Retirees Living Abroad

The idea of Grandma moving to another country is a little scary. Even unthinkable. Once upon a time, women never traveled alone. Well, it’s a brand new day.

Today, both men and women of all ages choose to live abroad. Women travel alone or with a group, and feel perfectly free to move about the planet. Information is just a click away, and groups abound for short trips or excursions that can last for weeks or months.

Women who are experiencing the pains of “dollar stretching”, may find that living in a more affordable country is both a pleasure and a relief.

First Things First

Choosing the country you wish to explore starts with a short list. What appeals to you? Are you interested in your ancestry? Looking for art galleries and museums? Or picture yourself lying on the beach?

By using keywords, you can come up with a list in a short time. Write down the pros and cons and then finalize it to two or three places.

Europe, Asia, Central and South America are good places to start. After you choose the country you wish to consider, and before you pack your bags, find out all you can about the rules, habits, everyday goings-on, and legal issues of becoming a resident. Research carefully.

1. What is the area like? A large, busy city? A beach town? College town? Fishing or farming?

2. What are the people like? Open and friendly to visitors/newcomers? Cosmopolitan? Down to earth? Skeptical?

3. What are the housing options? Apartment, house, hotel. Costs are often cheaper overseas than in the states. Know what you are getting.

4. Legal and financial concerns. What’s required of you for visiting, moving. How to do banking/money exchange. Where is the nearest office for information and legal documents?

Moving Along

  • Visit the area more than once. Go at different times of the year. If there is a “tourist” season, watch for changes during the season and “off”. Observe what’s happening – what are citizens doing. This may include traffic, entertainment, food, rent, sociability of citizen.
  • Connect with a group or organization that specializes in visiting and/or living in another country. You can find them online.  Their body of information can help you make critical decisions, and may save you a lot of grief.
  • Research the legal and practical issues of living in the country on its government website. Cost of living is important, along with cultural and social practices.
  • Talk with family and friends. Explain what you’re doing and why. Answer questions politely. Even though this is your decision, others may be concerned. But at the end of the day, it’s your choice.
  • Access your present situation and make careful decisions. Don’t be in a rush. There will be many changes and patience makes for a smoother move. Anything you’re not taking needs to be sold or re-homed. That list could be very long. Have no regrets.

Senior Women On A Budget

The cost of living abroad is often cheaper than living in the US. It depends on where you want to go, and what you prefer. Comparison shopping is the way to go here. The websites that write about living abroad can give you facts and figures that are current. Make sure you understand social security, Medicare, other forms of insurance – health, travel – and all costs involved. Rent usually doesn’t include utilities. It may not include repairs. Will you have a car? Public transportation is readily available and cheap.

My own journey has been interesting, informative, and often puzzling. I plan to travel over the next couple of years, living in one or more countries outside the United States. I get newsletters from more than one organization that specialize in living and traveling abroad. I also attend conferences. They cost a little, but are chock-full of current, relevant information. The last thing I want are snafu’s.

I love Canada, especially Calgary, Banff and Lake Louise, and visit there every year. I have family in Calgary and have made new friends in the area. Go where you are comfortable.

Thank you for visiting my website. Please leave a comment if you have questions, ideas or want to share your experiences.

Judy

Senior Housing Rent Or Buy

It’s well known that 10,000 Baby Boomers retire every day, and this will continue to happen for many years. The plans they have made will include leisure activities, vacations and travel, and may include starting an internet business or finding part-time work. They will also need to decide where they want to live. 

Today there are many housing choices for retirees. Retirement communities, 55+Active Adult apartments and house sharing, to name a few. Buying a vacation home, usually in a warm climate, has been the choice of many for years. Think snowbirds in Arizona and Florida.

The fact is, today’s retiree may be younger, have less money saved, and prioritize a cash flow, rather than a second home to live in. The primary house may become a rental property, at least part of the year. The option to sell later is on the table.  They then begin a search for rental property for themselves, something smaller than their home. 

The advantages seem to be foolproof. But there are important downsides to selling a home that is paid for, and has been well-maintained. While it is a rental property, it has to be managed, repaired, taxed and kept filled. Meanwhile, the housing you now have for yourself can be perfect, or less than ideal. It takes careful research to find that roof over your head. 

Let’s look at a few options to consider. For those of you already retired, or planning to do so soon, housing is a critical issue.


The Family Home


Memories abound in the place you call “home”. Your dream home may be the first one you bought, or the one you finally said, “This is it. We’ll live here forever”.

Children grew up here, some extended family were close by, your neighbors were “family”, and your livelihood was secure.

Why would you ever leave?

Unless the house isn’t in the greatest shape.

Plumbing and wiring need updates every few years. The roof starts to leak and the shingles are shot. Porches take a beating from the weather and need repair, and then there’s that coat of paint.

Keep Or Sell

If you are nearing retirement, look at the condition of the house. Whether you stay or sell, it should be in tiptop condition. Do it while you’re still getting a paycheck.

Professionals should be hired to do the evaluation. Discuss and take notes with each person. Get quotes for repairs and go over your finances.

It’s crucial for your house to be completely safe and well maintained, whether you live in it, or someone else does. Then go over your budget.

If you determine that the house is in good shape and you wish to remain in it, build your retirement plans around that fact. 

Single Women

If you are retired, or nearing retirement and live alone, your money situation is especially critical. You may not have enough income to completely renovate a house. Or you might be thinking of turning it into an AirB&B for a cash flow. Talk to professionals and get insightful advice. Your home shouldn’t be a liability. Whether you want to keep it, for any reason, or sell it, take your time.

Resources

Good, sound advice is at your fingertips. Start by reading articles on senior websites. Then, do research to find professionals in your area. Take short vacations to places that sound interesting and check out the quality of living, surroundings, points of interest, and ease of everyday living. Don’t buy or rent long term until you’re sure you’ll love it.

Here are a few good resources.

https://www.seniorly.com/resources/articles/7-home-selling-tips-for-seniors

This website has broad, general information on many things senior.

https://www.seniorcitizensguide.com/articles/services/7costlymistakes.htm

Emphasizes mistakes commonly made.

https://www.aarp.org/home-family/your-home/info-2018/sell-family-home.html

As always, good resources. I especially like the recommendation to find your next home before selling.

Whether you are single or a couple, a home to call your own is a priority. The retirement years can be wonderful or stressful. Do your homework, then start living!

Single women, especially, have to make careful decisions. We’re more likely to be short of cash flow, we need to emphasize security, and we often function in a couples-dominated world. Don’t hesitate to get professional advice.

Thank you for reading my blog. I love to hear from everyone.

Judy

 

The #1 Threat To Your Retirement Income The High Cost of Housing

If the money crunch is keeping you awake nights, you’re not alone.

The biggest worry for retiring seniors is MONEY. Whether you’ll outlive your assets is an ongoing concern. You may have a lot of money, or a little, but maintaining the lifestyle you enjoy becomes a struggle when you’re on a fixed income.

Today in America housing is the largest expense. It threatens to derail your financial portfolio and trash your budget. Look at this report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

https://www.bls.gov/opub/btn/volume-5/spending-patterns-of-older-americans.htm

The text, charts and graphs give a clear picture of exactly what seniors face today. That roof over your head can take a huge bite out of your cash flow. This threat to your retirement funds can change the way you spend the rest of your retirement years. Your plans and your money may be threatened, but knowing the options will give you the advantage.

You can safeguard your finances, while enjoying the home and lifestyle you prefer.

My Experience

I’ve been working my way through this maze for several years, and I’ve seen the benefits and the pitfalls. Living in different types of senior housing has given me valuable information about what’s out there, and what I really want.

A Resort Style Living for Seniors property showed me that I really like having my own place. The small but comfortable homes provided space for my interests – quilting, writing and gardening – with privacy when I wanted it. The clubhouse a ballroom, library and business room, crafts, billiards, and offices. Outdoors we had a pool and patio, tennis courts and shuffleboard. When management and structure changed, I moved. But I remember fondly the wonderful time I had living there.

Next was a large senior community. I rented a 2 bedroom/2 bathroom house. The size was ideal and the amenities were too numerous to count. I loved that it was a gated community and had its own shopping and professional businesses. However, there was very little governing in place, and when I encountered rodents under the hood of my car, no one had the authority to take action. It took months to get a solution in place, and by then, I was ready to move on.

Today I live in a 55+Active Living community, in an apartment building. The people are wonderful, amenities are great, but I have come to realize that I want a place of my own.

Keep It Simple And Honest

The term, “Know Thyself” is attributed to several well known philosophers. Included are Socrates, Aristotle and Plato. Whichever is correct, the meaning is clear and compelling.

It is the beginning of wisdom. Decisions will affect the rest of your life, and should be based on who you really are.

Start with knowing yourself. Be totally honest. What do you like? What do you dislike? What dreams have you had over the years, as you neared retirement?

Wishing is great, plans have structure.

Be realistic. Plans have to turn into actions. What can you manage?

Make A Living Plan

This is a time to relax and enjoy your best life ever. Imagine a day of leisure.

When you think about “retirement”, what do you picture? Sunshine, a golf course, a community that offers activities and socializing? Or maybe you want a condo in a metropolitan area, with museums, art galleries and concerts.

Picture this. Blue skies, palm trees, sparkling water and you in a boat.

There are thousands of living options out there. Here’s a general breakdown of what they’re called, and what they provide.

  • Independent living – can be just for those who are very able-bodied and self-sufficient, or part of a larger care facility that may include Assisted Living and/or Memory Care. Cost: About $1500 – $10,000/month. Charges will be itemized for your evaluation. Meals, activities and social events available. Amenities vary.
  • 55+ Active Living – apartments with a Clubhouse or Commons Area, and a variety of offerings that may include a pool, fitness center, library, craft rooms, meeting rooms, theater, ballroom, games and excursions out and about. The price here also varies and may be around $1500 to several thousand/month. There may also be a charge for garage space, and residents may pay part of the utilities for the building, as well as for their own apartment.
  • Assisted Living – this facility would be for those needing help with daily needs, such as bathing, dressing and medication. Three meals a day, on-site staff 24/7 and programs and activities are available. Price may start at $3,628 and go up, depending on needs.
  • Nursing homes- memory care and Alzheimer/dementia may cost $233/day.

This general outline shows a wide parameter of facilities for seniors. If one appeals, or seems suitable to you, start by comparing online. Everyone worth considering has a website, a phone number and a place to request a tour. Don’t make a snap decision.

Retirement was meant to be enjoyed, not endured. The solution to the housing threat is to take your time, do research, ask questions and talk to your financial advisor.

Your retirement living plan begins with you, writing about you. Get a notebook amd talk about yourself. Make a numbered list, bullets or write in paragraphs. Start with all the things you like about yourself. Then switch to stuff you’re not so crazy about.

  • What makes you happy?
  • What spells contentment for you?
  • What agitates you?
  • What’s been a dream for a long time?
  • What worries do you want eliminated from your life?

This is just a beginnng. Your housing situation shouldn’t break the bank.

Here are some exceptional websites for further reference.

https://www.boomercafe.com

https://www.retiredbrains.com/index.html

http://www.newretirement.com

http://www.seniorliving.org

Thank you for letting me help you today. I hope you found valuable information that keeps the wolves at bay.

Remember to keep it simple.

Seniors are resourceful and resilient.

If you have any questions or comments, please contact me. I love hearing from all of you.

Judy

The High Cost of Poor Nutrition

Delicious and Nutritious

Getting well, staying well and prioritizing nutritional value in your meals can mean the difference between chronic sickness and wellness. It can also determine your health care costs, and how your finances are impacted. If you think insurance is expensive, consider the actual cost of chronic illness and disability.

There’s a saying, “you are what you eat“, and it seems to be self-explanatory. However, the way that food affects your body, your metabolism, and your taste buds is entirely personal and unique.

What Exactly is Wellness?

Disease and poor health can stem from a number of factors. Illness strikes, sometimes without warning. A disability or handicap may be the result of a disease, an accident or a congenital condition.

Our diet and nutritional input greatly affects how our body works. It also affects the mind and emotions. It’s critical to know and understand the nutritional requirements of your body, and how to get them.

As children, you ate whatever was served at the table. In the days when families ate three square meals a day, and snacks were limited, your food intake was carefully monitored. Mothers often adhered to the prescribed standards for what you needed for good health.

Today meals are more casual. Some families almost never sit down together for a meal. Unless there are babies or small children, food is available and everyone takes what they like. This may or may not lead to wellness. Our society can be vague on what constitutes good nutrition. The fact is, whatever you select usually becomes a lifelong habit that results in regular health habits. Some good. Some bad.

Knowing what your body needs for wellness can steer you away from the bad habits. There are good foods that are quick and easy to grab. Fruit, veggie sticks, nuts, yogurt or energy bars can be kept within arms reach, before you rip open that bag of chips.

Eating foods that nourish, rather than just fill you up has enormous benefits.

  1. Your body is getting what it needs to function properly.
  2. You feel well and satisfied.
  3. You have more energy.
  4. Your medical picture is good.
  5. You’ll save money.

That last one may come as a surprise, but good food usually doesn’t cost as much as junk.

Foods that lack nutritional value are expensive. Treats, snacks, fast foods and packaged items such as chips, candy bars and sweets, usually have a higher price tag than fresh or simple foods. There are exceptions of course, but buying oranges, for example, is usually cheaper than buying orange juice. When you’re carefully watching your budget, groceries can take a large chunk out of your weekly allowance. Anyone living within a tight budget will recognize the significance.

Senior women on a budget may see their grocery bills taking a hefty chunk out of their resources. Add in your insurance premiums, medications and out-of-pocket expenses and that nest egg looks mighty small.

I don’t know about you, but I can’t afford to eat poorly. Neither my health picture or my budget allow it.

Guidelines For Nutrition And Wellness

Which is your dinner plate? On the first plate, we have meat, a green vegetable and a fruit. Some scientists claim tomatoes are both fruit and vegetable. Regardless, this is a balanced meal. There is protein, carbohydrate, vitamins and minerals.

On the second plate is a pizza, a popular and delicious choice for family or company. This pizza appears to be vegetarian, and this meal is also nutritious, as well as colorful.

The trick is to find foods that you like, and also meet food requirements. In general, start with a few good and favorite foods, carefully add to your list, and plan your meals accordingly.

Nutrition. You Eat It. It Nourishes You.

The most important list you should make, before your shopping list, is about foods that you like and that are also nutritious. There are hundreds of opinions regarding “proper nutrition”. However, certain foods make all the lists.

  • Fruits – This includes berries and fruits that grow on trees. Fruits are perennials.
  • Vegetables – You may eat the root, stem, leaves, flowers, seeds, tubers or pods. Vegetables are annuals because they are planted every year, from seeds or small plants.
  • Meat and fish – Protein sources are numerous and also include dairy, peanut butter, vegetables and eggs.
  • Dairy – This food group is the subject of controversy, however, it includes milk and milk products, such as cheese, yogurt, butter and cream.

Though I research for accuracy, information regarding food and nutrition are variable. I’m here to give you practical ideas for eating right, feeling good and maintaining wellness. Everyone eats junk food occasionally, but if it’s making you tired, overweight or feeling unwell, find a substitute. Fruits and berries tend to be sweet, nuts generally taste good and veggies dipped in your favorite dressing satisfies a craving. These are staples.

Results

The advantages of eating for wellness are many, but let’s talk about three for now.

  1. Mental and physical health
  2. Energy
  3. Economical

Mental and physical health

For optimum functionality, the body needs to be fully nurtured. Deficiencies result in sluggish, impaired mental and physical activity. You’re feeding multiple parts of the body, that have specific jobs to do. And they work together, to give you optimum abilities, from your head down to your toes.

Energy

Energy is more than wanting to run. Every part of your body has to have fuel. When you’re running on an empty tank, collapse is just around the corner. Here’s a definition of how the body runs.

Metabolism noun. The definition of metabolism is the organic and chemical processes inside of organisms that are necessary to maintain life, or how quickly you burn calories or fat. The chemical processes that let you stay alive are an example of metabolism.

Doctors will tell you that by the time you’re 30 years old, your metabolism has been gradually decreasing. By the time you are 65, you really need to rev up your metabolism with exercise and carefully planned nutrition.

Economical

I mentioned earlier that good foods cost less than junk. I have a nutritional guide that I use for grocery shopping and meal planning.

The Simple Superfoods list, by Sarah Short, is a complete guide to nutritional foods and delicious eating. It lists 30 key superfoods that have the vitamins and minerals we need for optimum health and wellbeing.

The foods are familiar to all of us, and we probably eat some of them each day, and throughout the week. By maximizing our consumption of the foods on this list, we can  feel and look better, and increase our health and fitness.

I choose a number of foods each time I grocery shop, including fruits, vegetables, fish, oils, grains and nuts. I’m not concerned about perfect matches; I eat what I like and vary it according to taste and what’s available.

What could be simpler? The affiliate link is below. I hope you find a few things you like that may be added to your shopping list.

https://97cd0b698p3mxdslobzfmergtd.hop.clickbank.net/

Poor nutrition takes its toll on body, mind and wallet. You can maximize your everyday health picture and your weekly budget simply by jotting down your favorite food items and including them when you go to the market.

Here’s to your health!

Look well. Feel great! Save money.

What could be better?

I love hearing your ideas, comments or questions.

Judy

Working Seniors

For a long time, I’ve been saying I’m retired but still working. That doesn’t make sense. I’m really a working senior so that’s what I’ll call myself from now on. In reality, I’ll probably never retire completely, because I work for two reasons:

  1. I need money to live on.
  2. I like working.

The fact that seniors are living longer, and many are living below the poverty line is daunting. The statistics: 1 in 7 seniors lives in poverty, and 1 in 4 older single women live below the poverty line.

Did we actually never work? Did we never save? The answer to both those questions is decidedly NO.

We’re a hard-working generation. I grew up in a family business and had saving pounded into my head.

The fact is, we are healthier, live longer, and simply got caught up in economics. When wage growth lags behind the cost of living, you can’t keep up. It’s been going on for decades, and is just now leveling off.

Working Seniors
There are thousands of us who never stopped working, or we took a break and then got back in the work force.

I began writing before I applied for Social Security. Having a cash flow was important to me, and necessary. I was widowed fairly young (age 50), and managed my money very frugally. However, all things considered – the economy, family expenses and the cost of living- indicated that I should be earning. So I started writing, published a couple of books and lots of articles, marketed and gave seminars. Now I write blogs and research information about all things senior. I also do affiliate marketing.
Jobs for Working Seniors

References that turned up when I did a keyword search for Working Seniors includes: Home based, jobs, best jobs, part-time and careers. There are many options today for seniors to make extra money. Most of them have been mentioned in some of my previous blog pots. They bear being repeated here.
Internet business – this may be anything, from selling products to information to reviews of places and interests.

Franchises – there are many well-suited for the older generation. (Ask me about references)

Hobbies/Crafts turned into businesses.

Services you can offer for a fee in your community. Such as dog walking, childcare, driving, personal assistant, tutoring.

Counseling others on something you know well.

Teaching community classes, such as cooking, painting, foreign language, really anything you know well.

Affiliate marketing – monetizing on a website by reviewing and advertising products you have tried and like. The last part is important. Make sure you try the product or service it and are happy with it.

A link to a blog post of mine on this subject.https://seniorwomenandmoney.com/best-money-advice-for-stressed-seniors

Here’s my personal choice for learning and earning about affiliate marketing:

https://www.wealthyaffiliate.com?a_aid=bbef2943

Good business knowledge is important, even if your business is small. Here’s good information.

https://www.businessnewsdaily.com/4686-how-to-start-a-business.html

Taxes

Yup, it’s tax time again. Whether you work or not, or are currently taking social security, you should be receiving some documents to file with your taxes.

When your regular income is below the poverty line, you don’t need to file taxes. Be sure you check with a tax person, to be certain of the numbers. You can make an appointment with a tax specialist or company, like H&R Block, or you may be able to set up a phone call and talk to a tax specialist. Have your paperwork handy. This includes anything you receive that is marked Taxes.

Working seniors is the norm today, and this will continue for many years. The number of seniors in the population is increasing by the millions, and many older adults either continue to stay in their jobs, or plan a second job before quitting the first. Women have always struggled financially, earning less than men, and taking time off for child and family concerns. Those facts have impacted how we manage today.  Here is an interesting article that looks at aspects of senior life, particularly money, for both men and women.

https://www.dol.gov/wb/resources/older_women_economic_security.pdf

As the population grows and seniors continue to work and live healthy lives, nearly every industry will be competing to keep up. Housing, health insurance and care, transportation, travel, food, investments, clothing and leisure and entertainment will include the needs and interests of the older generation.

What to do with the money you have and what you may earn is an important consideration. Older people, in general, don’t always ask the hard questions. We’re known for being “nice and trusting” folks. Here’s where scamming comes in. I have written articles about scams that appear on my other websites. Here are links.

https://www.seniorslivingwell.blog

https://www.survive-strong.com

I found this excellent, in-depth article that addresses investing issues for seniors.

https://www.sec.gov/investor/seniors/guideforseniors.pdf

I’m so happy you read my blog post. The links I include are to expand on my information, and give you food for thought, as you navigate senior living.

I love to hear your views and comments. Please write with any quesstions, ideas or stories you may want to share.

Judy

Working Seniors How To Launch A Business After Retirement

Aha! That day has arrived when you are officially retired. No more getting up to the alarm clock, commuting, or planning your summer vacation. You’re free to do whatever you like with your time.

You may have anticipated this day for a while. Hopefully, you’ve made plans. Leisure activities, golfing and gardening, finding a winter home – the possibilities are endless.

Launching a business may not be on that list, but there’s a possibility that it will cross your mind sooner or later. Statistics say 72% of seniors expect to work after retiring. Many need the cash, and having a sense of purpose persuades others. Whatever the reason, let’s take a look at the whole aspect of working online.

Reasons

  • Personal needs

Food, clothing and shelter don’t go away because your financial picture has changed. The basics remain but the real cost may be very different. Whether to stay in your home or move will impact your finances. Are you selling your house and buying elsewhere? Or buying a vacation home for part of the year? That makes two places to keep up.

In the early days of retirement, it’s easy to overspend. The cash flow seems endless, and you’ve waited a long time for this. But the cost of living rises, and a glance at the bottom line may suggest you need to slow down.

  • Extras

Big-ticket items put a large dent in the budget. Fun stuff is what makes this time in life “golden”. But that chunk of money leaves a gaping hole in the financial portfolio.

If you find yourself thinking you need a cash flow, or if you’ve already decided it’s time, here are important points to consider.

Points To Consider

  1. What skills do you bring to the table? Can they be applied to jobs today?
  2. Computer proficiency- good enough to run a small business?
  3. What type of business should you pursue?
  4. Fear of the unknown – little business knowledge. Getting a loan.
  5. How to network.
  6. Keeping records.

Set aside time to carefully consider each of these points. Make notes for yourself. Be honest about each point and come up with a thorough assessment of your needs, abilities, and what you are willing to do long term. Be as detailed as possible, because whatever you choose, it should be manageable, sustainable and profitable.

Once you have your personal evaluation, you can begin to put together the final, results-oriented plan for your business.

Resources abound on the internet. From senior bloggers, websites and magazines that offer ideas, the sky’s the limit. A good one to check out is the blog site, retired brains.

https://www.retiredbrains.com/index.html

There’s an enormous amount of information. I would recommend keeping your personal evaluation sheet handy, and search first for additional facts about your specific interests. You can browse all day, but for now, focus on the results you want to achieve.

Launching a business in retirement should yield what you really need. It shouldn’t drive you nuts. The big question is what will I love doing for a few hours a week and also put some cold cash in the bank account?

Job and computer skills

How can you turn your previous job skills into a business? With a google search and a little imagination, you can figure out how to monetize them on the internet.

Tutorials abound for learning how to build a website, write content, get a following, add a shopping cart and all the other things that a business needs.

A short list:
WordPress – videos, tutorials and the community forum will give you a lot of information and answer questions.

YouTube – thousands of videos on every aspect of computer savvy. Detailed instruction with examples that show you exactly what to do. Usually short and to the point.

Programs, webinars, reports etc. abound, many free or for a small fee. Social media is a great place to look.

Google what you need to learn and check out the presenter’s website. It should indicate how many classes and students, with testimonies about quality. A good reputation is necessary to stay in business. Wherever or however you learn, take notes.

Business types

Today, there are many options to consider. Almost any business can be run on a computer.

  • Selling products and/or information
  • Franchises
  • Craft stores
  • Affiliate marketing
  • Instructional videos on many subjects
  • Teaching
  • Coaching – the choices are endless.

Here are a few outstanding resources to check out. This website presents a broad source of ideas for seniors, about seniors. https://seniorservicebusiness.com

A top magazine with stories and articles on all things business: https://www.entrepreneur.com

An affiliate marketing website where you learn and do: https://www.wealthyaffiliate.com?a_aid=bbef2943

Best business ideas – Nov. 2018 https://www.thebalancesmb.com/the-best-business-ideas-for-working-for-or-with-seniors-2947979

Choose from your list of skills and interests, and give thought to how to turn it into a business. Imagine yourself looking for a product, information, or ideas about a facet of your life (travel, housing). Then consider:

Is it helpful? Is it appealing? Credible? Useful to many? How would you monetize it? Reliable?

Get feedback from friends and family members. They often see things you don’t, and can make suggestions. Remember, you have the final word.

Fear of the unknown/Networking/Loans

If you have little to no experience running a business, panic may set in. The Small Business Administration is a wonderful organization that helps you every step of the way. There are counselors, mentors, tools galore for helping you get started, and followups for maintaining your business.

Webinars and tutorials are also abundant on the internet, as well as Meetup groups for ideas and information. A support group is worth its weight in gold.

I

Recently, the Small Business Administration increased their lending budget by $128 million for women-owned businesses.

This is great news because women are often denied loans.

The SBA helps everyone – men and women – to get their business up and running, and maintain it. Before you cash in your entire savings, remember that a small loan can give you a cushion so you have a good start.

Keeping records

This is imperative. For yourself, for taxes and for building your business, have a system for record keeping. Ideally, you will set it up on the computer. Some people keep records in ledgers with pencil and paper. What matters is that you are consistent and accurate. Speak to a tax specialist, to make sure you are compliant with the law. And have a backup if it’s just on the computer. An external thumb drive is ideal. Separate bank accounts for personal and business are important.

Working from your home may give you some tax breaks, if you designate specific space for running the business. Here’s where you get professional advice.

Sound like it’s getting complicated? It needn’t be. Once it’s up and running, you can get into maintenance mode and watch that cash flow rise.

I’m a retiree who has never stopped working. I can help you brainstorm, research, evaluate choices and manage that fear. Been there…Done it.

Please contact me with any questions or concerns. I’d love to hear from you.

Judy

A “New” Year What Do You Really Want?

January 1st is either a day for new beginnings, or one of recuperation, depending on your New Year’s Eve celebration.

At any rate, it’s time to write your New Year’s Resolutions. Or is it? Do you always do this? Do you carry them out?

There’s some truth in wanting and hoping the next year will be better than the last. The big question is “What do you really want?”

What Matters

The New Year can be a bright, shiny object, something you’re attracted to because it appears to be life-changing. But a date on the calendar won’t change anything. YOU have to change, and that’s where the action starts. A resolution can and should only be made after considerable thought, soul-searching and evaluating.

Reflection is a good place to start. What were your goals for the past year? Did you make progress, accomplish everything or see it slip away? First, focus on the major issues. If you accomplished everything, pat yourself on the back. Think about how you did it.

  • Were you working on something you really loved?
  • Were you more focused?
  • Did you get help with the difficult parts?
  • Was your day better organized?
  • Your work space more conducive to production?

If you fell short of a few tasks, what happened? Here’s where you can analyze your everyday habits. Often, things don’t get done because of interruptions, lack of focus or low interest in what you’re doing. Busy work lacks commitment. Where is it going? What’s the end result?

Moving Forward

Results are the real goals, not lists of tasks to be performed. The tasks may be necessary, but they are a starting point, not an end result. In other words, don’t write down “take webinars, buy ecourses, connect on social media.” Those are regular items you schedule on a daily or weekly planner.

The goal is to increase followers, make a certain income, write a 5-part informational ebook. These are the landmarks that move you forward and build a sustainable business.

As you evaluate the year past, give some thought to the empty spaces in your life. What did you intend to do that got scrapped or just forgotten? Is it something you want to revive? The gaps may be a good place to start as you write new goals. Those landmarks give muscle to your work ethic, so choose carefully. If in doubt, leave it out. A few compelling goals should keep you busy most of the year, and you can always add one or two if you run out of things to do!

A Positive Approach To A New Year

Now that you have a good handle on what you really want, set up a schedule to pursue your chosen goals. The first item on the list of accomplishments asked, “Were you working on something you really loved?” If the big picture doesn’t reflect a true, heartfelt subject-endeavor-issue, you may never move forward enough to feel real satisfaction. What you do in life should bring joy, while meeting the practical needs of money, security and industry.

I’ve learned most of these solid priorities by making mistakes. Experience is the best teacher. When I find I’m bored, restless or can’t write a decent paragraph, I stop and reflect. What do I really love to do? How can I do it and earn at the same time? It’s not a perfect system, but it’s sustainable.

What are your plans for the New Year?

I’d love to hear about your past achievements and any goals or resolutions you’ve made for 2019.

Startup Businesses And Loans

 

 

For women wishing to increase their cash flow after retirement, an internet business may be just the thing. Opportunities abound for home-based businesses, and seniors – men and women – are getting into the game by the thousands. A keyword search for “internet business” turned up the following searches from people looking for information.

  1. Make money online
  2. Internet opportunities make money
  3. Work from home
  4. Best business opportunities online
  5. Best home businesses
  6. New ideas for home businesses

These are just a few of the popular searches, and they include all ages and come from both men and women.

The Startup

For women who are retired and looking for opportunities, an internet business is the ideal place to start. A business may be based on skills you already have, a hobby or something new that offers a learning curve that interests you.

That said, by far, the biggest deterrent for women starting a business is getting a loan. Expenses for a new business go beyond a domain name and a website. Building a website is not for the fainthearted. If it gives you nightmares (me), you may decide to hire a good website designer. Prices here have a wide range, and some very effective sites are fairly simple. However, a good website has many pages of content, and you will probably want images. Then, there are affiliates.

The Daily Maintenance

Building and maintaining your business site takes daily attention.

Marketing is a given. Social media, posting on various sites, reviewing others’ information and keeping your name/brand out there takes time and some expertise. If content writing isn’t your best thing, or you need more than you can comfortably handle, you may hire a freelance writer. Hiring help when you need it is essential to maintain a good business.

The Money Pit

That help often starts with a business loan. Often, women are simply turned down for a loan because they lack experience in running a business. However, many women currently running a profitable business have been denied loans because they’re not considered a “good risk”.

The good news is that recently, the SBA (Small Business Association) increased their lending budget by 128 million for women-owned businesses. This is a huge step forward in supporting women business owners. According to the US Department of Labor Blog, women own close to 10 million businesses. The SBA will also help you with other questions and ideas about starting a business. Here is the link to view more information about women in the work force.

https://blog.dol.gov/2017/03/01/12-stats-about-working-women

When women are able to get a loan to start a business, they contribute to the household income, and can become financially independent. Seventy percent of mothers with children under 18 are in the labor force. If the jobs are secure, they may stay. However, having your own business gives you more than independence; it allows you to determine your own work hours and location, and sets an example of self-reliance.

Retired women have experience and job skills that can be repositioned into an internet business. Hobbies you’re had all your life may also become good startup ideas.

The Picture Today

The fact is, more women than men have college and graduate degrees. However, women still earn 20% less than men. By starting and maintaining a business, you put the ball in your court. That startup fund can make a huge difference in your lifetime achievements.

In a previous blog post, Women Startup Business Solutions, I included a link to a site for finding a good loan for your business.

www.lendingtree.com/Business-Loans/Women

Freelancing and home based businesses are becoming number one choices for earning and making a living. Many people have been able to quit their regular job within a couple years, and live comfortably on the business they started in the living room. Being your own boss is an attractive alternative to working for someone else, who invariably takes home more than you do.

Need a loan? Research the links in this, and my other blog posts, and write a provisional business plan. Putting that ball in your court could be the start of financial independence and lots of personal satisfaction.

If you liked this article, and have a story to tell, please send me a comment. Any questions, just ask. Let’s get a dialogue going. We can learn from one another.

Judy

 

Best Retirement Spots Healthy Safe Affordable

Thinking about retiring? Wondering where to locate? I’ve been in working/retired mode for several years now, and I regularly search for Best Places to Retire. It needs to be affordable, for sure, but I also have my list of amenities that are important. Everyone’s criteria is personal to them, but there are some items that are generally in demand.

Six amenities jump out at me, and they apply to locations here and abroad. Finding your ideal spot on the planet takes some research and a lot of thought. Let’s take a look at the six amenities I found that are priorities.

 

 

 

  1. Affordable – Wonderful spots can be found on nearly every continent, that offer comfortable living at a price you can afford. Google keywords like “retirement spots in the US” or “top ten places abroad”. Choose a few places to investigate, do the math, and start your list. If you will need to increase your cash flow, figure out how you’ll do that and get started before you move, if possible.
  2. Quality of life – This is highly subjective, of course, so give it a great deal of thought. Culture, outdoor adventures, arts and theater, heritage, food and restaurants, shopping, learning opportunities – are only a few of the amenities you may be seeking.
  3. Health – Are you healthy? Is there above average health care in this locality? Are the people who live there generally healthy? Find out about regional health issues and alerts.
  4. Social/Family – Getting acquainted with natives and ex- pats should be reasonably easy. Unless you choose to live in a remote area (your choice), meeting people can be done wherever folks gather. If you have family you want or need to visit often, this is a priority on your list. Accessibility/transportation should be close and relatively easy. An airport, train, good roads or whatever is required should be as hassle-free as possible.
  5. Weather/Climate – Do you want sunshine 300 days a year? I lived in Arizona for fifteen years and loved it. Summer heat had to be dealt with, but you’ll likely have to make some concessions wherever you land. Do you want change of seasons, winter sports, beach, woods, a garden, dry climate or lots of rain? Then there are tornadoes, hurricanes, monsoons and droughts. Aha! The plot thickens.
  6. Safe – The crime rate will be listed in good reports about retirement spots. The kind of crimes, what parts of the country, which cities and the safest places to live. Make careful notes.


Beaches Books History  Sunshine  Bicycles

This is the time to explore, visit some spots, ideally during different seasons, and soak up the flavor of everyday life.

Ask locals about health care and crime. Imagine settling down, seeing the sites and enjoying the amenities. Everyday life is different from a vacation, although it may take a while to realize it.

Do you need a car? How does everyone get around? How much living space do you need?

Picture yourself in various parts of the environment, downtown, off the beaten path, or in a beach house. Now imagine going grocery shopping.

The best retirement spot for you is where you can finally say, “This feels like home”. Whether you’ve chosen a place near or far, you can always change your mind. If you have a side hustle you can do anywhere, just pick up and go.

Remember to do your homework first. Hit the latest reviews on retirement spots around the world.

Job Growth For Women

 

The status of women, work and income is an ongoing and constantly changing theme in how America lives.

Previous to the start of WWII, only18-20% of women worked outside their home. Those who did work were mostly single women who worked as seamstresses, clerks, housekeepers and teachers.

However, the beginning of the 1900’s saw a growth surge of women taking jobs. Many women were seeking employment, fostering the establishment of the Women’s Trade Union League in 1903. It’s primary responsibility was to oversee working conditions. During WWI, women worked as mechanics, police officers and truck drivers.

Background

Workplace conditions continued to be a major concern, and on June 5, 1920, the US Department of Labor’s Women’s Bureau was established.

In the early part of World War II, 143 women went to work in seven airplane factories. Eighteen months later, 65,000 women worked in those same factories. Yes, 65,000. During that war, women left jobs as clerks, seamstresses and teachers to find better paying jobs in factories. Women not only built airplanes and other war materials, they drove trucks and felled trees in the Northwest, becoming female lumberjacks.

Today

Today women comprise 47% of America’s workforce, according to Women and Work Current Facts and Reports from US Department of Labor Women’s Bureau Director Dr. Patricia Greene.

Changes in circumstances and opportunities reflect the attitudes toward and the value placed on women and work. Traditionally, women dominated certain industries and types of work, usually with lower pay. Today, that picture has changed considerably.

Advancements in opportunities for women have been hard won. A recent opportunity is an upswing in apprenticeships. The President’s Task Force on Apprenticeships in America is partnering with industries to expand the numbers of apprenticeship opportunities for women to Learn and Earn, giving them the background and skills to compete for these jobs. You can read all about it here. https://blog.dol.gov/2018/11/16/more-apprenticeships-more-opportunity

What Else Is New?

Affordable Day Care: To help mothers and fathers thrive in these and other opportunities, they must have access to quality, affordable childcare options. The President recently signed a federal budget to increase funding for the Childcare and Development Block Grants from $2.8 billion to $5.2 billion – the largest increase yet.

Business loans: Women entrepreneurs often have a difficult time obtaining a business loan. Recently, the Small Business Association increased their lending budget by $128 million for women-owned businesses.

Statistics: 70% of mothers with children under 18 are in the US labor force.

Mothers provide at least half of a family’s income in households with children under the age of 18.

Summary

Job growth takes time, and is an ongoing endeavor for women in America. The unemployment rate is at an all-time low, and training and education is opening up to prepare women to compete. Women still get paid about 20% less than men, things being equal. There are important issues that need to be addressed regarding the workplace, and the definition and value of “women’s work.”

 

 

 

 

The Money Tree How To Plant And Grow The Seed

We’ve all heard the statement, “Money doesn’t grow on trees.” It was conveniently used to warn us, or admonish us, about our spending habits. Parents were especially good at throwing it out when the kids wanted something frivolous, like designer jeans or a TV in their room.

The truth is, there is no money tree. But there are ways to grow more dollars for your retirement fund, before or after you quit your job. Let’s face it. The fixed income most people have doesn’t keep up with inflation. And seniors are the fastest growing demographic. We need to plant that tree sooner, rather than later.

A simple but exact plan will give you an accurate picture of what you need. Today there are numerous ways for seniors to add cash to their wallets. The first step is to calculate your situation, so you can determine what options are right for you.

Steps to planting the seed.

You have to know all the facts.Financial picture

Get out your calculator, papers, statements, tax records, budgets, financial records, social security information, pensions – anything with information regarding your finances.

First, determine your assets. Exactly what do you have now and what comes in monthly? You can do this on your computer or use paper and pencil, but be diligent. This is tedious, so do it in steps – every evening for an hour, or whatever works. If you find yourself starting to guess at numbers, set it aside. This needs to be accurate.

Write down monthly income from every source. If numbers change from month to month, figure an average. Add totals, then multiply by 12. Enter in two columns – monthly and yearly. This is your basic work sheet.

Figure your expenses and list them in categories. These may be insurance, food, rent/mortgage, entertainment, travel, car expenses, etc. Decide on your own categories, but include everything. I go through my checkbook and credit card and bank statements. If I use cash, I jot down what I bought and include it. I know this sounds picky, but when you see at a glance where your money goes, you’ll have a better idea where you can save or tweak it.

The big picture. Go over your results carefully, and get a feel for what your interests and skills tell you.

 

 

Time To Plant The Seed

Outline several options for growing more money. In fact, take your time, and make notes. This is a huge, life-changing decision, so give your money tree the best possible start.

I know I hammered away at being very diligent, but there’s always room for tweaking and revising. The point is that you’ll devote a lot of time, energy and some money into your cash flow plans. The smoother it goes, the better.

Single women have issues to overcome that can derail them or hold them back. Many senior women are living on very limited budgets, and have less work/credit credentials than men. Getting a loan can be daunting. Here’s a link to a resource for you.

https://www.fundera.com/business-loans/guides/small-business-loans-for-women

You can begin your search for options right here on my website. Check out a couple of my other blog posts that give information and links to women’s issues and earning money. Here is the link to the website.

https://seniorwomenandmoney.com

Posts:

Women Startup Business Solutions – resources for getting money

Best Money Advice For Stressed Seniors – options for a cash flow

Best Part-Time Internet Job After Retirement – the many ways seniors can utilize their skills and interests

There are more. Just click on the above link and surf around.

When I realized I needed an income, I chose writing and affiliate marketing. I began by writing two books about grief and loss. Now I concentrate on blogging and copywriting. I concentrate on issues confronting seniors, as we retire and learn to embrace change. I love doing research and sharing it with everyone.

Affiliate marketing is a new learning curve. My training is with Wealthy Affiliate, a business that teaches, supports and connects people with businesses and with one another. I did a lot of research before I signed on, and find it to be positive, trustworthy and really excellent training. Lessons are on video, with hands-on assignments. The best way to learn and retain. Here’s a logo. If this business idea interests you, check it out. If you want a link, please contact me.

Growing the seed, once it’s planted, is all about being attentive and nurturing. Millions of retirees are in various stages of building businesses and adding cash to their retirement funds. It takes time, but the journey is worth it. You’re worth it!

If you found this post to be informative, give you ideas, encourage you, or if you have questions, please leave a note. I would love to hear from you.

Judy

Women Startup Business Solutions

Women as entrepreneurs are making impressive strides in their endeavor to earn, gain independence and compete for recognition in the business world. According to the US Department of Labor blog (March 1, 2017), there are 74.6 million women in the civilian labor force. Women own close to 10 million businesses.

The reasons for these statistics are well-known. The movement, known as Feminism, revved up to full gear in the middle of the 20th century. Groups and organizations formed to educate, support and give legal counsel to women, as a means to end discrimination and inequality.

Today, more women than men have a college education and earn graduate degrees. And they still earn about 20% less than men. A featured article by Kerry Hannon, Entrepreneurship Expert, on Next Avenue (October 5, 2017) states that women over 50 have distinct advantages as business owners. Let’s take a look at the problems and issues women face, and see what the real picture looks like.

Can I Run A Business?

Many women have worked in business jobs for years, often in decision-making and management positions. Understanding how things work, organizing a department, assigning work loads and dealing with people yield skills and experience that are essential to running a business. These same skills are acquired in numerous work areas. Education, creative workplaces, volunteer jobs, military and managing a home and family challenge women to learn, grow and accomplish. Applying those skills has given enormous opportunities to women who use what they know and ask when they’re stumped.

Where Do I Get Cash?

Women who have acquired funds through a 401k, IRA, or other retirement funds have some money to start a business. Keeping it running is the issue. Women find it much harder to get a loan than men. The Small Business Administration will guide you through the application process and help you get a loan. Having a solid business plan, evidence of profit, and determination are core requirements for success. This is only a general overview, but the list of lenders and resources is long. Check these out and do a little more research if you need to.

 

www.lendingtree.com/Business-Loans/Women

https://www.forbes.com/sites/.

https://www.sba.com/funding-a-business/small-business-loans-for-women/

https://us.accion.org/resource/free-online-resources-women-owned-businesses/

www.ewomennetwork.com

https://www.womanowned.com/

Networking

Possibly the best thing you can do is to join a few organizations. This can be online or in person. Check out Meetups in the library, or ask other business owners about support groups. The local Chamber of Commerce is loaded with ideas and suggestions for business owners. They also put on events for all aspects of business and marketing.

A startup needs tending like a newborn baby. There are solutions both on and off the internet. Older women have experience and persistence on their side.

Go for it.

 

 

 

How To Downsize Your House

There are various names for the process of downsizing: declutter, assign value, let go, make three piles. There are probably more terms, but what it amounts to is getting rid of stuff. We’re a consumer society. We work, we earn, we buy. And whether our purchases are necessities or likeables, after a few years there’s just too much stuff. Most realtors will confirm that we can’t have too many closets or storage areas.

When I moved from Minnesota to Arizona in 2002, the moving van was nearly full. Last month I moved from Sun City West to Scottsdale. Two Men and a Truck brought 26 boxes, 2 chairs and a bicycle. Whew!

I’ve been downsizing for quite awhile. I tossed some things without batting an eyelash. But I felt some pain in letting go of a few things I really liked. There was no particular sentimental value or usefulness to the item. I just liked it. Now someone else is hopefully enjoying it. My guiding light was to keep reminding myself that sharing is a good thing.

The necessity of “getting rid of”

There’s a logical reason for disposing of some of our belongings. Clothes are out of style or no longer fit. Or they’re worn out. Redecorating means out with that sofa you once loved and in with the new. Toys, athletic equipment, hobby materials, kids’ stuff – whatever has filled those closets, storage areas, basement and the garage – needs triage.

If you move, for any reason, you can choose to take it with you, or not. Things to consider:

  1. Will it fit where you’re going?
  2. Will you still need it? Ice skates in Atlanta? Maybe
  3. Is the furniture suitable for the new rooms? Size? Style?
  4. Why are you moving? Kids gone? Job change? Retiring? How much cooking will you be doing? Do you need two cars? How many rooms are you furnishing?

If you’re not moving but simply want to declutter, make a plan. This doesn’t have to be done in three weekends.

A system for keeping/tossing

My plan started with unopened boxes of items I hadn’t looked at for months/years. It doesn’ mean you’ll get rid of all of it. It does mean you don’t use it every day. Sometimes you can decide at first glance what to do. “Why did I ever save this”? is pretty clear. Don’t need it. Don’t want it.

There’s a temptation to close the box, label it “get rid of” and move on. Get rid of it now. In the next few days, look for other “get rid of” things, decide if it’s sell, donate, or trash and just do it. Set up an account on a website where you can sell your stuff. Ebay and Craig’s List come to mind, but there are many more sites emerging. I Googled Sites for selling unwanted items and turned up many suggestions. You can take a look at each one, get recommended lists from users, or enter the name of the item you want to sell. A little research will give you loads of ideas.

The stuff you haven’t seen or used in decades is only a start. It gets personal when you look in closets or on shelves, bookcases, end tables, etc. We have favorite pieces of clothing that just can’t be discarded. Some knick knacks, gifts and family items passed down are things held dear and must be kept. Your home isn’t just a repository, it’s who you are and what you really value.

A good plan for the personal items starts with memories. Where did it come from? Was it a gift from a cherished friend? Was it passed down to you through the family? I have a small vase that was carried from Germany by our first immigrant, 19 year old Dorothea, when her family sent her to make our footprint in America. It’s handed down to first daughters. I have it now, and will be giving it to my oldest daughter soon. Perhaps a child made somehing for you and it’s unthinkable to dispose of it. Instead of a cardboard box for its home, get a nice keepsake box and store those items on a shelf where they’re easily accessable.

The psychology of giving.

Things you sell online will be purchased by someone who wants it. Your buyer has been looking for it, likes it and is willing to pay for it. It won’t end up in a land fill, at least not yet. If an item is too worn to sell but still has some life in it, donate it. There are also various sites for free items. I had a bicycle (before this one) that I couldn’t sell. I listed it on FreeCycle and gave it to a teacher who could walk to school, but occasionally wanted to bike.

Some items demand a decent price. Nice art work, expensive glassware or decorative items can be consigned. Also furniture. Look carefully at consignment shops, read their terms, visit the store and see how mechandise is displayed. Also, how consignees are treated and how customers are helped.

I found a place I was comfortable with and consigned my special things. It’s still in the works and I’m pleased, so far, with the results.

The heart of the matter.

In many households, there are belongings that can be given to family members. Either it was theirs to begin with, or it’s about an aspect of their life. School papers, toys and stuffed animals, sports equipment, gifts from immediate family or hobbies that didn’t stand the test of time. Talk it over and ask what they want to keep. Be honest about what will happen to it if they no longer want it. Then box it up and send it.

Gifting things to friends falls into this category. Perhaps there’s something someone has aways admired. Ask if they would like to have it. Maybe yes, maybe no. But ask.

Neighbors may be happy to take your old tools, lawn mowers, what have you. Be creative. Think of ways to downsize your house, without feeling that you’re throwing out the baby with the bath water. We’re really talking of downsizing your life. It’s not pain-free. Take pictures of everything you want to remember.

Say hello to your new life.

Purging is really the beginning of something new. Things change. Reinventing yourself happens by accident or design. Better that you have time to manage it the way you want it to be. Everyone has had to give up some things they really wanted to keep.

I invite you to share your stories here, tell us how you were able to let go, what was painful or how a gift made someone happy.

I wish you well,

Judy

 

 

 

Best Money Advice for Stressed Seniors

Will I outlive my resources?

The biggest worry for seniors today is whether they’ll outlive their money. It’s a reasonable concern. The options for retirement are numerous and varied. Retire early. Retire later. Delay social security. Move to a retirement community. Stay where you are and divide your time in several places. A winter home somewhere. A rental overseas. No wonder seniors are stressed. How does money fit into this picture?

The US Department of Labor Blog offers considerable advice on the subject of retirement. One relevant link states “it pays to understand how your savings and benefits work”. In fact, the www.dol.gov is one of the best resources for all things “money”. The website allows you to surf around and get information that includes charts, graphs and checklists for your own calculations. Tweaking the numbers and making critical changes to your saving and spending habits could give you considerable peace of mind, and allow choices you thought were closed.

Financial tips for women

Senior women have less money and more to worry about than men. When couples retire, they usually have joint investments, along with social security checks and possibly a pension. It’s likely that the pension is a benefit from the husband’s job.

It’s important to understand that pensions are retirement benefits – not death benefits. If the husband dies first, his pension usually stops. It’s also important to consider that health issues or other unexpected expenses may have diminished the savings meant for both of them.

One in four older senior women lives below the poverty line. Ten thousand Baby Boomers turn 65 every day. This will continue for 20 years. And only one-third of women 65 + years old is married. That’s a lot of older, single women!

Getting good, reliable and personal financial advice takes some research. Women usually were not given good – if any – advice about saving, investing and retirement planning. It was assumed that someone else – husband, father, brother or uncle – would “see to it that she was allright”. Today, companies are waking up. Women are earning, saving and handling their money. But it’ only a beginning. Much more needs to be done. Women need to know what men know.

A good way to find a professional financial planner who will teach you, not just “take care of it”, is to ask women for references. Women in business or friends who have their own accounts can give you some tips and a few names. In your initial conversation, stress that you want to learn the basics.

Websites are also excellent resources. Business sites, money blogs and Baby Boomer newsletters have current articles concerning the cost of living and your piggy bank.

Learning and Earning

Here’s the good news. There are many ways to increase your monthly income. The days when retirement meant NO MORE WORKING are over. Seventy-two percent of older people intend to work during retirement. Quit one job – start another. Often, that second job is already in place when the retiree actually quits.

Turning a hobby or craft skill into a business is a top choice for many seniors. Anything you make by hand can be sold on a website. Computer skills not so great? Youtube is the biggest and most versatile classroom around. There are literally thousands of videos, easy to follow, that will teach you enough to get started. Local colleges, organizations and businesses teach skills for computers, phones and ipads.

Skills you used on the job for many years may be converted into a teaching or coaching career. Pass along what you know to others, online or in a classroom situation. Libraries, community centers and local colleges are great places to look for opportunities to put together a learning experience. Usually, there are categories, from baking cupcakes to painting to carpentry. Choose the number of classes it will require for completion, what to charge and sign on.

There are franchises just for seniors to help other seniors. They are usually affordable to buy into, and the parent company is hands-on for long-term help. These may include moving advice, home health assistants (not medical), or businesses offering a variety of services. If you have some skills and/or an interest in learning, you can design your own business venue. Online or in person, just use your imagination. Pet walking/sitting, house cleaning, running errands or shopping may be exactly what you want.

Stress and anxiety

People who have had a regular paycheck their whole lives can find it extremely difficult to worry about money matters. Many individuals and couples do considerable planning before retiring, making sure they have all the bases covered. Despite that fact, things can go wrong. The economy can take a huge dip, health issues may arise, or family situations may throw a monkey wrench into the best of plans.

Losing sleep, getting headaches or ulcers or becoming depressed is not uncommon. Sometimes a little tweaking isn’t enough. It may be time to call in the professionals. Financial planners, counselors or legal advice may be necessary. Ask for help when you need it. There are pro bono people who can give you good advice. Professionals can also throw you a lifeline, and start you on the road to recovery. There are millions of older citizens today who are struggling to carve out a lifestyle that delivers enjoyment.

Resources at hand

Organizations you may already belong to are often packed with fun and affordable things to do. Take a look at the fine print or the offerings on their websites to see what’s going on. Travel, hobby/interest groups, sports, leisure and day trips abound. Get involved, get acquainted and get going. Socializing is a key component to your new life.

Seniors are living longer and healthier lives. It’s not just golfing and grandchildren anymore. Many people become expats and live abroad at least half of every year. Paris anyone? Today, you can live without a car (I did for 2 years), and get your walking quota in with no problem. Shopping online is becoming the norm, and a bicycle is considered a necessity for many folks.

Hey, this is something we look forward to for years. Embrace change and live your best life.

 

 

 

Please ask a question or leave a comment.

Financial Help For Women Crunching Numbers

The financial picture for women today has changed significantly since 1950. Women’s participation in the labor force rose from 33.9 percent in 1950 to 57 percent in 2014. And the number of women 55+ who are working has seen a particularly large increase, starting in the year 2000. Many women work because they wish to, and plan to pursue careers their whole lives. But for older women, the picture is different. When a woman loses her spouse or partner, she also loses much of her resources.

The need for help with finances is especially critical for older women. When a senior woman becomes single through death or divorce, her expenses aren’t cut in half. Actually, they are only decreased by about one-fourth to one-third. At the same time, when you crunch the numbers, her resources decrease by 37 to over fifty percent. The big ticket items are still there – housing, car expenses, insurance and taxes, but the cash flow is severely compromised. Where does she turn for help?

 Main reasons for problem

These facts usually come as a surprise to the newly single female. Her understanding of money matters is probably small. Older women have very little financial information. Earning and saving was something men managed. They were the primary bread winners and her work patterns were considerably less. Here are some facts to consider:

  • Women took time out to care for children or family members needing help.
  • Women’s pay was – and still is – less than men’s.
  • Women rarely had jobs with pensions.
  • Women’s savings were considerably less.

When a couple both retire, there are usually two social security checks and possibly a husband’s pension. Investment funds provide a foundation for a secure future. That may be jeopardized if there are health expenses not covered by insurance, or they don’t watch their budget. If the husband predeceases his wife, she will have less going forward than anticipated. If his pension stops with his death, which is usually the case, her finances are severely compromised. Pensions are retirement benefits, not death benefits.

The result of these disparities is that today, one in four older single women lives below the poverty line. Where does she go for help?

What the experts say

Today in America, only one-third of women sixty-five or older is married. So there are millions of single women needing help. Fortunately, the financial world is gradually becoming aware of the facts. Magazines, articles and studies address the subject regularly, often as a warning, and sometimes with concrete suggestions for fixing it. Government publications and websites are informing readers that this problem will only get worse if no changes are made.

The time to help women, of course, is before they retire. Ideally young boys and girls would both be taught about money matters. Children should grow up understanding the basic facts of earning and saving. The increase of females in the job market is only going to grow, and her financial plan should be individualized to her needs and goals. Joint plans can co-exist alongside a couple’s individual investments.

Fixing your money crunch

If you are nearing retirement, carefully go over all your assets. This doesn’t just mean your checking account and an IRA or 401k. Take a little time and determine the value of everything you own. Most likely there are items you no longer need or want. Pieces of furniture, pottery, glassware, or sports equipment can be sold online or by household sale. It may not seem like much, but you can increase your cash flow this way until you figure out a more permanent solution.

If a couple has a financial planner, that person should see to the needs and goals of each person individually, as well as a couple. Women need to know how much they will have, where it is (what kind of investment), and how it should be handled. According to the Department of Labor US government, “44 percent of people who tried to figure out their financial futures ended up changing their retirement plans.”

Today there are classes and tutorials on every aspect of planning and investing. Community classes, online webinars or e-books and informational investment gatherings will educate you on finance. You also may be able to get help for personal questions and situations. The best option is to ask knowledgeable people, and keep asking until you get the information you need. This includes asking your spouse, who may want to simply assure you that everything is in order. Women need to know the specifics.

After retirement

Let’s say you planned for your retirement, with or without a partner. Funds were adequate for you to live the way you wanted at this time of life. But life can throw a monkey wrench into the best of plans. Your finances begin to dwindle too rapidly, you find yourself single and you don’t trust anyone. HELP!

If you know someone who seems to have a good grasp of their own finances, have a talk. Get a reference or two from friends who are pleased with their investment planners. Research ways to bring in some money. There are many options available and the internet is loaded with ideas. Really think carefully about what you would be comfortable doing and make a chart or keep clear notes.

At the end of the day

The numbers can be crunched again and again. See what makes sense for you. Financial firms have tests you can take to calculate your needs and possibilities. It should be a beginning, not a final decision, but you can compile information and look for common ground. You may want to try something and see how it works for you. It’s ok to be an explorer. The good thing about being in the older generation is that we can lean on our years of experience. Experts consider this a clear asset for seniors starting businesses.

Only you can make your golden years “golden.” It’s your time in life to kick up your heels and just enjoy. Don’t forget to have fun.

Share your story or leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you.