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By Jill L. Ferguson

Over the coming decade, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that people 65 and older will be the hottest demographic in the labor market, with labor force participation predicted to hit 32 percent by 2022. Many of these workers will not be in traditional full-time employment, but will work as contractors or as part of the gig freelance economy.

Californian George Kyle, 75, is one such example. Kyle had a robust and fulfilling career that began in 1969 when he started teaching German and French at the junior and high school levels. After getting a second master’s degree, he started teaching in 1979, running a new college’s art department, and he retired from there in 2004. For years, in addition to his full-time job, Kyle had side-gig employment as a fine artist who painted for passion, for commissions and for gallery shows, and he kept doing this work past retirement, as well as taking on private lesson art students and running monthly full-day art workshops.

We Enjoy the Work

Kyle said that teaching and artwork, “gets the juices flowing and energizes me. It is social, creative and supportive. I don’t have to do it for the money, but I enjoy it.”

We Have Skills to Share

And while some people are participating in the freelance economy because they need the money, others are doing it for a wealth of reasons (not all of which are mutually exclusive). Bob Kaczor, 80, retired from the finance department of a major U.S. airline many years ago, but he knew he had much to give to others and skills that could be utilized. Shortly after retirement, he started tutoring local elementary and middle school children in math and reading once per week. Kaczor was pleased to see many of his tutees go on to and graduate from college.

We Get a Great Offer

Others have been called back by the companies from which they were retired to work as contractors (who fill out a W-9 and receive a 1099 at the end of the fiscal year) for special projects. This can be beneficial for the company because they are familiar with the expertise and work ethic of their retirees and for the retirees because contractors tend to be paid at much higher rates than employees (since the contractor pays his/her own taxes, insurance, etc.).

We Want the Write-Offs

Some people start side businesses or become contractors because they would like more tax write-offs. For example, drivers for Uber, Lyft, Sidecar and other driving and car sharing programs can deduct the actual expenses for gas, oil changes, repairs, insurance, maintenance and depreciation and/or lease payments (pro-rated if your car is both personal and used for your business), according to Intuit’s TurboTax. Similar deductions can be taken for those who are self-employed dog walkers, babysitters, food delivery people and others who work as contractors for app-based businesses.

We Want to Fill Some Time

For 13 years I was a full-time professor who moonlighted as a consultant, writer and artist. Every May, after working 40 to 60 hours per week all school year, classes ended and I felt a big STOP and let down. I walked around the house a bit aimlessly for the first two weeks, trying to get my bearings. Retirement can feel like that, too. We’re so used to contributing and the routine and the go, go, go, that when it comes to a halt it can be jarring and a bit depressing. And this is a major reason retirees find a part-time job, become a greeter at a big box store or find a regular freelance gig: to fill the empty hours.

We Want to Engage with Others

As George Kyle said, teaching painting for him is social. A freelance economy or contract job, whether it is as a journalist, a mystery shopper, life or business coach, musician, artist, massage therapist, herbalist or whatever causes us to interact with and meet new people, to continue growing and learning, to be engaged with life. Along with providing additional money, interacting with others may be a freelance jobs best benefit.

The post Reasons People Participate in the Freelance Economy appeared first on BloomerBoomer.

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By Thomas E. Cochrane

I was raised by a single mother, and my grandmother and aunt were each dominant women, but it was nevertheless a male-dominated society when I was growing up. So during that earlier era, women may have ruled the roost, but men made the important family decisions, period. Later, as the 1960s unfolded, societal attitudes began to gyrate: new technologies were developing; the civil rights movement, anti-war demonstrations, and gays were in the daily news, the space race began, and the Kennedys were assassinated. In the midst of all this upheaval, folks had begun to believe it was also time for equality and women’s rights. But, in our home, I made the decisions unilaterally without much input from Kay, my first wife. I quit a good job teaching high school science (although not high paying) and headed back to graduate school, and Kay agreed to support the family by teaching while I completed my advanced degrees in geology. But my carefully constructed plan for self-advancement was not to happen — she became pregnant. For fifty years, I blamed her for derailing this key early goal of mine.

The oil industry was a white, male-dominated business – at least it was in the Midwest at the time I landed therein. The few professional women working in the arena were underpaid and also under-estimated as to their abilities. It took a very competent, strong woman to survive much less rise in the company’s management ranks. There were however many secretaries who jumped in response to our beck and call, but they weren’t considered ‘professionals’ at the time. We took them to lunch, partied with them after work, and chased them in pursuit of clandestine affairs. By the 1980s, many members of this female work force had been replaced by computers and we fellas now had to write and edit our own reports.

On a personal level, these dalliances in the office place led to my divorce and then marriage to my lawyer’s secretary. Ann was highly intelligent, considered herself to be a liberated woman, was outspoken, and professed to have all the answers. I was branded as being in a mid-life crisis at the time—and, who knows, maybe I was. After being a very active Catholic in the local church, I rejected my faith for my new wife, a third-generation atheist. Having left my family, I was soon inserted into this new one consisting of Ann and her three children. Kay got remarried in a short time, but my children did not like her new husband. He was abusive and overbearing, and ultimately assaulted her. The children, one by one, moved in with Ann and me. Soon we were raising ten youngsters/teens—his, hers, and theirs.

Ann was bi-polar and suicidal (ten children and yours truly had created a lot of pressure for her). This mixed group of different families and a wide range of ages gave us all a different perspective from other more normal households. Over time, the children became very self-reliant and seemingly raised themselves and each other. Disputes were solved democratically and rarely did we, as parents, have to decree something or make a judgement in a dispute. A sort of egalitarian environment developed, with each person in the family considering himself or herself on an equal footing with the others. There was no male domination over the females in our household.

Ultimately, I guess I owe my liberation and change of perspective to the children. Ann and I hung together until 1988 (16 years) — all of the collective offspring were off following their own lives by then. Again in this second marriage, I made a unilateral decision on a certain project without Ann’s concurrence. Truth be told, this pattern of mine was the ultimate cause of our breakup. It actually IS difficult to overcome one’s early programming. Sometimes I’ve even wondered if the male dominance thing may be genetically wired into our genes. Although, for society’s sake, I hope not.

Then, in the 90’s, I met Susan, who had also been programmed by her dominant ‘old school’ parents along with an abusive, dominating husband, now her ex. We vowed to each other we would not follow that line of thinking – and we have now maintained this relationship for nearly thirty years. I have worked with her in her business — at her direction — and she has advised me in my business activities. Now an octogenarian, I’ve finally and fully embraced the realization that communication and consensus of thought and action are necessary to develop a long-lasting relationship based on equality.

It wasn’t until I was working on my second book (an oil patch memoir) that I saw in hindsight how far I’d come from my earlier “Father Knows Best era” thinking. So I spent the closing chapters, entitled “Final Thoughts,” outlining my changed attitudes in this area of my personal life, as well as professionally — as I also morphed from a “company insider” with Big Oil to my now longtime environmental activism (including my efforts to help prevent any resumption of offshore drilling here in N. California where I’ve made my home for decades). It’s hard to admit at the book’s conclusion I was indeed a chauvinist but…you know what they say about confession being good for the soul (and I’ve since returned to my Catholic roots as well). Heck, I even recently wrote a letter of apology to Kay for my boorish behavior during our years together.

So who is it that says old dogs can’t learn new tricks after all…?

Author bio:  

Thomas E. Cochrane is a CA Professional Geologist CA (#6124), frequent guest speaker, and the author of “Shaping the Sonoma-Mendocino Coast, Exploring the Coastal Geology of Northern California,” a regional bestseller. His new book was just published (August), “Tornados, Rattlesnakes & Oil – A Wildcatter’s Memories of Hunting for “Black Gold” and chronicles his yesteryear adventures in the Midwest oil patch – plus offers his sage perspective on “Big Oil” as a former industry insider, and now-avid environmentalist. He was recently named a Director of the Redwood Coast Land Conservancy, a 501(c)3 nonprofit which is a member of the National Land Trust Alliance and California Northern Region Land Trust Council. To learn more or get in touch, please visit: www.RiverBeachPress.com.    

The post One Man’s Reflections on the Male-female Tug of War – through the lens of time appeared first on BloomerBoomer.

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As you’ll see, here’s the the stellar review contained on the book’s jacket:

“MOST BOOKS ABOUT THE OIL PATCH usually fall into one of two categories.
The first are tributes to the “greatest gamblers.” The others are tomes about
the earth sciences. Rarely do we get a full-bodied peek into real life in the oil
patch. Fortunately for us, Thomas E. Cochrane has accomplished the latter: a
fast-paced and lyrical stroll through several decades of searching for oil and
gas, punctuated with stories about the greatest gamblers, and insights into
petroleum geology written in a way that is accessible to the general reader.
The honesty and earthiness of the prose come as bonuses. I want to thank
Mr. Cochrane for this latest contribution to the literature on the oil patch.”

― Dr. Bob L. Blackburn, Executive Director
Oklahoma Historical Society

The post “Tornados, Rattlesnakes & Oil — A Wildcatter’s Memories of Hunting for Black Gold” appeared first on BloomerBoomer.

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It’s perfectly mainstream to seek and receive physical therapy, but why is emotional therapy so taboo? Men, women, veterans, CEOs, medical professionals, parents, students and even some of today’s hottest celebrities—depression and anxiety impact over 322 million worldwide, it does not discriminate!!!
Are you working on any stories that might begin to make the change in time for Mental Health Awareness Month in May for those seeking help?
How about highlighting the award-winning Out of the Woods: A Journey Through Depression and Anxiety by Brent Williams?  Described as “A brave, important book,” by Stanford University Professor Robert Sapolsky. Out of the Woods is a 160-illustrated-page, graphic memoir that demonstrates the undermining nature of depression, the complex recovery process and the challenges these illnesses produce – in the most unusual of ways, through images and artwork. It is part memoir, and part educational tool to help people understand and overcome these debilitating illnesses.

The post Out of the Woods: A Journey Through Depression and Anxiety by Brent Williams appeared first on BloomerBoomer.

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Best-selling author, international speaker and a sought-after facilitator, Gary Douglas is known for his intensity of awareness and his incredible capacity to facilitate people to ‘know what they know’. He chooses to embody consciousness in everything that he does which inspires others to choose to become more conscious as a result.

Gary came with an exceptional level of awareness into the Midwest middle class ‘white bread’ family and lived the ‘Leave it to Beaver’ childhood. He has a very different view on life and realized that he was so different from most of the people he knew when he was only six years old. He became aware of this difference by watching people create their lives and seeing that none of it was about the joy and the possibilities – it was always about the wrongness of everything.  Gary knew there had to be more than this reality was offering since there was nothing about it that was magical, joyful or expansive. So, he began seeking deeper awareness to life’s mysteries at an early age.  Along the way he uncovered a new way forward- one that would create change in the world and in people’s lives. He discovered that magic is all around us; it’s something we create – its consciousness. He recognized that the capacity to be more aware and more conscious was every person’s gift if they were willing to choose it.

Over time what he recognised as the gift he was, was his intensity of awareness and his capacity to invite people to consciousness and to recognise that everything is possible and nothing is impossible. His gift is his ability to look at life, the universe and the consciousness that we all are, as well as the possibilities that are an intrinsic part of it from a space that no one else has ever chosen.

The post Best-selling author, international speaker and a sought-after facilitator, Gary Douglas appeared first on BloomerBoomer.

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Starting Over

by Maria Leonard Olsen, author of

50 After 50: Reframing the Next Chapter of Your Life

(Rowman & Littlefield, 2018)

At age 49, I got sober and divorced. At age 50, I rebuilt my life. The new beginning, despite the attendant pain, was good for me. I lived alone for the first time. I learned the important lesson that had eluded me during the previous decades of my life—no one was responsible for my happiness but me.  

Before this point in my life, I had searched for happiness externally. If I was receiving attention and accolades, I felt good about myself. But I needed to believe in my own worth before I could really thrive, let alone be a good partner for anyone else.  

I always had been a compassionate person…towards everyone but myself. Instead of dwelling on regret for the mistakes I had made, I set out at age 50 to find out what truly made me happy. I went back to practicing law part-time. I sold belongings I no longer needed on eBay and Craigslist, or at consignment stores. I changed my buying habits, seeking experiences over things. My life became leaner, but more personally fulfilling. I chose to spend time with people who brought out the best in me and to be more intentional about how I spent my time.  

I learned the difference between being alone and being lonely. I actually like my own company now, whereas I previously had eschewed it out of fear that I would become introspective. I would rather not have to look within because I did not like what was there…until now.   

I was somewhat anxious about returning to work as an attorney after taking 15 years off to raise my children. I took another state’s bar exam to bring me up to speed on basic legal principles. It increased my confidence to pass another bar exam after my break. Those of us with more life perspective are often better at our jobs for no other reason than we have been around longer in this life. I believe my people skills were better than those of my younger colleagues, and I was much less nervous when in the courtroom than I had been as a young lawyer. I could view the judge as another human and keep things in a manageable perspective.  

Going back to work and making my own money again was renewing and affirming. Even if I had taken a server or clerk-type of job, the boost to my self-esteem would have been detectable. Being self-sufficient elevates one’s estimation of themselves. 

We are never too old to try something new. In fact, every day we awaken provides an opportunity for each of us to learn something and to contribute something. We can each bloom where we are planted and make the world a better place because we were here.

The post 50 After 50: Reframing the Next Chapter of Your Life  appeared first on BloomerBoomer.

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When I first heard about the link between Alzheimer’s and sleep I was not surprised. I’ve been researching sleep for a few years now and writing a book on the topic. Talking to family and friends I came to understand not everyone is aware of this link. Are you aware of the connection between sleep and Alzheimer’s disease? You’re no different than most boomers who grew up through the years thinking work, sacrifice, and lack of sleep was something to be proud of. Getting 4-5 hours of sleep a night was a badge of honor worn proudly and talked about loudly.

Alzheimer’s and Sleep

Possibly one of your role models were known to boast about lack of sleep. Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher both only slept 4-5 hours a night and were extremely proud of the fact. Even though President Reagan would joke about his need for naps, it’s known he slept very little at night.

Why is this important to know? Both Reagan and Thatcher developed Alzheimer’s after they retired from office. Coincidence? Maybe not. The latest research demonstrates that lack of quality sleep may cause long-term damage to your brain. 

What You Need to Know About Alzheimer’s and Sleep

For most, the process of growing older affects your sleep quality. There is one phase of sleep that is affected most, and that is the non-rapid eye movement phase (NREM). NREM is a very highly active phase of our sleep! Why? Because this is when your brain transfers your short-term memories into long-term storage. To keep your strong memory this process needs to occur, and without NREM, it won’t.

The promising aspect of poor NREM sleep is that this change in sleep happens years before the onset of Alzheimer’s symptoms. Possibly, our bodies are sending out a warning system to be aware of, or it could actually be a cause of Alzheimer’s. Either way, this is critical information to arm yourself and share with your loved ones.

It’s hard to know what comes first, the chicken or the egg but it’s important to understand that the quality of sleep and Alzheimer’s reinforce each other and as one gets worse, so does the other. And a lack of good quality sleep, sleep which includes NREM (even one night) causes a build-up of plaque in your brain. 

The Bottom Line Between Alzheimer’s and Sleep

In Why We Sleep, world-renowned neuroscientist and sleep expert Matthew Walker explains how sleep disruption and Alzheimer’s are linked. Poor quality sleep leads to memory loss and accumulation of plaque on your brain → With more plaque on your brain you sleep less and with less quality sleep you develop more plaque → More plaque increases your risk of Alzheimer’s.

What can you do? Analyze your sleep data by keeping a sleep diary. Visit with your doctor and review the results of your diary. There are many sleep hygiene tips and strategies you can try to help you sleep at night. Even a few simple tweaks can change the quality of your sleep and transform your health.

The post How to Lower Your Risk of Alzheimer’s By Changing One Strategy appeared first on BloomerBoomer.

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By Jim Poolman

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, all baby boomers will be older than 65 in 2030. While 12 years from now may seem far off, we are just a little over a decade away from living in a world where Americans, at or beyond retirement age, will drastically outnumber their children. When they do, how prepared will America’s workforce be to retire?

The Indexed Annuity Leadership Council (IALC) commissioned a recent study on The State of America’s Workforce: The Reality of Retirement Readiness to provide insight, and found industry and company size are two determining factors in retirement preparedness.

The Disparity Among Workers

The America’s workforce data showed eight of 11 blue- and gray-collar industries perform below the overall average for America’s workforce when comparing the retirement-readiness scores across occupational classifications. While Food Preparation and Serving, and Personal Care are the least prepared of all blue- and gray-collar industries, two blue- and gray-collar fields, Engineering and Protective Services, are outperforming all workers when it comes to retirement readiness.

Additionally, company size has a significant impact on the retirement readiness of America’s workforce: the larger the company size, the more employees feel informed about retirement planning and excited about their golden years.

Despite these gaps in readiness, today’s retirement landscape offers a variety of savings options for all workers to create their own retirement freedom. One of these retirement vehicles is a fixed indexed annuity (FIA), which works overtime to provide a lifetime income stream, while offering tax-deferred growth, and principal protection from market swings.

Overall Retirement Landscape is Shifting

While Americans are facing a changing retirement model, FIAs will help address many basic retirement concerns. This is important to keep in mind, as today’s reality of America’s workforce is working more and working longer:

  • Almost four in 10 pre-retirees will likely work part time in their retirement years, either by choice or necessity.
  • Three in five Americans are very likely to work longer than they’d like to meet their personal retirement goals.
  • On average, American workers expect to push back retirement by two years.

The emerging “gig economy” helps to support this trend by offering a greater number of freelance and independent contractor positions. A portion of workers (nearly 14 percent) are taking on a “side hustle” with the explicit goal of saving for retirement. At the same time, only one in eight Americans have an employer-sponsored plan to help plan for their golden years.

Regardless of how the landscape is shifting and whether you are offered an employer-sponsored plan, IALC’s retirement-readiness research shows workers are, above all else, looking for lifetime income (nearly 80 percent).

A Deeper Dive on Fixed Indexed Annuities

Fixed indexed annuities can help guarantee a steady income stream for your whole retirement. At the same time, portfolio diversification helps manage risks and rewards in the financial market. FIAs are a great option to diversify, ensuring you are not putting all your eggs in one basket.

A financial professional, who is licensed to sell FIAs, is a great resource to help you decide if you should add one to your portfolio. The sooner you have the conversation the better for your retirement preparedness, but I recommend doing it before 2030 rolls around.

Jim Poolman serves as the Executive Director of the Indexed Annuity Leadership Council (IALC), a coalition of life insurance companies that have come together to increase the dialogue surrounding fixed indexed annuities (FIAs).

The post Understanding Retirement Readiness in America: How Do You Stack Up? appeared first on BloomerBoomer.

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by Christy Whitman

Poet and activist Robert Bly, now 91, once noted that we spend the first half of our lives placing the “undesirable” aspects of ourselves into a metaphoric bag which we drag in shame behind us, and the second half of our lives taking out of this bag everything that we’ve hidden away.  And although Bly equates this cycle of repression and reclamation to the psychological act of making peace with our shadow or dark side, it also describes a process that occurs in both the first and second phases of life.

When we’re young, we often view ourselves (and are viewed by others) as blank slates that must become filled up before we are in a position to contribute anything of value to others.  This explains why so much of the first half of life is devoted to accumulating all that we’ve been told will give us credibility and significance: We get an education and accrue job experience; we develop social circles and define ourselves according to the positions we see ourselves filling within them.  We acquire material possessions and the belief structures that justify them.   And by the time most of us hit midlife, our proverbial bags are completely full, in the sense that we have accumulated so many expectations and responsibilities that we often look back longingly at the days when we felt more like a blank slate.

Not accidentally, it is around this same time that we are also called to look forward to the second half of our lives, and to update the images we hold of ourselves so they fit the women and men that we are in the process of becoming.   But far too often, in our attempt to ensure that we are still relevant, we make the mistake of seeing ourselves once again as a blank slate that is somehow incomplete as it is, and believe that in order to powerfully move forward – professionally as well as personally – we have to go about the process of accumulating a whole new set of skills.

In reality, we have at our fingertips everything that we need to create a magnificent second half of life, and this includes creating a financially and personally rewarding career. What follows are two important shifts in mindset that will support you in taking stock of the assets you have already accumulated, and leveraging them to ensure that the second half of your life completely utilizes, and celebrates, your very best qualities and attributes.

Mindset Shift #1:

Rather than thinking about acquiring new knowledge, focus instead on reaping, reclaiming, and re-purposing the wisdom that your life experience has yielded so far.  What qualities, skills or insights do you now bring to the table that the younger version of you did not possess? Are you more confident? More trusting that life has a way of working out?  Less concerned with adjusting your behavior to be more pleasing to others? Make a list of all of the wisdom you have gained as a result of your life experiences, and as you do, acknowledge that every bit of it has value.

Mindset Shift #2:

Accept that you are the one who ultimately determines the quality of your life, and that you do this by consciously choosing the direction of your most habitual thoughts and emotions.  There is nothing inherently fabulous about being 30, and personal satisfaction is something that we all have the ability to choose (or to deny ourselves) regardless of the circumstances we find ourselves in.  When you look for, take stock of, and give thanks for all that you have to offer and all that you appreciate about your life as it is, you raise your happiness quotient and magnetize opportunities to contribute the gifts that are uniquely yours to give.

About the Author:

Christy Whitman is a Transformational Leader, Celebrity Coach and the New York Times Bestselling Author of The Art of Having It All. She has appeared on The Today Show and The Morning Show and her work has been featured in People Magazine, Seventeen, Woman’s Day, Hollywood Life, and Teen Vogue, among others. Christy is the CEO and founder of the Quantum Success Learning Academy & Quantum Success Coaching Academy, a 12-month Law of Attraction coaching certification program. Christy has helped thousands of people worldwide to achieve their goals through her empowerment seminars, speeches, and coaching sessions and products.  Christy’s life-changing message reaches over 200,000 people a month and her work has been promoted by and featured with esteemed authors and luminaries such as Marianne Williamson, Dr. Wayne Dyer, Marci Shimoff, Brian Tracy, Neale Donald Walsch, Abraham-Hicks, and Louise Hay. She currently lives in Arizona with her husband, Frederic, and their two boys, Alexander and Maxim.

Christy’s forthcoming book is called Quantum Success: 7 Essential Laws for a Thriving, Joyful & Prosperous Relationship With Work and Money. It’s being released September 25, 2018, by Enliven, a division of Simon and Schuster. To get a free copy of Quantum Success, go to this link: www.QuantumSuccessBook.com

The post Bringing Your Best Self to the Second Half of Life appeared first on BloomerBoomer.

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