Working from Home Chronicles: Episode 3

A Travel AND Money-Making Opportunity

Advertisements

By Jerry Lambert

I thought I would bring you up to date on my latest job news, or lack thereof.  But first, I wanted to thank all of my recent readers who have liked a number of my previous articles.  That’s the magic of blogging I guess.  You put stuff out there, make it searchable, then people can read it forever.  You gotta love that!

I noticed that a few visitors who have recently read my posts are in the Work from Home field.  In response to that, I have decided to write an article about something that could turn into quite an opportunity.  But I’m getting ahead of myself.  I first have to back track to my previous job with Global Discovery Vacations.

Sunset at coastal resort, Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands, Caribbean

Last June, my wife and I had a “Member Refresher” with a Global Representative.  We have been members of this travel club for over 18 years.  We have fallen in love with the Destin, Florida area, and we have used the travel club many times to vacation there.  Just winding down trip #9 as I write this article.

Our first trip with GDV was in 1999, when we took our two sons to Kauai, Hawaii, for a ridiculously low price.  Backtracking a little more.  Our family had stayed at the Oak Plantation Resort in Kissimmee, Florida the year before.  It was our first time staying in a Condo Resort instead of a Hotel Room and we were in LOVE!!

We had a King Size bed to ourselves, in a bedroom with an actual DOOR!!  Our two sons shared the sofa-bed and were quite happy with that arrangement.  After they had built their pillow wall, laying claim to their two territories, peace was declared.  It was like watching a junior version of Game of Thrones, but without all the intrigue and decapitations.

That trip “somehow” got us on a mailing list, and a year later we were invited to a meeting at Global’s Southfield, Michigan office.  We signed up for a package that gave us 12 “Vacation Weeks” to use over a 20 year period.  We wound up using those 12 weeks in about 8 years, so we thought we were out of luck, as far as our travel club membership was concerned.

Couple signing housing contract portraitThankfully, in 2013 Global contacted us to let us know they had revamped the entire program.  They asked if we would be interested in seeing how the new program worked.  ABSOLUTELY!  We had become completely smitten with Condo Vacationing and it was costing us a small fortune each year to go on trips without GDV.  The new program gave us access of up to 6 vacations per year, in 200 Condo Resorts around the world!  Where do we sign?!

That brings us back to June 2017.  That’s when Matt from GDV came to our house and showed us the “New and Improved” program.  It gave us access to over 1,700 Condo Resorts, with over 70,000 weeks available in those resorts, for only $189 per week!  You heard me right, $189 PER WEEK!  Since this increased our inventory of available weeks by about 95%, we signed up immediately!

That’s when Matt said to me, “So what do you do?”  At that point, nothing.  Ocular Migraines had sidelined me from driving for Uber & Lyft.  So for the previous 6 months, I had been writing articles for The Brown Parachute Club and not much else.  He said, “You should come work for us!”  I believe my response was, “Uh, sure.”  Never having worked in a real Sales Office before, I had no idea what to expect.

IS09B4L1NWhat followed was a 6 month crash course in Sales.  Frustration, Aggravation, Elation, Jealousy, Joy, etc. . . .  I was exposed to all of it.  However, after driving almost an hour to work each afternoon, I got hit by a case of “The grass is always greener”, which quickly turned into a case of “Too big for my britches”Long story short, Art Van, the largest furniture retailer in the Midwest, is a scant 2.9 miles (yes, I measured) from my house.  I was offered a position there as a Sales Associate, so I took it.

Despite my little voice screaming his damn fool head off, I took the job, and within 5 weeks I had to quit, due to a foot injury.  Apparently, at 58 years old, I was not meant for 9 hour days on tile and concrete floors.  So I contacted my old boss at GDV, and with my imaginary hat in my hands, I went back to the office and asked for my old job back.  Unfortunately, he told me there was nothing available at the present time, but if anything opens up, I will be the first one he calls.  So, skunked there.

is09an5qdThen something occurred to me!  I had been telling prospective clients for over half a year, “If you refer any of your family or friends to Global, and they sign up with the program, you will receive $200!”  Suddenly it hit me right between the eyes.  One referral per week is almost $10,000 per year!  $9,600 actually (yes, I did the math).  Since my wife and I are members of GDV, I already had access to this potential income stream!

Because GDV is a Travel Club, it does require a one-time membership fee.  This starts as low as $XXXX (This amount has been redacted because I have returned to work for GDV).  I know.  If you are unemployed, you certainly don’t have that kind of cash lying around.  However, if you are looking for an additional income stream, this could exactly what you have been waiting for!  There are plenty of Work from Home opportunities, but how many enable you to travel to Hawaii for only $189 per week?  Not many, I’m guessing.

So, if you would like to learn more about how you can take advantage of this amazing Travel AND Money-Making Opportunity, please email me at tbpc2016@gmx.com or leave me a message on my Google Voice Line (586-467-5604) and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can!

NOTE: If you ARE interested in signing up with Global, please contact me directly first.  That way I can refer you and get the $200 cash when you sign up!  Thank you!!!

Writing this article has been a lot of fun, and since I have more time on my hands these days, I may write a few more.  We’ll see!

If you like what you’re reading on TBPC, please leave a comment and share the website with your friends.  Also, if you would like to be notified of new posts to this blog, please click on the “Follow” button in the lower right corner.  Until next time, may your parachute fully deploy, and may you have a soft landing!

Disclaimer: Advertisements that appear on this website are posted by WordPress and not by the author of this website.

Being Ebenezer Scrooge

By Jerry Lambert

Hello, and welcome back to The Brown Parachute Club.  I know it’s been about 6 months since my last posting.  As I mentioned in my last blog, I am working at Global Discovery Vacations.  Despite a somewhat rocky start, I appear to be hitting my stride (I hope).  The world of sales is very odd, to say the least.  But, I am not writing about that today.

Last year, I posted an article called, Being George Bailey.  I think it was one of the better ones I have written.  You may want to go back and read it before continuing on with this post.  The two articles are joined at the hip, as it were, and reading the first will definitely give you an idea of where I am going with this one.

Anyway, as I usually do at this time of year, I like to read (or listen to) two books.  The first is Skipping Christmas by John Grisham.  The second is A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.  The first is a great story about what would happen if you decided to just forgo all the madness surrounding the Christmas Season and just, “Skip it”.

The movie, Christmas with the Kranks, stars Tim Allen (a proud Michigander and the voice of the Pure Michigan commercials), and Jamie Lee Curtis.  Given that her dad was Tony Curtis and her mom was Janet Leigh, I’m guessing she’s from California.  The movie is a hoot and I highly recommend it if you haven’t seen it.

2fa9541865e49e2853c578a8f3fafe3eA Christmas Carol has had many movie adaptations.  I am partial to the musical Scrooge (1970), starring Albert Finney.  He was a major cranky pants in that version and did an excellent job of portraying the transformation Scrooge undergoes.  From a selfish, crusty curmudgeon, to a giving, charitable man who has found the true meaning of Christmas, and lives it every day.

Over the past few years, I have made a concerted effort to become more like the reborn Scrooge (or Scrooge 2.0 for my nerdy friends) and less like Mr. Cranky Pants.  I think we all need to make that effort, and NOT just at Christmastime.

It’s easy to be charitable and forgiving during the Christmas season.  But how about when it’s July, and some S.O.B. has just stolen your parking spot at Meijer.  Plus you are already late for your nephew’s birthday party!  Still feeling the love?

ghost_of_christmasI wanted to do a brief analysis of Scrooge and how he managed to make an “overnight transformation”.  For most of us, this sort of transformation can take years, if we have the persistence to keep at it.  There are several moments that happen in the story that are crucial to the transformation of Scrooge’s character.

The Caroler / Lonely at School: We see the first chink in Scrooge’s armor when he shows remorse for threatening a young caroler with physical harm.  This occurs when he sees his younger self, left alone at school over the Christmas holidays.  He even goes so far to say, “I should like to have given him something; that’s all.”  This is a major admission for Scrooge.  To part with money voluntarily is like cutting off a limb for Scrooge!

Little Fan / Fred’s Visit: During this same trip down memory lane, Scrooge sees his younger sister, Fan, come to rescue him from the school.  The Spirit of Christmas Past comments that she had children.  Scrooge points out that she had one child, his nephew Fred, who he treats with contempt every year when he comes by to invite him to Christmas Dinner.  This realization hits Scrooge hard, because he realizes by berating Fred, he is treating his deceased little sister’s only child horribly.

hqdefaultFear of Being Poor / Fiancée Dumping Him: We see Scrooge falling in love, only to see his love for the unnamed fiancée become replaced by his drive for money.  Apparently at all cost.  He convinces himself he is doing it for both of them, but eventually, she falls away and he becomes consumed by greed.  When she drops her engagement ring on the scale, she tells him that she weighs very little compared to his pursuit of wealth.  This brings a tear to the eye of Old Scrooge and he begs the Spirit of Christmas Past to take him away.

f9e419c897388ea04c2a5ac65856022cTreatment of Bob / Tiny Tim: We see early on how Scrooge mistreats Bob Cratchit as well.  It’s not until the Spirit of Christmas Present shows Scrooge Bob’s family, specifically Tiny Tim, that it occurs to Scrooge that Bob just might be due for a raise.  Scrooge’s concern over the welfare of Tiny Tim shows further cracks in the wall he has put up between himself and society.

980xChristmas Future / Fear of Hell: Scrooge’s final visitor, the Spirit of Christmas Future, shows him that not only will he not be missed, but many people may actually celebrate his death.  The scene in Scrooge the Musical illustrates this with a rousing dance number and the song, “Thank You Very Much!”  A classic.  His trip to the graveyard and seeing “Ebenezer Scrooge” on the tombstone shakes him up.  Plus, remembering what Marley said about the chains Scrooge himself carried, makes him terrified of going to Hell.  The thought of lugging those chains around for eternity is too much for him to bear.

musicalscrooge04Being able to view these past events from a third person perspective really allows Scrooge to see where his life went off the rails.  If asked on Christmas Eve before the visitation by Jacob Marley, he would have considered himself a successful and prosperous businessman.  On Christmas Day, he awakens realizing what a selfish fool he’s been, and is determined to take a different path.

So at this time of year, but really all year, let’s endeavor to give the other person the benefit of the doubt.  That jerk who cut you off may have just been fired from a job of 25 years (like someone else I know).  Or, there may be a sick child at home who is occupying all of his attention.

I know your first reaction is flip him the bird and string together some colorful adjectives about what you would like to see happen to him, but please keep in mind what he may be going through.  Or, maybe he’s just a jerk.  Either way, don’t let it steal your Christmas Spirit, if you’re lucky enough to have captured it!  Please keep in mind that the type of transformation Scrooge went through rarely happens overnight.  It may take many years of hard work before your transformation takes place.  However, I’m sure it will be worth it.  Still working on mine!

1970_ Albert Finney_ScroogeI won’t be so cheesy to quote Tiny Tim’s famous last line.  However, I will quote a line from the story that has always stuck with me.  “He became as good a friend, as good a master, and as good a man as the old city ever knew.”  This Christmas, as well as every day, let that be your guide and you will truly be embracing the Christmas Spirit (all three of them as a matter of fact) every day of the year.  Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

If you like what you’re reading on TBPC, please leave a comment and share the website with your friends.  Also, if you would like to be notified of new posts to this blog, please click on the “Follow” button in the lower right corner.  Until next week, may your parachute fully deploy, and may you have a soft landing!

Disclaimer: Advertisements that appear on this website are posted by WordPress and not by the author of this website.

Primerica

This Second Career May Be For You!

By Jerry Lambert

(Author’s Note:  I originally wrote this article not long after I launched TBPC.  However, because of my association with Primerica at that time, I wasn’t able to publish it.  Since I have broken ties with Primerica, I can now post it.  I hope you find it enlightening and enjoyable.  – JL)

This week I am going to talk about one of the Side Hustles I tried fairly early on in my forced retirement.  Primerica (Primerica Financial Services).

Financial advisor sitting with coupleYou may, or may not have heard of Primerica.  It is one of the top financial services companies in the country.  The Primerica business model is unique.  They actually put the needs of their clients first.  That business model enabled Primerica (PRI) to go public with one of the most successful IPOs of 2010.

The business has two sides to it.  The client side and the opportunity side.  The client side offers products that range from investments, to debt reduction, insurance, legal protection, and much more.  The opportunity is to own a small business, with Primerica’s help.

Primerica is a solid company that has been in business since 1974, and has built its reputation by helping out families that have been ignored by the larger financial services companies.

That’s great you say, but how is this an opportunity to own my own small business?  A good question!  Primerica has grown the company by always being on the lookout for sharp people who want the freedom of running their own business.  If you meet with a Primerica Representative, and they are impressed with you, you will be invited to an interview.

Overhead view of business people talking

If you join Primerica as a Representative, your business is grown entirely on word of mouth referrals and your ability to recruit others onto your team.  You join the business as part of a team, then you start working on building your own team.  To build a client base and recruit potential Representatives, you will be asked to contact your friends and family.  This is to see if they are properly protected financially and / or looking for a way to start a small business.

This is where a lot of people will shy away from Primerica.  Nobody wants to tick off their family and friends by “ratting them out” to Primerica.  However, what it all comes down to is that every family should know where they stand financially, and where they can do better.  This is where you can help, with the financial products I listed above, and the prospect of earning some extra money.  If you decide to join the company as a Representative, there are some small startup costs.  $99 to join the company and $25 per month for website access.  That’s it.

Now, for the not-so-rosy part of the picture.  The targeted demographic age group for clients (and prospective Representatives) is 25-35, married, kids, job, and homeowners.  Since we are in the 55-65 age bracket, unfortunately that doesn’t apply to us.  However, if you have a large family, who might need some of the services that Primerica provides, you may be on your way.  Plus, some of your family members may be interested in becoming Representatives.

Man using two telephones

I’m not going to lie to you.  Unless you are a naturally outgoing person and / or have a large group of family or friends in the demographic I mentioned earlier, Primerica may not be for you.  I worked HARD for 9 months and came away with 2 clients and 1 recruit onto my team.  I am one of the clients and my recruit dropped out of the business before really getting started.

That said, this may be an income stream for you to check out.  If you are able to create a decent sized team, it will take on a life of its own.  Keep in mind that the time commitment to be successful at Primerica is substantial.  If you are the type of person who is willing to bust your hump for a few months, or up to a year or two, then Primerica may be for you.

HERE IS MY GIGANTIC DISCLAIMER!  During the whole 9 months I was trying to build my Primerica business, I was bringing in Zero Dollars of additional income!  This added a level of pressure that was not conducive to success in the company.  The opportunity is designed for you to start part-time and eventually go full-time.

Couple on red carpetThat said, if you are the type of person who would like to give it a try, I would definitely recommend using one of the other income producing Side Hustles (possibly driving for Uber & Lyft) to bring in some cash.  This will relieve a lot of pressure to succeed right off the bat, with Primerica as your only income stream.  I only wish I had approached Primerica this way in the first place.  My results might have been different.

Well, there it is.  If you live in the Detroit metro area and would like to learn more about Primerica, please contact Heidi McCarroll from the Troy office at 586-619-0123.  If you live outside the Detroit area, contact the Primerica Main Office at 770-381-1000.  Ask to be put in touch with a Representative in your area.

Hopefully, this article has helped point you in a direction you may not have considered before.  If you have an entrepreneurial spirit and enjoy talking with people, this may be the opportunity you have been waiting for.

If you like what you’re reading on TBPC, please leave a comment and share the website with your friends.  Also, if you would like to be notified of new posts to this blog, please click on the “Follow” button in the lower right corner.  Until next week, may your parachute fully deploy, and may you have a soft landing!

Disclaimer: Advertisements that appear on this website are posted by WordPress and not by the author of this website.

The Rule of 55

One Option You May Want To Check Out!

By Jerry Lambert

(Author’s Note:  I originally wrote this article not long after I launched TBPC.  However, because of my association with Primerica at that time, I wasn’t able to publish it.  Since I have broken ties with Primerica, I can now post it.  I hope you find it enlightening and enjoyable.  – JL)

You’ve just been laid off from a job you’ve held for over 20 years.  This is no seasonal or temporary layoff.  This is the big “See ya, wouldn’t wanna be ya!” layoff.  You are suddenly a member of The Brown Parachute Club.  Now, what do you do?

Like everyone, you have certain financial responsibilities that were being met by your paycheck.  Just how are you going to meet those obligations now?  If you’re lucky, there will be a Severance Package.  And sure, there’s Unemployment Insurance, but that’s only going to pay you a small fraction of what you were earning.  Also, Unemployment payments will only begin once your Severance payments run out, so no double-dipping.

Golden egg in a nestWell, this dark, horribly ugly cloud, does have a silver lining.  If you have been diligent with your retirement savings and have built a nice little nest egg, that egg can save your bacon.  What I am talking about here is raiding your retirement plan to pay off all of your debt.  I know this flies in the face of everything you have heard about retirement planning.  However, this isn’t retirement planning, it’s financial survival.  It’s just an option you may want to consider.

Full disclosure here.  I am NOT a Financial Advisor and I do NOT hold a Securities License.  That said, I can only tell you what I did.  I decided that paying off all our debt would be a great way to get a fresh start and reduce financial stress during the unemployment period.

Now for the bad news.  Paying off all of your debt by raiding your 401k may seem like a great idea, until you take Mr. Taxman into consideration.  Since the money I wanted to withdraw to pay off our debt had never been taxed, I was in for a cataclysmic shock.  The total amount of money I had to withdraw to pay off all of our debt had over 1/3 of it going to pay taxes!  Yikes!  The government will always get their cut.

IS09B4WQ2After I finished channeling our Founding Fathers, by railing against the injustice of taxes and the tyranny of the crown, I realized it actually could have been a lot worse.  When I was researching whether or not to pull the trigger on this major reallocation of my retirement funds, I came across a little known rule.  The Rule of 55.

Apparently, the phenomenon we are experiencing, being laid off before retirement, is such a prevalent problem the IRS is giving us a break.  They have come up with a rule that allows you to withdraw money from your qualified retirement plan, WITHOUT having to pay the 10% penalty.  After the financial kick-in-the-teeth you just received from paying those taxes, this probably seems like small potatoes.  However, it will keep you from having to cough up thousands of dollars more to Uncle Sam in penalty fees.  Always a good thing.

Now for the second disclaimer of this article.  I recommend that you contact your tax specialist to verify whether you qualify for this exception.  You have to be 55 years old (or older) in the year that you are laid off from your job.  You also qualify if you turn 55 in that year.  For more information about this rule, click on this link to view the IRS Topic 558 document.

It is completely up to you whether you choose to employ this debt reduction option.  I just know that since we have paid off our debt, there is a great relief and peace of mind that comes with knowing we are debt-free.  Our only bills each month now are food, gas, insurance and utilities.

Hopefully, this article has given you something to think about.  As you face the uncertainty of early retirement, it’s nice to know you have some options.

If you like what you’re reading on TBPC, please leave a comment and share the website with your friends. Also, if you would like to be notified of new posts to this blog, please click on the “Follow” button in the lower right corner. Until next week, may your parachute fully deploy, and may you have a soft landing!

Disclaimer: Advertisements that appear on this website are posted by WordPress and not by the author of this website.

 

 

Your LinkedIn Summary

Why it’s Replacing Your Résumé!

By Jerry Lambert

Hello, and welcome back to The Brown Parachute Club.  I hope you enjoyed last week’s post Back to School.  It still cracks me up that my neighborhood Big Lots has the “Back to School” supplies out already!  I think they put them out the day after school let out.  Wishful thinking for lots of parents, I’m sure!

Students using tablet computers in classThis week I am going to discuss the Summary part of your LinkedIn Profile and why it’s so important.  Somebody recently pointed out to me that my Summary was really lacking and needed to be revamped.  Looking at it, I agreed, but where to begin?

When I wrote my article on LinkedIn, I completely overlooked the Summary.  However, as experienced LinkedIn Members know, a powerhouse Summary is essential to showing the world what he or she is all about.

In the article I wrote about Networking, I mentioned a story I came across in Forbes magazine: Three Steps To Writing The Perfect LinkedIn Summary.  In this piece, the author (William Arruda) shows you how to write a Summary that will blow people away, and hopefully get you noticed by the right people. Arruda points out that a well-written LinkedIn Summary is becoming more important than your résumé.

The three steps he mentions are Setting the Scene, Gathering Your Raw Data, and Putting All Together.

Setting the Scene: This is the part where you figure out who you are trying to reach, what you want them to learn about you, and how you want them to feel.

Gathering Your Raw Data: In this section, you list all of your accomplishments, values, and areas where you really shine.  This is where you brag on yourself.  If you don’t do it, who will?

Putting It All Together: This part shows you how to grab the reader, show them what you’re all about, then tell them what they should do next (HIRE YOU!).  It also shows you how you can include pictures and video to make your Summary really pop!

IS09AK4FKThere is also an article by Maggie Graham on WorkForce50.com.  It’s called: Three Tips to Slam Dunk Keyword Optimization on LinkedIn.  What’s with all the threes?  I guess if you go up to four you lose the reader’s attention.  Don’t want to do that!

If you read my article on Age Discrimination, you will remember I mentioned that evil Résumé Database Scanner.  The one that makes it a personal mission to toss your résumé into the junk heap before any human eyes can see it?  Keyword Optimization is what that evil sucker uses to either pass you through the gateway or toss you in the junk heap.

Her article shows you how to use the right keywords in LinkedIn.  That way your profile will turn up in LinkedIn searches by a prospective employer.  The article also includes a YouTube video by the author at the bottom of the page.  Nice.

Both of these articles have invaluable information that will make your LinkedIn Summary stand head and shoulders above the competition.  I have been dragging my feet when it came to updating my Summary.  I wanted to have something a little bit more impressive than Uber and Lyft Driver to WOW people.

Sunset at coastal resort, Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands, CaribbeanThankfully, my procrastination has paid off.  Funny how that works sometimes!  The payoff is in the form of a job!  Alleluia and Praise the Lord!  I have been hired by Global Discovery Vacations.  My wife and I have been members of this Travel Club for 18 years and I have accepted a position with the company in Sales.  If you live in the Detroit area and are interested in maximizing your vacations, please call the Livonia Office of Global Discovery Vacations (734-462-6301) and ask for Jerry Lambert.  Or, check out their Facebook page for more information.

This leads me to the end of this article, and this blog.  I started writing this blog last October. My intention was to share the trials and tribulations of trying to find a job on the other side of 55.  I have had a lot of fun writing the articles and there has been a positive response from readers of the blog.  Now, however, I have decided to stop writing additional articles.  I have covered all of the topics I felt would be of interest to a job seeker in The Brown Parachute Club.  With my new position, I just don’t think I’ll have the time to continue writing it.

To all of you who have been following this blog, Thank You!  It has been a pleasure to share what I have learned on this journey.  I will leave this blog up and running as I intended it to be: a reference library for people our age.  For all of those who have been laid off and need to find work, along with finding a renewed purpose in life.  I hope these articles have been, and will continue to be, helpful.

While listening to some music the other day, I heard a song lyric that has become my new personal mantra.  Today is Yesterday’s Tomorrow.  Or, as that great philosopher Ferris Bueller once put it, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”  Sage words.  I wish you all the best and good luck in your job search.  Don’t give up!!

 

Back To School

Is it Still Worth Your While?

By Jerry Lambert

Hi!  Welcome back to The Brown Parachute Club!  If you are a regular reader of this blog I hope you enjoyed last week’s article: Have You Ever Thought About Becoming an Entrepreneur?  As usual, I always learn a lot when I write one of these articles.  If you read it, I hope it sparked some ideas.

Smiling Caucasian profession in formal robe

This week I thought I would discuss a subject just about everyone thinks of after they are laid off from their job.  Should I go back to school?  It’s a very important question, and one you should give a lot of thought to.

Since summer vacation has begun, I immediately think about all of those noisy kids going back to school in September.  My thoughts also drift to cooler temperatures and FOOTBALL!

When I was a kid, I always loved going back to school.  Seeing all my friends, new school supplies, and textbooks that have never been cracked open!  This feeling would usually go away by October, but those first few weeks were always magical for me.  Then reality would set in, and I would start counting down the days until Christmas Vacation!!

I’m lucky enough to live near the community college I attended back in the late 70s and early 80s.  Recently, I have gone back there to use the library from time to time.  I go there to write some of these articles and work on other projects as well.  Even though I’m not currently a student, I really like the feeling of being on campus.  It puts me in the correct mindset to learn new things, such as WordPress.  I learned a lot about building this website at that library!

IS09AJ7SCThis brings me back to the subject of this article.  Should you consider going back to school?  For some people the answer is definitely YES.  If you were working on your degree and got sidetracked by life, and are only a few credit hours short of your degree, you should definitely consider finishing up.  A degree is an excellent addition to your résumé, and shows prospective employers you know how to finish what you started.  Even if it took 20 years!

Many Brown Parachuters see going back to school as a great way to “Reinvent” themselves.  If you had a Minor you were working on in college, and it still interests you, now might be the time to go for it!  After all, it might reboot your career and land you a job that will help get to your retirement years.  You never know.

However, if you read my article College vs Vocational Education, I don’t have to tell you that college costs have risen at twice the rate of healthcare!  Given that information, how in the heck are you going to finish up your degree?  That is an excellent question!

is09ao1ykThere is a terrific article on the website Love To Know.  It tells you all about grant money that is available for senior citizens.  Bad news, though.  I hate to be the one to break it to you.  If you are over 55, you are a senior citizen!  Anyway, it this case, being an old fart works in your favor.  There are 11 states that waive tuition costs for seniors altogether!  Wow!

I remember when I was in school, there was one older lady who was in one of my classes.  She was ancient!  She must have been at least 35!!!  We all thought she was ready for the Old Folks Home.  Ah, to be young and stupid again.  Nowadays, there are people of all ages attending your local community college and universities.  Although the student body is still primarily young farts.

In addition to finishing up your degree, there are many people who attend class for the sheer joy of learning.  I call them Hermione Grangers.  In the article on Love To Know, they mention that some colleges will allow seniors to audit a class for free, or at a heavily discounted rate.  So, if you’ve always wanted to take that class in Advanced Basket Weaving, here’s your chance!

Artist standing by artwork in studio portrait

If heading back to campus isn’t for you, you may still be in luck.  There is a relatively new website called The Great Courses.  This website offers dirt cheap online classes that are being taught by experts in their fields.  Math, Science, History, Fine Arts, Literature, etc.  These are not courses for casual learners.  They are aimed at serious people who want to learn more about a given subject and are willing to work hard.

For those of you who are looking to brush up on your skills without going back to college, or signing up for one of The Great Courses, there is always GCF Learn Free.  I did an article on this tremendous website a while ago.  While it is not on par with “Great Courses”, it does a great job of covering the material it does offer.  Some of it in great detail.  Definitely worth checking out, if you just want to brush up on your Microsoft Excel, or anything of the other courses that are listed.

Well, that’s it.  Hopefully, if you chose to head back to school, this article has brought you up to speed on some of the options that are available to you.  Just don’t get offended if the kids don’t want to talk to you.  They don’t talk to each other either, unless it’s by texting, Facebook, or Twitter!

If you like what you’re reading on TBPC, please leave a comment and share the website with your friends.  Also, if you would like to be notified of new posts to this blog, please click on the “Follow” button in the lower right corner.  Until next week, may your parachute fully deploy, and may you have a soft landing!

Disclaimer: Advertisements that appear on this website are posted by WordPress and not by the author of this website.

Have You Ever Thought About Becoming an Entrepreneur?

It Might Not Be Too Crazy After All!

By Jerry Lambert

Hello, and welcome back to The Brown Parachute Club!  I hope you enjoyed last week’s article about College vs Vocational Education.  Hopefully, you know a young person who could benefit from it.  This week, I wanted to tackle a topic you may (or may not) have been thinking about.  Becoming an Entrepreneur or a Small Business Owner (SBO).

American coinsI know what you’re thinking, “I don’t have two dimes to rub together and you want me to think about starting a business?”  Well, yes.  I want you to think about it.  There are many successful business that have been started by folks in our age group.  Many of these people were laid off from their main source of income.  I’m not going to lie to you, it’s probably not the best set of circumstances to start a business.  However, necessity is the mother of invention.

There are two schools of thought.  Use your years of experience at your old job and strike out on your own as an Independent Contractor.  Or, take stock of your resources and try to make a business out of your biggest hobby or passion.  An article on CNBC’s website states that many laid off people chose to start a business simply because their re-employment chances are so abysmal.

I have to be honest.  I am a failed Entrepreneur.  Many of the businesses I started over the years failed.  Mainly because I didn’t have the time or money to give the business an honest shot.  I have tried everything from government auctions, to partnering with travel agencies, to building mobile websites, just to mention a few.  Some of them could have made it, if I had more time to spend on them.  I think that’s the reason many businesses started by the over 50 crowd succeed.  Especially if they have been laid off.  They have the time necessary to build their new business.

IS09AN5KKAs you probably know, the majority of new businesses in this country fail.  Motley Fool states that 4 out of 5 new businesses fail in the first year.  Not great odds, but looking at it from the other side of the equation, that means that 20% of new businesses make it through the first year.  The businesses that do succeed seem to have one element in common: PASSION.  You have to be passionate about whatever you decide to turn into a business, or it is more than likely doomed to fail.  Also, it takes the time and money that I mentioned earlier, but passion can take you a long way.

In this article I am going to give you examples of folks just like us, who started their dream business after 50, and are doing very well.  These people have truly taken lemons and made lemonade, or coffee, or bagels, or wine.  Whatever their passion may be.

One way to start a business is to turn your hobby into a business.  Say, you’re a stamp collector with some degree of knowledge in that area.  You could start a website offering up some of your more valuable stamps for sale.  If your website catches on, you could make money by putting up other collectors’ stamps for sale on your website.  That’s just off the top of my head.  If you choose to do this business, don’t forget your inspiration!  I accept tens and twenties.

What really can get you sick is when you read a story about some guy who is pulling down six figures in the corporate world.  Then he GETS BORED.  He starts up a company based on his lifelong hobby of butterfly collecting, or some such thing.  The company is a huge hit, and inside of a year he’s a millionaire.  Meanwhile, we are having a hard time making ends meet, let alone starting up a company based on our interests.  We don’t have the luxury of “Getting Bored”.

is09ak8qf.jpgHowever, it might be easier than you’d think.  In this day and age, the Internet has become a world-wide marketplace.  Just look at Amazon and Ebay.  There are people from all over the world selling products on those websites !  The only problem with that sort of business is that the competition is very stiff.  Your company might be so far down the product list only a dedicated bargain-hunter might stumble across it by accident!

I guess to me what it all comes down to is this.  Do you go big, or go home?  Unfortunately, most folks in our situation, we don’t have a load of cash sitting around, just waiting for an investment in a fledgling business.  You may need to find other sources of startup cash.  But remember, whether your business succeeds or fails, you still owe that money!  For that reason, I would stay away from Ricco the Loan Shark.

Portrait of a pit bull mix

I found an article on Arkenea.  It features a list of people who started their own businesses after the age of 50.  This includes one female bodybuilder, who started her business at 56 and is now 78!  Good Lord!  One guy started a bakery without any baking skills!  Maybe he was good at eating donuts?   Another guy started a coffee company with his wife, in Hawaii no less!  Also, many of the people in this article have started up an online business.  I have to admit, looking at some of them, I wouldn’t think they could turn on a PC, let alone have a successful online business!

The point is, if THEY made it YOU can too!  At least that’s what I keep telling myself!  I found that article very inspiring.  It shows that, regardless of your age, with the right amount of timing, money, and luck, you can still build a successful business in America.  If not, there’s always the Lottery.  That reminds me, the Powerball is up to almost $460 Million.  Got to buy a ticket today!

If you like what you’re reading on TBPC, please leave a comment and share the website with your friends.  Also, if you would like to be notified of new posts to this blog, please click on the “Follow” button in the lower right corner.  Until next week, may your parachute fully deploy, and may you have a soft landing!

Disclaimer: Advertisements that appear on this website are posted by WordPress and not by the author of this website.