Victory Lap

Once you achieve Financial Independence, you may choose to leave salaried employment but with decades of vibrant life ahead, it’s too soon to do nothing. The new stage of life between traditional employment and Full Retirement we call Victory Lap, or Victory Lap Retirement (also the title of a new book to be published in August 2016. You can pre-order now at VictoryLapRetirement.com). You may choose to start a business, go back to school or launch an Encore Act or Legacy Career. Perhaps you become a free agent, consultant, freelance writer or to change careers and re-enter the corporate world or government.

Retired Money: Equities in Retirement — you may need more than you think

Contrary to what some may feel, equities in retirement is not an oxymoron. If you’re retired or almost so, you may be thinking it’s time to lighten up on your equity exposure.

The problem with rules of thumb is that some of them get quite dated and nowhere is this more relevant than in the maxim that a retiree’s fixed income exposure should equal their age. (So, the guideline goes, 60 year olds would be 40% in stocks and 90 year olds only 10% in them).

My latest MoneySense Retired Money column looks at this in some depth, via reviews of two books that tackle both the looming North American retirement crisis and this topic of how much equity retiree portfolios should hold. You can find the full article by clicking at the highlighted text: How to Boost Your Returns in Retirement.

As the piece notes, the single biggest fear retirees face is the prospect of outliving your money. Unfortunately, retiring in this second decade of the 21st century poses challenges for just about any healthy person who lacks an inflation-indexed employer-sponsored Defined Benefit (DB) pension plan. We’re living longer and interest rates are still mired near historic lows after nine long years.

The two books surveyed are Falling Short, by Charles Ellis, and Chris Cook’s Slash Your Retirement Risk. I might add that regular Hub contributor Adrian Mastracci twigged me to the Ellis book when he compared and contrasted it to my own co-authored book, Victory Lap Retirement. See Adrian’s review here: Two notable books to guide your “Retirement” journey. Continue Reading…

Always show up for a free lunch!

By Heather Compton

Special to the Financial Independence Hub

Always show up for a free lunch!

That’s the tongue-in-cheek advice I give all “soon to retire” folks but, frankly, taking advantage of free lunches is key for every investor.

I use the term “free lunches” for all manner of benefits and it’s alarming to me how many people pass them by. Many employers offer employees matching contributions to Retirement Savings accounts that require the employees to pull out their own wallet too.

One major corporation I worked with gave all employees a contribution of 6% of their salary to the Defined Contribution Pension Plan.  The employer would contribute a further 4%, contingent upon the employee also contributing 4%. That’s a great free lunch! A shocking number of employees felt they couldn’t afford to participate:  they said they couldn’t meet all their other financial obligations without that 4% of salary. Actually, by making the 4% RRSP contribution they also earned a tax deduction, so the after-tax, out-of-pocket expense was even less.

Don’t overlook the daily Special

Many companies offer employees the convenience of group savings programs, even where there are no company-funded contributions. That too has value; the investment choices available in these plans often have significantly below market rate MERs (management expense ratios) and no account fees or cost to buy or sell. One company with which I am familiar has a savings plan offering a solid range of investment funds with MERs ranging from a low of 0.10% to a high of 0.58%.

Only a knowledgeable investor, capable of building a low cost ETF (exchange traded fund) portfolio, could match this low-cost option. If the contributions are made to a group RRSP, the employer can also add the convenience of reducing the tax paid at source. Since the contributions and investments are made regularly, often monthly, we can add the benefit of dollar cost averaging to the mix.

What other free lunches are often overlooked?

Continue Reading…

Getting unstuck: How to live the life you want with the money you have

By Sheila Walkington, Money Coaches Canada

Special to the Financial Independence Hub

Money does not buy happiness. You’ve heard that before. Many studies of happiness have shown that relationships, a positive attitude, working towards goals and helping others, are at the core. Even exercise and pet ownership are considered contributing factors. How much money is in your bank account doesn’t even make the list.

On the other hand, constant struggle and worry about money can certainly rob you of happiness. Luckily, whether or not you struggle with money has less to do with how much you have and much more to do with your mindset. That’s why being a Money Coach brings me so much happiness. I have the opportunity to help people stop struggling and gain mastery over their money.

I also have the opportunity to dispel the misconception that money mastery is synonymous with giving up all the fun stuff you enjoy, and thinking only of a distant retirement or being prepared for a “rainy day.” As a Money Coach, I don’t set your priorities; I help you determine what matters most to you. The approach Money Coaches Canada, co-founder Karin Mizgala and I developed in our book Unstuck, is focused on the concepts: Dream, Plan, Live.

We believe that to live the life you want, you need a clear vision of what that life will look like. Once you have a dream, you develop an action plan with steps you can take immediately. In that way, your dream isn’t some far off wish; it becomes an active part of your daily life and you are able to recognize—and celebrate—the progress and victories along the way.

Here are some ideas to get you started living according to your goals.

Use your dreams to set your priorities

What do you really want in your life? More travel? Early retirement? More time with your children? To start a business? Of course, there is no right or wrong answer. It’s your life. Never assume that the life you want is out of your reach. A clear vision of what you want is an amazing source of motivation to make things happen. Because once you have uncovered what you really value, you can take actions that support your dreams becoming reality.

Continue Reading…

Stocktrades.ca’s author interview on Findependence and Victory Lap Retirement

By Dylan Callahan, Stocktrades.ca

Special to the Financial Independence Hub

We’re constantly reaching out to financial authorities we feel would benefit our audience the most. From Mark Seed, to Xiaolei Liu, to Rob Carrick, we are always looking to compile information and pick the brains of experts in the industry. This is why we were ecstatic to hear that Jon Chevreau was willing to do a little interview with us about his most recent book. (Highlighted link is to original post at Stocktrades.ca)

A little bit about Jon before we start

snippetpicture-150x150Jon has long had our attention here at Stocktrades from his writing at Moneysense and the Financial Post. He is the owner of FinancialIndependenceHub, the author of Findependence Day and the co-author of Victory Lap Retirement, which is what this interview will be about. He was a columnist for the National Post from 1993 to 2012 and was Editor-in-Chief for Moneysense Magazine from 2012 to 2014. If we had to choose some financial authorities on the internet today that we’d follow, Jon would be near the top of the list.

We hope you enjoy this interview, and if you’re interested in purchasing Jon’s book, head on over Victorylapretirement.com to see what it’s all about or purchase it from Amazon here.

WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO WRITE THIS BOOK?

Jon: Co-author Mike Drak approached me with the idea of a book about Retirement/Victory Laps after he encountered my website, the Financial Independence Hub, and my financial novel, Findependence Day. We thought we could marry the two concepts since Findependence gets you to the point you can launch a proper Victory Lap.

COULD YOU BRIEFLY DESCRIBE THESE FOLLOWING TERMS IN YOUR OWN OPINION, OR AS THEY RELATE TO THE BOOK?

What is Findependence?

JonathanChevreauJon: Findependence is simply a contraction of the phrase Financial Independence. And so Findependence Day is the day you achieve financial independence, which we define as the moment when all sources of passive income (pensions, investments, royalties etc.) exceed your monthly expenses nut (rent/mortgage, food, clothing, utilities etc.)

Explain a Victory Lap Retirement?

Jon: Victory Lap Retirement can be described variously as semi-retirement, self-employment, an encore career or launching a creative career (writer, artist, musician) that lets you monetize what was previously a hobby. Normally, the Victory Lap is made possible by first achieving Financial Independence. It differs from traditional full-stop retirement in that you may still be working, albeit not for a single employer.

Rather you have multiple streams of income, some of which may be passive (pensions, investments) and some of which may be active (part-time work, contracts, an online business). This allows you to pursue the inner creative dreams you may have harbored when you were young, and which you may have put aside during the decades you worked in a traditional “Job” and raised a family. In your Victory Lap, you work because you want to, not because you have to (financially speaking).

Lastly what is an Encore Career?

Jon: An Encore Career or Legacy Career is a late-life reinvention of your career, as described by the website encore.org and the book Encore by Marc Freedman. Its subtitle says it all: Finding Work that Matters in the Second Half of Life.

snippetpicture-150x150IN YOUR OPINION, HOW IS A VICTORY LAP RETIREMENT MORE BENEFICIAL THAN THE TRADITIONAL RETIREMENT?

Jon: We think it’s crazy to go from the 100% work mode of traditional salaried employment to 100% non-stop leisure, which is the traditional “full-stop” retirement that often occurs at age 65. By the way, I turn 65 next April and don’t expect to slow down much if at all. I’m in the fourth year of my own Victory Lap and am as productive as ever, and probably in much better physical and mental health.

Continue Reading…

5 online marketing tips for your business

By Alex Alexakis

Special to the Financial Independence Hub

Marketing your business online is crucial in the competitive marketplace of the 21st century. This is the case whether your business operates exclusively online, only in the brick and mortar world, or both online and in the proverbial “real world.”

As you contemplate your online marketing plan, you do not need to reinvent the wheel. You do want to put your own unique spin on your online marketing efforts for your business. However, there are some tried and true general strategies you will want to consider when developing your own online marketing plan for your business. Indeed, there are five specific tips you will want to keep in mind when it comes to your online business marketing endeavors.

1.) Fully leverage Social Media

In order to most effectively market your business online, you need to understand that social media is not just for socializing any longer. Indeed, that has been the case for some time. The effective marketing of your business demands that you fully leverage social media.

Research into social media and business marketing reveals that utilizing a platform like Facebook or Instagram can prove to be twice as effective as email marketing and telemarketing, according to CIO, a leading magazine on digital marketing.

Some business owners initially balk at the idea of integrating social media into their overall marketing plan. In the end, social media need not be overwhelming.

The best course to take to begin fully leveraging social media into a comprehensive marketing scheme is to commence the process slowly. What this means is you can begin to develop a successful, compelling social media effort by initiating the process through the use of one platform.

Focus your initial attention on a social media platform that appears to be favored by your customers or clients, as well as by opinion leaders in your industry or market segment. This may be Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, Google+, or LinkedIn. From beginning with one social media platform as part if your comprehensive marketing efforts, you can build over time and truly fully leverage appropriate social media options.

2.) Use Pay-Per-Click advertising

Another methodology you can employ to develop an effective online marketing regimen for your business is utilizing pay-per-click advertising. Pay-per-click, or PPC, advertising allows you to place ads in certain locations online, including at social media sites.

PPC advertising permits you the ability to highly target your advertising. You truly can focus on a very precise market segment, a process that works to optimize your overall return on the investment you make in advertising dollars. With PPC advertising, you only pay when a potential client or customer actually clicks on your advertisement.

3.) Prepare and distribute Press Releases

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