Visit the RetiredBrains Website
Tuesday, March 5, 2013
From Art Koff & Published by MarketWatch
Identity theft and scams that target older Americans are much more common than those against younger Americans. According to a survey by the Investor Protection Trust, one out of every 5 citizens over the age of 65 has been the victim of a financial scam, and according to the Better Business Bureau 10% of the U.S. population fall victim to consumer scams annually. This article is intended to assist those who have been scammed as well as to provide information and resources to help you avoid being scammed in the future.
First the obvious: If you have been scammed or are a victim of credit-card fraud, notify all credit card companies and tell them to issue you a new card. Place a credit-card freeze on your account with the three main credit agencies. You must also remember to place a credit freeze on the account of deceased persons. If you fail to freeze their credit a thief can steal their identity and apply for credit in that person's name. The companies and their contact numbers are Equifax, 800-525-6285; Experian, 888-397-3742 and Trans Union, 800-680-7289.
Read the Complete Artical
Thursday, February 28, 2013
Older Americans looking for a little extra cash might want to investigate work-at-home opportunities.
Working at home can help make ends meet by adding to Social Security and retirement income or finance the extras that are so important. Some have found working at home to be a good way to create extra income or successfully take the place of a full-time job.
Unfortunately, in the areas of working from home or starting a home-based business, there are many companies that make offers that sound enticing but are not legitimate. According to a 2010 survey by the Investor Protection Trust, one out of every five citizens over the age of 65 has been the victim of a financial scam.
You must carefully investigate any business offer — particularly those that require a substantial investment on your part. Check with your local Better Business Bureau and if possible others that have invested in this businesses prior to investing yourself. Google the company and see what others are saying. Do your research.
There are several ways to earn money working out of your home. For a list of innovative and successful suggestions from readers at RetireBrains.
Thursday, August 12, 2010
Many companies advertise telling you they will solve your debt problems, reduce your payments and even cancel part of what you owe. Most of these credit services are for-profit companies and take a good part of your payments for themselves. You can end up far worse off than before you contacted them.
A rule of thumb that will help is to do business with not-for-profit entities like Cambridge Credit 1-800-235-1407. This is a nationally certified credit and housing counselor.
As a general rule, if the URL ends in .org as opposed to .com you will be dealing with a legitimate non-profit organization. A few others include:
Consolidated Credit Counselors
National Foundation for Credit Counseling
Green Path Debt Solutions
Art Koff is the founder and CEO of RetiredBrains.com.
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
Everybody knows that protecting their credit from identify theft has become an important part of life. You must protect yourself against people stealing your identity and against fraud. Never give personal information to someone you don’t know and trust. This is especially true of your Social Security number, date of birth, bank account number, credit card numbers, and home address. Do not keep your Social Security number in your purse or wallet, and carry as little identifying information as possible. Make a photocopy of what you do carry with you and keep it in a safe place that you can refer to in case your purse or wallet is stolen or misplaced.
If you have been scammed or are a victim of credit card fraud, notify all credit card companies and tell them to issue you a new card; contact the three major credit bureaus and request that they put a fraud alert on your credit report. The companies and their contact numbers are Equifax, 800-525-6285; Experian, 888-397-3742; and TransUnion, 800-680-7289.
You should also contact your local law enforcement agency. Complaints can be filed as well by calling 877-IDTHEFT or logging on to the FTC Web site at http://www.consumer.gov/idtheft/. Of note, the House of Representatives this week passed the Senior Financial Empowerment Act (H.R. 3040), a bill designed to prevent mail, telemarketing, and Internet fraud targeting seniors in the U.S. Learn more at http://www.opencongress.org/bill/111-h3040/show.
Art Koff is the founder and CEO of RetiredBrains.com.
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
When Art Koff retired after nearly 40 years in recruitment-advertising communications, not working wasn't an option.
"I got up at the crack of dawn," he says. "I can't imagine what would happen if I didn't have someplace to go and something to do."
Mr. Koff figured that many of his age-group peers needed a diversion or some extra income, too. So in 2003, he launched RetiredBrains.com as a niche job board for older Americans.
The entrepreneurial hunch paid off: Seven years later, the site records thousands of visitors each day and employs seven people. Mr. Koff, now 74 years old, is busy enough that he doesn't need to worry about annoying his wife, which was one of his chief concerns when he first retired.
For more than a decade, Americans in the 55-to-64 age group have posted the highest rate of entrepreneurial activity, beating out youngsters just finishing college and even 30-somethings embarking on second careers, according to the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, a nonprofit in Kansas City, Mo.
Many of these older business owners are finding success by targeting their age cohort as customers. Often, they're inspired to start a company or create a product or service because they feel no one else understands or is interested in the older demographic, says Jeff Williams, chief executive of Bizstarters.com LLC, a business start-up coaching company in Arlington Heights, Ill.
People of the same age group "have a shared experience," says Mr. Williams, 61, who is seeing a growing number of people in what he calls the "boomer-plus" age group selling to their peers or their peers' parents. "We did similar things in the 1960s, and we understand each other," he says.
A recent client is Linda Brown of Des Plaines, Ill., who, after losing her job in a company downsizing and spending a year job hunting, is starting a business to help people with Medicare claims and renewals and related services. Ms. Brown, 65, had a career in insurance and retirement planning, but she found herself challenged when it came to her Medicare open-enrollment paperwork. "I thought: 'If it's difficult for me with this background, how is it going to be with other people who don't have this background?' And [the business idea] kind of emanated from that," she says.
Jennifer Campbell, 56, of Uxbridge, Ontario, is finding success with Heritage Memoirs, a memoir-writing service. A year ago, Ms. Campbell decided to devote her full attention to Heritage—then a part-time endeavor—after she was laid off from a job in public television. She became interested in the work after her father, a Scottish immigrant, died at age 80, and her mother slipped into dementia. "I just felt such a sense of regret that I hadn't gotten more of my family's stories," she says. And she also began thinking: "Maybe there's a business here."
Ms. Campbell says her typical clients are age 60 to 65, and—like her—want to capture their parents' stories on CD-ROMs or books. "The aging boomer is the ideal customer," says Ms. Campbell, who earns 30,000 Canadian dollars to C$60,000 (US$28,000 to US$56,000) a year. "We want more. We want things now, and we want things done. If we need to pay someone else to get things done, we'll do it."
There are drawbacks to running a business in retirement, even for the very active. Mr. Koff says he can't be the face of the company at the bank. "Banks don't like to lend to people in their middle 70s. They don't think they're going to be around that long. A lot of people will make assumptions until you spend some time with them," he says.
There's also a certain amount of risk to putting retirement savings into an untested venture. "We certainly caution [older people] not to use their retirement income as an investment for starting a business," says Deborah Russell, director of work-force issues for AARP in Washington. "This is risky, and those funds are not replaceable like a paycheck or salary can be." Before leaping into a business endeavor, older Americans should also give thought to whether they have the skills to run a company and the support of their family. "All of those things need to be taken into consideration when starting your own business," Ms. Russell says.
Mr. Koff believes his insight as an "older American" (he says most people in his age group don't like to be called "seniors") has been an advantage for his Chicago-based jobs site, which he runs with two partners and four contract employees.
"Most of the people in this business are 20 to 40 years younger than I am," Mr. Koff says. "They don't see it from the point of view that I do."
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
Temporary Employment Set to Increase Dramatically as We Come Out of the Recession, Says Jobs Expert Art Koff, of RetiredBrains.com
“This is good news for boomers, seniors and retirees, as this demographic is often more likely to be hired on a part-time, temporary or project assignment basis,” said Art Koff, founder of www.RetiredBrains.com, a job and information service for Americans 50 and older.
“Don't assume because you are an executive, a professional or in management that temporary jobs or project assignments are not for you.”
“Many older workers do not require the company benefits of full-time employment,” said Koff. “They are often in a better position than their younger counterparts who must receive company benefits for themselves and their families.”
Depending on the hours worked, the length of the assignment and other factors, employers can save on contingency labor by avoiding expensive company benefits. It is also a great deal easier to off-board contingency workers than full-time employees. And employers with a departmental or companywide hiring freeze can hire temporary employees from a different budget, thereby avoiding hiring freeze limitations altogether.
The number of Americans working part-time or temporary jobs for economic reasons (mostly because they are unable to find full-time jobs) has doubled since the recession began, to 9.2 million workers. It’s a trend that sees America catching up Europe, where employers use a much higher percentage of temporary and part-time workers than their U.S. counterparts.
According to a Workforce Management article by Irwin Speizer quoting a recent study, "73% of responding employers are planning to increase their use of contingent labor."
And while jobs are still tough to find, there are ways for boomers and retirees to maximize the opportunity. The key is knowing where to look and what to do to improve your chances of being hired once an opening is located. “Temp employment and freelancing are two of the few sectors of the labor market that are growing rapidly and should be explored by all job seekers, regardless of age or the type of position that’s sought,” Koff said.
”Don't assume because you are an executive, a professional or in management that temporary jobs or project assignments are not for you,” Koff pointed out.
In 2009, firms like Kelly Services, Aerotek, Adecco and Manpower placed many thousands – including company presidents, lawyers, controllers, sales managers and senior level managers – in assignments that paid anywhere from $80,000 to several hundred thousand dollars a year. Retirees and Boomers who have the skills and experience can often find many project assignments and earn more than if they worked for a single company. These types of jobs usually provide no health insurance, sick days, vacation, retirement benefits, severance, access to unemployment insurance or stock options for top-level executives, all of which makes them a particularly good fit for many older workers who can accept temporary or retirement jobs without benefits.
The web site Koff founded in 2003, http://www.retiredbrains.com/, offers links to hundreds of thousands of employment opportunities and retirement jobs for boomers, seniors and retirees. Jobs can be searched by areas of experience, geographic preference, full-time or part-time opportunities, and temporary and project assignments. The site links to seasonal jobs and jobs with organizations like the census bureau or the Peace Corps. The site also provides a great deal of business start-up information, including a list of franchises and the kinds of research necessary that can improve the chances of success in starting your own business.
Koff is a nationally recognized expert who often speaks on the issues and challenges that face boomers, retirees and people planning their retirement. He has appeared on NBC and been quoted in Business Week, USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, Money Magazine and many other major publications.
For more information, contact Art at RetiredBrains.
Retired Brains LLC
645 N. Michigan Ave. Suite 800
Chicago, IL 60611
Saturday, January 9, 2010
More and more employers are finding it cost effective to utilize retirees hired on a part-time or project assignment basis for hard to fill openings. Retirees will often take a part-time or temporary assignment for far less than the hourly rate they commanded when they were working full-time. The perception that older workers are less productive than younger ones is false. Numerous studies and research have shown that older workers' productivity does not fall but rises because of greater dependability, better judgment and accuracy. Studies have also shown that older workers actually miss less work than younger workers and can learn new techniques and technologies effectively.
Many older workers will not apply for positions that may be appropriate for them as they often feel they will be discriminated against because of their age. That is a good reason to go to media like RetiredBrains.com that targets them directly. It is also a reason to craft a message tailored to an older audience.
Reasons employers should hire retirees and older workers on a part-time or temporary basis or for project assignments:
1. It is not necessary to pay benefits like health care insurance.
2. Temporary/part-time workers can be off-boarded with comparatively little or no cost.
3. If your company has a hiring freeze, hiring temporary/part-time employees usually comes from a different budget.
4. Older workers generally require less training.
5. Older workers have lower absenteeism.
6. Older workers tend to be more punctual.
7. Older workers have a better commitment to quality.
8. Older workers possess superior customer service skills.
9. Older workers have better people skills.
10.Older workers are more eager to learn new skills.
11.Older workers have a positive attitude.
12.Temporary, part-time and project based employees do not require unemployment insurance coverage.