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

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.