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Seven Steps from Frustration to Freedom

 

If you think things are looking grim for many baby boomers around the world — then you’re right!

Take Australia for example … although Australians seem to have escaped the worst of the global financial crisis, many baby boomershave been hit hard financially through the share market and their property values. These issues are the same everywhere in the world, just worse in lots of other countries! Many of our friends in the USA are struggling just trying to keep a roof over their heads and food on the table. 

And just in case you think I’m making up the figures I am about to share with you … they’ve come directly from the most up to date Australian Government documents! The US and UK figures are far worse. 

Do you want the good news or the bad news first? 

The good news?  OK.  Well, the fact is baby boomers are likely to live longer.  Between now and 2050 the number of older people in Australia (65 to 84 years) is expected to more than double while the number of VERY old people (85+) is expected to be four times greater in 2050, increasing from 40,000 to 1.8 million.

 And the bad news?  Well … that’s the rest of it!  Between now and 2050 the number of people aged 65 or over is expected to increase from 13% to 23% of the population.    Yes, that’s the “bump” of baby boomers moving through the population, just as has been observed for years. Now that we are all hitting traditional retirement years it is being referred to as a “tsunami” of baby boomers because of its impact! 

During this same forty year period, the proportion of working-age people … that’s the people working and paying taxes to pay for social security etc…is likely to fall by 7% to just 60% of the population. 

So this means we will go from having about 5 people of traditional working age for every person aged 65 and over, to just 2.7 people working to pay their taxes to keep us in the style that we thought we were entitled to not so long ago. And meanwhile many of them will be trying to get ahead, buy houses and raise families, just like we did. 

They are scary statistics for both sides of the spectrum, for the younger workforce who are paying taxes (what a burden!), to the boomers and older who worry that there won’t be enough funds to support even a poverty lifestyle.

This brings up the question… Who is going to care for the aged in the next 40 years?

Getting old is expensive

As the population ages there will need to be more money spent on health and aged care.  Technology and improved medicines mightOld woman looking at camera make us healthier and help us live longer  but they cost money, big money. 

With less people working where will this money come from?

Did you realise that, right now, about a quarter of the Australian budget goes on health and age related pensions, and this is expected to rise to around half by 2049‑50.

Between now and 2050, real health spending on those aged over 65 years is expected to increase about 7 times and for those over 85 it is expected to increase about 12 times.

The official retirement age has already been raised from 65 to 67, effective in 2017, and many more changes are likely.  

The aged pension?  Not likely!

Unless your calculations are different from mine, it seems that there is not going to be much help available from the government for baby boomers when we retire. 

Now I know the aged pension was not your major goal in life during all those years of working, saving, renovating, paying bills, raising kids, taking cheaper holidays to save money etc.  But it was always lurking in the background as a backup position if all else failed.  NOT ANY MORE!

But there’s always Superannuation, right?

NO !!! … Sorry to disillusion you, but research has found Australians do not have enough in superannuation savings to live comfortably in retirement.  The savings gap, that is the difference between savings and the amount needed in retirement, is growing all the time.  

In early 2010, John Brogden, Chief Executive Officer of the Investment and Financial Services Association was reported as saying:

 

 And the figures he was basing that comment on were the figures BEFORE the global financial crisis. Since then things got worse, then they got a bit better, and now they are quite different depending on where you live…….but wherever you are the overall situation remains pretty much the same.

So in summary……….

Baby boomers are part of the greatest population bump in history, and as we get older less people will be in the workforce.  This means there will be greater demand on health and aged services at the same time as there are less people’s taxes to pay for these services. 

Combine that with the fact that as a generation we never were really well prepared financially for retirement, and the answer is clear.

We have a major problem!

So what can you do about it?  Well panic is one of your choices, but that never seems to work well.  The other choice is to carefully consider the situation, and take the time to assess what your possibilities are. 

Are there ways around this situation?

Surely you don’t have to abandon your dreams? 

With all your skills and experience  … surely, there must be ways that you can still have a great life in retirement? 

But wasn’t retirement meant to be just fun?

As a healthy baby boomer aged around 55 you can expect to have 25 to 30 years of life ahead of you.  That’s a lot of years of wasted life if you aren’t doing what you want to do!  If you look at it another way, what have you achieved in the last 25 to 30 years?  They have undoubtedly been significant years in your life.  You don’t want to waste that same amount of time in the future. 

This article suggests that for many of us … the next career change we make could well be the one that is in our so-called “retirement” years. 

 
 

Are you going to be one of those few who  “put their brains into neutral and invite a shorter life as a result”?  I doubt that’s what you want!

The need to plan your retirement is being recognised by the media, government and individuals, but often all that people are able to get help with are the financial and legal planning aspects.  There are so many lifestyle decisions you need to make with little or no support, and for most people those are the decisions that they find overwhelming. So many choices but no clear direction is a common problem.

One of Australia’s leading organisations dealing with the issues of an aging workforce, BeNext revealed in their Futures of Work Survey that 90% of people aged 45 to 70+ viewed the concept of “retirement” as a period of life when they could share their skills and experience and balance their leisure and productivity. 

They did not see it as a full stop!  76% of those surveyed suggested that fusing opportunity to combine earning, enjoying a lifestyle and giving back to the community, was the most attractive option . BeNext referred to this option as “Fusion Careers”. 

So it’s all very well to know that things are not rosy, and that relaxing on a beach full time may not be likely, but what can you do about it?

The Easy Solution?

Procrastinate and don’t make any decisions.  Then life makes them for you…but  are they the right decisions for you?  And  are they the decisions that take you in the direction you want for your life?

Bored older couplePeople often spend months, even years, planning a dream holiday that they will take when they finish their current working life, but they don’t plan for how they are going to create the dream life that they want.

Then they wonder why they are worried about the future and when they leave work retirement soon becomes a disappointment.

The problem is they got what they planned for – the great holiday – but failed to plan for a lifestyle that would fulfill them for the next twenty to thirty years.  

You have the power to create the future lifestyle that will satisfy you and will keep on satisfying you when the novelty of not working has worn off.  Better still if you are in a relationship you have the power to create the future lifestyle that will satisfy the unique needs of BOTH of you (and we all know that can be difficult)!

You can design a fulfilling lifestyle by incorporating all the aspects of life that matter to you.  Take the time to get it right and your reward will be a contented future.

Now … planning a fulfilling future is actually easier for one person than for a couple. We all know that just because two individuals are sharing their lives, it does not mean they necessarily want to do the same things, have the same priorities, or even the same level of determination to plan for the future.  

This places extra strain on any relationship, no matter how good, and changing your lifestyle as you move into a different phase of life can be a difficult time for any couple.       

Shared Goals

Businesses usually create mission statements in an attempt to focus everyone on their common direction and mutual goals.  How much more important is it for a couple to have shared goals that they are working towards!

Spending time to be sure you have mutual goals can be a challenge but it can also become a way of focussing your attention towards the things that you wish to achieve together , rather than on your differences and idiosyncrasies.  After all, if you are going to spend the next 20 to 30 years together it is definitely preferable if you are heading in the same direction!

Financial Planning and Financial Decisions

Financial planning is a whole separate topic, one that is beyond the scope of this article.  However by planning your future lifestyle thoroughly  you reduce the risk of making financial decisions that can turn out to be costly mistakes, such as moving to another area which doesn’t really meet your needs. 

You’ve worked hard all your life.  You’ve invested, saved, contributed to superannuation and generally did what you could to ensure a secure retirement.  You certainly don’t want to blow it all now through making a poor decision!

Taking the time to plan this phase of your life is wise financially so that all of your hard-earned money is used productively to enable you to have the best possible retirement. But it is also wise from all perspectives….. your finances, your emotions, your stress levels, your relationship and communication, and most of all your future happiness. To design the lifestyle you want deserves time.  It will fundamentally dictate the future direction of your life and your future!

FREEDOM Retirement Action Program

The FREEDOM Retirement Action Program offers you the opportunity, in your own home and your own time, to consider each aspect of the lifestyle you want for your future.  This is offered through structured, expert-written modules, one delivered per week to your email address.   For the first 12 weeks of a 26 week program your lifestyle is the focus.  

FREEDOM is an acronym for the Seven Steps from Frustration to Freedom.  The first three steps: F R E  – Face the Future, Reality Check and Employee to Entrepreneur – are the basis of the first 12 eclasses.  

This is your chance to consider and discuss all the aspects of the next phase of your life, to design the way you want each stage of your life to be to give you maximum purpose, pleasure and fulfillment.  It’s an exciting prospect as you start to see your future life dreams unfold before you, planned to fit in with the realities of your life but without compromising the dreams that are closest to your heart.

The GFC

It is bad timing for us all that the global economy, in a very short time, depleted much of the value of our investments and they will take a while to regain their previous value, with plenty of ups and downs in the meantime.  But, in true baby boomer style, we can’t let this beat us

Even if this financial setback had not occurred, many of our generation were not attracted to the “stop work and do nothing constructive” style of retirement.   For the last few years the over 50’s trend of working on your own terms, earning additional income, and following your own unique path have been the subject of many newspaper and magazine articles.  

New Models of Retirement

The current global economy will provide additional incentive to many of our generation to investigate new models of living their “retirement”.  For many Baby Boomers it is now more a period of renewal than retreating from work.

Does supplementing your retirement income appeal to you?   Having an economic purpose in your life, even though you have “retired” from your previous work?  Using some of your amazing skills and experience, acquired over a lifetime, in a way that will benefit you and/or others?

We live in very interesting times, with technology making it possible to run businesses from home, to market successfully from your computer, to tap into the successful strategies and wisdom of mentors around the world and even to reach global markets.

Everyday people are now able to use their skills, their experience and their talents to create legitimate, professional businesses using the power of the internet to reach their customers. From highly paid consultants to online virtual assistants, from coaching programs to home services, from million dollar internet marketing businesses to selling surplus belongings on ebay, baby boomers are creating their own businesses and in doing so are creating a completely different, and more vibrant future, for themselves. 

Have you dreamed of being your own boss?  Becoming your own boss after years of being an employee involves a whole change of mind set.  But it is also a way that you can create your own work, use your skills and experiences and be in charge of your own destiny.

If you want to be in business should you buy or create a business? There are advantages for both strategies, but either way you need to learn about how to make that business successful in our contemporary online world. Whatever sort of business you are interested in you need to understand how to reach your market through the internet because that gives you such an advantage in making contact with potential customers.

Have you ever evaluated yourself as a business owner? If you are considering going into business, and this is a new venture for you, you need to recognise your strengths and understand the importance of having others around you to complement your natural aptitudes. You also need to know the many ways you can now get help for your business without employing someone in the traditional sense, or how you can save yourself the effort of developing a website for your business.  

Before you can change your life you may need to change the way you think !  More than anything else, your mindset will dictate what you are able to achieve and developing a success mindset is a powerful tool way to propel yourself into a new way of living in the future.

Internet-based businesses

As of June 30 2010 28.7% of the world’s population, ie 1,966,514,816 people were connected to the internet and billions of dollars worth of goods and services are sold through the internet, increasing every year.  It is therefore the world’s largest marketplace, and a marketplace that never sleeps.

It is also the easiest form of business to set up, with no overheads, very little investment and low risk.  There are some amazing ways that you can start right now to develop an income stream which will help your retirement become much more comfortable financially, as well as being really interesting.  But whilst there are some very professional people online who can teach you the skills you need to create a small to large additional income stream through your endeavours, there are also a lot of sharks. 

Beware the “Big Promises, Little Help” companies. They promise you the world but what they share with you is not enough to give you the knowledge you need, and just try getting an answer through their email Help service! 

Also … beware the “Bright Shiny Objects”! 

Once you start looking for opportunities to create a business using the internet you will find many very exciting sounding ideas, however many of them sparkle and attract but completely lack substance. 

It is very useful, and saves time and money, if you only deal with companies which will deliver what they say they will deliver to you, and which really share genuine money-making models that you can follow.

There are many online money-making strategies that you can learn about, but choosing the strategy that will best suit you is fundamental to your success.  

Choosing the strategy that is right for you 

If you recognise the skills and experience that you have, and acknowledge your passions and interests, then you can build these factors into your money making ventures.

Design the lifestyle that is going to suit both you and your partner … with a business that involves your skills and passions … and it is starting to sound like a pretty great way of life!  

My wish for you is that you reach that “sweet spot” in the middle of the diagram, the spot where your skills and experience, your passions and interests and your ideal lifestyle meet.  Once you have designed the lifestyle you want, all you need to do is learn about the strategies you can use, and decide which will best suit you in the life you have designed. 

So how are people making good money, whilst  building genuine and ethical businesses using the power of the internet?  These may not be "internet" businesses as such, but they all use the internet to magnify the power and reach of their business.

How could you find out, easily and without spending a fortune, the ways real people are making real money all over the world? How could YOU build a legitimate and highly profitable business to enhance your income?

© RedesignRetirement – FREEDOM diagram

Learn from those who have done it!

Here is some exciting news!  In the FREEDOM Retirement Action Program I have interviewed many successful business people. I hesitate to refer to them as gurus (although many people do refer to some of them in that way) because they are all amazingly lovely down-to-earth people who really want to share their success strategies with others. The people I chose to interview are all people who have shown determination and resilience, and used their skills and knowledge in some way to change the direction of their lives. Some are public figures in their own industries, whilst others are valued deeply by the people who are honoured to know them.  They are all people whose wisdom has touched my life in some way and I am proud to have the opportunity to introduce you to their ideas and let them share their stories with you.

You will hear these people answer questions  such as “What do you wish you’d known when you were starting out?”, "Why did you chose that sort of business venture?" and "How do you market your business and find your customers?"  Be ready to take lots of notes as there are some fantastic ideas, and some gems of wisdom, shared through these interviews.

Don’t forget that this section is built on getting "real" people to share their strategies with you, so you hear of all the great things that people can do and are doing, and what they have done to reach their current level of success. Not all these people are hugely wealthy from their endeavors, but all are successful in their own way.  How they measure their success is different for all of these people, just as it is for all of you reading this report.  For some it is dollars, for others it is achievement or purpose, and for others it is lifestyle.

Armed with a clear awareness of what you truly want out of your life in retirement, and having learnt about the possibilities that could make you money, you can make decisions with confidence. 

Purpose

Having a purpose has been found to be the common element between cultures that have outstanding longevity … so if you want a long and fulfilling life in retirement it is essential that you have a purpose.

Your decisions should be ones that build purpose into your life; economic purpose and a personal sense of purpose.  

Everyone needs purpose, a reason to get out of bed and a reason to be motivated.  Without purpose the human spirit tends to wither a little, but with purpose people can achieve great things.  Not having a purpose in your life is a significant health hazard!

So what are you going to do? 

If you redesign your plans for your retirement so they incorporate your passions, your interests and your values then you will build purpose into your life. 

This purpose needs to be strong enough to give you a sense of delight and anticipation; not a purpose of duty and obligation but a purpose of self-fulfilment.  

In FREEDOM Retirement Action Program, after the pleasure of planning your lifestyle in Eclasses 1 – 12, you embark on learning about the possibilities that exist for you, business models that take you from employee to entrepreneur. There are some wonderful, inspiring stories of other baby boomers, ordinary people who have taken the extraordinary road of redesigning their retirement. 

They will share with you the good and the bad that they encountered during their journey, the things they wish they had known before they started, the ways they wasted time and money and the success or problems they are now having.

Most of all … the need for planning, having the big picture before you start on this journey, and being resilient … will emerge again and again.

By this stage you will have a clear plan for the life you are going to live and for the business opportunities you are drawn to. 

You have the power to create the lifestyle you want for your future.  It will take time.  It will take commitment and communication.  But the security of knowing you have done all you can to ensure that the next phase of you life is rich and fulfilling makes it all worthwhile. 

All of this and more is included in the FREEDOM Retirement Action Program.  I explained earlier the first three letters of FREEDOM. The rest of the eclasses, Numbers 13 – 26, take you through the rest of the Seven Steps from Frustration to Freedom

Face the FutureFreedom Retirement Action Program

Reality Check

Employee to Entrepreneur

Educate

Decide

Opportunities

Make it Happen!

I look forward to helping you to redesign your retirement to create a lifestyle that will bring you much fulfillment, purpose and success….however you define it.

Warm regards,

Jenni Proctor