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.

Can I afford to Retire?

The following is the second excerpt from Create the Retirement You Really Want: And Retire Smarter, Richer and Happier

By Clay Gillespie

Special the Financial Independence Hub

It was a beautiful May morning when I next saw Rachel and Mike. Rachel was carrying a large gift-wrapped box.

“This is for you,” she said, smiling and handing the box to me.

“Thank you,” I said, pleasantly surprised. “Most of my clients wait until they see how their portfolio performs before expressing their appreciation.”

“Shall we take it back then?”

“No, no! I’ll keep it,” I said, smiling, as I began to slide off the ribbon and remove the wrapping.

I opened the lid, looked inside and grinned with pleasure. “Much appreciated,” I said, looking proudly at a genuine leather soccer ball with my daughter’s name custom-printed on the top panel. “Sarah’s going to love it!”

“We wanted to give you a memento of our first meeting,” Rachel said.

“How very appropriate. Well, I don’t have a soccer ball for you,” I said, putting the ball down. “But hopefully I have an equally useful gift.”

“One that will last a lifetime?” Rachel asked.

“Yes. You might say it’s a gift that keeps on giving,” I said, grinning and handing them each a file folder.

“Our retirement numbers?” Mike asked.

“Yes. These are your illustrations.”

“Will we need to eat cat food?” Mike asked with a smile.

“No.” I laughed. “My goal is to help you maximize your retirement income, not minimize it.”

“And we won’t outlive our money?” Mike asked, more serious now.

“You should have plenty left for your children, unless you live to be Methuselah’s age.”

“Methuselah lived to be 969 years old,” Rachel said. “So I think the odds of that happening to us are slim,” she said pointedly.

“Right. My mistake,” I admitted. “I’ve taken the liberty of including a life expectancy table in your retirement illustration, so you’ll know the odds.”

“The odds of us dying at a certain age? I’m not sure I’m ready to see that!” Mike said uneasily.

“Don’t be such a worrywart, Mike,” Rachel said, chiding him gently. “It’s not as if you’re going to see the exact date and time of your death.” Suddenly, she frowned and looked at me. “Are we?”

“No,” I said smiling. “The actuaries aren’t that good, at least not yet. The life expectancies I’ve included are estimates based on a number of factors including your current age, your diet, exercise frequency, stress, body fat, genetics and the quality of health care.We’ll get to those in a moment. What you’re about to see is a financial illustration. It’s designed to give you an initial picture of your retirement situation for planning purposes. But first, we need to review your finances together so we’re all on the same page. Agreed?”

“Agreed,” they said together.

“Good. Here’s a quick snapshot of your current finances. As we go through it, I want you to let me know if anything is amiss.”

This is what they saw:

“As you can see, your gross income is $170,000 per year, while your combined income after tax is approximately $125,000.” “We work hard for our income,” Rachel said defensively.

Continue Reading…

6 ways you can start an Online Business with no outside capital

By Melissa Page

(Sponsored Content)

People looking to start their own businesses often find themselves unable to do so because of budget limitations. They are usually unwilling to shell out so much money for something that comes with a lot of risks, even if the type of business they’re planning is an online venture.

Fortunately, there are ways to start an online business with little to no external capital.

Here’s how:

1.) Validate Your Business Idea

Look into your original business idea thoroughly, and ask yourself some important questions: what consumer needs are you trying to address, and how will your new company answer that need? How do you foresee your company functioning? What tools will you need in order to run your business the way you want it to run?

All these questions should be answered by a detailed plan and thoroughly outlined strategies. Chances are, you’ll be able to find several holes in your initial business outline that will require you to rethink several steps and recalculate possible costs. Be as thorough as you can in order to avoid spending needlessly.

2.) Consider Drop Shipping

Not everyone who starts a business produces their own products. If you’re one of those who don’t want to make anything, then you may want to consider drop shipping.

How it works is: you order the products directly from the manufacturer on an as needed basis. In this case, it is whenever a customer goes to your site to order the said product. The difference between drop shipping and the standard retail model is that you don’t really keep any products on stock, but rather, orders the products to be delivered directly to the customer.

3.) Skip the Logo for now

Your logo is the visual representation of your company, and is as important as the quality of the products that you sell. However, creating a logo can be costly, especially if you’re hiring someone to do it for you professionally. You can very well skip it initially to cut costs. After all, people rarely remember a logo unless it’s from an already established brand. Once your business is up and running, you can have it done and include it in the marketing of your online shop.

4.) Use Free Tools

There are many free platforms online that can help you create an online shop. Most e-commerce platforms have all the tools you need to create and manage your website. There are also free tools you can use to further improve the look and feel of your site. There’s no need to spend cash on building your own website when you’re just starting out and testing the waters, rather, make use of free tools on the internet that can help you get started.

5.) Monitor Your Cash Flow

Not only will this help you keep track of all your expenses and profit, you can also pinpoint any unnecessary expenses that you can avoid in the future, thereby keeping your initial costs and capital down.

6.) Try Free Marketing Options

Marketing strategies vary for different businesses, and in a lot of cases, these can be costly. When you’re just starting out, you’ll want to employ every type of marketing strategy you can in order to get your products known. Fortunately, there are plenty of free marketing options that you can use. Utilizing social media is a great example, and can also bring amazingly quick results.

It’s not easy to start anything, let alone a business with little to no capital. It takes passion, and a great deal of hard work to start and maintain a successful online business.

Melissa Page is a passionate writer and social media contributor who works with successful companies and brands. When she’s not writing, she plays bowling with her friends.

Large RRSPs nice problem to have, tax on them not so much

My latest Financial Post column can be found in Friday’s paper or online by clicking on this headline: Confronting the ‘wonderful’ problem of the too-large RRSP.

It describes what one source describes as a “nice problem to have.” That’s having accumulated so much money in a Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) that it presents a lucrative source of tax revenue for the federal Government once you reach age 71 and have to start making forced annual — and taxable — withdrawals from a Registered Retirement Income Fund or RRIF.

Doug Dahmer

This is a huge tipping point: moving from Wealth Accumulation to De-Accumulation, or what this site calls Decumulation.  Suddenly, you’re confronted with the flipside of what CIBC Wealth’s Jamie Golombek has famously dubbed “being blinded by the refund,” a reference to the juicy tax deductions we enjoy by making regular RRSP contributions during our high-earning high-taxed working years.

The article quotes regular Hub contributor Doug Dahmer – president of Burlington, Ont.-based Emeritus Retirement Income Specialists, and pictured here – who says baby boomers have a huge looming tax problem ahead with their 6-figure RRSPs once it comes time to start withdrawing money or securities from them. The FP piece references Dahmer’s Hub blog earlier this year: Better Retirement Choices: An elegantly simple solution.

The case for early RRSP withdrawals and delaying Government benefits

As Dahmer has related here and elsewhere, he does believe RRSPs can get too large (at least if you’re averse to generating large amounts of taxable income down the road), so he is an advocate of drawing down RRSPs during the low-taxed years that many semi-retirees may experience somewhere between corporate life (typically early 60s) until it’s RRIF time in your early 70s. Continue Reading…

A cure for the Retirement Blues

Whaaaat? Is it possible that this whole retirement thing can be a letdown once you finally get there — that some people may experience the Retirement Blues?

My latest MoneySense Retired Money column looks at the problem of having too much free time in your golden post-employment years, which you can find by clicking this highlighted headline: Retiring frees up 2,000 extra hours a year.

In the piece, I describe at least one senior who felt in retrospect that he retired too early: he had a great pension so money wasn’t a problem but he soon realized he had started to miss the many benefits of work. In short, he had a mild — or not so mild — case of the Retirement Blues.

As you’ll see, the column references an RBC program called Your Future by Design (See www.retirementdesigners.ca).

The 2,000 hours is the result of a simple calculation: 50 weeks multiplied by 40 hours a week equals the amount of “found” leisure time freed up by no longer working full-time. The 2,000 hours figure was referenced in a survey by the Royal Bank last year. Those with long commutes can add a few more hundred hours a year of “found” time.

Keep in mind that if you don’t work at all in retirement you’ll have a lot more than just those 2,000 hours a year to fill. Subtracting 3,000 hours for sleep, you’ll have a total of 5,840 waking hours every year. So if you live 30 more years after retiring, that’s 175,000 waking hours to be occupied.

Little wonder that 73% surveyed by RBC aren’t sure what they’ll do with all that time. We spend more time planning vacations (29%) or weddings (19%) than on retirement!

5 top retirement activities, plus a sixth that should be considered

RBC finds the top five activities for replacing work are health & fitness, travel, hobbies, volunteering and relaxing at home,  but I suggest in the column that many recent retirees may discover they want a sixth activity: work, if only on a part-time basis.

Imagine that: doing a little more of what you may have done too much of during your primary career, but enjoying it for its own sake, its networking properties and social stimulation. And, incidentally, adding a little to your retirement nest egg while you’re at it.

Continue Reading…

Me, retired? No way!

The other day I was at my local bank branch doing some business and the teller asked me how I was enjoying my retirement.

Hearing that surprised me but then I realized they had a message on their computer system that identified me as a retired employee of the bank.

For some reason I felt the need to defend myself and started to explain that I in fact was not retired, that I was busier than ever running my blog, selling my book, serving as a retirement coach and doing public speaking. But then I had a sudden change of heart and decided to stop what I was doing. I realized that defending myself was the OLDME raising its ugly head again and I don’t like OLDME anymore.

Label Me Anything But Retired!

The word retirement is being thrown around these days, describing so many things from the old style “full stop” retirement to everything but the kitchen sink. I believe lack of clarity is causing confusion for a lot of people these days.

Why should we automatically label someone retired just because they decided to leave a job which in my particular case lasted for 36 years? Continue Reading…