The Rule of 55

One Option You May Want To Check Out!

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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.

 

 

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.

Age Discrimination

How It’s Working Against You!

By Jerry Lambert

Hello, and welcome to The Brown Parachute Club.  If this is your first time reading this blog, you may be thinking, “What’s up with the name of this website?”  Well, when you reach retirement, it’s been said that you receive a “Golden Parachute”.  It will enable you to land softly and hit the ground running in your “Golden Years”.

To those of us who are laid off before we reach retirement age, we receive the “Brown Parachute”.  If the Golden Parachute is filled with Gold, I’ll let you figure out what the Brown Parachute is filled with.

Worried man head in handIf you have recently joined The Brown Parachute Club, this article is about your hidden nemesis, Age Discrimination.  As I will show you, it comes in many forms, and it’s the main reason there are so many members of TBPC.

When I was laid off in February of 2014 I figured, “Well, this sucks, but I should be able to get another job eventually.”  Uh, no.  At least not in my field of Data Backup and Recovery, where I had over 30 years of experience.  I also couldn’t find work in the Audio / Visual field, where I had 6 years of experience.  I even applied for Technical Support jobs (which I hated) and I didn’t get any nibbles there either.

“What is wrong with me?”  “Why am I not getting called for any interviews?”  “I’m qualified for these jobs!”  “What’s going on?”  These are all questions I asked myself when I was unable to get a job during the first six months after being laid off.

At that time, I had no idea The Brown Parachute Club even existed.  As of 2012, there were over 2.1 million people between the ages of 55 and 65 who had been laid off before they reached retirement.  Given the state of the economy in recent years, do you think that number has increased or decreased?  Had I known about this, I might have felt a little better about myself.  After all, misery loves company.

Worried BusinessmanIt’s not that I didn’t try to find work.  I was signed up with so many headhunters, I could have been cast in the fictitious movie, “Abbott and Costello Meet the Headhunters!”  Where Bud and Lou get laid off ten years away from retirement and try in vain to find jobs!  I did get calls from some of the headhunters from time to time.  They would tell me that I was perfect for a job that just came across their desk!  Only to never hear back from them again about the position.

Of course, if you have been unemployed for a while, and you are in the 55 – 65 age group, none of this is news to you.  What you may not realize is that Age Discrimination is real, and it is the “Silent Killer” of your career.

Many companies are laying off people our age, simply because they are trying to cut costs.  They go after people like us, with the most seniority, who are making the most money in their departments, because we’re easy targets.

That wouldn’t be so bad if most people our age had scaled back their debt and financial obligations.  However, many of us still owe on our cars, house, and college debt for the kids.  How are we supposed to keep up those payments with no job?  “Not our problem”, says your former employer.

IS09B4L1NWhat you don’t realize when you apply for a job online is that in many cases, “Human Eyes” are never viewing your résumé.  It’s not Age Discrimination if a computer is discriminating against you.  There are certain “Key Words and Phrases” that a Résumé Database Scanner looks for.  These word and phrase combinations can be positive, or in our case, negative.  I’m sure I’ve been the victim of “Résumé Math” on more than one occasion.  When a Résumé Database Scanner starts putting 2 + 2 together, the resulting answer is “OLD!

What company is going to hire you at your old salary, when it can hire some kid fresh out of school for a third of what they were paying you?  It’s simple economics, the type where you get the short end of the stick.  Even if they were willing to pay you what they were going to pay the kid, why should they hire you?  When you only have a handful of good years left.  Taylor, fresh out of college, can work for them until he (or she) is your age.  Then they can make him (or her) a member of The Brown Parachute Club as well!

Now don’t get me wrong.  I’m sure there are plenty of fields where your age is irrelevant to your job prospects and may actually improve them.  However, for the rest of us, being old sucks.  And not just because of the wonderful new aches and pains that we discover each morning!

A recent article in Forbes illustrates how widespread the problem is.  In a letter to a blogger, a letter-writer details an experience he had with a potential client.  Without giving away too much of the article, at one point a young recruiter tells the letter-writer, At your age, you’d better take what you can get!”  The writer of this letter is a consultant with his own very successful business, and he STILL gets hit with this attitude!  If he catches this kind of crap, what kind of hope do we have?

Mature man using a computer at homeAge Discrimination is exceedingly hard to prove.  How can you say that you were discriminated against if you never get called for an interview in the first place?  If your résumé is never seen by “Human Eyes”, how can a “Human Reviewer” ever be called in for a deposition?  It’s much easier to have the Résumé Database Scanner do the discriminating for you!

I’m sorry to paint such a rosy picture, but I don’t believe in sugarcoating the truth.  And the truth is, unless you have experience in a job that’s in very high demand, you may be looking for work for a very, very, very long time.

However, all is not lost!  That’s why I started this website.  I wanted to help folks during this difficult time in their lives.  There are many Side Hustle and Work From Home jobs listed here that might help you earn some extra cash, to help you dig out of a financial hole. There may also be some information that will help you to set some goals, become more disciplined, stop procrastinating, lose weight and much more.  Just remember, giving up is not an option!  See you next week.

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 Work From Home Chronicles: Episode 1

Can You Earn Decent Money From Home?

By Jerry Lambert

Hello again, and welcome back to The Brown Parachute Club.  Well, here it is, as promised.  My first list of WFH Jobs that don’t suck.  Hopefully.  I have decided to turn this into a featured part of my website, hence “The Work from Home Chronicles” title.  I’ll probably turn this into a page of its own, depending on how it goes.

Female sitting outside with laptop

Anyway, I have researched several WFH opportunities for you to have a look at.  I admit that I haven’t signed up for any of them yet, but I am leaning towards a couple of them pretty hard and I’ll let you know which ones they are.

Most of these jobs I found reviewed on the Dream Home Based Work website.  This is a terrific website run by Lashay H.  She has done much of the hard work for you, by researching and recommending companies that she trusts.

I don’t know if I mentioned this before, but if I have, it bears repeating.  You have to be extremely careful when signing up with a work from home company.  Since you will be working for them, they will more than likely want some of your personal information.  I can only imagine the number of scams that are out there, trying to collect your information so they can suck your savings account dry and run up huge credit card charges in your name!

I signed up for LifeLock a few years ago and I don’t regret it.  It gives you peace of mind, and that is hard to come by these days.  Plus, if you are signing up for WFH Jobs, this gives you a layer of protection you wouldn’t have otherwise.  If you sign up for LifeLock, use the promo code 10Now to save 10%.  If this code has expired, just click on this link for current LifeLock promo codes.

is09an5qdJust one more thing.  All of the jobs that I will be listing will be using PayPal to pay you.  That means that many of these jobs will pay you almost instantly, which is a very nice perk.  Some of the jobs I looked at take up to 4-6 weeks to pay you.  The heck with that!  There are plenty of jobs that payout using PayPal within 24-48 hours.  You can’t beat that!  Click here to get your own Personal PayPal account!  The only drawback is that PayPal will take a small cut out of each payment you get.  That is the price you pay for safety since you probably don’t want to give these companies your bank account number, even if it’s just for deposits.

Enough of that, you say, what about the jobs?  I have looked at a wide variety of jobs.  Two of them are phone-related.  Since I spent the last 3 years on my previous job fielding calls in Technical Support, that is the LAST thing I want to do.  However, these jobs seem like a good way to earn some extra income, without having to sell anyone anything.  That’s hard to beat.  Here are the jobs.

Intelichek: This phone job is what is considered a “Mystery Shopper”.  What the job entails is providing quality assurance checks for automotive suppliers.  You call a company and ask for a price on a specific part or parts.  That’s it.  It pays .90 per call.  That doesn’t seem like much, but when the average call takes no more than 5 minutes, that translates to $10.80 per hour.  Not bad.  However, this job has a 10 hour per week work minimum, so keep that in mind.  You can set your own hours between 8 am and 7 pm.  You get paid bi-weekly by check, as opposed to the PayPal option.  It’s worth checking out if you don’t mind being on the phone for a few hours each day.

Call Center QA:  Another phone job in the “Mystery Shopper” category.  This looks like a good opportunity to make some decent money.  You get paid $5 per call.  If each call and survey take about 15 minutes, that’s $20/hour!!!  Plus, you get paid via PayPal within 7 business days, so that’s cool!  There is no minimum number of hours, but you do have to make your calls during business hours.

Humanatic:  This is a Call Reviewer job.  You know, when you hear the message, “This call is being recorded for quality assurance”?  You’re the one reviewing the call!  This seemed interesting.  You listen to recorded quality calls and answer some questions based on the call.  Plus, they have a link to PayPal to sign up for an account!!!  However, I just checked and it looks like this only pays between $1 and $4.50 per hour!  You probably want to skip this one!  I included it here so you have an example of doing your homework before signing up with one of these companies!

UserTesting:  I know what you’re thinking, “What gives?  Where are the good jobs?”  This might be a good one!  This is a quote from their website.  “How it works.  Get $10 via PayPal for every 20-minute video you complete.  UserTesting pays you to visit websites or apps, complete a set of tasks, and speak your thoughts aloud.”  I’m no math whiz, but I think that translates to $30/hour!  Now there may be downtime in between, but this seems promising and appeals to my IT background.  I am definitely going to check this one out!

Clickworker:  For those of you with an office / clerical background, Clickworker might be for you. They help companies by breaking down large projects into bite-sized pieces.  How much you get paid varies on the job being done and how quickly and accurately you get it done.  You are paid via PayPal, though the time period seems a little fuzzy.  It starts at 7 days but can go up to 21 days.  However, if this is the sort of work you are used to doing, it might be right up your alley.

Well, I think that’s enough for this week.  Hopefully, I’ve given you one or two jobs you will want to check out!  I plan on making this a regular feature.  I will continue to write articles on Side Hustles (not necessarily Working from Home), Productivity, and Lifestyle.

DisclaimerI am not affiliated with, or compensated by, any of the companies I have mentioned.  They just looked promising to me and I thought I would pass them along.  That’s all.

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.

Active vs Passive Income

What’s The Difference?

By Jerry Lambert

During your search for ways to earn extra (any) income, you may have come across the terms Active and Passive Income.  I will try to explain the difference between the two in this article and why it’s important to know the difference.

Man sleepingI have to admit, I went down many paths that turned into nothing, pursuing the elusive “Passive Income Stream”.  Otherwise known as, “Make Money While You Sleep!”  The pitch sounds great, “Earn $5000 per week from home, doing nothing!”  This definitely appealed to my lazy streak.  However, the promise and the reality don’t really cross paths.

From personal experience, many of these “opportunities” turn out to be a way to suck what little money you have into their “System”.  I also fell for “This one sucks, but maybe the next one will be better”.  Nope.

The one overriding pitch seems to be, “Make Money Online!”  What this comes down to more often than not is what is known as “Affiliate Marketing”.  This is an industry that has sprung up as a way to run ads on websites.  The theory is that if your website is popular enough, you will be able to make money from it by running ads.

If you are reading this article on a tablet or phone, you may be seeing one of these ads.  Let’s face it, they’re everywhere.  They are counting on the age-old sales formula that 1%-3% of visitors to your website will click on these ads and earn you some money.

Businesswoman sitting on chair with digital tablet and blackboardThe problem with that theory is that you need a website, like TBPC.  However, if you don’t have a website, you may have to pay to “rent space” on somebody else’s website to run your ads.  I looked into this whole process and it gets very confusing, not to mention expensive.  And let’s face it, you want to make money, not spend more money you don’t have.  However, the old business adage is true, “You have to spend money to make money!”  Not too encouraging if you don’t have any money in the first place.

I did sign up for a couple of programs that promised all sorts of passive income if I would only cough up a small amount of money.  What they don’t tell you is that once you sign up, you will be approached by someone offering to “coach” you in your new online business venture.  When you finally nail them down to the costs, you’ll find out that this “coaching” will cost you over $1000!  Thanks, but no thanks.

Based on my experience, people are out there selling “air”.  They approach you with a solid sounding “System” that will enable you to make money online running ads.  However, the only money that is being made is by the people selling you the “System”.

Now don’t get me wrong, all you have to do is visit any website and you will see tons of ads for everything under the sun.  So SOMEBODY is making money doing this.  I’m sure there are people pumping hundreds of dollars or more into ads.  Not a lot of people have that kind of money lying around to blow on advertising.

Saw cutting a hole around a piggy bankOk”, you say, “I just have to make sure it’s not a scam”.  The “Scam” come-on is the oldest trick in the book.  Say you want to learn about ABC-123-XYZ-LMNOP Online Marketing* and you do a search to find out if it’s legit, or a scam.  You will see a bunch of results that say something like, “Is ABC-123-XYZ-LMNOP Online Marketing a Scam?”  If you’re lucky, you’ll click on a link that will be a genuine review of the system.  However, more than likely, it’s just a ruse to take you to their website, where they can sell you their own system!!!  It goes around and around and around!  *(There are so many of these companies that I had to come up with that ridiculous company name just to make sure I didn’t accidentally mention a real one!)

If you do feel compelled to try out one of these systems, don’t accept the offer right away.  More than likely there will be a video telling you about all the money you can expect to earn by using their system.  Once the video finishes playing, be sure to scroll to the bottom of the window for more information about how much the system costs.  Then hit the “X” to close the window.  Attempting to close the window will launch a barrage of, “Wait, there’s more!” windows that will gradually reduce the price down to almost nothing.  I was going to sign up for a system once that started at around $50 and it eventually went down to $7!  I guess they figure $7 is better than nothing.

Young woman carrying stack of jeans in clothes storeI have talked a lot about Passive Income in this article because I want you to be careful when you look into buying a system that may cost you a lot of time, money, and energy.  The flip side of Passive Income is Active Income.  Active Income is, “get off your butt and earn some money”, income.  Admittedly, this income is a lot less sexy than supposedly logging into your checking account every day and seeing money being deposited, but that’s not reality.

As I mentioned in my last article, now that my full-time Uber & Lyft career is over, I am really focusing on Work from Home income.  I have come across some very promising income streams that I will be covering in the upcoming weeks.  As I mentioned in last week’s article, my goal is to get 2 or 3 of these WFH jobs to replace, and hopefully exceed, my driving income.  I hope to do just that with some of the jobs I have found.  I am going to evaluate them over the next couple of weeks and I’ll report back with what I find out.

None of these jobs are going to pay you $5000 per week for sitting on the couch binge-watching “Scandal”!  However, they are jobs that companies need done, and they are willing to hire you to work from home to do them!  If these jobs pan out, all I can think about is how much my buddies down at the oil change shop are going to miss me!  Please come back next week and I’ll have some WFH jobs for you to check out!

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.

Organized Home

Start The New Year Organized!

By Jerry Lambert

Hello and welcome back to The Brown Parachute Club.  Since this is the time of year when people start to think about getting organized, I thought this would be a good time to talk to you about a website I discovered a few years ago. The name of the website is Organized Home.
Paper in filing cabinetI discovered this website while looking for a Christmas Countdown Checklist. The website had a countdown checklist and so much more.

The website is the brainchild of Cynthia Ewer.  According to her Google+ page, she has been “Helping folks get organized online since 1995”. That’s quite a track record in my book.   I have always considered myself a pretty organized person, but I’ve got nothing on this lady.

Her website is broken down into seven different categories.  I’ll cover each one individually.  Plus, two bonus categories that are just priceless, Organized Christmas & 101 Days to Christmas.

Clean House:  I know what you’re thinking, yuck.  However she breaks it down by season, so it seems much more logical, at least to me.  She even goes into getting your kids or grandkids involved.  Plus, how to tackle cleaning out the refrigerator.  Yuck, again!

Cut Clutter: This is something we all need to learn how to do.  It covers everything from de-cluttering your closet, holiday clutter, room-by-room, creating a storage plan and much more.  I know at our house, any flat surface can become “Clutter-Central”.

Getting Organized: Seems redundant to me, but whatever.  Anyway, this is an excellent area that has articles on starting the New Year organized, kids rooms, yard sales, getting organized on a budget, moving, paper management (Thank God!), plus a lot more.

Kitchenware on wallKitchen Tips: Boy, do I need this one!  This area covers all things kitchen.  Party planning, setting up and organizing a pantry, menu planning, school lunches, organizing your refrigerator, and much more.

Family Ties: This section mainly deals with preparing for back-to-school and the routine of getting your kids out the door, fully prepared to take on the day.  Since my sons are 27 and 24, this is not an issue for me anymore.  However, some of you may be in charge of getting your grandkids moving in the morning.  Lots of good advice here.

Seasonal Spin: This area groups together many of the previous articles by season.  It’s easy to see all of the articles about New Year organization, spring cleaning, daylight savings time, back-to-school, family vacations and so on.

Printables: This category has calendars, meal planners, events and travel, health and safety, crafts and hobbies and so on.  Each section has multiple documents that can be printed out and added to your to-do list.  A really excellent resource.

And last, but by no means least, Organized Christmas and 101 Days to Christmas!  These sections are so big, they have their own websites.  These are indispensable tools in preparing for Christmas.  This past Christmas, I resolved to really dig into the Organized Christmas website and implement the Christmas Countdown.  There are so many terrific ideas and articles, it can become a little overwhelming.  Tabs on the website include Christmas Countdown, Holiday Plans, Simplify Your Holidays, Gifts / Crafts, and (even more) Printables.

Christmas baublesBy following the Countdown Checklist, I was able to complete the majority of my Christmas Planning early and I actually enjoyed a RELAXED Christmas.  I know what you’re thinking, “There is no such thing!”  I beg to differ!

There are 2 Christmas Countdown plans.  Regular and Crazy!  Regular (Organized Christmas) starts on October 23rd and finishes up well before Christmas, so you can actually ENJOY the holiday, which is the whole point!  Crazy is 101 Days to Christmas.  This one starts on September 15th!  I told you, CRAZY!!  However, Christmas Eve is at our house this year, so I plan on going with CRAZY.  101 Days to Christmas has a Daily Message Index and Christmas Planner.  I’ll wait until after Halloween to put up my Christmas Lights, I promise!

Unfortunately, I recently read that Cynthia Ewer is retiring from running the websites.  Hopefully, she will hand over the reins to someone who has the same passion for organization that she does!  If you want your own personal copy of the Organized Home website, get it in book form.  Cut The Clutter is available on Amazon.  I will definitely be ordering a copy.

I hope this article has inspired you to tackle your own “Mountain of Disorganization”.  I know going over these websites in such great detail has inspired me to get my butt into gear!  Happy Organizing and De-Cluttering!!!

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!

Side Hustle: Becoming a Tutor

Make Some Extra Money By Sharing Your Skills!

By Jerry Lambert

Welcome back to The Brown Parachute Club.  This week I thought I would look into the Side Hustle: Becoming a Tutor.  For those of you who have skills in the area of art, music, science, math, foreign language, etcetera, this could prove to be a lucrative sideline for you.

grandma teaching grandchild musicWhen I think of tutors, I immediately think about high school or college kids, getting help in subjects they are having difficulty with.  Many of the tutors helping them are fellow students or teacher’s aides.  However, there’s no reason why you can’t help out these kids, if you have the skills in those areas of study.

I admit that I have not tutored anyone as of yet.  However, I may have skills in some areas that may translate into a tutoring gig.  I’ll have to find out.  In the meantime, I thought I would bring this Side Hustle to your attention.

WikiHow has a couple of excellent step by step articles on how to get started as a tutor.  Some of the items mentioned are things that I had not thought of.  For instance, consulting an attorney if you are going to be working with children.  This strikes me as kind of creepy, but these are the times we live in.

There are many professional tutoring companies out there that you can choose to work for, or you can go it alone.  Starting small in your own town may get you some gigs that will build your confidence, reputation, and help you develop your tutoring business.  This article from Consumer Affairs has a breakdown of some of the best companies to work with, or for.

A chemistry teacher conducting an experiment in a classroomI also found a very nice Q & A spot on Quora, a website that prides itself on giving you “The Best Answer to Any Question”.  One of their contributors is a guy named Mario DiBartolomeo.  He has answered 70 questions posed to him regarding becoming a tutor and he also has a video course and book you can order for more detailed information.

I hope this brief article has been helpful in pointing out some areas for you to look at regarding starting your own tutoring business.

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!