At Retirement Monologues – Where We Are Heading

“Lots of articles, seminars and “talks” are devoted to financial planning for retirement. So what about “spare time” and “usefulness” planning? Not a whole lot is mentioned about this part of the retirement equation.”

Not everyone desires to live a life of leisure like these television icons portrayed — in fact, these women all continued to work in their profession of acting throughout their “golden” years.

So, I don’t know about you, but I am not interested in one more fact-filled article, important webinar or serious “talk” on saving money for my retirement. Or on investing, buying annuities, investing in bonds, or more. Yes – we will need a more money to help make our social security and other savings go further. Yes – we are paring down expenses in preparation for retiring, and will stick to our current pre-retirement budget for now.
But do you really think that a REALLY GREAT retirement depends solely on how much money you save beforehand, and on how much money you have to “live on” once retirement time arrives? Are you really planning to travel, go on ocean cruises and spend the rest of your time playing shuffleboard, going fishing, and babysitting grandchildren? Part of this sounds a little self-absorbed, and boring (except for the grandchildren). I do know that I would be driven absolutely silly if I did not have something important and fun to do besides going on trips, if I did not have something that keeps me engaged in the world, and something that adds extra money to our retirement household when I officially retire.
Lots of articles, seminars and “talks” are devoted to financial planning for retirement. Nevertheless, what about “spare time” and “usefulness” planning? Not a whole lot is mentioned about this part of the retirement equation. One can trim only so many expenditures, and save and invest only so much money before retirement arrives, and then when it finally happens. 

No matter how hard you try, you may not have a very good retirement “war chest.” But you still want your last years to have meaning, and to survive. This is the true focus of Retirement Monologues, helping people have the best retirement possible, financially, emotionally and actively. 
Come’on.  Do we really NEED so much money to have a great retirement? Financial planning companies are great at scaring us to believe so. (I guess that one could be like a certain presidential candidate who builds car elevators for his seven houses, in his leisure time.) But I think there is more to life, and I am sure you do, too. Retirement years can provide the opportunity to find some real treasures in life, through activities that were never possible before.
So what can you do if you have already cut out as many expenses as possible from your retirement budget and you don’t have enough money coming in to handle your retirement expenses? Or enough money to do some added fun things, like take a trip or buy a new computer?
At the other end of the spectrum, perhaps your retirement budget is in tip-top shape, yet that does not keep you from wanting to earn more money as a retiree. Or from experiencing a new and more fulfilling life. 

But most of us will have spent nearly all of our lives working by the time we retire, and it can be tough not to have at least a small task, part-time job, etc., to devote time to during or even before retirement, since many years of self-worth and fulfillment have been tied up with professional work, leaving little time to explore the unknown.
Retirement Monologues will be delving into the expat/and related retirement issues (since our personal retirement plan includes moving to South America and living as expatriates) as well as looking at ideas that will help you  make money doing something interesting, before and during retirement. Here are some of the ideas we will investigate in the coming months, first some low-tech strategies:
How to be a tutor
There are many people who enjoy teaching and are in fact great teachers, but have had a career in something other than teaching because they could make more money. Have you always had a desire to teach? Do you want to earn some money during retirement while helping someone learn to speak English or another language? How to read? How to cook special foods? You can make a difference with tutoring during your retirement years and in some cases, make money as well. 

I know, for instance, a woman who holds weekly cooking classes, showing how to conjure up special meals with raw vegetables. People pay $25 for the cooking class and then have a fun dinner, eating their new foods together.
See if you can teach a class at your local YMCA, gym or youth center. Maybe you love working with kids and sports; why not coach a youth sports league? The money you make may not take your breath away, but you will be out and about staying active and healthy, and perhaps growing your retirement booty. We will find some people who are tutoring for fun and profit.
What about educating voters? Go out on the campaign trail and hand out brochures and information. As elections near, there are some opportunities to make some money going door to door for state and national candidates. Some organizations also hire people to go door to door. Being able to personally help out with a cause that you believe in is a great way to invest your time during retirement.

There are many possibilities in this category of teaching and tutoring — and here is where we will start.
How to Start a Business
Who says that entrepreneurs have to all be young, idealist college dropouts? Did you know that 55 to 64 year olds make up the age group with the highest rate of growth in entrepreneurial activity? The reduced cost of starting a business online rather than renting out office space and setting up a physical store front, can make the difference you need as a retiree-entrepreneur. 

We are going to speak with some folks who do just this – they are building a website business for their current money-making venture and planning ahead for retirement. The key is to start planning before retirement, and building a large following of customers and clients. The opportunities are endless — from selling online stuff, from animal treats to zen products — or perhaps selling services, from coaching to reading tea leaves. So many possibilities to explore!
How to Work with a Family Member
Is there a family member who already owns a business and who could use some extra help? What about spending time with them AND making some money to boot? Does your daughter need extra help at the law office? Does your hairdresser son need an extra hand? Is someone in the family selling vitamins and other such products? Could you be their new sales person? Why not see if you have any family members that own their own businesses, work from home, etc., and would be grateful for your assistance. You might not make as much money as you would doing the equivalent job somewhere else but the positive is that you will be able to spend quality time with a family member while helping them succeed. We’ll be blogging about this.
Here are some more ideas that revolve around use of the Internet:
Create specialty eBooks. Once you create ebooks, with the right marketing strategies and knowledge of social media, they could sell for you on autopilot, through word of mouth and continue to earn for you. I do this myself with three eBooks that relate to diversity and civil rights and sell my eBooks via blogging and other means, I hope they will bring me some income for life. I can pass down my eBooks to my child, and he can use them to make money, too – or even write some of his own to add to the catalog. I will be sharing with you what I know about eBooks.
Create your own e-courses. Have you attended a Webinar? Have you shot a video?  Do you know how to use graphics and sign-making software? These skills are not hard to learn and if you have a particular knowledge base or want to spend time learning new information about something you have always been interested in, it is not that hard to create courses that can keep on teaching for you and bringing in revenue. Again, this requires learning how to use effectively social media (facebook, twitter and more) and requires that you have a high level of skill in the topic you choose. We will be investigating this further and sharing with you.
Create a blog that matters. This is a topic close to my heart. I have five blogs that “matter” on the topics of retirement, diversity and civil rights history, and use them to help sell my ebooks, print books and to acquire speaking engagements. I also represent an affiliate who provides a course on how to develop blogs that matter. Some blogs offer so much valuable information to readers that they eventually grow a big enough audience to attract a company that wants to buy the blog outright. The key for bloggers is that the blog not be all about you, but about a topic of high interest to a broad audience, where a buyer (or the person who inherits your blog) could hire other experts in your industry to run it after you depart. We will be writing more about blogs that matter and how to make them work for you.
Create a Web-based service business and then sell it.  Sometimes, in the course of pursuing your writing career, you get an idea for a related business you could start. Build the business and then find a buyer. It happens – and we will further investigate this strategy.
So here is where we will be going for the next few months. I hope that you will join us. Please add you comments and ideas… Susan

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