A Boomer's Sense of Purpose

MusingsHaving a sense of purpose in life offers lots of positive benefits, but "purpose" sometimes seems to be a concept that applies only to one's youth. When we're younger, for example, developing a sense of purpose is often associated with job satisfaction, career success, or starting a family.

Shouldn't Boomers have a sense of purpose too? Yes, of course. In fact, recent research suggests purpose is just as important for Boomers, according to a fascinating article, "How to Find Your Purpose in Midlife." Eric Kim of Harvard's School of Health, for example, found that "people who report higher levels of purpose at one point in time have objectively better physical agility four years later than those who report less purpose." Patrick Hill of Washington University "found important advantages for more purposeful adults, including better cognitive functioning and greater longevity."

Another interesting aspect of research into finding purpose in midlife suggests that a particular kind of purpose is of greater significance to Boomers. According to Anne Colby of Stanford University, research showed "Those who were purposeful beyond the self said their lives were filled with joy and happiness.”

The article, which appears in Greater Good magazine, published by the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley, also offers some tips on developing a sense of purpose. Not surprisingly, one avenue that relates directly to purpose is volunteering. Jim Emerman, vice president of Encore.org, advises, “The key things to think about are: What are you good at? What have you done that gave you a skill that can be used for a cause? What do you care about in your community? Those questions really help one focus.”

 


Creative Ways to Generate Part-Time Income

OnaWhimAs Boomers age, we may want to leave our full-time positions, but we are concerned about generating at least some income to supplement Social Security and retirement savings. On this blog, I've covered a number of ways Boomers can earn part-time income. Here is a handy list of seventeen part-time and creative possibilities, each of which is described in further detail in an article on the Entrepreneur website:

  1. Animal caretaker
  2. Tour guide
  3. Sharing economy "landlord"
  4. Market researcher and tester
  5. Temp
  6. Gardener
  7. Babysitter/caretaker
  8. Teacher/instructor
  9. Seller/consignor
  10. Tutor
  11. Online mock juror
  12. Independent consultant
  13. Home cook
  14. Mystery shopper
  15. Copy editor
  16. Movie or TV extra
  17. Transcriptionist

Read the entire article here: https://www.entrepreneur.com/slideshow/309408


Is the "Spend Safely in Retirement" Strategy Right for You?

MusingsIt's a refrain you hear more and more: Boomers are under-funded when it comes to retirement. The answer may be the "Spend Safely in Retirement" strategy, developed by researchers from Stanford University's Center on Longevity and the Society of Actuaries. According to a recent article in The New York Times, the strategy uses a person's retirement savings to "mimic a steady pension." It includes three steps in combination: Working longer, delaying payments from Social Security, and budgeting withdrawals from retirement savings accounts, such as IRAs or 401(k)s.

Many Boomers already realize they need to work longer, but depending on your anticipated Social Security monthly payment and the total amount available in your retirement savings account, you may be able to work part-time instead of full-time. Even a modest income can help you cover living expenses and offset the need to draw from Social Security too soon. You can draw Social Security benefits as early as age 62, but financial experts advise waiting until age 70, when you are eligible for the maximum amount. (Social Security benefits are based on your work earning history, so the actual benefit amount will vary for individuals.) The key thing to know is that, from age 62 through age 70, Social Security payments increase by 8 percent.

As for your retirement savings, you have likely been accumulating principal and interest in a tax-deferred vehicle. At age 70-1/2, according to current regulations, you must start taking a "Required Minimum Distribution" (RMD) each year, which will be subject to income tax, but presumably at a lower tax rate because your income is now less than during your peak earning years. The RMD is the minimum based on tax regulations, not based on what you might need to live on. That's where the juggling comes in. Steve Vernon, one of the Center on Longevity researchers who came up with the Spend Safely in Retirement strategy, tells The New York Times that a retiree might want to think of Social Security as a monthly "paycheck" that supplements any employment-related earnings, while the annual RMD can be viewed as a "bonus." Whatever way you think of it, it is important to establish a realistic budget you can comfortably live on and see how it matches up with the income you receive from the three sources -- work, Social Security, and retirement savings.

In terms of specific income, the Spend Safely in Retirement strategy will vary widely for every individual or couple, but the strategy is applicable to most people, as long as you can combine some employment income with Social Security income and  payments from retirement savings. Sounds like a sensible way to approach retirement, doesn't it? 


That Hobby of Yours May Make You Some Money

OnYourOwnIf you're looking for a little extra income in retirement but you don't really want to work in a traditional job, the most obvious option is working a gig. The "gig economy" is thriving, with such opportunities as car driving services, home rentals, and freelance jobs. But there is another interesting possibility: Turning that hobby of yours into a money-maker. One recent study indicates that over one-quarter of American entrepreneurs launched startup businesses from a hobby.

If this sounds intriguing, be sure to read "A Beginner's Guide to Monetizing a Hobby" at MagnifyMoney.com. This comprehensive article covers many of the issues related to turning a hobby into a money-making venture, including:

  • Assessing goals
  • Testing your hobby as a business
  • Outsourcing
  • Finding clients
  • Marketing
  • Pricing
  • Common mistakes
  • Tax implications

The article also includes stories of hobbyists-turned-entrepreneurs.

The area in which I live is flush with artists and craftspeople. While the competition is stiff, I personally know two Boomers who retired from traditional jobs and pursued artistic money-making hobbies. One of them, a former business executive, had a passion for working with wood. He learned the craft and started to make small objects, such as pens and Christmas tree ornaments, as a hobby. He turned that into a part-time business. Another person, a former floral designer, had a talent for watercolor painting. She concentrated on painting birds and began to sell her work at craft fairs. People liked the bird paintings so much that she opened a small studio and has become locally recognized for her unique style. She is even being asked to do custom paintings.

Maybe becoming a money-making hobbyist is something you could consider to spark life's second half.    


Podcast Series Focuses on Creating New Ventures Past 50

MediaIf you like hearing Boomers tell stories about how they've added a spark to life's second half, you might want to listen to the podcast series, "Mature Preneurs Talk." Podcast host and over-50 coach Diana Todd-Banks, who lived and worked in the U.S. for 20 years and is now in Australia, interviews folks in their 50s, 60s, and 70s about starting new ventures.

Recent podcasts have featured a reinvention life coach who has done plenty of reinventing of her own, a blind entrepreneur, and a man who went from mortgage broker to massage therapist to becoming a leading authority on reading people. According to Diana Todd-Banks, "Mature Preneurs Talk podcasts connect guests who’ve created a new venture near or after 50, 60, or 70 with an audience who seek new ideas and options for themselves. Whether a much needed community group, business, or other venture, the guests chat about their earlier life through to deciding what to do, the pitfalls, tips, funny bits, and their unexpected health and life benefits, and in doing so, encourage and inspire the audience of all ages to spring into action to transform their life as they have done. The guests are a dynamic group of inspirational people with extremely diverse activities and amazing stories looking to do more with their third chapter of life. And they definitely are doing that! Mature Preneurs guests demonstrate it’s never too late to start something new, or to follow a long held dream. Taking that step can make the next chapter of life the best ever which the guests and the host clearly demonstrate."

Diana adds, "I’m always on the lookout for more intriguing guests over 50, 60, 70 and yes 80, and if any of your subscribers feel they fit the profile they can send an email to: info@lifestyleagency.com.au  In the subject line put:  re Mature Preneurs Talk Guest Info."

You can find the collection of podcasts here: http://maturepreneurstalk.libsyn.com/

 


Half Price eBook, "Let's Make Money, Honey," March 4 - March 10

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. 

From March 4 through March 10, 2018, in celebration of "read an ebook week," GuideWords Publishing 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 SAE50 and you'll pay just $3.50 instead of the regular price of $6.99. This offer is only good from March 4 through March 10 at Smashwords so order today!


Of Course You Can Start a Business

OnaWhimThere are many, many success stories of Boomers who have started a business.  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.

In an article on Business.com, Deborah Sweeney does a nice job of debunking three myths about starting a business when you're older:

  1. "I'm too old"
  2. "It's too risky to start a business"
  3. "I don't know where to find capital."

Regarding the first, Sweeney advises, "If you're passionate about a product or have a great vision for a service, don't let your age hold you back from getting started." As for the risk, she says you can start more slowly and cautiously before you launch a full-time venture. As for the third myth, imagine the trouble young entrepreneurs have finding capital -- it turns out that older start-up owners typically have better established credit and contacts.

Sweeney's article is encouraging -- as are the stories of Boomers who have made a successful go of it in their later years. Many Boomers, especially professionals, have a great deal to offer as independent business owners. Even if your business produces a modest income, it can be personally rewarding and at least supplement other sources of retirement income.

Is this your year to take the plunge? 


Another Way to Look at Retirement: Don't Do It

OntheClockWe're not all fortunate enough to have jobs we might want to work at forever. But some of us are doing just that -- and instead of reinventing retirement, these folks are avoiding it.

Take the case of Judge Jack Weinstein, a spry 96-year old who has no intention of retiring. He was appointed some fifty years ago but isn't about to give up his profession now. He tells The New York Times, “I’m a better judge, in some respects, than when I was younger. I don’t remember names. But I listen more. And I’m more compassionate. I see things from more angles. If you are doing interesting work, you want to continue.”

Other elders love their jobs. Consider Warren Buffett, still an active investor at Berkshire-Hathaway at the age of 87. Or Adolfo Calovini, perhaps less famous than Buffett but no less active. Also mentioned in The New York Times article, the 82-year old Calovini teaches English as a second language at a New York high school. An immigrant. Calovini has a special understanding of the students who take his class. He tells The Times, “To me, teaching is about life. This is what I do. I can’t see a time when I wouldn’t.”

Weinstein, Buffett and Calovini are just examples of the 1-1/2 million people still working after the age of 75, reports the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The Bureau estimates that almost 11 percent of the workforce will be age 75 or older by 2026.

If you have a job you love, consider yourself lucky -- maybe it'll be yours for life.


Executive Recruiter Authors Employment Guide for Boomers

Screen Shot 2018-02-09 at 1.06.48 PM BooksThere has been a spate of books recently about seeking employment for Boomers. Here's one that is particularly interesting.

One of my blog readers, Rick Manning, is an executive recruiter with over 40 years in the employment field. He has authored and recently published a new ebook: You are a Classic: An Employment Guide for Baby Boomers. Geared to all job candidates over 50, this employment guide has been written to provide the reader with both support and expert instruction; in particular, with additional focus on empowerment and inspiration for those dismayed and dispirited by perceived ageism, which can be prevalent in the marketplace.

This guide also provides information offering a perspective on “positive aging” and optimistic attitude and outlook. Further, it has suggestions to help confront the common emotional impediments, which often occasion difficult job searches. Says Manning, "It is my intention to provide older job candidates with a proactive approach to their job hunting campaign, where they can take satisfaction in their effort worthy of a healthy self-esteem."

You can purchase You are a Classic wherever ebooks are sold, or directly from Amazon by clicking here. The Amazon listing includes the option to view a Table of Contents and a portion of the first chapter.

 


No Surprise: Experts Advise Boomers to Work Longer

MusingsNew year, new goals: If one of yours is retiring from your job, hold on just a minute. Well, make that three to six months.

A recent report entitled "The Power of Working Longer," issued by the National Bureau of Economic Research concludes the following: 

"...delaying retirement by 3-6 months has the same impact on the retirement standard of living as saving an additional one-percentage point of labor earnings for 30 years. The relative power of saving more is even lower if the decision to increase saving is made later in the work life. For instance, increasing retirement saving by one percentage point ten years before retirement has the same impact on the sustainable retirement standard of living as working a single month longer. The calculations of the relative power of working longer and saving more are done for a wide range of realized rates of returns on saving, for households with different income levels, and for singles as well as married couples. The results are quite invariant to these circumstances."

MarketWatch looked at the report and added the following analysis:

"So why does working longer have such an impact on the standard of living in retirement? Because it bolsters two types of retirement income — Social Security benefits and 401(k) withdrawals, the research says. The longer a person works, the longer Social Security is deferred, which means a higher benefit check. The worker’s 401(k) withdrawal will also be higher from more money in the account. Social Security makes up 81% of retirement income in this case, the researchers said, and 401(k) payments make up the rest."

Bottom line: If you've been thinking about retiring this year, maybe you should hold out just a little bit longer. Experts think it will make a significant difference when it comes to financing your retirement years.