Books

A Double Whammy

Screen Shot 2021-11-18 at 11.24.44 AMIn the numerous posts I've written about ageism, I tend to lump 50-plus men and women together. While ageism obviously applies to both genders, it is worth pointing out that there is a double whammy for women known as "gendered ageism."

In an excellent recent Forbes article, Bonnie Marcus writes that gendered ageism "is a growing concern for professional women." To validate that statement, Marcus, author of the book Not Done Yet!, collaborated on a research study that collected responses from 729 participants who ranged in age from 18 to 70+, with 65 percent of respondents from the U.S. and the remainder from Canada and Europe. It is well worth reading and considering all nine survey takeaways cited by Marcus, but I'll concentrate on three of them here, taken directly from the article:

  1. Gendered Ageism is Real – 80% of those surveyed experienced some form of gendered ageism. A third of all respondents (33%) felt they could not get a job or interview because of their age. The most common experiences were “feeling opinions were ignored” (47%), “seeing younger colleagues get attention” (42%) and “not being invited to key meetings” (35%).
  2. DEI is Not Making the Cut – When asked if their company’s DEI initiatives included gendered ageism, 77% responded that it was not included. Interestingly, 23% stated they did not know and 15% said their company did not have DEI initiatives. Public companies were more likely to have DEI, all but 3%, but only 23% of both public and private companies included gendered ageism. Almost a full third of private companies did not have DEI at all (30%). However, almost all respondents from both public and private companies (93% and 83% respectively) believed that more could be done to combat this prejudice.
  3. A No-Win Situation – Not Enough Money to Retire and Limited Prospects for Work – Gendered ageism has long term implications for retirement, with more than half of those surveyed reporting that they do not have enough money to retire and nearly all (95%) of those over 53 – including those 65-70 - stating that they want or need to keep working. Yet, more than a quarter 28% of women 59-65 thought their chances of continuing to work were “fair” or “poor”. The most common reason stated – “My company does not value older workers."

Just these three observations by Marcus are compelling enough to highlight the depth of gendered ageism in the workplace. The COVID-19 pandemic revealed the precarious nature of working women in the U.S. Millions of women were forced to quit their jobs to care for younger children because of inadequate daycare. That was one indignity women suffered. But another indignity made even worse by the pandemic was gendered ageism, which likely contributed to the increase in retirees.

In her article, Marcus notes that "many women 50+ are pushed to the sidelines and/or pushed out to make room for younger workers. Though this is also true for men, women experience this earlier. Once terminated, women find it much more challenging to get rehired at a time when may they lack the funds for retirement." Sadly, ageism in general seems to be a systemic problem -- and gendered ageism is a more insidious subset.

HappilyRewired.com is a Wearever Top 20 Senior Blog and a Top 75 Baby Boomer Blog

Photo from Pixabay.com

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New Book Shows How World War II Helped Launch "Boomer Brands"


New Book Shows How World War II Helped Launch "Boomer Brands"

Mockup2I'm excited to announce the publication of my new book, WORLD WAR BRANDS: World War II and the Rise of the Modern American Brand. This unique book takes a fresh look at the impact of World War II on America from a marketing perspective.

In this book you'll learn:

  • How Coca-Cola, Disney and other great American brands played an integral role in World War II
  • Why some American brands chose to do business with Nazi Germany
  • How television influenced the rise of the modern American brand
  • Plus, see 38 vintage ads that reflect the wartime economy.

The post-war economy led to the rise of the American middle class and spawned a new generation known as "Baby Boomers." The war fueled strong economic growth that turned the country into a major global force. Post-war America became a bubbling cauldron of scores of inventive, innovative brands. When television came along, marketing those brands rose to a whole new level.

WORLD WAR BRANDS covers it all. Included are many stories about some of the best-known brands of the '40s and '50s. These are the brands Boomers grew up with, so this book is an adrenalin shot of nostalgia!

Kirkus Reviews calls WORLD WAR BRANDS "a convincing history about the role of World War II in developing brand consciousness among consumers in the United States." Sherry Tuffin, a reviewer for Reedsy Discovery, gives the book five stars and writes, "After reading WORLD WAR BRANDS you may never look at your favorite brands in the same way. What do I think of this book? In the words of Tony the Tiger, a brand superstar, 'It’s Gr-r-r-r-r-eat'!"

WORLD WAR BRANDS is available in paperback and eBook formats from all major booksellers.

Read a free sample chapter here.


July Half-Price Sale on eBooks for Boomers

For the month of July only, take advantage of a special sale for readers of Happily Rewired. The following eBooks are available through July 31 for half price:GW Three books
Boomer Brand Winners & Losers: 156 Best & Worst Brands of the 50s and 60s
This remarkable book features fascinating stories of 156 best and worst brands of the Boomer era. Relive the days of Cap’n Crunch and Cocoa Puffs, E-Z Pop and Pop-Tarts, cap guns and comic books. Recall the time when automobiles ruled the road and a transistor radio was “advanced technology.” Learn how television played a key role in brand advertising. Discover which brands blossomed and which were a bust. Boomer Brand Winners & Losers is a wondrous walk down Memory Lane!

Available in all eBook formats including PDF
Regular price: $4.99 On sale price: $2.49
How to order: Go to https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/988321
Use code SSW50 when you check out to get this eBook at half price! 

Boomer Brands: Iconic Brands that Shaped Our Childhood
This unique book reminisces about the beloved brands Boomers first met in the 50s and 60s. Read “Boomer Brand Cameos” of over fifty of the brands you grew up with: Disney, Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes, Good Humor, Howard Johnson, Hush Puppies, MAD, Ovaltine, Twinkies, WIFFLE Ball and many more. Most of these brands began during the Boomer era and are still around. Plus, you'll gain rare insight into how these iconic brands shaped your childhood and have a lasting impact on your life. Boomer Brands is meant to be read by Boomers, shared with Boomers, and savored for the memories!

Available in all eBook formats including PDF
Regular price: $4.99 On sale price: $2.49
How to order: Go to https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/905170
Use code SSW50 when you check out to get this eBook at half price! 

Let’s Make Money, Honey: The Couple’s Guide to Starting a Service Business
By a baby boomer couple who started a small service business as a second career, this how-to guide covers planning, financing, outfitting, and launching a service business, as well as operations, marketing, sales, customer service, and managing growth. Included are useful tools to help couples assess their business interests and business compatibility. Let’s Make Money, Honey is a must-read for Boomer couples, especially those exploring encore careers.

Available in all eBook formats including PDF
Regular price: $6.99 On sale price: $3.49
How to order: Go to https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/568837
Use code SSW50 when you check out to get this eBook at half price! 


Retirement: It's Personal

Senior-4466290_1920There are essentially two basic sides to retirement: Financial and Personal. For the average Boomer, the Financial side is the engine of the Personal side. If we have been diligent about funding retirement accounts, generally have made wise investments and live well within our means, we should be able to comfortably "retire." But most Boomers quickly realize that there is no universal definition of retirement, because it's really up to each of us to define it.

One way to look at the Personal side of retirement is to ponder how to design your "ideal" retirement. Joe Kesler, author of the book "Smart Money with Purpose", has some excellent ideas about that. In an article he wrote for Humble Dollar that also appeared on Marketwatch, Kesler shared these six suggestions:

  1. Ramp up creativity and learning. Kesler writes that learning during retirement "reminded me of the thrill of going to college, but without the stress of final exams."
  2. Redesign work. Kesler says a fulfilling retirement should include a combination of leisure, service and work. Working at something you enjoy, whatever it may be, is liberating because "we no longer have to put up with the nonsense of the workplace—because we aren’t doing it for a paycheck."
  3. Redefine identity. Because many of us were defined by our work identity, it's important to "fill the identity void with our new interests," writes Kesler.
  4. Build deep friendships. Work friendships also need to be replaced. Kesler advises, "Look for friendships where you find yourself most passionate."
  5. Capture Kodak moments. Without an all-consuming career, Kesler says you can "Use the extra time offered by retirement to reconnect with family."
  6. Eliminate the toxins. Free yourself from things that perturb you, advises Kesler. "Don’t waste a lot of time in this new season of life with toxic relationships or annoying red tape."

I think Kesler does a darn good job of covering the key areas of the Personal side of retirement. We all know the Financial side can be challenging, but the Personal side can be downright vexing, particularly for those of us who are transitioning from long, fruitful careers. The very notion of reinventing ourselves (or "rewiring," as I call it) in our later years can be an unsettling proposition. That's why it's so important to plan ahead for retirement not just financially, but personally. Your happiness depends on it.

Image by pasja1000 from Pixabay

HappilyRewired.com is a Wearever Top 20 Senior Blog and a Top 75 Baby Boomer Blog

Read about 156 best and worst brands of the 50s and 60s! 


How to Navigate Post-Career "Retirement"

BooksI've long been a fan of the concept of "rewirement" instead of retirement. If 2020 taught Boomers nothing else, it is that the word "retirement" needs to be retired and thrown into the lexicon dustbin. There are two main reasons for this:

  1. The pandemic required many of us to reconsider our work lives. Our jobs may have ended prematurely, or the financial hit of the pandemic was severe enough to cause us to need to work beyond traditional retirement.
  2. Pandemic or not, many of us want to continue to work beyond traditional retirement because it gives us additional financial security and/or purpose in life.

Still, younger Boomers approaching that magical retirement age of 65 may be pondering exactly how they can navigate their post-career retirement years -- if indeed they retire at all. I've read several books that address this very subject. One of the more engaging ones is the new book, Retirement Heaven or Hell: 9 Principles for Designing Your Ideal Post-Career Lifestyle by Mike Drak.

When Mike involuntarily left a career after more than three decades in financial services, he entered what he calls "Retirement Hell." Through trial and error, he found his path to "Retirement Heaven" and decided to write a book about his experience to help others navigate this challenging transition. Typical of the wry wit in the book is Mike's pronouncement, "Think of me as a retirement crash test dummy." Mike shares some excellent advice, offering nine specific principles designed to help readers enjoy "an exceptional retirement." He discusses each principle in detail and lays out an action plan for how to move forward into new territory.

Interspersed throughout the book are Mike's salient observations about his own journey. He also includes numerous snippets concerning how the pandemic shaped his thinking and the impact it inevitably has on retirement planning. These elements make the book both personal and timely. In the end, Mike encourages us to strive to become "Retirement Rebels." Mike suggests these folks "are the trailblazers who have regained the curiosity and wonder of a child, traveling the world to see and experience new places, entering marathons in different cities, learning to use new technology, volunteering, starting new businesses, and posting all about it on social media."

Retirement Heaven or Hell is a worthwhile read for any Boomers about to take their next step or those who have already entered their post-careers and need some guidance and encouragement. If you want to order the book from Amazon, I've included a direct link below.

HappilyRewired.com is a Wearever Top 20 Senior Blog and a Top 75 Baby Boomer Blog

Read about 156 best and worst brands of the 50s and 60s! 


eBooks for Boomers - Half Price, December 18, 2020 Through January 1, 2021

Books Year-5780050_1280Take advantage of this special year-end sale on books written especially for Boomers.

From December 18, 2020 through January 1, 2021, GuideWords Publishing is offering readers of Happily Rewired three great eBooks at half price!
 
Just go to any of the links for the books below to learn more about them. When you place your order, simply enter the code SEY50 at check out. You'll get the eBook in your choice of format (PDF, EPPUB or Kindle) at 50 percent off the regular price. Be sure to take advantage of this special offer by January 1, 2021.
 
Boomer Brands
Regularly $4.99, sale price $2.49
 
Boomer Brand Winners & Losers
Regularly $4.99, sale price $2.49
 
Let's Make Money, Honey:
The Couple's Guide to Starting a Service Business
Regularly $6.99, sale price $3.49
 
Image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay
 

Attitude Begets Endurance

BooksThese are tough times for everyone, and retired Boomers are no exception. Many of us wonder when we'll be able to truly emerge from forced hibernation without risking our health and well-being. When will we be able to travel again... to go to a movie theatre or a concert... to hug our grandchildren?

One thing is for certain: When it comes to maintaining our resilience, attitude is everything. A positive attitude makes a huge difference -- not a Pollyanna-ish attitude that is naively cheery, but a positive attitude grounded in pragmatism and the belief that we will endure. We used to call it "keeping your head on straight."

Heidi Herman expresses it in a different but equally positive way: "On with the Butter!" It's an old Icelandic expression she learned from her mom that essentially means "forge ahead" or "carry on." It's also the title of Heidi's new book, which was inspired by her mother's unfailingly positive attitude about life -- she kept tirelessly adventuring until her passing last year at age 94.

Intended for Boomers and retirees, On With The Butter: Spread More Living onto Everyday Life is a happy, lively book written by someone who realizes that life "is far too long to be squandered on unhappiness or boredom." That's why, when Heidi retired, "instead of buying a rocking chair, I learned to fly." Heidi means that literally... she did learn to fly!

In the book are fifteen chapters with such uplifting titles as "Just Say Yes," "Walk on the Wild Side" and "Take the Scenic Route." Each chapter conveys Heidi's can-do attitude about life and often shares anecdotes about or wisdom from her mother. At the close of a chapter, Heidi includes a section called "The Challenge," which encourages the reader to embrace a particular area of living. Every chapter also offers a checklist chock full of easy-to-follow ideas to take action and break out of the sameness mold. The ideas range from little to big, obvious to not-so-obvious, but they are always positive and inspiring.

This is a time when all of us need to "spread more living onto everyday life," as Heidi enthusiastically suggests in her book. A positive attitude and a disposition oriented toward succeeding is what we really need to endure.


Embracing the "Third Age"

Musings Smartphone-1790833_1920If you're not familiar with Dr. Ken Dychtwald and his organization, Age Wave, you should be. Founded in 1986, Age Wave has become the pre-eminent consulting firm on our aging population. Dychtwald has just released a new book with co-author Bob Morison called What Retirees Want: A Holistic View of Life's Third Age. Dychtwald is contributing his earnings from the book to the American Society on Aging.

In a recent article for Forbes magazine, Dychtwald and Morison discuss the "Third Age," which begins somewhere after we turn 60 years old. They see the Third Age as an exciting and vibrant time of life, very much unlike what "retirement" used to mean. Instead, they write, "The third age is now full of potential for individuals, families, and society. The scope of this potential is enormous and unprecedented. And from this perspective, modern elders are seen not as social outcasts, but as a living bridge between yesterday, today, and tomorrow – a critical evolutionary role that no other age group can perform."

Still, Dychtwald and Morison pose an important question: "Will the Boomers use their experience and assets to help shape a future based on mindfulness and generosity of spirit? Or will they act only to promote their own interests #OKBoomer-style?" Psychologist Dr. Daniel Goleman, author of Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ, told Dychtwald and Morison, “The legacy to the Boomer generation won’t be the ‘me first’ image of their early years, but rather the potential huge surge in volunteerism that might characterize their later years. It’s not how you begin the act, it’s how you leave the stage that people remember.”

I think Dychtwald, Morison and Goleman have hit upon one of the key challenges of the aging process. Are we in it for ourselves or for something bigger and, presumably, better?

Most of the Boomers I know seem to be on the right track. They're interested, engaged and fully embrace the Third Age.

Personally, I've embraced the Third Age by calling it "rewiring" instead of "retiring." As I've written in previous posts, I chose to leave my primary professional career and rewire, not retire, to live what I like to think of as a multi-faceted life that includes some work, some play and some giving back.

During this tough time of COVID-19, it isn't always easy to maintain a positive attitude -- but you can be a survivor. How? If you have the kind of variety in your "rewired" life that frees your mind, heart and soul... and your underlying outlook is generally optimistic. More importantly, you'll leave a legacy of which you can be proud.

HappilyRewired.com is a Top 75 Baby Boomer Blog.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Read about 156 best and worst brands of the 50s and 60s!

 


Taking Advantage of Your Most Valuable Asset

OnaWhimThis is an unsettling time for everyone, and homeowners are no exception. The good news is that if you own a home, it is likely to be your most valuable asset -- probably of greater value than any other material possession. You may have used the equity in your home to borrow money. You may have refinanced over the years to reduce your monthly mortgage payment. Or you may have been able to pay off your mortgage by now, meaning the equity you have in your home is all yours. 

But today, the place you call home may very well be an empty nest. The kids have grown up and you have excess space you are no longer putting to good use. It's a dilemma for a significant number of Boomers. Do you stay put -- in more house than you really need? Do you put your beloved home on the market and downsize into more modest living quarters? Or is there some other way to take advantage of your most valuable asset?

Here's a smart alternative -- Boomer homeowner Art Barry calls it the "downsize side hustle." He and his wife Sharon considered downsizing, but none of the typical options were attractive to them. So they decided to downsize with a twist. Instead of selling their home and moving into smaller quarters, they stayed in their home and did some clever remodeling, converting an unused bedroom and bathroom into a rental unit with a separate private entrance. The idea turned their most valuable asset into an income-producing property. Art says, "If you have a home and have too much unused space, you can probably come up with a way to turn it into real money. We had positive cash flow with our first month of leasing."

What does it take to create an opportunity to make part of your home into a rental property -- and what's it like to be a "micro-landlord"? In his well-written book, The Downsize Side Hustle, Art covers his experience in detail. He goes through how he and Sharon did it, pros and cons of using contractors and tradespeople, furnishing, utilities, marketing and advertising, tenant screening, landlord and tenant responsibilities, leases and regulatory issues. While Art and Sharon decided they wanted to rent only to longer-term tenants, this same concept could apply to short-term rentals designed for vacationers.

Obviously, not every home can be modified to the extent that it can become a rental property, but maybe Art Barry's experience will inspire you to think creatively. A "downsize side hustle" is an intriguing idea that enables you to stay in your home while generating some income. In this tough economic environment, it may be a smart strategy to consider. 

HappilyRewired.com is a Top 75 Baby Boomer Blog.

Read about 156 best and worst brands of the 50s and 60s!


Are These Your Main Retirement Worries?

Books Man-2546100_1920Retirement is a stage of life that Boomers may anticipate with joy and relief, but it can also be a time of worry and anxiety. In a podcast for Knowledge@Wharton, Wade Pfau, author of the book Safety-First Retirement Planning, says many of those planning for retirement have three main worries:

  1. Longevity risk - "The longer you live, the more your retirement costs. You have to plan for that."
  2. Market volatility - "When you're living on distributions from your assets, market volatility gets amplified and has a bigger impact."
  3. Spending shocks - "Those are the potentially large expenses that may or may not happen. If they do happen... they require additional assets to cover that type of uncertainty."

Obviously, all three of these worries relate directly to the financial side of retirement. Boomers who contemplate retirement also need to consider other aspects of retirement such as personal fulfillment, health and social engagement. Still, for most of us, the ability to afford a comfortable retirement is crucial.

In his book, Pfau offers eight guidelines for what he calls a "safe retirement." First and foremost, he says, is to build a retirement plan around the notion of how long the money should last. "You have to anticipate the possibility of living to an advanced age," says Pfau. "You have to strategize about being able to fund a more costly retirement because you’re living longer." He adds that it is also important "to be efficient in terms of not wasting resources."

Safety and security in retirement involves managing what Pfau calls the "four Ls" -- Lifestyle, Longevity, Legacy and Liquidity. He says, "The lifestyle and longevity are your retirement budget. Legacy is your legacy goal. The most important advice would be to think about liquidity. Liquidity is the idea that you have money to cover unexpected expenses."

You may want to factor Wade Pfau's perspective on a safe retirement into your own retirement planning. Learn more about his book or purchase it below:

HappilyRewired.com is a Top 75 Baby Boomer Blog.

Image: Pixabay.com

Check out the new book featuring 156 best and worst brands of the 50s and 60s!