new book, Too Young to be Old, Nancy Schlossberg researched and identifies six different paths to retirement. She writes about them in an excerpt on NextAvenue.org. While she reminds us that paths are not completely linear, and retirees choose paths in their own unique ways, the six paths she details are worthy of consideration. They are:

  1. Continuers
  2. Adventurers
  3. Easy Gliders
  4. Involved Spectators
  5. Searchers
  6. Retreaters

Continuers, writes Schlossberg, continue on a path similar to pre-retirement but make modifications, while Adventurers see retirement as an opportunity to do something brand new. Easy Gliders take a more laid back approach, while Involved Spectators stay involved with their previous careers. Searchers continue to seek their niche, while Retreaters either disengage before finding out what's next or become depressed and unmotivated.

Has Nancy identified a retirement path that resonates with you? Are you on a path that is really a combination of the above paths, or have you discovered a path of your own? Read Nancy's NextAvenue article here, and consider buying her book here:

Too Young to Be Old: Love, Learn, Work, and Play as You Age (Lifetools: Books for the General Public Series)


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!


5 Tips for Boomer Couples Who Want to Start Their Own Business

OnYourOwnFor the over-50 set in particular, the economy has created a new breed of entrepreneurs: couples who want to start their own business. For many couples, working side by side seems like an ideal solution, a way to combine being your own boss with spending more time together. The first thing couples learn, though, is meshing their personal and business lives is a special challenge. My wife and I started a small service business in our late 50s and managed to make it work. Here are five tips based on our experience to help make your journey easier.

1.   Share a Passion

Your business is likely to be more successful if you share a passion. It could be anything: an interest in art, a love for animals, a concern for the environment, or something else. It’s important to then determine if that shared passion can be translated into a viable business idea: something people want to buy. The best way to do this is develop a business plan that proves what you want to do can be turned into a sustainable business.

2.   Fill Each Other’s Gaps

We learned that we each had particular strengths and weaknesses when it came to running a business. It would be easy for these qualities to become irritants, but instead we worked collaboratively to fill each other’s gaps. Everyone is good at some things but not so good at other things. If you can learn to compensate for each other’s weaknesses, accept each other’s strengths, and work toward a common goal, your business will benefit – and so will your personal relationship.

3.   Set Goals Together

When you set goals together, you automatically internalize them. Writing down goals and agreeing on them makes them real. You want to set a goal that makes you reach a little but is still achievable. We set goals for lots of things: the starting date of our business, the number of clients we wanted to acquire, our anticipated income each year, and even how many years we wanted to run our business. Our goals helped us visualize our success.

4.   Build Your Knowledge Base

In your business, you learn there are things you know and things you don’t know. When you encounter something that goes beyond your joint areas of expertise, you either have to quickly acquire the knowledge you need or get outside support. If you always have a thirst for knowledge, seek out answers, and view co-owning a business as a learning experience, you will be more likely to succeed.

5.   Maintain Your Perspective

Fully expect that your business will have its ups and downs. That’s why it’s important for both of you to maintain your perspective and keep yourselves grounded. You want the business you operate as a team to enhance rather than detract from your personal lives. It should fulfill a personal dream both of you have and take your relationship to a new dimension. Running a business will be challenging and sometimes seem overwhelming, but maintaining your perspective will help it be fun and rewarding.

LMMH book cover-jpgFor more tips, read the book Let’s Make Money, Honey: The Couple’s Guide to Starting a Service Business by Barry Silverstein and his wife, Sharon Wood (GuideWords Publishing, 2015). It's available in print and eBook formats. To get the paperback at the special discounted price of $10.95 (a $6 savings), go to www.createspace.com/5616668 and enter the code: GKYC7AGA.


Special Offer to Readers of Happily Rewired

Cover openThis month, I'm celebrating the one year anniversary of the publication of my book, Let's Make Money, Honey: The Couple's Guide to Starting a Service Business.

As a reader of Happily Rewired, you can get a copy of the print edition of this book for just $10.95 -- $6.00 off the regular price of $16.95, a 35 percent savings!

To take advantage of this special offer, you must order the book here: www.createspace.com/5616668 

When you check out, enter this code: GKYC7AGA to get your $6 per copy discount.

If you have ever considered going into business with your spouse or significant other, this book is a must-read. It has received rave reviews from reviewers and readers alike. 

Save $6 on the print edition when you order now!


Last Chance to Get the eBook Edition of "Let's Make Money, Honey" at Half Price

LMMH book cover-jpgThrough July 31 only, you can get 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 SSW50 and you'll pay just $3.50 instead of the regular price of $6.99. This offer is only good at Smashwords and it expires on July 31, 2016, so order today!