Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Running out of Runway: Thoughts on Income for Seniors

Thoughts on Income for Seniors

Warning: Some of this is about my work. Some of this is about people I know. Some of this is about things I have read about the spreading poverty among Seniors.  All of it is my opinion only.

In my first novel, Brand Loyalty, the heroine is middle aged, a home maker, and a woman who had been out of the workforce for 12 years.  I put together what I thought was a plausible path for this woman to start, run, and profit from her own business.  It was a bit of a stretch, but for fiction, I thought it was good information and well within the realm of the plausible.

For people, seniors or not, who are looking for traditional work, I recommend a book called What Color is Your Parachute.  I haven't gone looking for it lately, but I believe it to be one of the very, very best works on looking for a job.  Remember, looking for a job IS a job.

I recently had a conversation with a someone in her seventies.  Her sole income is Social Security and it is a modest amount.  For many people like my friend, 9 to 5 is not an option.  As we get older, bearing up under the grind of 40 hours a week plus commute doesn't serve.

If you are a senior and you can handle the wear and tear, and a regular job is what you want, then congratulations.  You are a stud (studdette?) and may Fortune bless you.

But what if you are not this creature of iron?  What options are there?

Well, what has worked for you in the past?  In your life, what were some of your big paydays?  What were you doing?  Where did you do it?  Who ( or what kind of people ) did you work with?

This woman I met with could do 3 things brilliantly.

1) She could sell, really sell.  And she could always find people to buy.  She even likes to cold call but hates to punch a clock.

2) She could organize events for other people who were selling their skills or wares.  Some of those paydays were as much as $8,000.

3) She has worked as a metaphysical healer and profited from it.

So, what was the problem?  She is a seeker and always has been.  In seeking the next thing, she has walked away from the things she was doing.  My advice to her?  "If you created your payday in the past and if you are still physically able to do it, maybe you should go back to the well and do it again."

So, what does this suggest for a senior in today's economy?

Perhaps it is time to reflect on yesterday's successes.

Did you love to garden?  Do you remember bringing in bumper crops that you could can for yourself or barter with others?

Do you have a skill others want to learn?

Did you make thinks people love?  Duck decoys, fishing lures?

Think back on your victories, your successes, your joys.  Think of the ones that came with a windfall.

If you had skills or created value in the past, even if you can't build a house or a microwave tower today, some of those skills can still bring you a payday.

Try and relax.  Don't beat yourself up over the past. Relive your victories.  Good luck and God bless.

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