Testing Your Retirement Budget

Testing your retirement budget

If you've always enjoyed spending right up to the limits of your income (or even exceeding them) whilst you've been working, how will things need to change for you when you retire?

Most people have to have some sort of budget in place once they retire - after all, there aren't many people who would tell you that they have so much money from their retirement income that they'll never again have to worry about their cash flow.

If you're worried about your ability to cope on your retirement income, give it a trial run for six months now to see how you get on. This is easy enough to do:

1. Find out what your projected retirement income will be.

2. You're going to need two bank accounts. The first is your current account which you're going to use as your 'pension account', i.e., the account in which you keep your projected retirement income and the money which you'll live on for the next 6 months. The second account will be a deposit account and you'll 'sweep' the difference between your net salary and your pension into this.

So, for example, if you were expecting a total monthly retirement income of £1000 and you receive a salary of £2000, on pay day, you sweep the excess £1000 from your current account into your deposit account, leaving yourself £1000 to live on for the next month.

3. After you've done this for 3 months, you'll be able to tell if you're going to be able to cope on your projected retirement income or not. If it becomes obvious that you're going to struggle, you have time to do something about that situation now. Maybe you need to have a word with your employer and arrange to continue working a little longer to accrue more pension savings. Or maybe you could get a part-tine job somewhere else. Or start a retirement business.


How to Make a Fresh Start

Fresh start
Is your retirement in the doldrums?  Do you sometimes wish you'd never retired at all and feel that your life has taken a downward turn since the day you left your job?  Do you wish you could start your retirement over again - and make a better job of it this time?

Sometimes, you've been looking forward to retirement for so long, that you blow it.  Completely.  

Let me explain.

When you looked ahead to your retirement, you saw the opportunity to chill out, spending leisurely mornings with coffee and the paper bed and, finally, doing only the things you really wanted to do (after a lifetime of doing what your bosses wanted you to do).

So, when retirement arrived, you did just that. You chilled, you read the paper and you watched a lot of TV (or played a lot of golf).  And, even though a niggling voice somewhere inside yourself was telling you that there must be more to retirement than this, you ignored it in favour of 'just a few more days of relaxation'.  Which was followed by 'just a few more days...' until, before you knew it, a couple of years had passed, you'd piled on the pounds from all that sitting around, lost contact with 90% of the people you knew and your world had shrunk to the size of your living room.

Okay, so you’ve thrown your hands up in the air and declared that something must change. You’re ready for a fresh start. While your current situation may be challenging, the intention of making a fresh start is a good sign. It’s much better than giving up and resigning yourself to watching daytime TV for the rest of your life!

What do you need to change? Is it just one area of your life or do you need a complete makeover?

You can make a fresh start in any area of your life:

  1. Home. Consider giving your living arrangements a makeover. You could move to a new home or change your existing home. Move the furniture or purchase new stuff. Paint the walls a new colour. Convert a spare room into a room with a purpose. It could be dedicated to music, arts and crafts, or meditation.

  2. Finances. Create a budget. Get a retirement job. Talk to a financial advisor. Start an online business. Address your debt. Start offering a service that people need. Look at your current financial challenges and finally address them with a detailed, step-by-step plan you can stick to.

  3. Social life. It’s time to say goodbye to the people in your life that drag you down and replace them with those that provide a boost to your life. Meet some new friends and try a few new social activities. Work on your dating skills and catch the partner of your dreams.

  4. Health and body. Hire a personal trainer or join a gym. Find a diet that works for you. Address any health issues you might have. Visit the doctor and the dentist. Try a new sport. Just get out and move your body!

  5. Belief structure. Investigate a new religion or philosophy. Learn how to meditate. Question your beliefs and find a purpose. Read a good book each month and apply what you learn.

These are just a few ideas. You can also address your current relationships, attitude, or fears. It isn’t necessary to change everything at once. In fact, addressing one area at a time will yield better results.

Useful tips for changing your life:

  1. Develop systems that support your desired change. For instance, if you want to meditate daily, create a schedule that ensures you’ll be compliant. Use a timer so you won’t worry about spending too much time or falling asleep.

  2. Visualize the change. See yourself with a healthy body or bank account. Allow yourself to feel successful and proud. Project yourself into the future and enjoy the changes you’ve made.

  3. Be willing to fail from time to time. It’s not easy to change. In fact, your brain is highly resistant to change. You’re doing well enough to be alive, and that’s good enough for your brain. It views any change as potentially dangerous, so it’s not going to allow you to change easily. Expect that you’ll struggle during the process.

  4. Commit to persevering. Make sure that you succeed.

  5. Be kind to yourself. Celebrate each victory, no matter how small. Give yourself a pat on the back when you deserve it. Any progress is great news, so enjoy it.

The decision to make a fresh start can be daunting - especially when we're not as young as we used to be. If you're not happy with the way things are, it's never too late to try something different. Before you do anything irreversible, however, just give careful thought to the changes you want to make. It’s a mistake to believe that any change is a good change. There are many changes you could experience that are worse than your current situation. Make conscious decisions rather than clinging to the first log that floats by.

Making a fresh start can result in a new and exciting experience. Aim high and be diligent. You’ll be glad you did.

 


6 Tips for Becoming an Entrepreneur Later in Life

Boomer bizEntrepreneurs aren't limited by age, and you can start a successful business at any stage of your life. However, becoming an entrepreneur later in life has its own unique challenges.
 
Consider these tips for starting a business as a senior:
 
1. Avoid allowing others to limit your goals. As you get older, you may have more people in your life who try to persuade you away from the entrepreneur lifestyle. 
 
* Your family and friends may have good intentions, but they can also limit your dreams.
 
* They may remind you that it's more difficult to start a new business as you get older because you have other responsibilities. Children, aging parents, and others can take up a lot of your time and present challenges when starting a business. However, knowing that these challenges exist can also help you make contingency plans for when time is tight. 
 
2. Ignore your age. Dreams don't have expiration dates, and entrepreneurs don't have age limits. As they say, "you're only as old as you feel." So if you feel like taking on the rigors of starting a new business, let your age be the last thing on your mind as you move forward with your business plans.
 
3. Be open to learning from others. The most successful entrepreneurs are open to learning new ideas.
 
* Stay up to date on new advancements in your field, either by keeping in the loop yourself or by hiring employees or contractors that incorporate this into their tasks.
 
* Finding a mentor with successful business experience in your field can help your new business see profits quickly and plan for successful growth.
 
4. Get your family involved. Successful entrepreneurs often have their family members involved in the business. 
 
* Do your children want to help you build a business? Does your spouse have interesting ideas and want to collaborate with you? Your family can help you make your dream come true.
 
5. Consider the impact of the business on your personal life. If you're still working, how will the business affect your family and ability to continue working your regular day job? 
 
* A new business venture may be exciting, but it has consequences.
 
* It's important to consider the full impact of the new business on your personal life. Will you be able to spend time with your children and spouse as you launch the business?
 
* Your personal finances are another area that can be deeply affected by a new business. How do you plan to pay for the business? If your plan involves draining personal finances or getting new loans, then this can affect your entire family. It's important to discuss the changes with them before you take action.
 
6. Consider the impact of your parents on the business. As your parents age, they may become dependent on you. Can you handle the complexities of being an entrepreneur and caring for your parents?
 
* Younger entrepreneurs may have decades before they have to worry about caring for their aging parents. However, as an older entrepreneur, you don't have this luxury.
 
* You may have to handle multiple roles at the same time. How will you balance your lifestyle and finances to manage everything? Can you afford to start a new business if your parents need your help?
 
* Your parents can have a serious accident or health issue that makes you responsible for taking care of them. The expense of this situation can be detrimental to your efforts with your new business.
 
You can become a successful entrepreneur and build a strong business at any age. However, it's important to stay aware of the challenges that come with being an entrepreneur and make plans that will help you overcome these challenges.
 
Check out our Boomers Starting Businesses blog for more ideas and information about starting a business in your retirement...
 



How to Become an Online Infopreneur

Solution Depositphotos_13165668_s-2015Information marketing has taken the internet by storm. As more and more people begin utilizing digital information, and reading and learning online, more opportunities open up for information marketers. If you have specialty information or have a passion for a topic, information marketing may be the perfect business model for you.

What Is an Online Infopreneur?

An online infopreneur is someone who makes a living selling information. It can be a very profitable business model. An example is someone who is an expert when it comes to bird training. They have a passion for or a strong interest in training birds. They might create training manuals, videos and courses on how to train your pet bird. The information could range from beginner to advanced tricks like how to train your parrot to play dead. Sounds crazy, right? I mean, who needs to train their parrot to do that? Believe it or not, there’s a market for it.

An online infopreneur’s first job is to determine what their passions are and if there’s a market for it. You might begin by making a list of the topics you’re knowledgeable in or passionate about. Then you begin your research. Using keyword research tools and investigating online, you’d look to see if people are searching for that topic.

Continuing with the parrot training topic, perhaps that infopreneur began with a passion for birds. They found during their research that many people were struggling with their exotic birds. They were biting and screaming and being generally unruly. This infopreneur then saw that there weren’t a lot of other businesses providing information on the topic. In short, there was a good demand for the information but not much supply. This is the perfect opportunity to create an information marketing business.

So your first step is to find your interests and passions. Your second step is to research them for profitable niches. A niche is a specialty topic. It can also be a demographic like teen bird trainers or bird training in the desert south-west. Or it can be a skill level - beginner bird training, for example.

Once you’ve chosen a niche, it’s time to create your website and information products. Your website will be dedicated to helping your audience learn what they need to know or want to know about your topic. You might post free article or video content. You may offer free reports and digital downloads.

Once you have people interested and accessing your free information, you can take them to the next step which is to offer them a product to buy. Often this is an ebook, an online course or a video series. The information products that are successful generally solve a problem for their audience. For example, “How to stop your parrot from biting.” You may uncover common problems during your research or you may need to do additional research to find the answers.

If you have a passion, interest or specialty knowledge about a topic, consider using that to create an information marketing business. It’s a great way to make an income. Some information marketers have gone on to make millions from their books, courses and videos. Here's to your retirement business success!




How to Turn Your Jewellery Making Hobby into a Successful Retirement Business

Hobby Depositphotos_55029521_s-2015
Do you enjoy making jewellery and wish there was a way to make money from it? Good news - there is. You can turn your jewellery making hobby into a successful retirement business. Full time, part time or somewhere in between, you can create a business selling your jewellery. Here’s how:

#1 Research your competition and your market. The first step to creating a successful business is finding a unique niche or market. If you make a variety of jewellery types and styles, then there’s a great chance you can find a unique niche. Research online to learn who your market is and who your competition may be.

In addition to researching jewellery websites, also visit etsy.com, eBay and other seller websites to see what’s available there. Based on your research, determine the approach you want to take. Do you want to specialize in single stone rings? Do you want to specialize in zodiac jewellery? Or wedding jewellery?  What’s your unique niche?

#2 Create your inventory. In addition to having a range of stock to sell, you can take photos of your items for your online catalogue. Potential customers will want to see samples, and the photos of your jewellery will motivate them to purchase. Have fun with this part of the business-building phase and do your best work.

#3 Price your jewellery. This is the fun part; don’t underprice your jewellery because you want to sell it. Price it for what it’s worth, price it to make a profit, but price it competitively. This will require a bit of research.

#4 Create your website, or have someone create it for you. Your website needs to accomplish several goals. It needs to market your business and your jewellery and provide the opportunity for people to order your creations and pay for them. This can be accomplished by using several approaches, including ensuring your website has search engine friendly content, a product catalogue and information about you and your art. You’ll also need some way for people to order jewellery, a shopping cart system, and a fulfilment procedure.

#5 Consider creating stores on other websites like etsy.com, eBay, or even Amazon.com. These sites offer you the ability to create ‘stores’ and they manage the shopping cart and search engine aspect of business. It can be a great way to start out.

#6 Market your jewellery. There are various ways you can market your business. In addition to creating stores on the websites mentioned in #4, you can also advertise online or utilize content marketing and search engine optimization tactics to drive traffic to your website. However, don’t forget your community. Friends, family, and local advertising can be a wonderful way to get your first few clients. In fact, word of mouth is one of the best marketing tactics there is.

For example, you could host a home party to sell your jewellery, or give it to family to wear with the agreement that they hand out your card every time someone compliments them on their jewellery.

I hope that's convinced you to give it a go!  Launch your business, get your beautiful designs out there and make money from your jewellery hobby. Have fun with it and enjoy the process.


How to Turn Your Ideas into e-Books

EbooksInformation marketing is a wonderful business model. It can be quite lucrative as a standalone retirement business and you can also incorporate it into an existing business model for more profits and credibility. However, sometimes taking that leap from idea to e-book can be quite a challenge. Here are a few ideas to get your idea turned into an e-book reality.

#1 Get someone else to write it. No, we’re not talking about hiring a ghostwriter, though that’s certainly an option. Some of the best e-books are actually collections of articles written by industry experts.

For example, if you have a website devoted to dog training and want to write an e-book about training your dog unusual tricks, you could ask ten animal trainers to each contribute their favourite trick to the book. Each dog trainer would get exposure for their business in the book and you’d get a complete, and quite valuable, e-book to sell. You didn’t have to write a single word!

#2 Break it down. Sometimes the hurdle between book idea and actual product is a feeling of being overwhelmed. There’s an easy way around that challenge. Break your main topic into ten to twenty supporting topics. It may be easier to pose them as questions.

For example, an e-book on sales techniques might have the following supporting points or chapters:

  • What are the benefits of better selling?
  • How do listening skills play a role in increased sales?
  • How important is relationship building?
  • Should I network for more sales?

Each of these supporting chapters can then be divided even more into ten or more supporting points. Thus, for a ten chapter book you end up with 100 smaller, almost article size, topics to address. It makes writing a book much more manageable.

#3 Turn to audio. Some people just don’t have the time or the inclination to write a book, but still want the results. No problem. You can create an audio file instead. There are actually two ways to approach this. You can interview people on your topic, have the interviews transcribed, edited and polished. Then compile them into an e-book format.

Or you can simply speak your book and then have someone transcribe it and edit and polish it into an e-book. For some, it’s easier to flesh out their ideas if they’re talking. If this is you, consider recording your book instead of putting fingers to keyboard. Additionally, there is software like Dragon Naturally Speaking that will transcribe your audio for you. This saves you the cost of a transcriptionist, though you may still want to hire someone to edit and polish your book.

Finally, though we did mention it in the beginning, if you do have an idea for an e-book but don’t have the time or inclination to turn it into a reality, then consider hiring a ghostwriter. Look for one who is experienced with writing books. Discuss your needs and work together to turn your idea into e-book profits.