Author Archive

• Thursday, April 13th, 2017

Thirty-Four years ago when I was contemplating a change of careers, I learned that the best way to find a new job was to network through personal contacts. I began with 5 people I knew and using certain information interviewing techniques, I was offered jobs in fields I never would have known about. Today we have LinkedIn, job boards and placement services. But my clients over 50 tell me that they send out hundreds of resumes, and respond to many job postings and never get a response. I work with them to figure out what they really have to offer in the way of skills and experiences and then help them develop an approach to find the work that’s right for them. Otherwise they are wasting their time trying to fit into other people’s boxes rather than creating their own box. Sometimes actually no box at all!

Recently Chris Farrell of Market Place Money spoke to the Encore event here in Delray Beach about how baby boomers are changing the way we think about work. In this article for Forbes magazine he confirms that the method I teach still is the most productive way of finding new work: https://www.forbes.com/sites/nextavenue/2017/04/10/the-problem-with-job-boards-for-older-job-seekers.

• Tuesday, April 11th, 2017

I have written before about the fact that creativity doesn’t decrease with age as long as one continues to use your mind in creative ways. This has been documented in various scientific studies, but a recent article in the New York Times by Pagan Kennedy, author of “Inventology, How We Dream Up Things That Change The World” she told of John Goodenough, 94, who has just filed a patent on a new kind of battery that could revolutionize electric cars. She cited studies that show that in the U.S. the highest value patents often come from the oldest inventors, over 55. While there is certainly plenty of creativity among the young, a study of Nobel physics laureates found that most made their discoveries after 50 and the peak of creativity for Nobel winners is getting higher age-wise every year. As Mr. Goodenough said “You have to draw on a fair amount of experience in order to be able to put ideas together.” When I work with retirement planning clients I remind them that they have the power to create what they want in their lives and to create new things using their life experiences. This is something people tend not to believe and need to be reminded of. To read the article in full: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/07/opinion/sunday/to-be-a-genius-think-like-a-94-year-old.html?

• Sunday, January 29th, 2017

Over the past two years I have been going in several new directions. In addition to retirement planning, coaching and workshops, I created and copyrighted a program for a healthy approach to lifetime financial planning for people early in their careers and am preparing to launch it as an e-book. I am also exploring offering it to employers as a benefit for younger employees to help retain them. Retirement planning is more than savings and investing. It should be a plan to include the six key areas of life planning: career and work, health and wellness, family and relationships, leisure and social, personal development as well as finance and insurance. Finally, with a group of dedicated volunteers, we have created Encore Palm Beach County, a new nonprofit focused on helping people over 50 connect with new work, paid and volunteer. We have a new website: www.encorepbc.org. And we are sponsoring a great program on February 16 with Chris Farrell, Economics Editor of MarketPlace Money and author of “Unretirement: How Boomers are Changing How We View Work, Community, and the Good Life”, as speaker. Chris believes that our aging population has much to contribute economically to our society rather than being a drain on it, as many believe who paint pictures of financial doom and gloom. You can register to join us at www.encorepbc.org/event!

• Monday, October 19th, 2015

For the last several months, I have been chairing a committee interested in creating a new non-profit dedicated to helping the over-50 person create new careers, paid and unpaid, that have social impact. It will be called Encore Palm Beach County and the focus will be helping people discover their interests in making a difference and matching them with the needs of non-profit organizations in Palm Beach County. We have studied similar programs like this around the country, all of which are inspired by the Encore movement, “a movement to tap into the skills and experience of those in midlife and beyond to improve communities and the world”. This has been an outgrowth of my work with Create Your Best Retirement. We are in the initial stages, but hope over the next few years to develop funding and staffing. A long way to go yet, but exciting!

• Friday, April 17th, 2015

Everyone will face this decision eventually.  Some will have a mandatory retirement date, some will lose their jobs, some will have spouses who have already retired and want the other to retire also, and some will never retire.  But that’s not most people.  You can take tests online to estimate how long you will live.  You can uses various calculators to decide when to take Social Security.  And, of course, financial advisors can help you plan financially so you won’t run out of money, hopefully, before you die.  After spending the last 6 months talking with people about working with me to develop a retirement plan for how they want to live in retirement, it has become clear to me that people are still focused only on financial planning.  But they have it backwards.  Instead of plucking numbers out of the air, wouldn’t it be better to give some thought to how you want to live in retirement:  where you want to live, what activities you want to enjoy, how much travel you want to do, whether you want a new career or to develop a new skill, etc., and then put a number on what that scenario would require financially?  If you did, perhaps then, your financial advisor could do a better job of helping you create the resources needed.  Here is a good link to a recent article in Investment News that discusses the reality experienced by many of those already retired.

• Monday, March 16th, 2015

All over the country retiring baby boomers are creating new careers, new businesses, new volunteer ventures to solve social problems.  You can read their stories on Encore.org. 

• Friday, August 22nd, 2014

It seems that everyone is offering advice on how to plan for retirement, where to live, what to do, how to pay for it.  But I’m noticing that many of those offering the advice, are younger and not yet retired.  I have no problem with younger people.  In fact, I make it my business to have younger friends, and to be active where I can be among younger people.   I like to think that it keeps me youthful.  But there’s nothing like experience to back up your advice.  So I started thinking about what I have experienced in the 10 years since I thought I had retired.  I made a list, and, looking it over, I’m pretty pleased at what I see.  For one thing, I have been very busy!

In 2005, I sold my accounts at Ameriprise to a younger advisor and am I glad I did!  The real estate and stock market declines beginning in 2007 would have made it very hard to do so later.  But retirement wasn’t really planned.  In fact, I thought I had retired in 1994 when I moved to Florida after a career in commercial banking.  I thought I’d play tennis, bridge and golf, maybe sell a little real estate.  That’s not how it worked out.  Within two years, I could see that selling real estate was not really my thing, and while I loved tennis, I couldn’t play it all day every day, and golf was boring.  Fortunately, a friend referred me to Dean Witter, and at 56 I got my insurance and securities licenses and started a new career, eventually shifting to Ameriprise.  With the lessons learned from my “early retirement”, why did I retire again?  Well, it was opportunity meeting need.  I was in the middle of a major renovation of my home due to termites and wood rot, and I guess I was tired and frustrated, and in the middle of it all we had Hurricane Wilma.  I had a dream one night that a person asked me what I really wanted, and I responded “Less responsibility and more adventures!”  Two days later an experienced advisor offered me a decent price for my accounts.  I accepted and spent the next three years working part-time in a familiar environment until the Great Recession hit.

OK, what now?  Based on my “retirement” experiences and my work at Ameriprise, I had already decided to start a business coaching people about the non-financial aspects of planning for retirement and obtained certification to become a Retirement Coach.  But then, I was invited to join another agency to do financial planning, investments, and insurance once again.  It was a great experience working with bright younger people and I saw, once again, that I really like working with people to help them achieve their goals.  So, I resigned to focus on creating my new business.

I’ve also done most things pre-retirees are encouraged to do.  In fact, I think I am a poster child for the “New Retirement“!  I continued to play tennis, travelled extensively, wrote my memoirs, continued enjoying the arts, film, theatre, and opera.  I sold two properties and downsized to a small villa, became a certified Toastmaster, focused on my spiritual development as a member of Unity church, experienced the mysteries of Medicare with two operations, have lost old friends to death and disability but have made new friends, replaced tennis with water aerobics and swimming when I started to have injuries.  I’ve experimented with living in another country (Panama where my son has a house) and even obtained a pensionado visa to live there, but have decided to stay in the U.S.  I’ve been a community activist, leading residents in a nine year fight against the development of a golf course, defeating it twice.  I taught a course in financial planning at my church.  Recently, I created an online course in lifetime financial planning for a university to offer to alumni.  Having to learn how to create Power Point presentations in order to do that, I’ve gone on to create additional presentations to offer in workshops locally, and am currently thinking about offering an online course for the public on a new website.

I have written in earlier posts on how the ability to create new things in your life continues into your later years.  Recently, I remembered that this has always been an interest in my life:  how to create what we want to experience.  I realized that this interest goes back to the 70’s when I took consciousness-raising courses at Yale, EST training in the 80’s, study at the Center for Creative Leadership in No. Carolina, and a course called Technologies in Creating with Peter Senge at MIT.  One of the techniques in retirement planning is to unearth those patterns in your past life which speak to your true interests.  Obviously, creating new things is something I enjoy.  So, all my workshops are based on the premise that we have the ability to create what we want in our lives, even into the later years.

 

 

• Wednesday, June 18th, 2014

I have just finished creating an on-line course in lifetime financial planning for a large university to be offered in January of 2015 as a pilot program.  It is the first program of its kind to be offered to students and alumnae created by an alum.  It grew out of a course I had expected to give several years ago for a community college, which never took place.  But I had pulled together all the material based on my experience as a financial advisor with Ameriprise Financial and my firm belief in financial planning.   And so I used it in creating this course.  It has taught me again that no experience is ever wasted!  The course is geared to working people in their 20’s and 30’s to enable them to have a global view of the financial challenges awaiting them because if some things are not addressed in the early years, later is too late to correct them.  I hope to help people avoid problems so that some day they CAN afford to retire.  For me, it forced me to learn and grow in retirement through developing new computer skills in order to use their technology, and creating a Power Point presentation proved useful.  As one thing leads to another, I am using those new skills to create two other workshops to offer this Fall in my local area:  a workshop on Creating Your Best Retirement, Creating The Encore Career, as well as a modified version of the financial planning program.  In addition, individual coaching sessions will be available to people attending the workshops.  All the workshops are based on my core belief that we are all capable of creating new things in our lives!

• Monday, February 10th, 2014

In my previous post, I mentioned that I had an operation after downsizing to my new home.  What needs mentioning also is a subject that you don’t read much about in the articles on retirement planning.  It falls under the Estate Planning topic.  Having all your important documents in order in the event of your death is not something a lot of people want to think about.  But death comes to all, and sometimes sooner than planned.  I had already downsized so that my son would have less to deal with when that time came.  It only made sense to do something that had been on my mind for sometime:  create “THE BOOK” or the “Get Your Affairs in Order Book”.   Although my son had a general idea of where all my important papers were, they were disorganized.  So I bought a three ring binder, copied all documents that he would need, and organized them by category.

There was a list of all contacts:  doctors, accountants, lawyers, minister, condo association, cleaning help, handyman, etc., as well as friends and family with phone numbers.  A list of all computer passwords.  The financial section had information on checking and savings accounts, with information on bills to be paid, either electronically or by check, and a copy of things like the property tax bill which is paid only once a year.  The insurance section had a copy of the declaration page for each kind of insurance such as Medigap, home owners, auto, life and long term care policies, along with contact phone numbers.  A copy of my Social Security benefit statement was included along with instructions on how to contact them.  Another section had a copy of my will, the power of attorney that allows him to act on my behalf, designation of health care surrogate and living will, along with final wishes for funeral, cremation, hospice care, etc.  Many of these documents can be found online with those current for each state’s laws.  A document called “Five Wishes” can also be found online which gives specific instructions for your care if terminal.  Documents relating to the purchase and sale of various properties in the last year was also included for tax purposes.  Miscellaneous information included things like contact names of dealers for the sale of collectibles and information on how to sell an inherited home.

Wow!  That sounds like a lot, but just sitting down one Saturday and pulling it all together got it done, and made me think about what really mattered to me.  Using a three ring binder makes it easy to pull out and insert pages as information needs updating.  Finally, I included a series of memoir pieces I wrote over the last year about my life that I thought my son would find interesting to read sometime. My life now is a lot simpler than it would have been 10 or 20 years earlier or there might have been a lot more that need including.

Many people avoid thinking about their death, particularly young people.  As we get older, we get more realistic about the matter.  Even so, this is something that could get neglected and create havoc for children trying to handle matters later.  I was particularly sensitive to this since my son’s father had died three years earlier and it was a big job for him to handle by himself.  Before the operation, we sat down and walked through the book quickly.  While he probably hated thinking about all that, he knew where everything was, and that he didn’t need to worry about it again until the time came.  For my part, as a planner and a parent, I felt I had done everything I could to make it easier for him, sort of a last gift, as it were.  The best part?  I’m still here!

 

• Friday, January 31st, 2014

Several things happened this week to cause me to think more about downsizing.  Friends I hadn’t seen for many years dropped in on their way back to Ohio from the Florida Keys.  They loved my new home and we talked about “downsizing”.  It became clear that the husband was all in favor of it and living “lighter” and closer to doctors and cultural amenities.  Their home is on a lake, beautiful, but very isolated.  The wife, on the other hand, went on about how, the grandchildren loved visiting them and the “armada” of boats they had to entertain them with.  This conversation was an example of the problems married couples can have in reconciling their individual preferences when it comes to downsizing and where to live.

For myself, I was feeling very grateful that I had moved when I did, leaving the big two-story home with all the stuff, as I ended up having an operation the first week of January with a recovery period of 6 to 8 weeks.  So much easier doing that in a one story smaller place!

The next day I came across an article in the Wall Street Journal by Tom Lauricella titled “Downsize a Home Sooner, Not Later”.  My motivations for downsizing were multiple:  I wanted to make life easier for myself, I wanted to make it easier for my son to deal with things when I passed, I wanted to save money in living expenses, and I wanted to do it while I was strong and healthy enough since downsizing is hard work.  The article, however, while acknowledging all the reasons why people might want to downsize, focused heavily on the economics of making the move.

“When it comes to downsizing in retirement, “if it makes sense, don’t wait,” says Steven Sass, an associate director at the Boston College Center for Retirement Research.  Retirees may feel they are incurring additional expense by trading a home with a paid-off mortgage for a rental or condo with monthly maintenance fees, but Sass says just the savings in reduced property taxes alone could offset the new monthly fees.  In addition, there are the savings from reduced maintenance costs such as roof  or heating system replacement and landscaping costs.  Investing the difference in sales costs by buying a less expensive home frees up funds that could be added to savings enabling the retiree to withdraw additional funds for living expenses.  Those trying to assess the financial benefit of downsizing can go to http://squaredaway.bc.edu/ and click on the “housing” link to find a tool to analze the financial impact of making a move.  The Boston College Retirement Center website has a lot of other useful information also.

While certainly not a strong motivation for downsizing for most people, there is a macro economic factor also.  Downsizing to smaller homes, frees up larger, older homes, often in good school districts for young, growing families at prices that would be less than for new construction.  Certainly my move from a 2400 sf. two story home with space I didn’t use, made it possible for a young family with two children move into a lovely neighborhood with green spaces and a good school district for probably $100,000 less than a similar newly-built home in a less central location would have cost.  I got what I needed and saved at least $1000/month in living expenses plus the looming cost of a new roof, and the young family got what they needed.  Everyone wins.  Unless you are wealthy, for most people these days, maintaining an expensive property so that visiting children and grandchildren can enjoy it from time to time, is an expensive luxury.  Do the math!