Books

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!


Two New Boomer Books to Start the New Year Right

BooksHappy new year... happy new books! Here are two new books, just in time for the start of 2020, that are written especially for Boomers.

Boomer Brand Winners & Losers

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. This book is a real "blast from the past" that Boomers will love!

Read a free chapter excerpt here.

Ten Secrets to Losing Weight After 50

Are you over the age of 50 and struggling to lose weight? Have you tried countless diets to no avail? Do diet methods you used in the past no longer work? It’s not your imagination. As you age, you tend to gain weight and it’s harder to lose than when you were younger. Through extensive research and trial and error, author Julie Gorges finally unlocked the secret of losing weight after the mid-century mark. After explaining why it’s so hard to lose weight after 50, she shares 10 things she was doing wrong and what she changed to finally succeed.

Read a free chapter excerpt here.

HappilyRewired.com is a Top 75 Baby Boomer Blog.


Retirement Your Way

Books Man-4060500_1920Everything I read suggests the Boomer generation has been the first to truly change the notion of retirement. I've witnessed this personally -- - every Boomer I know (including myself) views retirement as an opportunity to reinvent, rewire, or refresh their lives.

The biggest question Boomers face is not whether to continue to be vital and active, but rather what to do next. There are many books available that can help point you in the right direction, including John D. Anderson's Replace Retirement. Writing for NextAvenue.org, Anderson  says "Your second half of life can be invigorated and energized by living out one or more of three opportunities. You can do all three at once, but will benefit most by focusing your energy on one, and enjoying the other two as additional fuel." He identifies these three key "drivers" to success in the second half of life:

  1. Pursue Professional Mastery
  2. Revive a Dream
  3. Improve Your Word

Check out what Anderson has to say about each of these drivers in his article.

I think Anderson has accurately identified the areas that are likely to be of greatest importance to most Boomers as they consider what to do next. There is much to be said for maintaining flexibility and, if finances and time permit, pursuing more than one avenue in life's second half. Anderson's suggestion that Boomers concentrate on one area but include the others as secondary interests makes sense for those who want to enrich their lives. This concept has worked well for me: I maintain a part-time professional career, but also pursue personal passions and volunteer activities.

If you can make it work, retirement your way -- the way you want to structure it -- should be the best way to live out the rest of your years.

HappilyRewired.com is a Top 75 Baby Boomer Blog.

Image: Pixabay.com

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


An Interview with Boomer Author Julie Gorges

Books Book Cover I'm Your Daughter JulieA new memoir, I'm Your Daughter, Julie, explores the emotional experience of a baby boomer caring for her mother, who has been diagnosed with Lewy Body dementia. In reading this excellent, engaging book, I began to understand the enormous challenge of caring for elderly parents, and I also learned a great deal about the harsh realities of dementia.

Julie Gorges, the author of the book, was kind enough to answer my questions about her writing career, her new book, and her advice for boomers who face a dementia diagnosis.

You've had a wide variety of writing experience -- as a newspaper reporter, short story writer, and author of non-fiction and fiction books. How would you characterize the difference between writing non-fiction and fiction? Do you find one form of writing more appealing than another?

That’s a good question. Writing fiction and non-fiction are more alike than one may think. Penning a novel with a fascinating plot, compelling characters, and lyrical prose is a creative endeavor. But the process often involves using true personal experiences or factual events as a springboard into an author’s imagination. Non-fiction is based purely on accurate facts. But techniques used in fiction are often used to make articles and non-fiction books more compelling and dramatic.

Do I like one form of writing more than another? When I first started writing, I focused primarily on fiction. But as the years went by, I became increasingly drawn to non-fiction. Stories I wrote about people as a newspaper reporter were fascinating and inspiring. Plus, I discovered that writing non-fiction has the power to educate, motivate, solve problems, heal, offer hope, and even change lives. Writing about real life is a great way to share the wisdom you’ve gained over the years to help others.

While I’m writing non-fiction right now, I haven’t ruled out writing another novel someday. What I do know is that I will write until the day I die. I’m in love, captivated, and addicted to words. Words are powerful, sometimes even magical, evoke our imaginations, and create wondrous worlds to explore. I started down the path of becoming a writer 30 years ago and still love the endless possibilities that this career offers.

Why did you write your first novel for teenage girls? How difficult was it to adopt the persona of a teenage girl and write in the first person?

I started my first novel while in my early 20s when my teen years were still fresh on my mind. So, it was easy to channel my experiences and feelings into my novel. Thankfully, I kept diaries as a teen-ager and much of the story comes directly from journals – with some fabrication, embellishments, and imagination thrown in, of course.

The teen years are fascinating to write about since it’s a time of discovery, a time when decisions can change your life forever, and a time of intense emotions. That’s why we all remember our teen years so well. It’s a time of unforgettable firsts – your first love, your first betrayal, your first profound mistake, or your first heroic act – all happening within a short amount of time.

Since the main character had many facets of my personality, it was easy for me to adopt her persona and writing in first person seemed to come naturally. By the way, finishing and publishing my first novel came years later, which speaks to the tenacity and perseverance that this career demands.

Your new book, I'm Your Daughter, Julie: Caring for a Parent with Dementia, is a very personal story about caring for your mom, who had Lewy Body Dementia. What made you decide to write this memoir?

Although many people encouraged me to share my story, I couldn’t immediately immerse myself in the painful memories of watching Mom slowly lose her mind, deteriorate physically before my eyes, and take her last breath. Nevertheless, eventually, I felt compelled to write the book out of a desire to help others learn from my successes and mistakes as a caregiver. For example, when my Mom developed bedsores while in a rehabilitation center that contributed to her death, I knew it was important to warn other caregivers and family members so they might be able to prevent such a catastrophe. By sharing my intimate journey, I hoped to make the process of bit easier and provide comfort to those losing a loved one to dementia so they wouldn’t feel alone.

I also wanted to write the kind of book that I would have found beneficial during those difficult years. I tried to read a few books while caregiving, but they were so thick and overwhelming. Time was limited and I didn’t need to know all the science behind what causes Alzheimer’s or Lewy Body dementia or try to decipher essential information from fluff often used as filler to meet a publisher’s page requirement. In a short amount of time, I needed to know how to communicate with my Mom when she was being unreasonable, how to help her get dressed when she became immobile, and how to keep from going crazy. That’s why my concise book is under 100 pages and to the point.  

In addition, not all books of this nature take you to the end of this journey and beyond. The mourning process for a caregiver is somewhat different and I wanted to share ways that family caregivers can move forward after their loved ones die.

What advice do you have for boomers who are facing a dementia diagnosis, either for a loved one or for themselves?

Knowledge is power. Become informed. You’ll be better prepared to handle the wide variety of challenges that lie ahead if you know what to expect. Try and learn everything you can about the disease from your doctors, websites, books, and support groups. There are many things you can do to make life more dignified and enjoyable during this time. Once you become informed, you may need to help educate other family members and friends.

Also, keep in mind, there are several types of dementia. Try to get an accurate diagnosis so you can find the right treatment plan that can include medications and lifestyle changes to help with symptoms. Having an accurate diagnosis will also help you make informed medical decisions and make plans for the future.

Finally, face this disease one day at a time. If you are caring for a loved one with dementia, caregiving is a meaningful, worthwhile, and important undertaking. That being said, make sure you take care of your own needs, accept help when offered, and be aware of caregiving options to help you during later stages.

About Julie
Author Photo 2018-1Julie A. Gorges is an award-winning journalist, author, and freelance writer. She is also a blogger at Baby Boomer Bliss, recently recognized as one of the top baby boomer blogs on the web. Her latest book, I’m Your Daughter, Julie is available on Amazon. If you’d like to learn more about Julie, please visit her author’s website.


Savor the Memories: The Brands You Loved as a Kid in a New Book

I am excited to announce the publication of my new book, written especially for Boomers!

Standup1Boomer Brands: Iconic Brands that Shaped Our Childhood is a unique book that celebrates the brands of the 50s and 60s. The book covers cereal, soft drink, snack food, fast food, toy, car, beauty brands and more, as well as rock ‘n’ roll, protest and environmental brands. I share “Boomer Brand Cameos” of over fifty of the brands Boomers grew up with: Disney, Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes, Good Humor, Howard Johnson, Hush Puppies, MAD, Ovaltine, Twinkies, and WIFFLE Ball, to name a few. Plus, Boomers will gain rare insight into how these iconic brands shaped their childhood and have a lasting impact on their life.

Publishers Weekly says Boomer Brands is “a delightful journey through a time that saw the birth of the modern brand,” while Midwest Book Review calls it “a unique, entertaining, nostalgic, and impressively informative read from first page to last.”

 Boomers are already buzzing about Boomer Brands:

When was the last time you had your memory tickled over a long-forgotten but prized product that shaped your childhood? You’ll find a lot of those “Oh, yeah, I remember” moments in Barry Silverstein’s wonderful wander down Memory Lane. “Try it, you’ll like it.”
- Ron Schon, Retired Advertising Agency Executive and OLLI Instructor,
“The History of Advertising”

Boomer Brands is a delightful book filled with fun facts about our favorite childhood brands and memories. If you're over 50, you're sure to enjoy this nostalgic, entertaining and informative stroll down Memory Lane. 
- Nancy Collamer, Career/Retirement Coach and Author, Second-Act Careers

If you remember watching Saturday morning TV while slurping down a bowl of Frosted Flakes, or perhaps begged your parents to visit Disneyland after watching Wonderful World of Disney on Sunday night, you’ll want to read Boomer Brands. This enjoyable, easy read is chock full of fun facts about what made the brands we grew up with iconic.
- Anne Holmes, “Boomer in Chief,” National Association of Baby Boomer Women

Barry Silverstein offers a fun walk down Memory Lane for boomers, describing what made some of their favorite childhood brands so treasured then and now.
- Richard Eisenberg, Managing Editor, Nextavenue.org

Boomer Brands is meant to be read by Boomers, shared with Boomers, and savored for the memories! It is available from all major booksellers in print and eBook editions. Find out more about it, download a free chapter, or purchase a copy here:

http://www.boomerbrandsbook.com


July Half Price Sale on Couples Business Book

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!


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!


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.

 


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.