Wednesday, November 12, 2014

6 Ways to Increase Your Retirement Income

by Art Koff, Founder of

  1. Annuities may be considered a form of "reverse insurance" that generate income for a retired individual instead of money for beneficiaries. For more information click here.
  2. A life settlement involves the sale of an unwanted, unneeded, or unaffordable life insurance policy for a comparatively larger cash sum. For more information click here .
  3. A reverse mortgage essentially converts equity in an asset [one's home] into income. For more information click here.
  4. A structured settlement basically involves accelerating the collection of installment-type monies due the individual [such as a damages award] into a discounted lump sum 
  5. Post-retirement work is a job in which you receive compensation as an employee or self-employed individual, where the key may be the impact on Social Security benefits - income and health. Click here for more information.
  6. Delay Social Security Benefits. If you retire at 62, you’ll receive about $750 a month, according to Social Security. Wait to 66, you’ll get $1,000. Wait until 70, you’ll get $1,320.

    Here are examples assuming you would receive a monthly benefit of $1,000 a month had you waited to start collecting until your full retirement age of 66.
  • Start collecting at age 62 and you’ll receive $750 a month.
  • Start collecting at 63 instead, you’ll get $800 a month.
  • Start collecting at 64, you’ll receive $866 a month.
  • Start collecting at 65, you’ll get $933 a month.
  • Start collecting at 66 — full retirement age — and you’ll receive the full $1,000 a month.
  • Start collecting at 67, you’ll receive $1,080 a month — an 8% increase.
  • Start collecting at 68, you’ll receive $1,160 a month.
  • Start collecting at 69, you’ll receive $1,240 a month.
  • Start collecting at 70, you’ll receive $1,320 a month — which is 32% more than if you started drawing benefits at age 66.
For more information check out Social Security information

Our Blog readers have asked us to cover various topics. Suggest topics by clicking here.
If your suggestion is used we will send you a complimentary copy of Invent Your Retirement: Resources for the Good Life as a thank you.

Future topics that will be covered:
  •    Starting a business with little or no cash investment
  •   Work at home part-time to earn $$
  •    Discounts on products and services
  •   Type 2 diabetes information
  •    Boomer & senior travel information
  •   Volunteering 
  •  The high cost of health care

Friday, October 31, 2014

7 Tips to Help You Prepare for a Job Interview

By Art Koff, Founder of

Unfortunately many job seekers make errors in their job interview which cost them the opportunity of being hired. This is particularly true for those that have been out of work for some time. These tips, if followed, should offer you the best opportunity of getting the job or at the very least receiving the consideration you deserve if your background and skills are a match for the opening.

#1: Interview with a temp firm or staffing organization prior to interviewing with an employer.
These interviews are relatively easy to get and are good practice. You don't want to go to your first interview in a long time and make easily correctable mistakes. Every job interview you have will make the next one easier. A "bad" job interview, one in which you gave poor answers to questions asked, should be a learning experience. Register with the temp firm as they could place you with one of their clients.

#2: Get information on the perspective employer prior to your interview.
Research the employer using a search engine to see who their customers are, learn more about their products or services, and examine the company culture. Try to find someone at the employer and network with this individual. A CareerXroads survey found that referred candidates have a 31-to-1 chance of getting hired, vs. a 500-to-1 chance for candidates that come via other means.

#3: Revise and update
your resume. Go to a professional or resume service as the resume you used years ago is no longer appropriate. You should also have your resume on your computer so you can modify it, highlighting the experience appropriate for the job you are seeking. A single general resume for all interviews is not the best way to get hired. Click here for resume writing help.

#4: Even if you are interested in full-time work, consider starting on a project basis.
. When applying for a job, tell the employer you are willing to start working as a consultant or on a project basis; this often gives you a leg up on workers who are often unable to accept these kinds of employment. Temporary employment or working on a consultative basis can often lead to full-time work. Check here for resources for executives, professionals and managers interested in project assignments.

#5: If you are in-between jobs volunteer with a charity or nonprofit
. Although in most cases there is little or no monetary compensation, it is often excellent experience and can possibly lead to employment with an employer that is seeking that particular experience or appreciates your work ethic. It is also easier to find employment while you are working, as you have a better mind set. For information on volunteering click here.

#6: Assess your situation today versus years ago
. Below are some questions you might ask yourself in preparation for a job interview.
·       What do I want?
·       What are my values?
·       Do I need to make a difference or make big bucks?
·       What are my core strengths?

#7. Plan your interview and be prepared to present yourself
.  Be conversant with the work you've done as it relates to the position and, practice explaining this with a friend or family member before your next interview.
Don't be concerned that employers are not interested in you. Interview as if you are the best candidate for the job.

Monday, October 13, 2014

The Case for Quitting Your Job

Even if You Love It, Walking Away Might Leave You Healthier and Happier
By Anne Tergesen, Wall Street Journal,  Oct. 12, 2014 

When it comes to your work, is it time to move on?

Millions of Americans in their 50s and 60s are delaying retirement and holding on to jobs they have done for years. Many, of course, need the money. But many others say they simply enjoy—even love—what they do. And if that’s the case, why not stay?

The answer: Because jumping ship—even if jumping would seem to make little sense—could be the best way to remain productive, happy and healthy into old age.

The phenomenon of delayed retirement is well documented. Average retirement ages are climbing, and nearly half of baby boomers say they expect to work until age 66 or beyond, according to Gallup Inc. polls.

For the most part, that’s good news, according to academics and financial and health-care professionals. Continuing to work in some fashion as we age can benefit mind and body, as well as beef up undersized nest eggs.

But these same experts, and many older adults themselves, are discovering a downside to remaining at the same desk year after year—a tendency toward complacency, coupled with a reluctance to ask tough questions.

For example: Am I working because I truly love what I do, or am I simply afraid of change? Do the best and brightest staffers want to work with me, or do they see better opportunities elsewhere? Am I continuing to learn something new about my work and myself, or am I plowing the same ground again and again?

To read the rest of the article click here.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Become a Consultant

by Art Koff, Founder of RetiredBrains

According to a survey by RetiredBrains, “more than 86% of business professionals plan to continue working once they are eligible to retire” — and many will start their own business enterprise as consultants.  If you decide to work for yourself, depending on your profession, you are likely to need certain certifications as well as credentials for credibility and marketing.

For example, process consultants should have Lean or Six Sigma certifications or rankings. Project managers should have a Project Management Professional certification; Facilities managers should have a Facility Management degree. Other industry specific credentials or certifications are desirable and sometimes a requirement.

Before you start your practice you need to have your ducks in order including all necessary certifications and qualifications as well as a plan to market your services to perspective clients. Certainly the network you have established over the years must be maintained and expanded. Unfortunately many who are nearing retirement stop networking and this is a huge mistake if you plan to go into business for yourself

When you work for an employer you have all kinds of support but once you start your own business, you will need to provide this support yourself or via contacts you have established. If you do not have the organizational skills and ability to manage the projects you will be taking on, do not plan to start your own practice. Check this short list below before going forward.
> Business to business selling/marketing ability.
    > Enough money saved to carry you over until your business is profitable.
    > A network of prospects along with contact information.
    > A home office or an outside location where you can conduct your business.

You should also set both long-term and short-term goals. If your goals do not match up with the time and energy it will take you to open and successfully build a consulting practice then reconsider your plans.

Below are some of the most common consulting businesses:
  • Accounting
  • Advertising
  • Auditing
  • Career counseling
  • Executive search/HR consulting
  • Grant writing
  • Marketing
  • Project management
  • Public relations
  • Research
  • Sales management
  • Tax consulting
  • Writing/editorial consulting
Here is a list of some of the things you will need depending on the kind of consulting practice you plan to open and the type of company or corporate entity:
  • An attorney
  • An accountant
  • A Federal tax ID number
  • A State business license
  • A corporate entity
  • An office (home or outside location. A shared office space is usually best to start as most offer many of the support services you will need)
  • Insurance
  • Marketing/advertising materials (including a Website)
  • A list of fees or price list for your services and expenses
Click here for a list of items to purchase for your start-up office.
One of the best advantages of consulting is that you can pretty much plan your work. You decide how much you want to work and what kinds of assignments you wish to accept.

Prior to leaving your current job, if you are still working and if you are thinking of starting a consulting practice you should:
  • Google “consulting practice” and “starting a consulting practice” where you will find many resources including books on how to build a successful consulting practice, such as “10 ways to start a consulting practice,” etc.
  • Maintain your contacts and continue to network.
  • Decide what area(s) of consulting you plan to establish and make a special effort to network with the people and companies that could use your services.
  • Develop any skills and acquire the credentials you will need.
  • Do some analysis to see if the area in which you plan to consult is truly viable.

Visit the RetiredBrains Website

If you're looking for a job, caring for an aging parent, are worried about memory loss, have arthitis pain, planning a vacation or even want to continue your education, the information you need is at